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Poet Laureate

Dr. Lucia Cherciu, 2021 Poet Laureate

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro has appointed Poughkeepsie resident Dr. Lucia Cherciu as the County’s 2021 Poet Laureate. Dr. Cherciu will serve a one-year term in this unpaid role and bring poetry to the community through a series of poetry learning and appreciation events.

County Executive Molinaro said, “This year has been one of the most challenging in history and perhaps now, more than ever, we need the arts to help bring hope and brighten our outlook for these trying times. Dutchess County is privileged to be home to so many talented artists who improve our quality of life as part of a robust arts community. We are proud to continue our commitment to the arts and look forward to Dr. Cherciu’s contributions as our new Poet Laureate.”

Dr. Cherciu was born in Romania and came to the United States in 1995. She received her Ph.D. in English from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2000 with a dissertation on women and laughter, titled “Ludicrous ‘Scribbling Women’: The Politics of Laughter and Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers.” She is a Professor of English at SUNY/Dutchess Community College, where she has been working for twenty years. She enjoys working with her students and in spring she usually conducts a Service Learning Project at Morse Elementary School.   

“I am humbled and honored by the nomination to serve as the 2021 Dutchess County Poet Laureate. Poetry can serve as a form of prayer, of healing, and of reaching out to others in difficult times such as the Pandemic.” Dr. Cherciu said, “I believe that poetry can bring us optimism and hope; it can teach us to be kind and honest.” 

Dr. Cherciu writes both in English and Romanian and is the author of five books of poetry: Train Ride to Bucharest (Sheep Meadow Press, 2017), which received the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, Edible Flowers (Main Street Rag, 2016), Lalele din Paradis / Tulips in Paradise (Editura Eikon, 2017), Altoiul Râsului / Grafted Laughter (Editura Brumar, 2010), and Lepădarea de Limbă / The Abandonment of Language (Editura Vinea, 2009). Dr. Cherciu’s poetry was nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, twice for Best of the Net, and her work has appeared in numerous publications.

Arts Mid-Hudson managed the process of the public call for nominations, inviting a panel of literary professionals and community members to select from the nominations.

“We appreciate County Executive Molinaro’s dedication to Dutchess County’s arts community, and we can all celebrate his selection of Dr. Lucia Cherciu as our 2021 Poet Laureate,” said Linda Marston-Reid, Executive Director for Arts Mid-Hudson. “The promotion of poetry throughout Dutchess County benefits residents of all ages and backgrounds, and we applaud County Executive Molinaro for his continued appreciation of the arts.”