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Molinaro Appoints Robert Kelly first Dutchess County Poet Laureate Poet Laureate to present poems at State of the County address

Published: 1/25/2016

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Colleen Pillus

Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today he has appointed Annandale resident Robert Kelly as the County’s first Poet Laureate.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Dutchess County is fortunate to boast a vibrant arts community that enriches the lives of our residents. Our arts community not only reflects Dutchess County’s diverse populations, but it also contributes to our thriving tourism industry, which now brings in some $500 million a year into our county. My appointment of Robert Kelly as the first Poet Laureate in the history of our county is meant to add to our commitment to the arts and those in our community who work tirelessly to ensure they remain lively in our community. I look forward to Robert’s contributions to our arts scene, and I encourage all residents to explore how the arts make us all distinctly Dutchess.”

Mr. Kelly will read two poems at the State of Dutchess County address, one of which he dedicated to County Executive Molinaro in honor of his 2016 initiative, “Act Boldly.”

Mr. Kelly said, “In honoring me, Dutchess County is honoring the hundreds of poets who live here — some connected to two of America’s greatest liberal arts colleges, Vassar and Bard, and many more independent or with other allegiances.”

In his unpaid role as Dutchess County’s Poet Laureate, Mr. Kelly will serve for a one-year term and bring poetry to the community through a series of readings and events.

Mr. Kelly has published more than 50 books of poetry and prose, including Kill the Messenger Who Brings Bad News (1980), which received the Los Angeles Times First Annual Book Award. Other titles include Red Actions: Selected Poems 1960-1993 (1995), Lapis (2005), and May Day (Parsifal Press, 2007). His poems and stories have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, and Serbian. He has also served as contributing editor to a number of magazines, including Conjunctions and Poetry International. Mr. Kelly is the Founding Director, Writing Program, Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts (1980–93) and currently serves as Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature and Co-Director of the Program in Written Arts at Bard College, where he has taught since 1961. He is married to the translator Charlotte Mandell.

Arts Mid-Hudson managed the process of the public call for nominations, inviting a panel of literary professionals and community members to make a selection from 39 nominations. The Dutchess County Poet Laureate will serve for one year and public nominations will again be invited later this summer for the 2017 Dutchess County Poet Laureate. Further information about Mr. Kelly is available here.

County Executive Molinaro will hold his annual State of the County Address at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in the City of Poughkeepsie on Wednesday, January 27th at  5:30 p.m. The State of the County address event is open to the public. Seating is limited and registration is required. To register, click here.