Belfast Poet Laureate Position, Policy, and Process
1. The City of Belfast appoints an honorary position of Belfast Poet Laureate
2. This is an unfunded position with no allowed expenses, except the Poet Laureate may choose to have business cards printed at the city’s expense, and may apply for grants that benefit the community.
3. The title of Poet Laureate may be used after the poet’s name for literary uses, i.e. on books, posters, and resumes but not for commercial enterprises.
4. The job description is as follows which may be used for the posting of the position.
Qualifications: Be Belfastian, a clever, productive, thoughtful, colorful, and a well worded poet to express and convey a poet’s vision of Belfast. This is your chance to combine art with public service. The Poet Laureate is expected to organize poetry activities, and to serve on the Steering Committee of the annual Belfast Poetry Festival. Be prepared to be stopped on the street to answer deep questions about poetry. Maintain a welcoming atmosphere for both emerging and established poets. Be the “public poet” of Belfast, the Biggest Little Poetry Town in Maine.
5. Poet Laureate applicants must be a resident of Belfast or one of the abutting towns of Belmont, Morrill, Northport, Swanville, Searsport, Waldo.
6. The term is to run two years, beginning on New Year’s Day, (unless circumstances require a different date.) The position ends on 12/31 two years later.
7. The process of appointing the next Poet Laureate is as follows. A Poet Laureate Committee will be approved by the City Council that includes: a representative from the City Council, a non-serving previous Poet Laureate, a member of the library, a member of the arts and literature community. The committee will post a job description asking for applications and/or nominations. Applicants or nominated poets are asked to send a one-page letter listing qualifications and vision for performing the duties of the Belfast Poet Laureate and attach a copy of one Belfast-oriented poem. The Poet Laureate Committee will review the applications/nominations and choose a Poet Laureate nominee. The nominee will then be presented to the City Council for consideration at their next meeting date.
8. City Council shall appoint a new Poet Laureate before the term of the outgoing Poet Laureate expires (when possible.)
9. The leaving Poet Laureate may choose to give a State of Poetry address to the City Council.
10. There will be a poetry reading to honor the naming of the new Belfast Poet Laureate on New Years Eve (or at another date).
Respectfully submitted: Elizabeth W. Garber, past Belfast Poet Laureate, chair for the 2011 Belfast Poet Laureate Committee comprised of: Roger Lee, Belfast City Council representative; Denise Pendleton, life-long Belfast resident and staff at the Maine Humanities Council; John Bielenberg Sr. from the performing arts community; Brenda Harrington, Belfast Free Library; and Joshua Bodwell, Executive Director of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance.
(Revision of the previous Poet Laureate Document June 19, 2007)