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

Poet Laureate

Poet Laureate of Tompkins County

The title of Poet Laureate is a time-honored tradition. In 1668, England officially established the post as a royal office. In the 19th century some local Poet Laureates were recognized in their communities. In 1937 the US created the position of national poet 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. 

Questions?: John Spence, 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 Leeming 2010-2011
Gail Holst-Warhaft 2011-2012
Tish Pearlman 2013-2015
Jack Hopper 2015-2016
Irene (Zee) Zahava 2017-2018