Robert Piazza of Litchfield has been named the town’s poet laureate by the Board of Selectmen. BZ photo
Litchfield has its first poet laureate.
Robert Piazza was appointed to the volunteer position by the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday. Piazza, who lives with his family on East Street, will serve a three-year term in the post.
“It will be my pleasure to bring more awareness to the art of poetry in Litchfield,” Piazza told selectmen during an interview.
He was nominated for the honor by Ann Marie White, director of the Oliver Wolcott Library, Michael Kazan of the library’s board of trustees, and Litchfield resident Joseph Montebello.
Piazza teaches poetry at Post University in Waterbury, has had his poetry published in 12 national and international magazines, has a masters of fine arts degree in poetry writing, and is a member of the Connecticut Poetry Society. His professional experience includes eight years as the director of poetry and arts at the Woodhall School in Bethlehem.
“It’s great that you came forward,” Selectman Jonathan Torrant said to Piazza. “You are eminently qualified.”
Piazza hopes to get started in the role by reading a poem during the town’s Memorial Day ceremony on the Green. He said he’s also looking forward to holding poetry workshops at the Oliver Wolcott Library and other locations in town, as well as in the town’s schools.
“We are lucky and blessed to have you,” First Selectman Denise Raap said.
Selectman Jeffrey Zullo encouraged Piazza to work with the Economic Development Commission on its effort to rebrand the town.
“Bringing your input to that outreach will be important, because we have something special to share here and putting it into poetry would be a great thing,” Zullo said.
The poet laureate will be required to:
•Present a poem at a town celebration.
•Host a poetry discussion at the Oliver Wolcott Library.
•Celebrate Poetry Month each April.
•Engage school-aged children in the community with poetry, including but not limited to at least one workshop event.
•Come up with other ideas that will stimulate and involve the town at large.
•Report periodically to the first selectman.