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Philadelphia’s Second Poet Laureate is…. FRANK SHERLOCK!

By Harriet Staff

frank-sherlock

Woohoo! Yay! Congratulations Frank Sherlock! Via Philly.com

At a City Hall ceremony Friday, Mayor Nutter will announce the appointment of Frank Sherlock, 44, as the second poet laureate of Philadelphia.

Sherlock succeeds Sonia Sanchez. He will serve for two years, during which he will receive a stipend of $5,000.

Duties include mentoring young poets, a couple of official readings, and community-service work. One of his first duties will be to help select a youth poet laureate, also the second, succeeding Siduri Beckman.

Beth Feldman Brandt, executive director of the poet laureate governing committee, said: “This position is not just an honorary appointment. We make it clear that the poet will be busy writing, working with younger poets, taking a lot of energy and commitment around the city.” She said, “I think Frank Sherlock will make things happen.”

Contacted at his South Philadelphia home, Sherlock, a native of the city, said he was notified “just before New Year’s, but I haven’t told many people, to keep the news in for the official announcement.”

Sherlock is on a roll, having received a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for last year. He is the author of at least five books of poetry, plus collaborative long-term works such as his project with fellow poet, Philadelphian, and Pew fellow CA Conrad titled The City Real and Imagined, based on walks through Philadelphia. He calls that “a conversation among different Philadelphias.”

The appointment was the mayor’s idea, announced in a speech in May 2011. It is organized by the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. The committee includes a range of writers, publishers, and cultural officials. An open call went out for applicants, and 26 poets applied. That was narrowed to about a dozen, “and then,” says Brandt, “the hard part started. We had a small group of finalists come in to talk to us and tell us what they wanted to do as poet laureate. It was really hard to make a choice, because they were all so distinguished.

“Frank spoke in a really compelling way,” Brandt says, “about his connections to Philadelphia.” [...]

Read more at Philly.com. HURRAY!

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Posted in Poetry News on Friday, January 31st, 2014 by Harriet Staff.