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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What is a Poet Laureate?

I am proud to call the new poet laureate of Cleveland Heights, Gail Ghetia Bellamy, my friend. But when I began to brag about her recent appointment most people responded by asking - what's a poet laureate? (I work with teachers, mind you). The dictionary defines laureate as "one receiving highest honor."

King James I of England bestowed poet Ben Jonson as the first poet laureate in 1616. In America the tradition began in 1937. Our national laureates are also known as the "Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress."

Cleveland Heights has chosen a prolific writer and poet as the 2009-2010 honoree. She is the author of Cleveland Food Memories (Gray & Co.), Design Spirits (St. Martin's Press), and the poetry chapbook Victual Reality (Pudding House). Her chapbook Traveler's Salad is forthcoming from Pudding House as well. Gail has a Ph.D in Creative Writing and is currently the Executive Food Editor of Restaurant Hospitality magazine. The former board president of the Poet's and Writer's League of Greater Cleveland (now The Lit) has numerous awards, honors and credits. (See why I like to brag about her?)

As the poet laureate of Cleveland Heights she will write and present poems for public events. Gail and her husband Stephen Bellamy have created a fantastic podcast that can be heard and seen at http://heightsartsradio.blogspot.com/.

4 comments:

michael salinger said...

Gail and Steve are class acts.

pottygok said...

Gail will also be one of the judges of tonight's Hessler Street Poetry Contest, along with Mary Weems (former Heights Poet Laureate) and Judy from The-Lit. =)

T.M. Göttl said...

Hope to hear her around town sometime soon!

Geoffrey A. Landis said...
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The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau