The Northampton Arts Council is a city board and a non-profit organization whose goal is to support and promote the arts in Northampton. Originally created as a Local Arts Lottery Council, it began its work by administering a grants program in which proceeds from a state lottery are distributed to local artists, arts groups, and public schools.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Northampton Arts Council announces appointment of Patrick Donnelly, Poet Laureate of Northampton

The Northampton Arts Council is proud to announce the selection of Patrick Donnelly, poet, teacher, editor, translator, and poetry conference director, as Poet Laureate of Northampton for 2015 – 2017, beginning in April 2015.

The Northampton Poet Laureate position is a two-year term during which the poet will celebrate Northampton’s vibrant and diverse poetry community through activities of interest to the chosen poet, and will educate the public about the importance of poets and poetry to Northampton’s civic and artistic life. The selection committee read poetry by various nominees, discussed a wide range of qualities in all their work, and considered their success in the larger poetry world. This year the selection committee chose a poet who has long been active teaching public speaking and performance skills for writers and young people. By majority vote, Patrick Donnelly was selected as the seventh Poet Laureate of Northampton. Past laureates include Martin Espada, Janet Aalfs, Jack Gilbert, Lesléa Newman, Lenelle Moïse, and Richard Michelson.

Patrick Donnelly’s books of poetry are The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003, since 2009 part of Copper Canyon Press) and Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012), the latter book a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He is director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place (Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, NH, now a center for poetry and the arts), and an associate editor of Poetry International. His poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Slate, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Massachusetts Review, and many other journals. Donnelly teaches at Smith College, and has also taught at Colby College, the Lesley University MFA Program, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

With his spouse Stephen D. Miller, Donnelly translates classical Japanese poetry and drama, including the Japanese poems in The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013). Donnelly and Miller’s translations have appeared in many literary and translation journals, including Circumference, Inquiring Mind, Kyoto Journal, Metamorphoses, and Poetry International. In 2013, Donnelly received a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program award to fund a 3-month residency in Japan during 2014.

Donnelly is a 2008 recipient of an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. His spiritual curiosity has led him, at different times, to study for the Roman Catholic priesthood and to live as a Buddhist and a Muslim, and his poems have interrogated narratives of same-sex love and desire and the AIDS epidemic with lyric strategies. Gregory Orr wrote about Donnelly’s first book that “…everything he writes is suffused with tenderness and intelligence, lucidity and courage.”
Donnelly’s projects as Poet Laureate will include:
v Free workshops focusing on poetry as an oral art, fostering public speaking skills for creative writers and young people
v The “Choral Poem Project,” for poets, community members, and young people, featuring performances of poetry by “choirs” of speakers
v Events celebrating the vibrant community of literary translators in Northampton
v “Poetry and HIV,” a benefit reading in support of A Positive Place (formerly AIDS Care Hampshire County)

You can read more about Donnelly at his website:

The inaugural reading for Mr. Donnelly will be scheduled in the autumn of 2015, at a date to be announced. The event will be free and open to the public. Donations will be accepted to further the work of the Poet Laureate.