BY LLEWYN SHIN
Borough President Melinda Katz has launched an open call for applications for the next Queens poet laureate, a prestigious three-year position charged with promoting a love of poetry and literacy throughout the borough.
“Because Queens is such a diverse borough, the Queens poet laureate must be a compelling wordsmith who is capable of synthesizing the borough’s many cultures and languages into poetry,” Katz said.
The Queens Borough President’s office and Queens College have been partners in the Queens poet laureate project since the search for the first Queens poet laureate began in 1996. This year, the Queens Borough Public Library joined the partnership for the first time and will provide meeting space for the next Queens poet laureate to present poetry and conduct outreach to the Queens community.
“As a primary source for culture and literature in our borough, Queens Library is delighted to partner with Borough President Melinda Katz’s office to find the next poet laureate. We look forward to hosting the new poet laureate at the library,” Queens Library Interim President/CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey said.
Queens College President Felix V. Matos Rodriguez added, “We are delighted that Borough President Katz is continuing this position and committed to promoting poetry – literature that can touch people of all backgrounds in a profound and universal way.”
The process of selecting the Queens poet laureate is overseen by the Queens Poet Laureate Administrative Committee.
Applications are available at www.queensbp.org/poet and must be submitted by April 24. Applicants must have a published portfolio and are expected to submit representative samples of their poetry, including poems related to Queens. This writing sample should not exceed 10 pages per applicant.
A panel of expert judges will review the applications and recommend three finalists to the borough president, who will make the final decision on who will be appointed.
The past Queens poet laureates are as follows: Stephen Stepanchev (who served from 1997 – 2001), Hal Sirowitz (2001 – 2004), Ishle Yi Park (2004 – 2007), Julio Marzan (2007 – 2010) and Paolo Javier (2010 – 2014).