Deadline Nears to Enter Contest for the Next Bard of Bucks County
Procrastinators still have time to submit 10 original poems postmarked by September 4 to be considered the 2019 Bucks County Poet Laureate; final judge Melissa Stein to appear in Newtown Sept. 20 to launch Wordsmiths Reading Series
Scribes still have time to enter the 43rd annual Bucks County Poet Laureate contest, according to Bucks County Community College Professor Ethel Rackin, director 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 Rackin, a professor of language and literature 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 4 or hand-delivered to the office by Friday, September 6 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 2018 Poet Laureate Carly Volpe and contest runners-up.
Pictured at the 2018 Bucks County Poet Laureate reading and reception are (left-right) Professor and 1978 laureate Chris Bursk, 2009 laureate Bernadette McBride, Professor and program director Ethel Rackin, 2017 laureate Katherine Hahn Falk, and 2018 laureate Carly Volpe.
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.
The 2019 final judge will be Melissa Stein, author of the poetry collections Terrible Blooms (Copper Canyon Press, 2018) and Rough Honey, winner of the 2010 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, selected by Mark Doty. Preliminary judge will be Chad Frame, a former Montgomery County Poet Laureate whose work was featured in The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress Seriesand in journals such asdecomP, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, Menacing Hedge, Calamus Journal, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.
What’s more, Stein will come to Newtown to launch the 2019-20 Wordsmiths Reading Series, Rackin announced. Stein will read from her works at 7:30 p.m. Friday, September 20, in Tyler Hall at Bucks County Community College, joined by 1991 Bucks County Poet Laureate Hayden Saunier. The event is free and open to the public.
There is no charge to enter the Bucks County Poet Laureate Contest. 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 215-968-8150.
Entries must be postmarked by September 4 or hand-delivered by September 6 to Poet Laureate Contest, Language and Literature Dept., Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, Pa., 18940. For more information, contact Dr. Ethel Rackin at Ethel.Rackin@bucks.edu.