Tom Mallouk, of Doylestown, has been named the 2022 Bucks County Poet Laureate. Mallouk, a psychotherapist, rose to the top of 60 entries in the 46th annual contest, administered by Bucks County Community College and sponsored by the Bucks County Commissioners.
Mallouk and his wife Dr. Eileen Engle raised their daughters in Doylestown, where in addition to his psychotherapy practice, he also pursues his passion for golf and fishing. Mallouk began writing poetry after experiencing a “devastating” psychosis at age 20.
“Poetry began for me in the hospital as I emerged from the chaos of psychosis to the barely articulate sense making of the poem,” said Mallouk. “That was more than 50 years ago. I wrote mostly prose in my chosen field of psychotherapy for 30 years before resuming poetry in 2002 after September 11 left me numb for a year. The poems came in a flood then and I’ve been writing ever since.”
Now, at age 73, Mallouk said he looks back “with gratitude for the chance I’ve been granted to build a life out of such chaos, a life filled with the love of my wife, children and grandchildren, with meaningful work, enthusiasm for sport and the solace of poetry.”
Mallouk will read his poetry on Sunday, Nov. 10, at 1 p.m. in Tyler 142 on the Newtown Campus. He will be reading with 2021 Laureate Nicole Steinberg and they will be joined by the three runners-up: Steve Nolan, Lake Angela and Christine McKee. Shawn R. Jones will also be reading.
The judges this year were Philadelphia poet Jones and Villanova professor and poet Tsering Wangmo Dhompa. Both judges commented on the strength of this year’s entries. For more information on the program, contact program director Dr. Ethel Rackin at 215-497-8719.