Hadley seeks poet laureate 


Staff Writer
Published: 7/8/2019 3:06:35 PM

HADLEY — Although Hadley is smaller than Northampton and Easthampton, which both have poet laureates, local officials are seeking a resident or someone with ties to the town to serve as a designated writer who would work to inspire residents’ appreciation for poetry and literature.

The Select Board recently gave its unanimous support to the concept of appointing a volunteer, who might also receive a small stipend, to coordinate various literary events and be in attendance for community gatherings.

The idea comes from the Cultural Council, which in its written proposal states “the person in this position will engage in town projects and activities that inspire residents of all ages and abilities to develop a deeper appreciation of poetry and literature.”

Council member Dina Friedman told the Select Board that an open process is envisioned to locate and honor a person involved in literature. The town poet’s work could include organizing readings and workshops for youth, senior citizens and others, and be present at occasions such as Town Meeting, the Memorial Day parade or the WGBY Asparagus Festival. 

Select Board Chairman Christian Stanley said he sees the position as a great way to kick off events with a poem or a reflection.

Friedman said there could be a small amount of money available in the Cultural Council’s account to support the poet laureate, and sponsorships could be sought from local businesses to offset costs of running the new program.

If a poet laureate is appointed, Hadley would join Northampton, which named Amherst resident Karen Skolfield its ninth poet laureate in the spring, and Easthampton, which recently named its second poet laureate, María José Giménez.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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