County to establish poet laureateWritten by John Dorsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
County Commissioner Ben Konop sees the City of Toledo as poetry in motion. Konop recently started making plans to name Lucas County’s first-ever poet laureate. Konop met with a committee that included published poet Nick Muska, University of Toledo professor Timothy Geiger and county staff members.
“This project has been in the planning stages for a little over a year now — Lucas County needs its own poet that we can be proud of, who speaks for the people of our community,” Konop said.
Some of the laureate’s proposed duties would include opening public ceremonies such as the opening of the new Downtown arena, as well as offering public readings and workshops through the University of Toledo and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library system.
“It’s hoped the poet laureate would expose the community at large to poetry, and show Toledo to be a progressive city that promotes the arts both for their core value and as a means to attract and keep young people here,” Konop said.
Konop said he plans to have the laureate visit public schools to speak directly to area students.
“We want to stress the importance of education, and I think by creating this position can show young people that education can be cool,” he said.
According to Konop’s current plan, the position would be honorary, and as a result unpaid. The laureate’s term would run for two years, and he or she would be chosen by a committee picked by the county commissioners office.
The county hopes to announce its choice for the position by the end of December, and is proposing a large-scale celebration/exhibit of the laureate’s works by April in honor of national poetry month. It is hoped that this event will take place at one of colleges in the area, offering the chosen poet a career retrospective of sorts.
A number of possible candidates have been talked about for the position, including university professors and seasoned published writers, though no definite choice has been made about who will be the first to be appointed to the post. While a number of nationally known poets have been discussed, Konop said he fully intends on picking a local writer as a means of promoting community pride.
“The creation of this position helps to display the great value of this art form, while heightening our sense of community,” Konop said.