John Prine Named Honorary Illinois Poet Laureate

John Prine 1978
Photo credit John Prine in 1978/ Courier Journal, USA Today

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has named folk music legend John Prine — who died earlier this year from COVID-19 complications — the state's first honorary poet laureate.

The proclamation issued Tuesday recognizes Prine, who grew up in west suburban Maywood, for his “unparalleled musical legacy” and recaps Prine’s career from Chicago area mailman to successful singer-songwriter in the early-1970s.

Prine was a cancer survivor. He was 73 at the time of his April 7 death, in Nashville, and was considered a top-tier songwriter whose richly textured tunes include “Paradise,” “Hello in There,” and “Angel From Montgomery.” 

The posthumous nod to Prine comes as Illinois prepares to identify its next poet laureate. 

It’s also my honor to name our state’s first honorary poet laureate. John Prine leaves behind an unparalleled musical legacy and was beloved by family and millions of fans who hope that in Heaven he finds Paradise waitin’ just as he longed for.

— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) June 30, 2020