College Launches Search for Next Bucks County Poet Laureate
County residents, age 18 and over, are encouraged to submit 10 original poems by the September 4 deadline
The search is on for the 44th annual Bucks County Poet Laureate, according to Bucks County Community College Professor Ethel Rackin, Ph.D., director of 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, explained Rackin, who teaches language and literature at Bucks County Community College, the program’s administrator.
(Rackin is pictured, left, with 2019 Bucks County Poet Laureate Mary Jo LoBello Jerome and 2018 laureate Carly Volpe).
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, September 4.
The winner receives a $500 honorarium, a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and a reading and reception at Bucks County Community College with 2019 Poet Laureate Mary Jo LoBello Jerome 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.
Preliminary judge will be former Montgomery County Poet Laureate Liz Chang, author of the chapbook Animal Nocturne (Moonstone Press) and What Ordinary Objects (Book&Arts Press), a book of original poems and translations. Her poems have been included in Verse Daily, Origins Journal, and Stoneboat Literary Journal, among others, and her translations from French appeared in The Adirondack Review.
The 2020 final judge will be Grady Chambers, author of the poetry collection North American Stadiums (Milkweed Editions, 2018), selected by Henri Cole as the winner of the 2018 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. His writing is forthcoming or has appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
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 Poetry of any style, form, or length is welcome.All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed on one side in black ink. Entry forms and poems must be submitted online at bit.ly/Bucks2020Poet, with a limit of one entry per person.
The Bucks County Poet Laureate Contest, which also holds the annual Bucks County High School Poet of the Year Contest, is another way that Bucks County Community College contributes to the cultural heritage of the region. For more information, contact Dr. Ethel Rackin at Ethel.Rackin@bucks.edu.