Official Bards for the Bay State


All but six US states have official Poet Laureates; the Massachusetts House of Representatives is poised to cut that number down to five. Although many individual cities appoint poets to these literary ambassador positions, the larger Commonwealth has never passed a bill delineating a process for choosing a statewide laureate. As the Boston Globe reports, citizens are eager to create and fill the position so they’ll have a poet on hand to read at ceremonial events, promote the state’s literary legacy, and inspire the next generation of Massachusetts artists. As the bill stands, though, Charles Coe of the Cultural Counsel has one big reservation: it does not include a stipend or reimbursement for the office, which would not only leave the poet performing a huge amount of free labor, but would also leave him or her to cover expenses for a job that would involve significant travel around the state.

Dinah Fay is a poet, copywriter, and social media maven living in Brooklyn. She is the co-host of the Brick City Speaks reading series in Newark, where she is pursuing an MFA in writing from Rutgers University. More from this author →