Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday appointed a USC English professor and author as California's next poet laureate.
Carol Muske-Dukes founded the school's graduate program in literature and creative writing.
She has written seven books of poetry, four novels and two essay collections. Her most recent work, "Sparrow," was a National Book Award finalist.
She also founded and taught in a creative-writing program at a women's prison on Rikers Island in New York.
The poet laureate works with the California Arts Council to promote poetry, especially among children. The council takes nominations and recommends four candidates to the governor.
"Carol Muske-Dukes is a distinguished writer who has greatly influenced the world of literary arts in California and throughout the world," said Muriel Johnson, director of the arts council.
The position comes with a $10,000 stipend over the two-year term.
The state Senate must approve the appointment of Muske-Dukes, 62, who replaces poet laureate Al Young. The rotating position was created in 2001.