Suffolk County is putting pen to paper to advance local poets and our native poetry scene. Through two initiatives sponsored by Deputy Presiding Officer Kara Hahn, Suffolk has approved the selection of a new County Poet Laureate and creation of a Youth Poet Laureate Program to expand appreciation for this literary genre.
In a unanimous vote, Legislators approved the appointment of Huntington's Richard Bronson, MD to be the county’s next Poet Laureate. A New York University graduate, Dr. Bronson has dedicated most of his life to the study and practice of reproductive sciences. Dr. Bronson currently serves as Director of Reproductive Endocrinology at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University and, throughout his career, made significant efforts to bring the healing power of poetry to the medical community. Additionally, Dr. Bronson has served on the Board of the Long Island Poetry Collective and hosted weekly poetry workshops at Huntington Public library for over two decades. Dr. Bronson's appointment will run through May 31, 2023.
“I am honored to have been chosen as the Suffolk County Poet Laureate and will devote myself to the position, using my special constellation of knowledge in both medical education and poetry in this endeavor,” said Richard Bronson, MD.
Legislators have also approved the creation of a Suffolk County Youth Poet Laureate Program with the inaugural two-year term beginning in June 2022. Focused on residents between the ages of 13 and 19, this expansion of the Poet Laureate program will give local teens an opportunity to expand their love of the written word throughout their region. Similar to the selection process for its grown-up counterpart, honorees of the Youth Poet Laureate Program will be recommended to the Legislature for appointment by a distinguished panel of past and present honorees.
"Poetry is the link between one's soul and mouth. As such, this important linguistic and artistic medium allows us to better understand ourselves and appreciate the complex relationships within the world we share," said Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn. "Suffolk County is rich with talented poets and I am excited these programs will expand the reach of their words and interest in this form of expression."
Since the creation of a county-wide Poet Laureate post in 2002, poets George Wallace, Dr. Daniel Moran, David B. Axelrod, Tammy Nuzzo-Morgan, Edward W. Stever, Pramila Venkateswaran, Robert J. Savino, Gladys L. Henderson and Barbara Southard have served in this two-year, volunteer position. As part of their responsibilities, Poet Laureates are asked to promote this art form within the county and expose more local residents to its intrinsic beauty.
Photo: "magnetic fridge poetry" by Steve Johnson