"In 1938, the State of Ohio set the third Friday of every October as Ohio Poetry Day. This was the first poetry day established by a state government in the United States. Tessa Sweazy Webb spent thirteen months lobbying the Ohio General Assembly to create Ohio Poetry Day. She argued, 'For each living reader a living poet, for each living poet a living reader.' After Ohio approved Webb's idea, other states adopted a day dedicated to poetry as well."
- Quotation from Ohio History Central
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Laura Grace Weldon Is Named Ohio Poet of the Year
Laura Grace Weldon has been named Ohio Poet of the Year 2019 by the Ohio
Poetry Day Association on the strength of her second collection, Blackbird (Grayson Books, 2019). Topics in that collection include coyotes, cows, pay disparity, rare disorders, weeping icons, and astrophysics. A journal review called her poems “experiential works of luminous simplicity.”
grew up a voracious reader thanks to public libraries and discovered a
love of poetry early. She incorporated poetry everywhere her career took
her. She developed a poetry project at a nursing home culminating in a
book of poems collaboratively written with residents, shared poetry with
support groups she facilitated as a social worker, used poems to get
across principles while teaching nonviolence workshops, and now offers
poems as prompts for her memoir students. But she didn’t write her own
poems until she was in her late 40’s, brought to it by what she calls
years later over 140 of her poems have been published in journals and
anthologies, Thanks to Lit Youngstown, some of her poems have been
interpreted into sculpture, video, and painting, with one even stamped
into a public sidewalk. In addition to Blackbird she’s published an earlier collection, Tending (Aldrich Press, 2013) as well as a handbook of natural learning titled Free Range Learning (Hohm Press, 2010).
lives on a small farm in Medina County’s Litchfield Township. She works
as an editor and particularly enjoys teaching community-based classes
in memoir, poetry, and creativity. She is still a voracious reader, as
her often-maxed out library card can attest.