Last updated: Wednesday, June 22, 2022 at 5:22 PM
The search is on for the 46th annual Bucks County Poet Laureate, according to Bucks County Community College Professor Ethel Rackin, Ph.D., director of what is the longest-running poet laureate program in Pennsylvania.
The contest is open to Bucks County residents over age 18 who have not previously served as poet laureate, said Rackin, who teaches language and literature at BCCC, where the program is based.
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 submitted online by Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. The winner receives a $500 honorarium, a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and will be featured at a Fall reading and reception at Bucks County Community College with the previous year’s poet laureate, Nicole Steinberg, and contest runners-up.
Poetry of any kind is welcome. The entry requires 10 poems, any style, form, or length. All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed, one poem per page, in black ink. The poems and entry form must be submitted online at bucks.edu/poetlaureateentry
There is no charge to enter the contest, but there is a limit of one entry per person.
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.
Tsering Wangmo Dhompa
The 2022 final judge will be Tsering Wangmo Dhompa. Dhompa’a parents fled Tibet in 1959. Raised by her mother in Tibetan communities in Dharamsala, India, and Kathmandu, Nepal, Dhompa earned a BA and an MA from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, an MA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and an MFA in creative writing from San Francisco State University. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks In Writing the Names (2000) and Recurring Gestures (2000). She has published the full-length collections Rules of the House (2002), In the Absent Everyday (2005), and My Rice tastes like the lake (2011), which was a finalist for the Northern California Independent Bookseller’s Book of the Year Award for 2012. She is also the author of the poetry chapbook Revolute (2021). Dhompa's non-fiction book based on her life is called A Home in Tibet (Penguin India, 2013), published in the United States as Coming Home to Tibet: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Belonging (2016).
Shawn R. Jones
Preliminary judge will be Shawn R. Jones. Jones was born in Hartford, Connecticut and grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Womb Rain and A Hole to Breathe. Her work has appeared in Tri-Quarterly, New Ohio Review, River Heron Review, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her poetry collection, Date of Birth, has won the 2022 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry and is forthcoming from Persea Books in 2023.
The Bucks Poet Laureate Program is one of the oldest in the country. It also holds a High School Poet Contest every Spring and sponsors an annual writers’ conference, and is yet another way that Bucks County Community College contributes to the cultural heritage of the region.
For more information, contact Rackin at firstname.lastname@example.org.