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New Brooklyn Poet Laureate Sought

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is seeking the next Brooklyn poet laureate and has appointed a five-member Brooklyn Poet Laureate Recommendation Committee to evaluate candidates for the volunteer position. The Committee will recommend a pool of three finalists to the borough president, from which he will choose one to be the bard of the borough.

Candidates for the poet laureate position must be a Brooklyn resident with recognition as a poet, and demonstrate a commitment to using the position for community outreach and projects that promote poetry and/or literacy in our diverse borough of Brooklyn.

“We know that with all our borough’s beauty, character—and characters, Brooklyn writers and poets never lack inspiration,” said BP Markowitz. “We have so many terrific writers, but the way I see it, our new poet laureate should follow the expansive example of Ken Siegelman, our previous poet laureate now of blessed memory, by not only being a fine poet, but an enthusiastic ambassador of poetry and literacy here in Brooklyn. This person should have the time and the temperament to reach out, share their work with diverse communities and spread the word about the joys and benefits of reading widely and writing well.”

Members of the committee are: Julie Agoos, coordinator of the MFA Program in Poetry at Brooklyn College, where she is Tow Professor of English; Robert N. Casper, programs director for the Poetry Society of America; Linda Susan Jackson, poet and associate professor of English at Medgar Evers College; Dionne Mack-Harvin, executive director, Brooklyn Public Library; and Anthony Vigorito, poet and retired teacher who assisted former poet laureate Ken Siegelman with Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, a program established by Siegelman.

Ken Siegelman, the late Brooklyn poet laureate, was appointed by the borough president in 2002 and served until his death this year. In addition to establishing Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, he held workshops at Phoenix House and encouraged young people to write.

To be considered for the position, candidates should submit 5–10 pages of their work, a maximum two-page bio or résumé and a cover letter that describes their vision of engaging Brooklyn’s various communities in poetry. The deadline for nominations is November 24 at 5:00 p.m. Information can be e-mailed to [email protected], faxed to 718-802-3452, or mailed to Poet Laureate Recommendation Committee, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201.

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