Regarding David Biespiel’s comments in the May 2010 issue of Poetry [“This Land is Our Land”], I would like him to know that the poets in Nassau tried to establish a poet laureate position through the Nassau County Legislature. The law was passed unanimously to have a Nassau County Poet Laureate (ncpl). I was on the selection panel.
We selected Maxwell Corydon Wheat, Jr. to be the first ncpl, and the very day he was to be approved by the nc Legislature, they rejected him because he wrote a book called Iraq and Other Killing Fields, Poetry of Peace. The Legislature not only misunderstood his book, they lambasted him as being against the troops and, in the tumultuous discourse that followed, voted against him as the ncpl.
And that, perhaps, is why poets are reluctant to become involved in the “democratic drama” that occurs in our country.
farmingdale, new york