Providing grants, programs, and services to the artists and audiences of Tompkins County for over 25 years

Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate of Tompkins County
Poeta Lauread@ del condado de Tompkins

A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government or conferring organization.  The tradition is believed to have started in what is now Italy in the 14th century.  Today, more than a dozen countries around the world continue the tradition.  The United States created the position of national poet laureate in 1937, and today many U.S. states and communities name their own poets laureate.

The position of Tompkins County Poet Laureate was established by the Tompkins County Legislature in 2001 to honor local outstanding poets, integrate poetry into the community, enrich the education of our young people, and enhance the county’s position as a cultural center.

Since its establishment, the selection and announcement of the Tompkins County Poet Laureate has been a process administered by the Community Arts Partnership (CAP). CAP solicits nominations and organizes the selection panel for appointment to the post.

Appointments have been for two-year terms. This is an honorary position without salary.

Applications for 2021-2022 Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate applications are due on December 11th, 5pm
Click HERE for guidelines and instructions. Please share with your Tompkins County poet colleagues! 

Para información en español, favor de comunicarse con Megan Barber, directora ejecutiva de CAP, o 607-273-5072 x19.


Megan Barber, Executive Director of CAP at

Current Tompkins County Poet Laureate

Melissa Tuckey 2019-2020





Past Tompkins County Poet Laureates

Kathryn Howd Machan 2002-2004
Michelle Courtney Berry 2004-2006
Paul Hamill 2007-2009
Jay Leem
ing 2010-2011
Gail Holst-Warhaft 2011-2012
Tish Pearlman 2013-2015
Jack Hopper 2015-2016
Irene (Zee) Zahava 2017-2018