For Immediate Release: 9/30/2019 4:02 pm
Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus Jr., in collaboration with the Worcester City Council and Cultural Development Division, is pleased to announce the revival of the City of Worcester Poet Laureate Program and the creation of the Youth Poet Laureate Program.
The Poet Laureate will serve a term of three years, from January 2020 through December 2022. The Youth Poet Laureate will serve a two year term, from January 2020 through December 2021.
The City of Worcester Poet Laureate and Youth Poet Laureate will serve as official ambassadors of Worcester’s historic, vibrant, poetic and literary culture, using their positions as vehicles to promote the City’s great writers and the transformative qualities of poetry and the written word throughout the community.
“As the birthplace of Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Bishop and National Book Award recipient Stanley Kunitz, Worcester has a proud history of producing great poets,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. “We’re excited to announce these poet laureate programs as we continue to engage with different parts of our community, embracing a chorus of diverse voices and perspectives across our city.”
The objectives of the City of Worcester’s Poet Laureate Programs are to:
The City of Worcester’s Cultural Development Division will administer the nomination process for the Poet Laureate Programs through a Poet Laureate Task Force. The Task Force will establish a fair and inclusive selection process to ensure the most qualified candidates are appointed. To be considered, candidates must be nominated. The Task Force will seek nominations from an array of literary sources and individuals including, but not limited to: college and university literature and poetry departments; libraries, literary organizations, societies, and centers; poetry book organizations, publishers, and editors; primary, intermediate, and high school faculty and staff; directors of literary and poetry reading series; and non-literary members of the community. Self-nominations are also permitted and encouraged.
The Cultural Development Division will convene the Task Force, with personnel subject to change at the discretion of the City Manager. The Task Force will review nominations and make recommendations to the Cultural Development Division, who will forward to the City Manager’s Office for consideration.
The Worcester Poet Laureate Program is designed to promote appreciation of the diverse spirits and voices of Worcester’s cross-cultural communities. Both Poet Laureates will have significant connection to the Worcester community, and will be willing to foster even deeper roots throughout their term. The Youth Poet Laureate must be between 12 and 19 years of age on January 1, 2020, and demonstrate an interest in the creative arts. The Poet Laureate should demonstrate excellence in their artistic work, and will have received wide recognition with both the poetic/literary field and with their readers.
Worcester writers with deep connection to the cultural life of the City will be considered for the Poet Laureate appointment. Additional selection criteria include:
Term and Responsibilities – Scope of Work
Each year, Poet Laureate appointees will be expected to communicate their experience widely to peers and City communities. Over the course of the three-year appointment, renewable after the first year, the City of Worcester Poet Laureate:
Over the course of a two-year appointment, the City of Worcester Youth Poet Laureate will:
The Worcester Poet Laureate receives an annual honorarium of $1,000, to be contributed from public and private sources. This award will be based on benchmarks established in a legal contract. The Worcester Youth Poet Laureate receives a $2,500 scholarship, as well as a $500 stipend honorarium, to be contributed from private sources.
Deadline for Nominations
All nominations and applications must be received by 10 a.m. on December 9, 2019, or postmarked by December 9, 2019.
Instruction for Submitting Applications
For consideration, a completed Application Cover Sheet and all required collateral materials must be received or post marked by November 13, 2019. All materials can be found on the Cultural Development page of the City of Worcester website. These items can be emailed to Culture@WorcesterMA.gov, or mailed to:
Cultural Development Officer
Attn: City of Worcester Poet Laureate Program
455 Main Street, Room 409
Worcester, MA 01608
Two workshops will be held during October to answer questions about the application process. Dates and locations will be announced once finalized.
For questions and concerns, please contact the Cultural Development Division at 508-799-1400 x-3, or email Culture@WorcesterMA.gov.