Erie County Poet Laureate Named

Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 12:04 PM
Erie County Poet Laureate Named by Cory Vaillancourt

During a press conference held earlier today at the Blasco Memorial Library, the Erie County Poet Laureate Committee named the 2014-2015 Erie County Poet Laureate.

Previous laureates - Dr. Tom Forsthoefel, Berwyn Moore, and Ron Hayes - have spent their terms working to enrich and enlighten the people of Erie County with their own modes of rhythmic, stylistic script - a tradition new laureate Cee Williams intends to perpetuate.

"I hope to accomplish what I've always hoped to accomplish through Poet's Hall and the slams that we were doing previously," Williams said, "which is to make poetry an integral part of our society, make it more accessible, and keep it in the forefront of our cultural consciousness."

The well-known Williams has been one of the most active members of Erie County's poetry scene over the past few years. "I was always reading at the Erie Bookstore, doing features there, putting together some poetry slams," he said. All that activity paid off when he established east-side spoken-word hotspot Poets Hall - the International Fellowship of Poets and Spoken Word Artists in 2010. Williams won the award based mostly on the strength of his 2013 chapbook "My America - 9 Poems for Sister Lucille."

Williams said he was grateful for the opportunity to carry on the crucial work of his predecessors.

"I think poetry's important to everybody," Williams said. "It's something that allows us to connect with other human beings on a level that we can all grasp. For me, poetry is about feelings, emotions - things that you observe and have been through - and we all need to be sometimes reminded of our human connection."


 To learn more about Cee Williams and Poet's Hall, click here. To learn more about the Erie County Poet Laureate Initiative, click here. Cory Vaillancourt can be reached at, or find him on Twitter @VLNCRT.

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