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The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program
is dedicated to building community through poetry by appointing and supporting an outstanding local poet as Poet Laureate for the city, sponsoring events that feature area poets and authors from outside the New Hampshire Seacoast, and encouraging a love of poetry among people of all ages.

The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program presents a variety of events throughout the year: readings, celebrations, publications. These events are announced in the Portsmouth Herald and our eNews letter. Click below to sign up for it. And check us out on Facebook!

    Sign up for PPLP eNews

February Poetry Hoot


Nancy Jean Hill and Bill Burtis, a couple of poets, headline February's Hoot.  They were recently featured on Writers in the Round hosted by Jim Rioux. It was a wonderful hour of poetry and conversation about poetry. Learn more about each of them on their bio pages.  And take in Writers in the Round on WSCA 106.1 fm Monday evenings from 6 to 7 pm. 

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January's Poetry Hoot: 

Wednesday January 7, 2015: 7-9 pm. 

We welcomed in the New Year with

The 2nd Annual Youth Poetry Hoot


~ Youth Hoot 2015; image: Nancy Donovan ~


A huge success! Thirty-four young poets were scheduled.  In spite of the freezing temperatures 28 showed and read. Students ranged in age from middle school through college. Cafe Espresso was packed -- again in spite of the weather. It was cold!

   Poets came from South Berwick Academy, Exeter Coop Middle School, Kingswood, Noble, and Portsmouth High Schools, Phillips Exeter Academy and we had a student from Johns Hopkins University (thanks to Gordon Lang). They were terrific.

   One slight mis-step was not having a photographer for a full photographic record. If you attended and took photos, please send them to davidphreaner [at] yahoo [dot] com. We'll post them... (Thanks Nancy Donovan for the above.)

    Deep appreciation goes to our co-curators, Mary Anker and Deidre Randall, as well as to all the teachers and others who encouraged young poets to participate.

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Mark DeCarteret at Book + Bar


Mark reads at t Book + Bar. Image: S.Graham


The evening was a triumph. What else is there to say? Thanks to Jim Rioux, organizer, the singer-songwriters, the City Hall Poets, and all who came to pay tribute and contribute, and, of course, to Mark DeCarteret himself. In spite of the cold, it was a warm and special evening of music, poetry, and friendship. If you couldn't attend and still wish to donate be in touch with Jim: jim.rioux [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Poet Laureate Selection: 2015


Nominations are now open

Hard to believe though it may be it is time to begin selecting our next (10th!) Poet Laureate. The selection process is described  below and on the next page. Included are:
>> how to nominate someone to be Poet Laureate
>> eligibility requirements
>> information for nominees, including deadlines and required information
>> selection guidelines and process
>> responsibilities of the Laureate

General background information:
*  PPLP Board members are ineligible for nomination until a year has passed since she or he has left the Board. The Board goes to great lengths to insure a fair and open process. While some members of the Board might make excellent Laureates, no current or recently past Board member is eligible.
*  As long as a nominee meets eligibility requirements, anyone can nominate anyone.
*  Once a nomination has been received each nominee is asked if s/he wishes to be a candidate. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, nominees withdraw. The selection process is confidential. After a nomination is received our communication takes place with the nominee only; we do not comment on the status of any nominee.
*  Becoming Portsmouth Poet Laureate is a great honor. It's also a lot of hard work: enjoyable, exciting and hard work. An effective nomination takes into account your nominee's time and energy availability.
*  The selection process relies entirely on information packets nominees submit; there are no interviews. This process was developed by Nancy Moore Hill and the original Board. We keep to that original selection process. No Board members serve on the Selection Committee.

*  Names may be submitted to the PPLP Board by letter or e-mail.

*  Nominations should include the full name of nominee and current contact information and should briefly describe why the nominee would be a good choice to be the “public face of poetry in Portsmouth” and to help PPLP “build community through poetry.” Self-nominations are acceptable. 

Eligibility Requirements:
     In addition to being willing to take on the responsibilities of the Laureateship, a nominee must live in one of the eligible towns and/or work (at least half-time) in Portsmouth.
*  Eligible towns include: Portsmouth, Dover, Durham, Greenland, Kittery, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, North Hampton, Rye, and Stratham.
Nomination information > continues on page 2.

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Note: A complete printable version of this selection process information (pdf) is available.

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Questions? Call PPLP Co-chair Susan Kaufmann at (603) 431-9348.

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>> To receive our eNewsletter announcements follow the link above.

>> Meet the current Poet Laureate.
Learn about our previous Laureates here.

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The Poetry Hoot season takes place on the 1st Wednesday of each month from September through June at Cafe Espresso in Portsmouth. Keep writing poems and keep on sharing them at the Hoot!


Read Poems!  Poems from the Hoot Where we review poems by PPLP Poetry Hoot readers such as SL Manning and other local poets.

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