Westchester has its first poet laureate

Westchester County Executive George Latimer and ArtsWestchester have announced Westchester County’s inaugural poet laureate, B.K. Fischer of Sleepy Hollow. Fischer, who has taught throughout Westchester and at Columbia University in Manhattan, is the author of five books of poetry — “Ceive,” “Radioapocrypha,” “My Lover’s Discourse,” “St. Rage’s Vault” and “Mutiny Gallery,” as well as a critical study, “Museum Mediations: Reframing Ekphrasis in Contemporary American Poetry,” which explores poems inspired by the visual arts. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New York Times; The Paris Review; Kenyon Review; Boston Review, where she spent six years as poetry editor; The Los Angeles Review of Books; FIELD; Literary Mama; Modern Language Studies; Ninth Letter; and other journals.

It was Fischer’s desire “to serve and amplify the diverse voices of our communities,” along with her talent that netted her the position. Said Latimer said: “Fischer and the other (four) finalists prove how much literary talent there is in the county. There was an impressive list of (23) applications, and the panel was presented with the arduous task of choosing just one laureate. However, everybody agreed that Fischer’s application was not only the most robust, but that she would be an advocate for passing the mic to the voices we don’t get to hear as often in Westchester.”

 “Support for our creatives is more important than ever during this pandemic,” added Janet T. Langsam, CEO of ArtsWestchester. “The concept of a poet laureate is an affirmation that in our present-day society words matter and that it is important that these words be truthful, poetic and emblematic of our principles and our aspirations. We certainly look forward to hearing more of B.K. Fischer’s poetry and to working with B.K. Fischer on her poetry projects in Westchester County.”

The post’s honorarium has increased from $1,250 per year to $2,500 per year, thanks to a match by a generous ArtsWestchester board member.

For more, visit artsw.org.

Georgette Gouveia

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