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Amesbury Poet Laureate

Lainie Senechal Named Amesbury Poet Laureate

See a video interview with Senechal and Meryl Goldsmith here. The Poet Laureate will be inaugurated at the Whittier Home on the 17th day of January, 2016 – 3:00 to 5:00pm.

(Article by Skye Wentworth)

The Amesbury Cultural Council has announced that they have 11-9-15_1302_croppedselected Amesbury writer Lainie Senechal to be Poet Laureate for the city. She will be the first Poet Laureate to be appointed to this position.

“This is a great honor for me,” Senechal said in the announcement. “The honor, however, comes with a deep commitment to the goals of this position.” As the first Poet Laureate chosen for Amesbury, Senechal says she will work to establish a standard for future appointees to the position and acknowledges that as Poet Laureate she will be continuing a great poetry legacy set by John Greenleaf Whittier, the most nationally popular poet of his time.

11-9-15_1312“In this sense, Amesbury is already a poetry centered city,” says Senechal, “I commend the Council for the work it has done to establish the appointment of an Amesbury Poet Laureate.” As the new Poet Laureate she plans to help the citizens of Amesbury to feel a part of its great legacy, have pride in Amesbury’s poetic history and inspire a desire to continue the experience of poetry in the community into the future.

“I’m going to invite students, teachers and the community to write, enhance programs already in place and create new poetry events throughout the year. I’ll also reach out to the business community to set up events that will promote their endeavors,” she says.

ToV all-stars 2015_3086_25
2015 Tapestry of Voices readers, with Lainie Senechal at the far right.

An Amesbury native, Senechal has spent just about her whole life living in the city. She’s worked throughout Massachusetts as a teacher and a poet and has been prolific in authoring poetry books, anthologies and journal articles. She’s the co-founder, with Michael Brown, of The Culture of Peace, an art and poetry exhibit of international artists/poets to celebrate the United Nations mandate for a Decade of Peace. Senechal is also the co-founder, with Harris Gardner, of Tapestry of Voices, a Greater Boston organization whose mission is to “weave poetry into the social fabric”. In fact, the Tapestry of Voices has collaborated with the Whittier Home Association to hold annual readings of Whittier’s poetry at the Whittier Home in Amesbury. “This past summer was our 17th annual reading and we’re pleased that it continues to be well-received in the community,” says Senechal.

In addition to Lainie Senechal’s post, the nominating committee, David Andrews, Joanne Sullivan, Peter Fulton, Elizabeth Stockwell, Gary Reese and Chris Bryant, has agreed that John Greenleaf 11-9-15_1307Whittier will be named Poet Laureate Emeritus of Amesbury.  The installation ceremony will be held at the Whittier Home on January 17th, 2016.

You can meet Amesbury’s first Poet Laureate, Lainie Senechal, at the Whittier Home’s Holiday Open House, 86 Friend Street, Amesbury, MA on December 6th from 1:00 to 5:00 pm.  She and Gus Reusch, curator of the Whittier Birthplace Museum in Haverhill, will be reading excerpts from Snowbound by John Greenleaf Whittier at 2:00 and 4:00 pm.