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Poet Laureate

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LIVING
April 25, 1999 | By Thomas J. Brady, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
As if her life weren't electrifying enough, lightning struck Rita Dove's home last September, destroying her husband's study and a lot of her archives. At the time, she had planned to spend the fall writing her second novel. Instead, "we spent the fall looking for faucet fixtures," the former two-term poet laureate of the United States (1993-95) lamented in a recent interview. The first time lightning struck, figuratively at least, was in 1987, when Dove, then 34, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Thomas and Beulah, a volume of poems about her maternal grandparents.
NEWS
November 7, 1996 | By Marguerite P. Jones, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Rachel Astarte Piccione has been named the 1996 Bucks County poet laureate. Chosen from more than 75 entries in the annual Bucks County Community College contest, Piccione's works were cited for their range and voice by the three judges. Her poetry has a "marvelously controlled intensity and an eye for details that gives significance to our lives," said Stanley W. Heim, director of the competition and a BCCC professor. Besides being a poet, Piccione, who lives in Bristol Township, is a performer, director and freelance writer, with a master's of fine-arts degree from Emerson College in Boston.
NEWS
November 26, 2007
Former New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka was back in the news recently. He didn't get what he wanted, but his case is a reminder that the state remains without a poet-laureate post that can promote poetry and the arts. Time to fix that. Baraka's over-the-top poem after 9/11 - "Somebody Blew Up America" - got him booted from the job by then-Gov. James McGreevey in late 2002. His appeal was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court this month. But Jersey officials went over the top, too - abolishing the laureate position in 2003, along with its $10,000 stipend.
NEWS
June 18, 2015 | By Caroline Simon, Inquirer Staff Writer
Seventeen-year-old David Jones, who'll be a senior this fall at West Philadelphia High, was not surprised when he learned he had been named Philadelphia's next youth poet laureate. "It was super cool," he said after receiving the honor during a City Hall ceremony in front of his family, friends, and city officials including Mayor Nutter. "Honestly, I kind of expected it. " Jones, who has been writing poetry for years, was calm and confident as he recited one of his poems, Birds , an homage to Maya Angelou's famous work.
NEWS
June 28, 2002
As far as clocks - and it is time to think of them - I have one on my kitchen shelf and it is flat, with a machine-made flair, a perfect machine from 1948, at the latest, and made of shining plastic with the numbers sharp and clear and slightly magnified in that heartbreaking post-war style, the cord too short, though what does it matter, since the mechanism is broken and sits unplugged alongside a ...
NEWS
November 25, 2001 | By Catherine Quillman INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
As part of the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program silver anniversary celebration, Bucks County Community College recently named Allen Hoey of Newtown as the 2001 poet laureate. Hoey, a professor of language and literature at the college, was selected from more than 100 entries as Bucks County's 25th poet laureate by a panel of three published poets. Hoey will receive a $500 prize and a proclamation from the Bucks County commissioners at a special awards ceremony Dec. 19. Also as part of the honor, Hoey will join 2000 poet laureate Joseph Chelius in a poetry reading next Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Orangery building at the community college's Newtown campus, at 275 Swamp Rd. in Newtown.
NEWS
January 18, 2013 | By Miriam Hill, Inquirer Staff Writer
Siduri Beckman, 14, swoons over George Eliot's Silas Marner with a passion many girls her age reserve for, say, One Direction boy-band phenom Harry Styles. "I loooove that book," she said, sitting in the auditorium at her school, Julia R. Masterman. Correction. She loves Eliot's Middlemarch first, then Silas Marner . But Philadelphia's first youth poet laureate - Mayor Nutter announced her title this week - has never read Harry Potter. If her tastes seem a little serious, Beckman herself is not. She explains that her parents, Karen and Michael Beckman of West Philadelphia, named her Siduri after the "bartender to the gods" in the Epic of Gilgamesh . The literary Siduri knows the secret of everlasting life, Beckman says.
NEWS
May 23, 1993
America's next poet laureate, Rita Dove, was chosen last week - the first African American and, at 40, the youngest writer ever to hold the post. Dove, a professor of English at the University of Virginia, was chosen as "an outstanding representative of a new and richly variegated generation of American poets," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in announcing her appointment. She will assume the post in October. In both fiction and poetry, Dove has evoked the history of her family and the black experience in America.
NEWS
October 2, 2002 | By Tanya Barrientos INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka is no stranger to controversy. He's built a career on it. Never one to shy away from thorny issues in his art, the 67-year-old writer now finds himself in the middle of a battle over freedom of speech and civic trust. Should the artist step down as the Garden State's poet laureate because four lines near the end of a 226-line poem repeat a widely discredited theory that Israel knew about the Sept. 11 World Trade Center attack in advance?
NEWS
October 12, 1995 | By Marguerite P. Jones, INQUIRER CORRESPONDENT
Bucks County Community College has announced that River Huston has been named the 1995 Bucks County poet laureate. A lecturer and AIDS activist, Huston, of New Hope, was chosen from more than 135 poets who competed for the title. Huston is the author of two books of poetry, Jesus Never Lived Here and the forthcoming Bones of Susan. She also wrote Living with HIV: A Book of Questions. Huston is a six-time winner of the Great New Hope Poetry Slam and has been a featured reader at the New Hope Performing Arts Festival.
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NEWS
June 18, 2015 | By Caroline Simon, Inquirer Staff Writer
Seventeen-year-old David Jones, who'll be a senior this fall at West Philadelphia High, was not surprised when he learned he had been named Philadelphia's next youth poet laureate. "It was super cool," he said after receiving the honor during a City Hall ceremony in front of his family, friends, and city officials including Mayor Nutter. "Honestly, I kind of expected it. " Jones, who has been writing poetry for years, was calm and confident as he recited one of his poems, Birds , an homage to Maya Angelou's famous work.
NEWS
June 14, 2015 | By Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Staff Writer
SOMERS POINT, N.J. - Poetry was apparently too controversial for Atlantic City this year, as a plan to pay poets to read their work at the city Farmers' Market was abandoned by the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority after some political blowback. But Somers Point has held the line against the (haiku) haters - naming, and paying, the bay town's first poet laureate, Northwestern grad-turned-wine-store-event-planner Maria Provenzano of Egg Harbor Township. Provenzano, 26, will put the concept to its first real test Saturday night, as she does two short, mostly unannounced "Pop Up Poetry" events, one at 7 p.m. at the bar at Sandi Point Coastal Bistro, formerly the famed Mac's, followed by another at Gregory's.
NEWS
September 19, 2014 | By Erin Edinger-Turoff, Inquirer Staff Writer
Several years ago, poet Sonia Sánchez had just returned from her three-mile morning walk. As she sat on her porch sipping green tea and reading the paper, she heard childish voices from the sidewalk nearby, raised in agitation. Aroused from her moment of tranquillity, she asked the schoolchildren why they were arguing and invited them onto her porch to quell their unrest. She asked them to listen to the birds singing - to feel the peace that embodied her home. "This is my house, this is my porch, but this is also my sidewalk," Sánchez told them.
NEWS
June 18, 2014 | By Susan Snyder, Inquirer Staff Writer
Soledad Alfaro-Allah was sitting in her poetry teacher's class at Science Leadership Academy when the e-mail arrived. It said she would be named Philadelphia's new Youth Poet Laureate. "I got up and I just screamed," said Alfaro-Allah, 16, who lives in Mount Airy. So loudly that her teacher thought something was wrong. But in fact, things were very, very right for the teenager, who had already proven herself as a poetry MVP at her school and now would step onto a larger platform.
NEWS
March 11, 2014 | By Amelia Brust, Inquirer Staff Writer
For present-day Ukrainians, Taras Shevchenko's poetry still resonates. "Oh bury me, then rise ye up/And break your heavy chains," the revolutionary icon urged in his 1845 poem "The Testament. " The poet, who was exiled for writings the Russian police considered seditious, remains a cultural force in Ukraine as it faces Russian military occupation of its Crimean peninsula. Nearly 100 people from the Philadelphia-area Ukrainian community gathered again at Independence Hall on Sunday, reciting the work of Shevchenko and other poets and listening to the Prometheus Ukrainian Male Chorus sing revolutionary songs.
NEWS
February 1, 2014 | By John Timpane, Inquirer Staff Writer
At a City Hall ceremony today, Mayor Nutter announced the appointment of Frank Sherlock, 44, as the second poet laureate of Philadelphia. Sherlock succeeds Sonia Sanchez. He'll serve for two years, during which he will receive a stipend of $5,000. Duties include mentoring young poets, a couple of official readings, and community-service work. One of his first duties will be to help select a youth poet laureate, also the second, succeeding Siduri Beckman. Beth Feldman Brandt, executive director of the poet laureate governing committee, said: "This position is not just an honorary appointment.
NEWS
September 6, 2013 | BY JAN RANSOM, Daily News Staff Writer ransomj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5218
WANT TO be Philadelphia's next poet laureate? The city's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy released application materials yesterday. The post has been held since January 2012 by award-winning poet and retired Temple University professor Sonia Sanchez. Her term ends in December. "We could not have had a more perfect inaugural poet laureate than Sonia Sanchez," said Gary Steuer, the city's chief cultural officer. "Her continued work as an advocate for peace during her term has solidified the commitment to both poetry and community involvement as essential qualifications for the role of poet laureate.
NEWS
July 2, 2013
LIKE MANY TEENAGE girls, Siduri Beckman, 15, considers her life to be very stressful: As the city's first youth poet laureate, there are lots of poetry events; she's also a peer counselor at Masterman, as well as a member of the school's choir, a musical group, the track team and the cross country team. Even during the summer, her agenda is pretty full. Last week, after a brief vacation with her family in Cape May, Siduri traveled to a school-funding rally in Harrisburg to read "A Word from the Cripples," her poem about the frustrations of students in the city's public schools.
NEWS
April 9, 2013 | By Sulaiman Abdur-Rahman, Inquirer Staff Writer
The topics ranged from love and sex to history and time, but it was all poetry in motion Sunday at the Arts Bank in Center City. Among the recitals was a graphic short poem by Lamont B. Steptoe, "New Orleans," that described having nonviolent, sexual fun with women in the Big Easy. "Most people can't pull that off," Sean Lynch, 20, said. "It's so hard to pull off being vulgar in poetry. " Lynch, a student at Rutgers University's Camden campus, said he had been writing poetry for a decade but performed for the first time in a public forum during Sunday's 17th annual Poetry Ink. Lynch said Steptoe inspired him to go public.
NEWS
April 2, 2013 | By John Timpane, Inquirer Staff Writer
Daniel G. Hoffman, 89, longtime Swarthmore resident, professor at Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania, and onetime U.S. poet laureate, died Saturday at the Quadrangle independent living facility in Haverford. He was remembered fondly by students and fellow poets around the world as his latest book of poems was just being published. Mr. Hoffman was a mainstay in the local poetry world, much in evidence at prominent events such as the West Chester Poetry Conference and major venues such as Kelly Writers House at Penn.
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