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Highland - March 16

Paula Campbell - Community Correspondent
Posted 3/15/21

March 16 - One of the real silver linings over the past several years in the cultural life of Sullivan County has been the successful establishment of the Sullivan County Poet Laureate. The position …

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Highland - March 16


March 16 - One of the real silver linings over the past several years in the cultural life of Sullivan County has been the successful establishment of the Sullivan County Poet Laureate. The position was created by the Sullivan Public Library Alliance and modeled after the United States Poet Laureate who serves as the nation's official poet.

The Sullivan County Poet Laureate has a simple theme, the “Spirit of Sullivan County.” He or she is the County's ambassador and the leading voice in encouraging the appreciation of the reading, writing, and bringing the joy of poetry into our everyday lives.

Certainly, right before the eyes of millions of us poetic magic was created when Inaugural Poet and the nation's first ever National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” in such a show stopping electrifying manner at President Joe Biden's Inauguration Ceremony.

Sullivan County's first Poet Laureate Mark Blackford in pre-pandemic times visited cultural events and libraries held readings and poetry slams all of which were great fun.

Our current Poet Lisa Colaro a teacher of poetry, writing and literature was most creative during a pandemic holding virtual workshops, having zoom sessions of people reading their favorite poems in their favorite outdoor spot and each day during her wonderful “Breather” session, Lisa read a poem from a wide variety of mostly modern poets.

Now the Sullivan Public Library Alliance is on the hunt for the County's third Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate must have a body of literary work, live in Sullivan County and be available for at least a year.

Candidates must be prepared to make a minimum of nine appearances at libraries and partner organizations. There is a stipend to cover expenses and an honorarium and be comfortable with performing their original works in person and in the media.

Application must include a statement of interest, a biography and three sample poems one which features the “Spirit of Sullivan County.” Applications can be emailed to SCPoetLaureateProject@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is midnight on Wednesday, March 31st. For more information about applying visit www.sunshinehallfreelibrary.org.

When I was a kid growing up in Boston, St. Patrick's Day was a huge deal and something we looked forward to all year long. So many family members, neighbors and friends grew up in Ireland and it was truly a day to celebrate and hear stories of their lives on the “other side.”

We all got up early in the morning, put on something green (usually pre-selected by our mother for appropriateness) and trotted down the hill to St Columbkilles Catholic Church. St Columbkille was one of the three patron saints of Ireland along with St. Bridget and St. Patrick whom I have discussed before in this column was not of Irish descent.

After Mass we went to the Parish Hall across the street for food including homemade Irish Soda bread. At the breakfast there would be Fiddler's music and a performance by the local sons and daughters who were Irish Step Dancers. When that all concluded, it was all about South Boston's St Patrick's Day Parade which my entire family including Grandma Helen attended in full force. I guess it was this St. Patrick's Day tradition that gave me my love of any kind of parade.

In the village of Yulan for forty-seven years, there was a wonderful St. Patrick's Day parade with many floats from local businesses, music and our St. Anthony's parish priest who blessed all the marchers. Sadly, complaints of rowdiness, drinking and fights caused the Town of Highland to cancel the parade.

Now for the fourth year the “unofficial” St. Patrick's Day parade is slowly creeping back. Last Sunday under sunny but chilly and breezy skies the St Patrick's Day parade stepped off once again from the Four Corners in Yulan with one float (a highly decorated fishing boat), marchers' classic cars, several decked-out ATV's, a Yulan Fire Department truck, and a Sheriff Patrol car to the absolute delight of the many bystanders sprinkled along the route that ended at the Lawrence Lounge across the road from the Fireman's Field in Yulan.

What the parade lacked in length and huge technically dazzling floats, it more than made up for with pure heart and fun. All eyes, Irish or not were smiling. After the parade everyone repaired to the very popular Lawrence Lounge for more revelry, beverages and home-made corned beef and cabbage dinners.

Congratulations and thanks to the organizers and marchers for this wonderful, cheerful event that we all needed to lift our locked down spirits. Erin Go Bragh (Ireland Forever) and Happy St. Patrick's Day!


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