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Illinois Poet Laureate leaving the post in December

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Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois Poet Laureate Kevin Stein is stepping down from the post in December.

Stein says in a statement issued by the governor’s office that it’s been an honor that’s deepened his understanding of poetry and the state’s diversity.

Stein was appointed at the end of 2003 and has participated in about 250 poetry readings, presentations and school visits. He’s a professor at English at Bradley University in Peoria.

Gov. Bruce Rauner says he’ll establish a search committee to start the laureate selection process. The new laureate is expected to be announced in the coming months.

Stein is the state’s fourth poet laureate. His predecessors include two Pulitzer Prize winners, Gwendolyn Brooks and Carl Sandburg.