Poet Laureate of Jersey City
I have exciting news! On Monday evening, the City Council of Jersey City passed a resolution naming me Poet Laureate of Jersey City for 2023-2024. This is an incredible honor, and I am eager to use the platform of Poet Laureate to shine a light on the poetry of and within my city, and to inspire people--especially young people--to find their voice through reading and writing poems.
My local friends, I invite you to join me in celebration on the evening of Wednesday, December 14 for the Jersey City Arts Awards. It will be a night of food, drink, performances, and festivities. I look forward to sharing a new piece written for the occasion. Early bird ticket pricing ends Wednesday, November 30 (yes, today!), so don't delay.
As I reflect on my role as Poet Laureate, I keep returning to a common thread from my conversations with poets over the spring and summer for Saturday Morning Poetry--about social nature--and impact--of poetry. Although writing itself is generally a solitary activity, the seeds of it are found in community, in the words and presence of others, in caring for and being mindful of those around us. In that way, creating poetry and putting it out into the world--whether shared on the physical or virtual page, or performed aloud--is an intensely social activity. Poetry offers space where we, poets and audiences alike, enter into conversation and find connections across time and space--where distinct images, rhythms, or moments are energized with tension and surprise when placed side by side on the page; where metaphor inspires fresh ways of imagining the world; where blank space offers room for reflection and possibility; where raw language captures the seemingly unspeakable; and where we are asked to see, and thus to value, that which we have not yet allowed ourselves to see. All of this is to say that I am excited by the expansive, communal potential of my work as Poet Laureate over the next two years.
I have one more invitation for you! I am hosting an open mic for nature- and environment-inspired poetry this Friday. The Hudson County chapter of the NJ Native Plant Society is holding its holiday party at the exquisite The Embankment on My Mind exhibit at New Jersey City University. All are welcome, so please join us for an evening of art, poetry, and celebration, from 6-9pm on December 2, in the Lemmerman Gallery at NJCU (3rd floor, Hepburn Hall, 2039 Kennedy Boulevard, Jersey City). Poets: contact me in advance to secure a reading slot or arrive at 7pm on Friday evening to sign up for the 7:30pm reading.
A wonderful article about the work of the Hudson County chapter of the NJ Native Plant Society and about the poetry series appears in the latest issue of Jersey City Magazine (pages 28-31).
Before I sign off, I would be remiss if I didn't share the final interviews of Season One of the Saturday Morning Poetry series, produced by Kim Correro and me for the NPS-NJ Hudson County. Please enjoy the interviews with my smart, funny, and incredibly generous guests Maggie Smith, Rachel Mackow, Thomas E. Frank, Barbara Kingsolver, and Lili Taylor (all interviews are available on Instagram). It will be hard to top the success of our inaugural season of Saturday Morning Poetry, but Kim and I are brimming with ideas for Season Two, slated to launch in Spring 2023, so stay tuned!