SOMERVILLE – Last month, the City of Somerville gained its first-ever Poet Laureate in Nicole Terez Dutton, a Somerville resident with an impressive literary background. A teacher at the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College, Nicole’s work has been featured in Callaloo, Ploughshares, 32 Poems, Indiana Review, and Salt Hill Journal. She has been awarded fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cave Canem and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
“Somerville has so much creative energy and power, and we are well known for our vibrant arts scene. Similarly, we have a talented, well-educated, and thoughtful writer’s community that needs a voice. In Nicole Terez Dutton, Somerville gains a tremendous advocate and partner for the writing arts, and I am proud to welcome her as our City’s first Poet Laureate,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone.
The City announced in late 2014 that it was seeking candidates to enhance the profile of poets and poetry in Somerville and surrounding communities. The Poet Laureate is expected to bring poetry to segments of the community that currently have less access or exposure to poetry: senior citizens, youth, and schools. The Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term, appointed by the Mayor, and will be provided an honorarium of $2,000 per year.
“Nicole’s work is poised and insightful, and I think it will really resonate with the Somerville community,” said Greg Jenkins, Director of the Somerville Arts Council. “She conveyed a thoughtful perspective on her approach to this new position, and has a passion for promoting poetry through collaboration with youth, elders, and community groups. We’ve gained an impressive ambassador in Nicole Terez Dutton.”
The Poet Laureate was chosen based on a series of criteria, including excellence in craftsmanship, professional achievement, and creating a vision for the position.
“I am thrilled to have been chosen as Somerville’s Poet Laureate and am excited to collaborate with the very talented and passionate members of our community to make poetry more accessible,” said Terez Dutton. “It is an amazing opportunity to share what I love, to connect with writers and readers, and to bring poetry into wider conversation.”