On Saturday, April 30th, the last day of National Poetry Month, the Mongtomery County Poet Laureate was announced at the Litlife Poetry Conference at Rosemont College. The dynamic performer and prolific writer, Autumn Konopka, is a professor of Creative Writing at Chestnut Hill College.
Konopka’s powerful poetry reading was moving and thought provoking. She also touched me with a call for ‘mom poets’ to support one another. This is not a direct quote, but she basically said, We love our kids but we need to write, and we need to find a way to make room for both in our lives.
Like me, she is a mother of two, and I am grateful for the sentiment. I’m also happy to see counties such as Montgomery, adhere to a process and standards to choose their poet laureates. This is not a popularity contest, a political scheme, or PR move. Autumn earned this.
Lastly I appreciate those towns and counties in Pennsylvania that recognize the value of the literary arts, as there active poet laureates promote reading and writing to school children, in senior centers, and throughout their communities.
That brings me to the question – where is Cumberland County’s poet laureate process? Who is uplifting the literary arts here, West of the Susquehanna? And what ever happened to the state poet laureate? Was Hazo the final one? Why?
I’ll just let that inquiry hang in the air as I complete poems for my 4th published poetry collection and plan courses for Central Penn College’s forthcoming Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.
In the meantime, check out this page about the history of Pennsylvania’s state poet laureate. Let me know what you think. PA State Poet Laureate – No Position