The search is on for the 47th Bucks County Poet Laureate. This is the longest-running annual poet laureate program in Pennsylvania, and is directed by Bucks County Community College Professor Ethel Rackin, Ph.D., who teaches language and literature at the college, where the program is based.
The contest is open to Bucks County residents over the age of 18 who have not previously served as poet laureate.
Each entrant must submit 10 original poems of any style or length, along with an entry form, to the college’s Language and Literature Department. Entries must be submitted online by Friday, Sept. 8.
The winner receives a $500 honorarium and a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and will be featured at a fall reading and reception at Bucks County Community College with the previous year’s poet laureate, Tom Mallouk.
Poetry of any kind is welcome. The entry requires 10 poems, any style, form or length. All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed, one poem per page, in black ink. The poems and entry form must be submitted online at bucks.edu/poetlaureateentry. There is no charge to enter the contest, but there is a limit of one entry per person.
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 2023 final judge is Joanna Fuhrman, an assistant teaching professor in creative writing at Rutgers University and the author of six books of poetry, most recently To a New Era (Hanging Loose Press, 2021). Fuhrman’s next book Data Mind, a collection of prose poems about the internet, is forthcoming from Curbstone/Northwestern University Press in 2024. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming on The Slowdown podcast and in The Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Poetry 2023. Last year, after publishing with them since she was a teenager, Fuhrman became a co-editor of Hanging Loose Press.
The preliminary judge is Courtney Bambrick, a poetry editor at Philadelphia Stories. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Inkwell, Invisible City, New York Quarterly, Beyond Words, The Fanzine, Philadelphia Poets, Apiary, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Mad Poets Review and Certain Circuits. She teaches writing at Thomas Jefferson University’s East Falls campus in Philadelphia.
The Bucks Poet Laureate Program is one of the oldest in the country. It also holds a High School Poet Contest every spring. For more information, email Rackin at firstname.lastname@example.org.