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What is a Poet Laureate?

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The Poet Laureate Of York

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What is a Poet Laureate?

Traditionally, the Poet Laureate is an honorary title given to a person who has demonstrated excellence in the literary arts. Playwright and Poet Ben Jonson was the first poet laureate, appointed in 1616 by King James I of England.

Mayor C. Kim Bracey continues this tradition of recognizing York’s considerable literary talent through the position of the Poet Laureate of York. Initiated in 2002 by former Mayor John Brenner, the Poet Laureate will demonstrate excellence in the literary arts and serve as an educator and ambassador of the written word in our city.

The Poet Laureate will work with cultural, educational and other organizations to accomplish the following goals:

Encourage our citizens to express their literary creativity;
Promote and showcase the original work of York’s citizens;
Help to create a community environment in which literary talent can thrive and be encouraged; and
Create works of the written word that commemorate special events in the life of the city.
A list of suggested duties is attached to the application form.

The Poet Laureate of York shall serve for two years in that capacity. In the case that the laureate cannot serve for that duration of time because of extended illness, relocation, job situation, or inability to perform, the selection committee will solicit applications once again from the public. Poet Laureates may reapply for this position at the end of their term or at any point in the future.

Selection Process

Any permanent resident of York City or York County is eligible to apply for the position of The Poet Laureate of York. A selection committee composed of representatives from various cultural, educational and business related organizations as appointed by the Mayor of York will review applications. Members of the selection committee will interview the top candidates and make a recommendation to the Mayor Kim Bracey.
Qualifications for the position include (1) demonstrated achievement in a field or fields of the literary arts; (2) a willingness and ability to educate young people and laypeople in the mechanics and nuances of the literary arts; (3) the intent to live in the City of York or York County for the duration of the appointment; and (4) a devotion to the City of York as a thriving cultural and social destination for our own citizens and for others.
Applications must be received by 5:00pm on Thursday, January 31. Interviews of top candidates will be held in early February and a public announcement will be made by the Mayor Kim Bracey.

The Poet Laureate Of York

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1) List any memberships in literary organizations


2) Publications where your work has appeared

3) List literary awards:
4) In 50 words or less, how would you educate young people and others in the mechanics, nuances and beauty of the literary arts? Please attach answer/s if you do not have enough space to answer this or any other questions.


 Please attach (4) writing samples of work written within the last five years. Submissions should be no longer than 34 lines each (excerpts are fine) in a 12 point size font. If possible include a sample having to do with a civic theme or a York-related theme. Be sure the author’s name is on each attachment.

 Applicants are to include an updated resume or CV with references


  • Applications must be received at YorkArts, 10 N. Beaver Street, no later than 5:00pm on January 31, 2014.

  • Late applications will not be considered.

Send completed application to: Poet Laureate Selection Committee c/o YorkArts 10 N. Beaver Street, York, PA 17401.

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