Former Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced the city's first Poet Laureate, Sam Cornish, during the 2008 State of the City Address. "The task force succeeded in honoring Boston's fine literary tradition by selecting an ideal first Poet Laureate," said Mayor Menino.
The announcement was the result of months of work by the Mayor's Poet Laureate Task Force. In addition to defining the role, duties, and terms of service of such a program, the task force served as a jury during the selection process. The Task Force was comprised of members from the local poetry scene, publishing world, academia, and Boston Public Schools.
Mr. Cornish has an extensive resume in the field of poetry. He as published thirteen books and pamphlets of poetry, been anthologized twenty five times, published curriculum materials and book reviews in the Boston Herald, Boston Globe, Harvard Book Review, Essence Magazine and many others, and has edited several collections of poetry. In addition, Mr. Cornish received a St. Botolph Society Foundation Award in 1992 from the National Endowment for the Arts and was a NEA Fellow in 1967. He is listed in the Oxford Encyclopedia of African-American Literature and Contemporary American Literature.