Mayor Michael Nutter has named poet Frank Sherlock (Pew Fellow, 2013) as Philadelphia's second-ever poet laureate. He hails Sherlock as one of the city's "most talented homegrown artists." He'll serve for two years, during which time his duties will include mentoring young poets, official readings, and community-service work. He will succeed Sonia Sanchez (Pew Fellow, 1993) as poet laureate.
Sherlock calls himself lucky to receive the honor, saying, "This city raised me, beat the hell out of me a few times, and still reveals the magic of Philadelphia Otherly Love." He views poetry as a call to action and a tool for encouraging interactions and conversations within public spaces. "Each poem can emerge as an insistent act when it does not simply describe existing certainties, but develops new forms, tones, and images that transvalue and transform," he says.
The poet laureate position was conceived by the mayor in 2011 and is organized by the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy. The committee includes a range of writers, publishers, and cultural officials.