What is a Poet Laureate
An ambassador for poetry, the Poet Laureate is expected to promote citizens' awareness of poetry as well as heighten appreciation of the art. The Poet Laureate forges a meaningful connection between poetry and the community, undertaking projects that make poetry more available and more accessible to people in their everyday lives. The Poet Laureate will officiate at selected public gatherings, initiate a dialogue between poets and the community, inspire others in their writing and personal expression, and bring recognition to the history and tradition of poetry in Saratoga Springs. The Poet Laureate is an honorary volunteer position, appointed by the Mayor of Saratoga Springs for a two-year term.
Current Poet Laureate
Saratoga Springs' first Poet Laureate is Saratoga County native, Joseph Bruchac. He is a graduate from Cornell University where he received his bachelors in English with a minor in Zoology. He received his masters in Literature and Creative Writing from Syracuse University and continued his education at various graduate schools earing his Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Union Institute.
Bruchac developed a love for poetry at a young age and translated that love into a career. He's taught English and poetry to Ghanaian students, a maximum security level facility for males and founded a literary magazine that included writers from Africa, Native Americans, those in prison, Asian Americans and more. Bruchac has been the Executive Director for The Greenfield Review Literary Center/Ndakinna Education Center since 1970 where students learn observation skills, regional cultural awareness, outdoor learning, critical thinking, team building, and character development. He published his first book in 1971 titled, Indian Mountain and has since published 31 further books and chapbooks. His literary archive is part of the permanent collection of the Beineke Library at Yale University and his archive as an editor and publisher is at Brown University. His work can be found in every school library in the U.S, and his poems have been widely used in state testing for over three decades.
"I believe in poetry and want to foster that belief in others. In my work as a teacher in what may seem unlikely environments - such as maximum security prisons - I've seen how poetry can positively transform those who write it. In the poetry workshops I've done with children - for more than four decades - I've observed how poetry can bring out the best in kids, reward them with a sense of accomplishment. And also show then how much fun poetry can be."
As poet laureate, Bruchac plans to write poetry focusing on the history and people of the Saratoga region, along with poems that celebrate occasion. He hopes to plan events and workshops for adults and students to offer more engagement into poetry and writing. Bruchac believes this position should also acknowledge the wealth of talent in the city of Saratoga Springs and publish an anthology of Saratoga poems. Bruchac has a deep appreciation for the City of Saratoga Springs and is excited to share his knowledge on poetry.
Recent poems and readings
"Remembering Elms," written for Poet Laureate inauguration
"Do you Carry Peace," written for the State of the City Address
"When You Plant a Tree," written for Earth Day
"As A Bird Flies," written for Saratoga Arts Awards
"Whose Garden is This," written for Whitney Meadows Event
"When We Hear a Poem," written for More Than a Local poetry reading
"Walk a While," written for Saratoga Arts opening
"When You Hold a Stone," written for Saratoga History Museum opening
"This Road," written for Juneteenth event
"Breath" for Indigenous Peoples' Day
"Who Gave" for the opening of the 2023 Saratoga Book Festival
Meet Joe at upcoming events
There are no published events in current month.
Recent News and Awards
The Adirondack Center for Writing chooses Bruchac for "Postcard Poems"
Bruchac's poems were selected from over 100 submissions from across the state. Three other poets were also selected.
Each writer will have their poem featured on a 5x7-inch broadside (a small work of art with a poem), complete with artwork from NYS artists. The broadsides will be released throughout the winter and available for sale through The Adirondack Center for Writing.
Bruchac receives Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate Fellowship Award
In July 2023, Joseph Bruchac was selected as a recipient of the Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate Fellowship Award. The Academy choses twenty-three poet laureates from states, counties, and cities across the United States for this award.
The Academy of American Poets awarded each of its twenty-three recipients $50,000 for their commitment to poetry for a combined total of $1.1 million. The Academy is a leading financial supporter of poets in the United States and its Poet Laureate Fellowship program has awarded a total of $5.45 million in fellowships to one hundred and four poet laureates since 2019.