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Tompkins County Names Poet Laureate

Paul Hamill, director of academic funding and sponsored programs at Ithaca College, has been named Poet Laureate of Tompkins County. He began his two-year term Jan. 2.Established by the Community Arts Partnership in 2002, county poet laureates present their own work and encourage appreciation and practice of poetry throughout the county. Hamill is the third poet to be appointed to the honorary, unpaid position. The first two, Katharyn Howd Machan and Michelle Berry, also have ties to Ithaca College. Machan is a longtime faculty member in the Department of Writing, and Berry, currently the CEO of Courtney Consulting, was a lecturer in the Roy H. Park School of Communications.In commenting on his appointment, Hamill quoted from “Childed,” one of his poems.“One earns a sense of time, not as a stream,But as a sea of countless currents, calmsAnd storms and calms repeated, where one sailsWith those one loves, but never knows the depths.”Hamill’s published works include lyric and narrative poems that have appeared in numerous small magazines and journals. Among his publications are three chapbooks—“Saint Ariadne,” “Last Things at Night,” “Winter Mind—and a book-length collection of poems, “The Year of Blue Snow.” The former first board chair of the local Community Arts Partnership, Hamill hopes to use his poet laureate appointment to highlight the county’s broad poetry scene and, in particular, to bring programs to schools and the elderly.Educated at Boston College and Stanford University, Hamill taught at Morehouse College, Indiana State University and Temple University. He served as an administrator at the College of Charleston, South Carolina, before joining Ithaca College 20 years ago.

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