Are You The Next Dutchess Poet Laureate? Nominations Sought

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Do you have the writing chops for free verse or sonnets? Are you a seasoned rap lyricist or pen haiku?

Dutchess County Executive Mark Molinaro

Dutchess County Executive Mark Molinaro

Photo Credit: Sam Barron

Applications are being accepted by Arts Mid-Hudson for individuals interested in serving as Dutchess County's 2017 poet laureate. 

The post, established in 2016 by County Executive Mark Molinaro, is to honor local outstanding poets, integrate poetry into the community, enrich the education of young people, and enhance the County's position as a cultural center in the Mid-Hudson region, according to the announcement.

First poet laureate

Robert Kelly served as the first Dutchess County poet laureate during 2016. 

His term began at the State of the County address where he read a special poem written in honor of the leadership of Molinaro as Dutchess county executive.

During his term this year, Kelly was interviewed on WAMC, has presented his poetry during Collegiate Day at Barnes & Noble, gave numerous readings during April's Poetry Month, and most recently, at the Boardman Road branch of the Poughkeepsie Library in an Evening of Poetry during September. 

"Robert Kelly has set the bar high as our county's first poet laureate and we are grateful to him for helping to elevate the public's appreciation for poetry. We look forward to the words of the next poetic voice to serve in this important role," Molinaro said.

The title of poet laureate is a time-honored tradition. In 1668, England officially established the post as a royal office. Beginning in the 19th century local Poet Laureates were recognized in their communities and in 1937 the United States created the position of a national poet laureate.

Nominations for this position may come from individuals or organizations within or outside Dutchess County and poets may self-nominate. 

While the poet laureate will shape the position in their own way, duties include:

  • Public activities with schools,
  • Community groups,
  • Press during the year, 
  • Contact with writers and readers by mail, email and/or through a website, 
  • Present poetry at the State of the County Address,
  • At appropriate public events,
  • Be an advocate of poetry in the community (school children, projects or programs to promote appreciation of poetry, workshops with underserved populations).


This is an unpaid, honorary position. 


Nominations for 2017 Dutchess County's Poet Laureate must be submitted by Nov. 30 to Arts Mid-Hudson office. 

Criteria and review process can be found at Announcement of the appointment will be made during the early part of January 2017. 

For more information, call Executive Director Linda Marston-Reid at (845)-454-3222 or email

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