The Ridgefield Poet Laureate Selection Panel has selected Barb Jennes to be appointed by the Board of Selectman as Ridgefield’s first town poet laureate. Jennes has accepted this three-year position, which runs from April 2020 through March 2023. A special ceremony and poetry reading will take place at a date to be announced.

Barb Jennes is a retired English teacher who has taught poetry classes to children, teens, adults and seniors. She recently was selected as a 30/30 Project poet and her poem “Not” was chosen as the second place winner in the 2019 CT Poetry Society’s competition. Also, in 2019 she was accepted by, and participated in, the highly competitive Bread Loaf Writers Conference.

“Barb’s joyous and infectious passion for poetry, her strong application, her powerful, yet accessible poetry, and her commitment to and involvement in our rich cultural community led us to conclude that she is the perfect person to promote an appreciation for poetry in Ridgefield,” said member of the selection panel Maggie Seligman, a literary scholar and longtime teacher of writing and literature who currently teaches poetry at Founders Hall.

The seven-person selection panel, including representatives from Ridgefield High School, Founders Hall, Ridgefield Library, Compassionate Ridgefield, and the Ridgefield Arts Council, carefully reviewed applications to see how closely they aligned with criteria that were crafted in consultation with the CT Coalition of Poets Laureate and after research into how other towns in the state approach their application process for this position.

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