Deadline nears to enter contest for the next bard of Bucks County

There’s still time to submit 10 original poems postmarked by Sept. 4 to be considered for the 2019 Bucks County Poet Laureate

Bucks County Community College has launched the search for the 2019 Bucks County Poet Laureate. Pictured at last fall’s reception to honor the 2018 laureate are (from left) Professor and 1978 laureate Chris Bursk, 2009 laureate Bernadette McBride, Professor and program director Ethel Rackin, 2017 laureate Katherine Hahn Falk, and 2018 laureate Carly Volpe.

Scribes still have time to enter the 43rd annual Bucks County Poet Laureate contest. Entrants must be a Bucks County resident over age 18 who has never previously served as poet laureate. Each entrant must submit 10 original poems of any style or length, along with an entry form, to Bucks County Community College’s Language and Literature Department.

Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, Sept. 4 or hand-delivered to the office by Friday, Sept. 6 at 4 p.m. The winner receives a $500 honorarium, a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and a reading and reception at the college with 2018 Poet Laureate Carly Volpe and contest runners-up.

Two judges will blindly select the winner. The preliminary judge will narrow the entries down to a few dozen for the final judge, who will choose the winner and three runners-up from the pool of finalists.

The 2019 final judge is Melissa Stein, author of the poetry collections Terrible Blooms and Rough Honey, winner of the 2010 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Preliminary judge is Chad Frame, a former Montgomery County Poet Laureate whose work was featured in The Poet and the Poem from the Library of Congress Series and in journals such as decomP, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, Menacing Hedge, Calamus Journal and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.

Additionally, Stein will come to Newtown to launch the 2019-2020 Wordsmith Reading Series. She’ll read from her works on Friday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m., in Tyler Hall at the college, joined by 1991 Bucks County Poet Laureate Hayden Saunier. The event is free and open to the public.

There is no charge to enter the Bucks County Poet Laureate contest. Poetry of any style, form or length is welcome. All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed on one side in black ink. All entries must be accompanied by an entry form, which can be obtained at, at libraries and bookstores throughout the county, or by contacting the college’s Language and Literature Department at 215-968-8150.

Entries must be postmarked by Sept. 4 or hand-delivered by Sept. 6 to Poet Laureate Contest, Language and Literature Dept., Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road, Newtown PA, 18940. For more information, contact Dr. Ethel Rackin at