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The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program
is dedicated to building community through poetry by appointing and supporting an outstanding local poet as Poet Laureate for the city, sponsoring events that feature area poets and authors from outside the New Hampshire Seacoast, and encouraging a love of poetry among people of all ages.

The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program presents a variety of events throughout the year: readings, celebrations, publications. These events are announced in the Portsmouth Herald and our eNews letter. Click below to sign up for it. And check us out on Facebook!

    Sign up for PPLP eNews

April Gala Poetry Hoot

No Foolin!


Wednesday, April 1st, 7 to 9pm. Doors open 6-ish.

    Our April Poetry Hoot occurs on April Fool's Day, but we're not fooling about our Hoot.  It's going to be a great Gala Poetry Hoot. Plan to attend. Come early for a good seat.

     Our Gala Hoot features all of our previous Portsmouth Poets Laureates as readers. As our first two Poets Laureate Esther Buffler and Robert Dunn, are no longer with us, poems of theirs will be offered by volunteer readers. 

     Reading their own poetry will be Maren Tirabassi, John Perrault, Mimi White, Elizabeth Knies, Mark DeCarteret and Mike Albert.

     April is National Poetry Month. Starting several years ago we began the practice of celebrating Poetry Month by having each of our past Poets Laureates share some of their poetry, especially we hope, new work. If the past is anything to go by we are in for a real treat again this year.

    If you are planning on reading second hour, consider bringing a poem that celebrates poets and the place of poetry in our local cultural  landscape. 

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The Maine Poetry Express stopped at Rice Library in Kittery Thursday March 5, from 6-8pm.  It was a huge success. 

     The evening of poetry included readings by Maine Poet Laureate Wes McNair and Portsmouth Poet Laureate Kimberly Cloutier Green. Kimberly pinch hit for Mekeel McBride who was laid low at the last minute by illness. 

     In addition, residents of Kittery served as "citizen readers", reading one or two poems chosen from selected anthologies. Under instruction from Conductor McNair, each reader  shared the way in which each chosen poem touched her or him. thus blending each's own story with the poem's narrative. An excellent format! 

     If you missed The Maine Poetry Express and have a chance to catch it at a "whistle-stop" in another Maine town -- get on board!

     The 2015 run of The Maine Poetry Express, is a project of Poet Laureate McNair with support from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance.

Poet Laureate Selection Reboot!


New call for nominations!

> Nominations period extended

> Madbury, Eliot added as eligible towns

From the PPLP Co-Chairs:

     Greetings! What a winter. We think the snow and cold has taken its toll on us spiritually as well as physically. It is truly wearying.

Nomination Period Extended
     One of the seeming consequences of this rugged winter is that, while we have had nominations for our next Poet Laureate, many have declined. We can't prove it but we think the weather has something to do with the high rate of declines. As a result we have a very modest pool of candidates to forward to our Selection Committee. 

  •      For this reason we have decided to extend the deadline for nominations and to reset the nomination process this way:

    > March 23 - nominations due (that provides about 3 more weeks)
    > March 30 - packets due
    > April 9 and 16 - selection committee meets
    > City Hall announcement - April 20 or 27 or May 4 or 11,
        depending on the City Council
    > May 6 - new Poet Laureate starts

    We want to see that the Selection Committee has a good variety of nominee portfolios to review. Part of the pleasure (if I may use that term) of serving on the Selection Committee is having significant and challenging choices.

    Two Towns Added
         In the course of preparing for and seeking nominees the Board has become aware that we have two towns that by rights should have been in the mix all along and were not: Eliot, Maine and Madbury, New Hampshire. A quick glance at a map makes it clear that each of these towns should be in the mix. Without them there are clearly two "map gaps". As a Board we have recently voted them on to the list of eligible towns. If you know of a poet who lives in either of those towns (or any of the others) who might make a fine Poet Laureate, nominate him or her.
         Please give this thought and send in your nominations. As time is short, use email: info@pplp.org. With your nomination, please include your nominee's contact information and a brief note on her or his qualifications. We hope to hear from you by March 23rd.
    ~David Phreaner and Sue Kaufmann, PPLP Co-Chairs

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  • Information from the original posting:

The Selection process...

...is described  below and on the next page. Included are:
>> how to nominate someone to be Poet Laureate
>> eligibility requirements
>> information for nominees, including deadlines and required information
>> selection guidelines and process
>> responsibilities of the Laureate

General background information:
*  PPLP Board members are ineligible for nomination until a year has passed since she or he has left the Board. The Board goes to great lengths to insure a fair and open process. While some members of the Board might make excellent Laureates, no current or recently past Board member is eligible.
*  As long as a nominee meets eligibility requirements, anyone can nominate anyone.
*  Once a nomination has been received each nominee is asked if s/he wishes to be a candidate. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, nominees withdraw. The selection process is confidential. After a nomination is received our communication takes place with the nominee only; we do not comment on the status of any nominee.
*  Becoming Portsmouth Poet Laureate is a great honor. It's also a lot of hard work: enjoyable, exciting and hard work. An effective nomination takes into account your nominee's time and energy availability.
*  The selection process relies entirely on information packets nominees submit; there are no interviews. This process was developed by Nancy Moore Hill and the original Board. We keep to that original selection process. No Board members serve on the Selection Committee.

Nomination information > continues on page 2.

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Questions? Call PPLP Co-chair Susan Kaufmann at (603) 431-9348.

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>> To receive our eNewsletter announcements follow the link above.

>> Meet the current Poet Laureate.
Learn about our previous Laureates here.

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The Poetry Hoot season takes place on the 1st Wednesday of each month from September through June at Cafe Espresso in Portsmouth. Keep writing poems and keep on sharing them at the Hoot!


Read Poems!  Poems from the Hoot Where we review poems by PPLP Poetry Hoot readers such as SL Manning and other local poets.

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