Poet Laureate of the State of Louisiana, Ava Leavell Haymon’s most recent poetry collection is Eldest Daughter, published by Louisiana State University Press. She has written three previous collections, Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread, Kitchen Heat, and The Strict Economy of Fire, all also from LSU Press, and edits the Barataria Poetry Series, which will premiere Spring 2014. Her poems have appeared in journals nationwide. Prizes include the Louisiana Literature Prize for poetry in 2003, the L.E. Phillabaum Poetry Award for 2010, the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters 2011 Award in Poetry. Why The House Is Made Of Gingerbread was chosen as one of the top ten poetry books of 2010 by Women’s Voices for Change. A committed teacher of poetry writing, she worked as Artist in the Schools for a number of years, teaches poetry writing during the school year in Louisiana and, during the summer, directs a retreat center for writers and artists.