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Accomplished boro poet sought for new laureate

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The laureate is selected by the borough president on recommendation of the Poet Laureate Administration Committee of Queens. The three-year appointment is unsalaried.

Queens got the idea from Brooklyn, which was the first to have a borough poet laureate, said David Cohen, secretary of the Queens Administrative Selection Committee.

Stephen Stpanchev, an 85-year-old English professor retired from Queens College who held the honorary post for the past three years, says that the job also entails reading and writing poems reflecting the "Queens scene."

Stpanchev has read for the Rotary Club and the Girl Scouts, among others, he says.

"Sometimes I get manuscripts to read, it's an interesting job," he said. "I liked reading at C.W. Post College in Long Island, the people were very interested and asked me interesting questions afterwards."

"I also liked reading at the Van Buren High School here in Queens," he added. On that occasion he read to a group of English teachers.

"The important point is bringing the knowledge of contemporary poetry to people," he said.

Stpanchev, who taught at Queens College for 36 years, received a doctorate in English from New York University. He has published 10 books, the most recent, "Seven Horizons" published in 1997, the year he became Queens Poet Laureate.

"People who write poetry, who love the art and like to go out and expose others to it" will like the job, Stpanchev says.

Qualified applicants must be Queens residents for at least five years, have a significant publication record in English, have a private collection of poetry, or be published in recognized journals and have published or unpublished poems inspired by Queens.

Applicants may send a resume and sample of their work to David Cohen c/o Administrative Committee Search for Poet Laureate No. 2 in Queens, Queens College Rosenthal Library, 65-30 Kissena Blvd., Flushing, N.Y. 11367. Call 997-3626 for more information.

The provisional deadline for application submissions is Dec. 15.

Posted 7:16 pm, October 10, 2011
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