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DCC Professor Named Dutchess County Poet Laureate

April 13 - Professor Lucia Cherciu has been named the 2021 Dutchess County Poet Laureate by County Executive Marc Molinaro. Cherciu will serve a one-year term in the role and bring poetry to the community through a series of poetry learning and appreciation events.

“I am grateful for being appointed the 2021 Dutchess County Poet Laureate and for receiving so many messages of congratulations from my colleagues and friends” said Cherciu. “I appreciate the opportunity to emphasize the importance of reading as a form of learning, of making sense of the world, and empowering voices that have often been silenced or left out.”

In making the announcement, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro reflected on the role that the arts play in the region, and in particular, during the pandemic.

“This year has been one of the most challenging in history and perhaps now, more than ever, we need the arts to help bring hope and brighten our outlook for these trying times,” said Molinaro. “Dutchess County is privileged to be home to so many talented artists who improve our quality of life as part of a robust arts community. We are proud to continue our commitment to the arts and look forward to Dr. Cherciu’s contributions as our new Poet Laureate.”

In her work to empower and stimulate creative voices, Cherciu will participate in a number of upcoming Zoom poetry readings organized by Arts Mid-Hudson, including the Poets Respond to Artists event on April 22, and PoughETRY, a one-day festival, on April 24. On May 7, she will be one of the featured poets in the Calling All Poets series, and on July 10, will share the spotlight during a Woodstock Poetry Society reading and open mic event.

“As a poet laureate, I would like to help spread the word about the importance of poetry and writing in general in our lives,” said Cherciu. “These last two years have taught us that writing can help us communicate with our loved ones, our families, our communities, our colleagues, our friends. We have to learn to tell them how much they mean in our lives. We have to develop a practice of praising people. We have to tell them how blessed we feel for everything they do every day.”

In congratulating Professor Cherciu, Ellen Gambino, DCC’s acting president, noted, “I know that we are all delighted and proud to learn of this honor for Professor Cherciu. Here at DCC, she is a devoted teacher and a mentor and friend to poets on campus and in the community. We all thank her for imparting her talents and creative voice with students, colleagues and the broader world.”

Cherciu, a faculty member in the English Department, writes both in English and Romanian and is the author of five books of poetry, including “Train Ride to Bucharest” (Sheep Meadow Press, 2017), for which she received the Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize; “Edible Flowers” (Main Street Rag, 2016); “Lalele din Paradis/Tulips in Paradise” (Editura Eikon, 2017);  “Altoiul Râsului/Grafted Laughter“ (Editura Brumar, 2010); and “Lepădarea de Limbă/The Abandonment of Language” (Editura Vinea, 2009). 

Her poetry was nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses award, which is one of the most honored literary projects in America, and twice for Best of the Net, an awards-based anthology created by Sundress Publications to recognize and celebrate exceptional digital publishing.

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