What does a poet laureate do?

At the end of my two-year term as Portsmouth’s 8th Poet Laureate, it’s time to reflect. I’m including two documents here. One is an article that was requested by the Portsmouth arts paper, THE WiRE. It outlines my “philosophical” position on community service and the value of the arts, as well as the structure of my “project,” Ambushed by Poetry.


The other is an Appendix to that article (see below). The appendix is an attempt to list all the auxiliary activities I’ve supported and participated in during my laureateship. In case you’re wondering, I’ve already committed to some major projects during my “recovery” period. They include working with two people on new books of their work, a major choral work to include settings of three of my poems and an opera libretto. And, of course, I remain committed to community and will be out and about with all my friends in the area.

John-Michael Albert, 8th Portsmouth Poet Laureate


An appendix to “What does a poet laureate do?”

 AIDS Response Seacoast/World AIDS Day/Discover Portsmouth Center (invited reader, November 30, 2012)

Amazon.com/Poetry (and other) Book Reviews (ongoing, c. 160 as of February 2013)

Artstream/Rochester NH/Ekphrastic Poetry Project (invited reader, April 2, 2011)

Beat Night/The Press Room/Portsmouth (open mic, monthly)

Bridge Lift-Off Party!/Prescott Park, Memorial Bridge (invited reader, October 1, 2011)

Campus Journal/University of New Hampshire (interview, April 2012)

Dover Public Library, Annual K-12 Poetry Contest (judge, May 10, 2011; May 22, 2012)

Faculty Composers’ Concert/UNH Department of Music (Mike Annicchiarico, librettist, February 15, 2012)

Hugh Harter Memorial/The Women’s Club (open mic, September 13, 2011)

Jazzmouth Lite/The Library Restaurant in The Rockingham ($25 poetry and jazz buffet; Sunday, April 28, 11:30-2:00 pm)

Jazzmouth: Portsmouth Poetry and Jazz Festival/PPLP Poetry Workshop (support, April 28, 2012)

Jazzmouth: Portsmouth Poetry and Jazz Festival/Sunday Brunch (invited reader, April 29, 2012)

Local Buzz/Cape Elizabeth ME (invited reader, January 28, 2012)

Moon Pie Press/Publisher Party/Westbrook ME (December 17, 2011; December 18, 2012)

New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts/Raddison Hotel/Manchester NH (annual banquet, invited reader, May 14, 2012)

NHPTV/ “I Count on NHPTV” (promotional spot, April 2011)

Poetry Society of New Hampshire/Quarterly Meeting (invited reader, October 2012)

Poetry Society of New Hampshire/You Must Remember This (contributor, release, April 2013)

Portsmouth Halloween Parade Benefit/Undead Beat Night/The Press Room (open mic, October 25, 2012; October 27, 2013)

Portsmouth Herald/Jeanné McCartin (interviews)

Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program/Board Meetings (monthly, May 2011-August 2012)

Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program/The Hoot (invited reader, inaugural reading, May 8, 2011)

Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program/The Hoot (invited reader, retirement reading, May 1, 2013)

Portsmouth Poetry Hoot/Café Espresso (open mic, monthly Sep-Jun)

River Run Bookstore/Banned Books Celebration (invited reader, September 28, 2011)

River Run Bookstore/Piscataqua Poems (contributor, release, March 2013)

Seacoast Gay Men (invited reader, June 11, 2012)

Seacoast Writers Conference/Wentworth Center/Dover (support, May 18, 2011; October 22, 2011; October 20, 2012)

Slam Free or Die/Slam 101/Blue Mermaid (sacrificial poet, January 27, 2012)

Stone Pigeon/Breaking New Grounds (invited reader, July 11, 2011)

Stone Pigeon/Breaking New Grounds (monthly, cancelled July 2012)

The Brick Project/Kickoff Party/Discover Portsmouth Center (April 13, 2012)

THE WiRE/ “American Life in Poetry” (weekly, starting July 13, 2011)

THE WiRE/Karen Marzeloff, Matt Kanner (profile, interviews)

THE WiRE/8th Birthday Celebration (open mic, October 20, 2011)

THE WiRE/ “In Defense of the Arts” (essay, April 13, 2011)

THE WiRE/ “What does a poet laureate do?” (article, February 13, 2013)

University of New Hampshire/Art Gallery/ “Do You Haiku?” (writing “response haikus” to patron comments on exhibition of Japanese art, November 29-December 9, 2011)

Wind in the Timothy Poetry Festival/Canterbury NH (Dudley Laufman, invited reader; April 27, 2013)

Writers in the Round/Poets and Songwriters Retreat/Star Island (support, September 8-11, 2011; September 6-9, 2012)

Writers in the Round/Poets and Songwriters Retreat Benefit/The Press Room (Craig Werth, Ellen Taylor, invited reader, June 28, 2012)

WSCA (radio)/ “Seacoast Journal” (Tammi Truax, record interview, April 18, 2011)

WSCA (radio)/Writers in the Round (Guy Capecelatro III, invited reader, April 27, 2011; April 25, 2012)

Also: personal poetry critiques and book criticisms, interviews with high school students, commissioned poems; creating and distributing press releases for projects and events

Unfulfilled Projects: poems/poetry readings in the hospitals; poems/poetry readings at the farmers’ markets; new Portsmouth anthology; project to restore Robert Dunn’s public poems; “Poetry in Motion” on public transportation; recital-lecture on the poetry of classical songs; organize a poetry flash-mob to support The New Hampshire Troubadour and Portsmouth Herald/Random Acts of Poetry; Father’s Day: anthology of poems by local fathers with book release/reading

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