My name is Sofia Starnes. I was recently appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia, and I would like to tell you about a project I have just initiated. I hope you will assist me in spreading the word.
This project, titled The Nearest Poem Anthology, is aimed at creating a lasting testament to the immediacy of poetry and its relevance to everyday life. My guiding premise is simple: we all have a poem with our name on it—not literally, and not a poem we’ve written, but a poem that seems addressed to us with unique immediacy, as if the poet had been thinking of us when he or she wrote the poem. When we find such a poem, we enter into a dialogue that is both intimate and lasting. We’ve found “our poem”, a poem we’d like to keep near us.
The anthology, to be published after my tenure as poet laureate, will contain fifty to a hundred poems, all of them submitted by Virginians (with an emphasis on non-poets), accompanied by a personal explanation on why a particular poem is their “nearest” poem. The compelling nature of this brief essay will play an important role in my selection. I will endeavor to obtain reprint permissions for the poems, but if those are unavailable, excerpts will be published instead, as is legally allowed, in support of each essay.
So, at this point, I would like to put out a Call for Submissions, to readers of poetry, whether they write poetry or not. The wider the readership, the richer the anthology will be. Would you be able to assist me in this endeavor? Or could you advise me on an effective way to reach the many users of our libraries? I would be most grateful.
If you’d like to know more about this project, I would be delighted to talk to you about it. My number is 757-220-8595. Also, a complete description of The Nearest Poem Anthology, as well as guidelines for submission, appears on my website www.sofiamstarnes.com, and I have designed a brochure that can be downloaded from the site.
Thank you for any help you might provide in getting this project off the ground. I am eager to use my tenure as Poet Laureate to encourage poetry and to celebrate its readers, without whom a poem would never be fulfilled.
All good things,
Sofia
Sofia M. Starnes
Poet Laureate of Virginia
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