Erie County Poet Laureate / Erie Arts & Culture

The Erie County Poet Laureate Initiative is proud to announce the 2016-2017 Erie County Poet Laureate, Marisa Moks-Unger! Join us in celebration at a press conference on September 12, 2016 at 2:30PM in the Erie Room of the Blasco Library at which the new Poet Laureate will announce her plans for a community project to advance poetry.

Erie County Government, in cooperation with Edinboro University, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University and Penn State Behrend, started the Poet Laureate Initiative in 2009. The Initiative has received recognition for its impact on the arts in our region; receiving the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association County Arts Award in 2011 and the National Association of Counties National Arts Award in 2012. The Poet Laureate Initiative is a means by which the community can be exposed to exceptional poetry. The Initiative consists of the Erie County Poetry Committee, competition judges, the Poet Laureate, and their yearly community outreach project. The Erie County Poet Laureate is an ambassador for poetry who builds greater awareness of and appreciation for the art form in our community.

In addition to the honor and responsibilities of being named, the 2016-2017 Erie County Poet Laureate will be awarded a $7,500 grant which provides a $3,000 stipend to the poet and $4,500 to carry out a project to help bring poetry to the people of Erie County.

This contest is open to all residents of Erie County, Pennsylvania. The representative of poetry for Erie County should be a professionally experienced poet; each applicant must have had his or her poetry previously published. Beyond these basic qualifications, the competition to become Poet Laureate of Erie County has three elements: submitted poems, community project proposal and budget, and a live presentation of work before the panel of judges and the citizens of the county.

Past Erie County Poet Laureates include Berwyn Moore, Dr. Thomas Forsthoefel, Ron Hayes and Cee Williams.

The mission of Erie Arts & Culture is to strengthen the vibrancy and vitality of the Erie Region and enrich the lives of our people through the advancement of arts and culture.
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