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 an Award Ceremony and Reading, open to the public and attended by the celebrity judge and previous poets laureate to read with and welcome the newest member of their esteemed ranks.

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 and a community service project,  which is the cornerstone of the MCPL program. Community Service projects have created permanent resources and ongoing programming for our organization. 

Appearances may include the Forgotten Voices Poetry Group, Farley’s Bookshop First Thursday Poetry Reading Series, and the annual Caesura Poetry Festival. They may also hold the office of “writer-in residence” at the Indian Valley Arts Foundation. 

Jennifer Schneider, 2022 Montgomery County Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate 2022

Jennifer Schneider

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

2022 Celebrity Judge

Poets Laureate

MCPL 2017 Glenn McLaughlin

MCPL 2012 Liz Chang

MCPL 2011 Amy Small-McKinney

MCPL 2010 Grant Clauser

MCPL 2009 Doris Ferleger

MCPL 2008 Elizabeth Rivers

MCPL 2007 David Simpson

MCPL 2006 Deborah Fries

MCPL 2005 Sean Webb

MCPL 2004 Theresa Mendez-Quigley

MCPL 2003 Nicole Greaves

MCPL 2002 Jon Volkmer

MCPL 2000 Margaret Almon

MCPL 1999 Yolanda Wisher