Poet Laureate Program Announced for Kenosha and Racine

Poet Laureate program

Kenosha and Racine poets are invited to submit applications, beginning Monday, November 1, to become the first-ever Poet Laureate of their respective communities. Each Poet Laureate will be crowned in April, 2011, during National Poetry Month.

This program is sponsored by the Kenosha and Racine Public Library systems, along with Southport Press, a division of Kenosha Community Media. These parties are working together to manage this program and provide a steering committee to assist each Poet Laureate in his or her duties.

Poets who are interested in submitting applications must be age 18 or older and be a current resident of Kenosha or Racine, including County locations. Application forms and more information are available at Kenosha Public Library branches, Community Library branches, and at the Racine Public Library.

Forms and information are also available online:
Kenosha application and Racine application.

Prior publication of poetry is not required; however, each applicant must submit a portfolio of their original work in order to be considered for this title. Applications are due by January 31, 2011.

A panel of judges, representing Kenosha and Racine, will review the work of candidates from both communities and announce a Poet Laureate for Kenosha and a Poet Laureate for Racine.

These poets will serve a two-year term. In addition to duties of writing and reading new work, the poets will champion literacy by encouraging reading and writing for all age groups and for residents for whom English is a second language. They will be asked to initiate and implement projects for the purpose of encouraging an appreciation of poetry, particularly
in less-traditional settings.

The United States has named a national Poet Laureate since 1985 (although the title of Consultant of Poetry dates back in this country to 1937). W.S. Merwin holds this title today. Several Wisconsin cities, including Madison, Milwaukee, and Eau Claire, have named Poet Laureates for their communities in more recent years.

For more information, please contact JeTaun Colbert, Public Services Librarian, at Kenosha Public Library, (262) 564-6136 and jcolbert@kenosha.org, or John Dey, Racine Public Library,
jdey@racinelibrary.info

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