I have been Elgin’s second Poet Laureate for 6 and 1/2months now. I must admit, I really love my role and take it very seriously. When I meet people I do not know and we start to get to know one another, I happily and proudly tell them of my status. Part of the reason I am eager to tell people is to spread the word that Elgin HAS a poet laureate and to spread the word in the community. How can I serve the community if nobody knows that the Elgin Poet Laureate Project exists?

So I meet new people and they are generally receptive. They ask me what it is I actually do, and I tell them about my projects at the library and about my public presentations for the vigil in support of Ukraine, the 75th Anniversary of the Elgin Master Chorale, Memorial Day at Bliuff City Cemetery, and my ballad in tribute to Mike Alft, Elgin’s beloved historian, at his Celebration of Life. I tell them to visit this website to see and hear those poems; I tell them that any local organization can put in a request to schedule a poem to be presented; I tell them about the monthly Poetry Writing Workshop the first Monday of the moth in the Grove Room at Gail Borden Public Library.

Everywhere I go in Elgin, I strive to be an ambassador for poetry and its ability to serve the people of Elgin. My goal is to inform and educate the public about the joy of poetry and to make my words accessible to all. My goal is also to encourage all poets and would-be poets to write, because the future of the Elgin Poet Laureate Project depends on maintaining and increasing interest in the project. In the summer of 2023, applications for the third Elgin Poet Laureate will become available. My hope is that there is a healthy number of applicants for 2024-2025. As for me, I stand ready to mentor and encourage all applicants. When my tenure as Poet Laureate has completed, I will be happy to have a role on the EPLP committee and become part of the project’s support system for other Poet Laureates. I will continue to run my monthly Poetry Writing Group at Gail Borden, and I will be available for programs and workshops as needed.

I love poetry! And I love Elgin, having lived here since 1968. Hope to hear from you with questions and ideas!

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