Montgomery County Poets Laureate
The Annual Montgomery Poet Laureate Competition is the foundation upon which the MCPL Program was built. The competition is the ultimate expression of the program’s mission; creating an
ever expanding community of poets, supporting their work and providing opportunities for poets to elevate their visibility while also benefiting the community with their service project, many of which continue long beyond their tenure.
How does the competition work?
Each year MCPL recruits a celebrity poet with a national reputation, who along with two additional local Delaware Valley poets, adjudicate the submitted manuscripts.
The newly selected Montgomery County Poet Laureate is honored with an award in the amount of $500 along with a personalized statement about their work, which is shared through MCPL and other local organizations.
The Award is presented during the LitLife event at Rosemont College in Bryn Mawr. The winner will be given an opportunity to read their work and speak to the audience composed of attendees of the day’s event which also features workshops and poetry readings including a Poetry Workshop conducted by the Celebrity Judge of the competition.
Who can compete?
Poets of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to submit their poetry for review and adjudication in the annual competition. Poets must also be residents of Montgomery County. The window for submissions generally opens in early December and closes mid-February with the winner to be announced at the end of March.
The role of the Poet Laureate
The Poet Laureate functions as an ambassador for poetry in Montgomery County from April 1 of the year of his/her naming to March 31st of the following year. This role includes working with MCPL’s Executive Director, Joanne Leva, to develop a schedule of readings, workshops
Appearances may include the Forgotten Voices Poetry Group, Farley’s Bookshop First Thursday Poetry Reading Series, the Philadelphia Poetry Festival and the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. The Poet Laureate is asked to attend LitLife (both the year they are named, as well as the following year to discuss the experience). They may also hold the office of “
Poet Laureate 2022
Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. She loves words, experimental poetry, and the change of seasons. She’s also a fan of late nights, crossword puzzles, and compelling underdogs. She has authored several chapbooks and full-length poetry collections, with stories, poems, and essays published in a variety of literary and scholarly journals. Sample works include Invisible Ink, On Habits & Habitats, On Daily Puzzles: (Un)locking Invisibility, A Collection of Recollections, and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups. She is currently working on her first series, which (not surprisingly) includes a novel in verse.
This is an extraordinary piece of writing, mixing pop culture with the existential. The writing is neon, lighting experience, and each line sparkles with detail. If life were photographed from its socks to its rush hour, the collage would look like these pages. Surprising juxtapositions make bursts of energy within the line, and then, from line to line. There’s bravery here, as well, the courage to be inimitable. This manuscript is not a book; this is a living pulsating thing. Motion makes joy.
Grace Cavalieri is Maryland’s Tenth Poet Laureate. She’s the author of 26 books and chapbooks of...
David Gaines knows it’s hard to explore your creative voice when you’re worried about paying the bills. That’s why the Montgomery County Poet Laureate supports his community outreach project to help other poets and writers pay their bills.