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Search Begins For Bucks County’s Next Poet Laureate


Provided by Bucks County Community College:

Bucks County Community College Professors Christopher Bursk (left) and Ethel Rackin (right), directors of the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program, have launched the search for the 2016 bard of the county. The winner will take over from 2015 laureate Tyler Kline (second from right) of Chalfont, shown with 2014 laureate Sandra Becker (second from left) of Doylestown. Credit: BCCC

Bucks County Community College Professors Christopher Bursk (left) and Ethel Rackin (right), directors of the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program, have launched the search for the 2016 bard of the county. The winner will take over from 2015 laureate Tyler Kline (second from right) of Chalfont, shown with 2014 laureate Sandra Becker (second from left) of Doylestown.
Credit: BCCC

The search is on for the 40th Annual Bucks County Poet Laureate, according to Bucks County Community College professors Christopher Bursk and Ethel Rackin, directors of the longest-running poet laureate program in Pennsylvania.

Entrants must be a Bucks County resident over age 18 who has never previously served as poet laureate, explained Bursk, the 1978 poet laureate and a longtime professor at Bucks County Community College, which administers the program.

Each entrant must submit 10 original poems along with an entry form to the college’s Language and Literature Department. Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, September 7, and received in the office by Friday, September 9 at 4 p.m.

The winner of the competition will receive a $500 honorarium, a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and a reading at Bucks County Community College with 2015 Poet Laureate Tyler Kline and contest runners-up.

The final judge will be J. C. Todd, author of the poetry collection What Space This Body and the chapbooks Entering Pisces and Nightshade. Her poem “The Girl in the Square” recently won the Rita Dove Poetry Prize in the International Literary Awards Competition. Other awards include a Pew fellowship, a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and two Leeway Foundation grants. Todd teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Rosemont College and is a lecturer at Bryn Mawr College.

Preliminary judge will be Amy Small-McKinney, the 2011 Montgomery County Poet Laureate and author of Life is PerfectBody of Surrender, and Clear Moon. Twice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her work has appeared in numerous journals, such as The Cortland ReviewThe Pedestal Magazineupstreet, and Blue Fifth Review. Small-McKinney is founder of Finding Our Voices: Poetry & Resilience, which uses poetry to help others, particularly those struggling with mental health, to find their voices.

There is no charge for entry. Poetry of any style, form, or length is welcome. All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed on one side only in black ink.

All entries must be accompanied by an entry form, which can be obtained online at http://bit.ly/buckscountylaureate, at libraries and bookstores throughout the county, or by contacting the college’s Language and Literature Department at 215-968-8151.

Entries must be mailed by September 7 or hand-delivered by September 9 to Poet Laureate Contest, Language and Literature Dept., Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, Pa., 18940.

For more information, contact Dr. Christopher Bursk at 215-968-8156.


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