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.
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 quiet stir of hope
a quest to explore
who and what we are
we are the people
different and yet the same
painstakingly pieced together
like colorful tapestries
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
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.
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 www.artsmidhudson.org, call 845-454-3222 or email email@example.com.
This article originally appeared in the HV News Weekend Column
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