College Launches Search for the Next Bucks County Poet Laureate
Residents over age 18 are encouraged to submit 10 original poems postmarked by September 5 to be considered in the longest-running poet laureate contest in the state
The search is on for the 42nd annual Bucks County Poet Laureate, according to Bucks County Community College professors Christopher Bursk and Ethel Rackin, directors of the longest-running poet laureate program in Pennsylvania.
Entrants must be a Bucks County resident over age 18 who has never previously served as poet laureate, explained Bursk, the 1978 poet laureate and a longtime professor at Bucks County Community College, which administers the program.
Each entrant must submit 10 original poems of any style or length along with an entry form to the college’s Language and Literature Department. Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, September 5 orhand-delivered to the office by Friday, September 7 at 4 p.m.
The winner receives a $500 honorarium, a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and a reading and reception at Bucks County Community College with 2017 Poet Laureate Katherine Hahn Falk and contest runners-up.
Two judges will blindly select the winner. The preliminary judge will narrow the entries down to a few dozen for the final judge, who will choose the winner and three runners-up from the pool of finalists. Former Montgomery County Poet Laureate Grant Clauser will serve as preliminary judge. The final judge will be Gerry Lafemina, former director of the Frostburg Center for Literary Arts and a nationally recognized author of 14 books of poetry.
There is no charge for entry. Poetry of any style, form, or length is welcome.All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed on one side in black ink. All entries must be accompanied by an entry form, which can be obtained online, at libraries and bookstores throughout the county, or by contacting the college’s Language and Literature Department at 215-968-8151.
Entries must be postmarked by September 5 or hand-delivered by September 7 to Poet Laureate Contest, Language and Literature Dept., Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, Pa., 18940. For more information, contact Dr. Christopher Bursk at 215-968-8156.
Pictured (left-right): Professor Ethel Rackin, 2016 Bucks County Poet Laureate Laren McClung, 2017 laureate Katherine Hahn Falk, and Professor Christopher Bursk.