(Image by mimagephotography via envato)

The search is on for the 44th annual Bucks County Poet Laureate! The contest, which is facilitated by Bucks County Community College, is the longest-running poet laureate program in Pennsylvania. The contest is open to Bucks County residents over age 18 who have not previously served as poet laureate.

How to Enter

To enter, submit 10 original poems along with an entry form to the college’s Language and Literature Department. There is no charge for entry. 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 All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed on one side in black ink.  Entry forms and poems must be submitted online at bit.ly/Bucks2020Poet, with a limit of one entry per person. Submit entries online by Friday, September 4.

The Judging

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.

Grady Chambers is the 2020 final judge. Chambers is the author of the poetry collection North American Stadiums (Milkweed Editions, 2018), selected by Henri Cole as the winner of the 2018 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. His writing is forthcoming or has appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

Preliminary judge will be former Montgomery County Poet Laureate Liz Chang, author of the chapbook Animal Nocturne (Moonstone Press) and What Ordinary Objects (Book&Arts Press), a book of original poems and translations. Her poems have been included in Verse Daily, Origins Journal, and Stoneboat Literary Journal, among others, and her translations from French appeared in The Adirondack Review.

The Winner

The winner receives a $500 honorarium, a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and a reading and reception at Bucks County Community College with 2019 Poet Laureate Mary Jo LoBello Jerome and contest runners-up.

Bucks County Community College has launched the search for the 2020 Bucks County Poet Laureate. Pictured at last fall’s reception to honor the 2019 laureate are (left-right) Professor and program director Dr. Ethel Rackin, 2019 laureate Mary Jo LoBello Jerome, and 2018 laureate Carly Volpe.

The Bucks County Poet Laureate Contest, which also holds the annual Bucks County High School Poet of the Year Contest, is another way that Bucks County Community College contributes to the cultural heritage of the region. For more information, contact Dr. Ethel Rackin at [email protected].

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