Published: November 11, 2012
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|Current TC Poet Laureate Gail Holst-Warhaft while visiting the Acropolis
|Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson has appointed Gail Holst-Warhaft as Tompkins County Poet Laureate for 2011. Born in Australia, the new Poet Laureate brings to the position a diverse background, including experience as a journalist, broadcaster, writer, academic, musician, poet, and translator. An adjunct professor of Near Eastern Studies, Comparative Literature and Classics at Cornell University, Holst-Warhaft currently directs a program of Mediterranean Studies.
The current Poet Laureate calls Ithaca “one of the most fortunate cities in the United States” in terms of poetry, with a lively local poetry scene and nationally acclaimed poets on the faculty at both Cornell and Ithaca College, who have inspired hundreds of young poets. As Poet Laureate, Holst-Warhaft says she will work to build greater interaction between the local poetry scene and poets who teach at the colleges; organize events combining poetry and music; showcase the poetry of immigrant communities in the County; support the efforts of Ithaca City of Asylum to keep Ithaca a refuge for persecuted writers, and work with the Ithaca school district to bring poets into the schools.
The title of "Poet Laureate" is a time-honored tradition. In 1668, England officially established the post as a royal office. In the 19th century some local Poets Laureate were recognized in their communities. In 1937 the US created the position as a national one.
The position of Tompkins County Poet Laureate was established by the Tompkins County Legislature in 2001 to honor local outstanding poets, integrate poetry into the community, enrich the education of our young people, and enhance the County's position as a cultural center. Given our literary pedigree, it's no surprise that Tompkins was one of the first in the nation to have such an official post.
Since its establishment, the selection and announcement of the Tompkins County Poet Laureate has been a process administered by the Community Arts Partnership. CAP solicits nominations and organizes the selection panel for appointment to the post.
Appointments will be for one-year terms, but precedent allows for one additional consecutive one-year term, based on the availability of the poet. The honorary position is without salary, but programmatic stipends may be available depending on grant funding.
The Poet Laureate's named duties over the period of his/her appointment include:
Nominations may come from individuals or organizations within or outside of Tompkins County. Poets may self-nominate. Each nomination must contain:
Nominees for the Tompkins County Poet Laureate must:
All nominees for the Tompkins County Poet Laureate will be reviewed by a selection panel consisting of past poets laureate, community members, CAP staff, and a representative from the Tompkins County Legislature.
Using the criteria listed above, the panel will make a recommendation for official approval by the Tompkins County Legislature.
Nominations must be submitted by November 30, 2012 to the CAP office. Announcement of the selection will be made in December 2012. The selected poet typically reads at a January meeting of the Tompkins County Legislature, when his/her title is officially declared.
CAP welcomes all questions regarding this program and application. For more information on this program, please call 273-5072 or e-mail Executive Director, Brett Bossard.