For Immediate Release
January 25, 2008
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Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced the city's first Poet Laureate, Sam Cornish, during Tuesday's annual 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.
"It has been a stimulating experience working with such a dedicated, committed Task Force who gave so generously of their time and talents. Each member contributed a unique perspective, professional expertise and a commitment to the process." commented task force member, Alice Hennessy.
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.
In addition to his resume, the task force was taken with Mr. Cornish's commitment to education. With education positions dating back to the early 60s, he has high achievement in the field. He served as writing and publishing instructor at Emerson College from 1982 to 2004.
Mr. Cornish wishes to see more nontraditional presentations of poetry. He seeks to design a project that would engage urban youth in poetry. He also hopes for more poetry workshops to be held for the senior citizens of Boston.