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Applications due 11/24; Committee will evaluate applicants and make recommendations to borough president, who plans to announce new Brooklyn bard in January 

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz is seeking the next Brooklyn poet laureate and has appointed a five-member Brooklyn Poet Laureate Recommendation Committee to evaluate candidates for the volunteer position. The Committee will recommend a pool of three finalists to the borough president, from which he will choose one to be the bard of the borough.

Candidates for the poet laureate position must be a Brooklyn resident with recognition as a poet, and demonstrate a commitment to using the position for community outreach and projects that promote poetry and/or literacy in our diverse borough of Brooklyn.

"We know that with all our borough's beauty, character--and characters, Brooklyn writers and poets never lack inspiration," said BP Markowitz. "We have so many terrific writers, but the way I see it, our new poet laureate should follow the expansive example of Ken Siegelman, our previous poet laureate now of blessed memory, by not only being a fine poet, but an enthusiastic ambassador of poetry and literacy here in Brooklyn. This person should have the time and the temperament to reach out, share their work with diverse communities and spread the word about the joys and benefits of reading widely and writing well."

Members of the committee are: Julie Agoos, coordinator of the MFA Program in Poetry at Brooklyn College, where she is Tow Professor of English; Robert N. Casper, programs director for the Poetry Society of America; Linda Susan Jackson, poet and associate professor of English at Medgar Evers College; Dionne Mack-Harvin, executive director, Brooklyn Public Library; and Anthony Vigorito, poet and retired teacher who assisted former poet laureate Ken Siegelman with Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, a program established by Siegelman.

Ken Siegelman, the late Brooklyn poet laureate, was appointed by the borough president in 2002 and served until his death this year. In addition to establishing Brooklyn Poetry Outreach, he held workshops at Phoenix House and encouraged young people to write. 

To be considered for the position, candidates should submit 5-10 pages of their work, a maximum two-page bio or résumé and a cover letter that describes their vision of engaging Brooklyn's various communities in poetry. The deadline for nominations is November 24 at 5:00 p.m. Information can be e-mailed to ekoch@brooklynbp.nyc.gov, faxed to 718-802-3452, or mailed to Poet Laureate Recommendation Committee, Brooklyn Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201.


Committee Members and Bios 

Julie Agoos is the author of Above the Land, selected by James Merrill for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award (YUP, 1997), Calendar Year (The Sheep Meadow Press, 1996) and Property (Copper Canyon/Ausable Press, 2008). She has been a resident fellow at The Frost Place, in Franconia, NH, and received the Brooklyn College/CUNY Creative Achievement Award in 2006. Agoos currently coordinates the MFA Program in Poetry at Brooklyn College, where she is Tow Professor of English.   

Robert N. Casper is the programs director for the Poetry Society of America. He is also the founder and publisher of the literary magazine jubilat and the co-founder of the jubilat/Jones Reading Series in Amherst, MA, and serves on the board of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses.  

Linda Susan Jackson's first book of poetry, What Yellow Sounds Like (Tia Chucha, 2007), was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize (2009) and the National Poetry Series Competition (2006). She is also the author of two chap books, Vitelline Blues (2002) and A History of Beauty (2001), both published by Black-eyed Susan Publishing. She has received fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts, Frost Place, Soul Mountain Writers Retreat, Calabash and Cave Canem. Her work has appeared in anthologies and journals, including Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Gathering Ground, Crab Orchard Review, Rivendell, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature and Heliotrope, and was featured on From the Fishouse audio archive. Jackson is an associate professor of English at Medgar Evers College/CUNY in Brooklyn. 

Dionne Mack-Harvin oversees Brooklyn Public Library's 58 neighborhood libraries, Business Library and Central Library at Grand Army Plaza. Prior to her appointment in March 2007, she served as the library's interim executive director and chief of staff. She received a B.A. in History and African & African-American Studies from the State University of New York College at Brockport; an M.A. in Africana Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York; and an M.L.S. at the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. Dionne is a 2008 recipient of the Brooklyn Reading Council's Friend of Literacy Award and a 2008 honoree of Crain's New York Business 40 Under 40 leaders in the business world.  

Anthony Vigorito is a retired New York City school teacher who was mentored by Ken Siegelman. Vigorito worked with Ken for the past eight years writing, reading and supporting poets as part of Brooklyn Poetry Outreach. Vigorito also worked at Kingsborough Community College under a Puffin grant, at Phoenix House with recovering men and women, with Marion Palm at her venue "Poets Under Glass" in Brooklyn Heights and with Evie Ivy at her venue "Poetry With The Muse" in Boro Park. Currently, he is working with the Yellowhook Poets based in Bay Ridge at St. John's (Church of the Generals).