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Community College launches search for next bard of Bucks County


The search is on for the 43rd annual Bucks County Poet Laureate, according to Bucks County Community College professor Ethel Rackin, director of the longest-running poet laureate program in Pennsylvania.

Entrants must be a Bucks County resident over age 18 who has never previously served as poet laureate, explained Rackin, a professor of language and literature at Bucks County Community College, which administers the program.

Each entrant must submit 10 original poems of any style or length along with an entry form to the college’s Language and Literature Department. Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, Sept. 4 or hand-delivered to the office by 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6, to Poet Laureate Contest, Language and Literature Dept., Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Rd., Newtown, Pa., 18940.

The winner receives a $500 honorarium, a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and a reading and reception at Bucks County Community College with 2018 Poet Laureate Carly Volpe and contest runners-up.

Two judges will blindly select the winner. The preliminary judge will narrow the entries down to a few dozen for the final judge, who will choose the winner and three runners-up from the pool of finalists.

The 2019 final judge will be Melissa Stein, author of the poetry collections “Terrible Blooms” (Copper Canyon Press, 2018) and “Rough Honey,” winner of the 2010 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, selected by Mark Doty.

Preliminary judge will be Chad Frame, a former Montgomery County Poet Laureate whose work was featured in “The Poet and the Poem” from the Library of Congress series and in journals such as decomP, Barrelhouse, Rust+Moth, Menacing Hedge, Calamus Journal, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change.

There is no charge for entry. Poetry of any style, form or length is welcome. All work must be original, published or unpublished, typewritten or word-processed on one side in black ink.

All entries must be accompanied by an entry form, which can be obtained at, at libraries and bookstores throughout the county, or by contacting the college’s Language and Literature Department at 215-968-8150.

For information, contact Rackin at