Jean Flanagan

UPDATED Jan. 24: The town's Poet Laureate Committee lwas the host for an in-person celebration Tuesday, Jan. 24, to thank the town's outgoing poet laureate, Steven Ratiner, and to welcome the newly appointed poet laureate, Jean P. Flanagan.

The celebration was in the Community Room of the Robbins Library, 700 Mass.Ave., from 7 to 8 p.m.

At that event, the public is invited to meet the poets laureate, hear their poetry and learn more about their hopes and dreams for engaging community members of all ages. Refreshments will be served.

The Select Board voted to appoint Flanagan, a town resident, on Jan. 23.

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The Poet Laureate Committee reported that it chose Flanagan because it was impressed with her poetry, and particularly with its sensitivity, eloquence and historical resonance.

Flanagan committed to serving community

Committee members also thought that during the interview she showed grace and humanity, and also an openness to the opinions and interests of others -- all of which put her in good stead to represent Arlington and poetry in Arlington. Furthermore, she has long familiarity with Arlington's institutions and personalities from her service on the literary committee of the Arlington Center for the Arts; that experience also means that she knows how to organize events.

Members were especially impressed by her work with prisoners and probationers, which shows not only her openness to others in need, but also her ability to bring poetry, and its healing power, to people who might not otherwise think that poetry is quite for them.

The plans she discussed with the committee touched on a variety of populations within Arlington, from its children to its elders, from those who write poetry, to those who read it, to those who think they might like to.

Miriam Levine was Arlington's first poet laureate, serving from 2015 to 2017. Cathy Desjardins served from 2017 to 2019, and Ratiner from 2019 to 2022.

Dec. 5, 2022: No. 138: Red Letter Poems 3.0: Time's up
Dec. 7, 2016: Winning town poets pass test of gentle revelation
Aug. 9, 2017: Second poet laureate offers democratic outreach
Sept. 20, 2015: Listen in as our poet laureate conducts a class

This news announcement was published Monday, Jan. 9, 2023, based on information supplied by John Burt, chair of the town Poet Laureate Committee. YourArlington volunteer Kim Haase prepared it for publication. It was updated Jan. 24, to note Select Board appointment.