Linda Marston-Reid, Executive Director of Arts Mid-Hudson on 2017 Dutchess County Poet Laureate



Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro has appointed Bettina “Gold” Wilkerson to serve as the 2017 Dutchess County Poet Laureate. Wilkerson, or Poet Gold, as she is known, will work across Dutchess County in this unpaid, appointed position.


“Dutchess County’s vigorous arts community enhances our lives in so many ways – from contributing to our tourism industry to improving our quality of life – and this appointment continues this county’s commitment to the arts,” said Molinaro. “I know Poet Gold will bring thought-provoking pieces to life as our new Poet Laureate, works that will inspire Dutchess County. Our arts scene makes us distinctly Dutchess, and I urge all residents to enjoy the arts wherever they find them.”


“As Poet Laureate, through a series of poetry workshops and performances, I hope to empower communities to find their voice for their dreams, goals, and aspirations,” Gold said.

Credit: Eric Townsend Photography


Arts Mid-Hudson managed the process of the public call for nominations which garnered 65. A panel of literary professionals and community members helped make the selection through a review that included the nominees’ poetry and a brief statement from each describing how they would serve the Dutchess County community.


During her first act as the Dutchess County Poet Laureate, Poet Gold will read her poem, “Community,” written especially for the 2017 Dutchess County Executive’s State of the County address on Feb. 15.


“There is a bond

between you and me

embodied in our connection

is an energy

a journey

a spirit

a quiet stir of hope

a breath

a scent

a feel

a sound

a pulse

a rhythm

a quest to explore

to discover

who and what we are



we are the people

different and yet the same

painstakingly pieced together

like colorful tapestries

tribal quilts

stained glass windows

mosaics sharing the human


we are part of a greater story

like stardust is to the universe

constructing a vast and diverse planetary existence

like sperm and an egg creating life

this is our big bang big bang big bang

where no two footprints are alike

uniquely different from each other

imagine if we did not get along

because of footprints


“What steps would we take?


holds the potential


to build bridges over fear


to reach common ground


to forge pathways to understanding


to lead us to honor our varied cultures


to co-exist

so, life can thrive

and we may live as a peaceful community.”


Organizations wishing to work with Poet Gold during her term as Dutchess County Poet Laureate should contact Arts Mid-Hudson.

Column Information:

Arts Mid-Hudson has served up fresh arts and culture across the region for over 52 years. This biweekly series of columns showcases arts, artists’ work and arts events across the region presented with the support of Arts Mid-Hudson. For information about its services, events and grant opportunities visit, call 845-454-3222 or email


This article originally appeared in the HV News Weekend Column

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