A Coordinating Group (Sally Buckner, Lois Wistrand, Sharon Sharp, Bill Blackley, and Marie Gilbert) was formed. These poets met and corresponded to write proposed guidelines for the series. NCPS members in each of the planned regions reviewed the guidelines to ensure clarity and uniformity in implementation, wherever possible. The recommendations from all of these poets were taken under consideration and then reviewed by Fred Chappell, and his recommendations were incorporated in the plans.
On May 13, 2003, the NCPS Board approved the following motion:
"That a Distinguished Poet Series committee be established, composed of the NCPS President, the First Vice President, two or three appointed committee members, and Marie Gilbert. The committee will review the proposal and make recommendations to the Board as to how bring it to fruition. The first year of the series will act as a trial series, and the donor will decide if it is worthy of continued support."