Meet Branford’s First Poet Laureate

The Town of Branford, in cooperation with the Trustees of The Blackstone Library, is pleased to announce the establishment of the office of Poet Laureate. A Selection Committee was formed, comprised of Frank Carrano (President, Branford Arts and Cultural Alliance – BACA), Chad Edgar (Blackstone Library Trustee), Katy McNicol (Blackstone Library Director), Laureen Mutuski (Branford High School English Department), and Alice Pentz (Willoughby Wallace Library Director). After a careful review of applications and interviews with the finalists, the Committee selected Judith K. Liebmann as the first to hold the position of Poet Laureate.

Liebmann brings decades of experience writing, publishing, teaching and sharing poetry with others to the position, and plans to dedicate her three-year appointment to using her experience to open the world of poetry to Branford residents of all ages – in workshops, lectures, readings and mixed media events.

“Dr. Liebmann’s extensive experience teaching and writing poetry makes her a perfect inaugural Poet Laureate,” says McNicol. “Her enthusiasm for sharing her insights into poetry is evident, and we are looking forward to working with her to foster an appreciation of poetry throughout the Branford community.”

Liebmann’s work has been widely published, in numerous literary journals as well as New York Times and Scientific American and has been anthologized in the short story collection The Safe Deposit Box.  A new collection of poems, Ekphrasis, was published in December, 2023 (PreSSrappel, New York City).

In addition to writing poetry and fiction, Liebmann earned a Ph.D. in Literature from Yale University, where she taught for a number of years. She then became the Director of the Writing Program at the Center for Independent Study there. She has received many awards, including a Fulbright Fellowship, a Germanistic Society of America Grant, a German Academic Exchange Grant, and a grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts. She is a Fellow of Davenport College at Yale and served two terms on the Board of Governors of the Yale Alumni Association.

Here in Branford, where she has lived for more than thirty years, she has been an active member of the community. She has served as a Director on the Boards of the Wightwood School, BCTV, and the Historic Branford Center Cemetery. In cooperation with Branford Public Works, Branford Land Trust, and the Pine Orchard Association, she has designed the landscaping for several “pocket parks,” including the Triangle Park in Pine Orchard. The Poet Laureate can be contacted at: poetlaureate@branford-ct.gov.

UPCOMING EVENTS
DATE / TIME EVENT DESCRIPTION LOCATION
Saturday, March 16 @ 2 pm Poetry Reading: Ekphrasis Branford Poet Laureate reads from her new published collection of poetry, Ekphrasis. Blackstone Library
Tuesday, April 9 @ 5:30 pm Celebrating (Inter)National Poetry Month: Voices from Around the World Event features poems from various cultures, read in the native language (by guest readers) and then in translation, including German, Korean, Hebrew, Spanish and more). Blackstone Library
Sunday, May 5 @ 2 pm Holocaust Rememberance Day: Poems in extremis Lecture and readings, by Poet Laureate, of poetry written in reaction to great human catastrophes.
Wednesday, May 15 @ 5:30 pm Spring – Season of Renewal
May 25
Family Poetry Picnic & Fair Sponsored in part by Branford Parks & Recreation, with help from Branford High School drama students Blackstone Library Grounds

Check back as additional events and details are added!