Here’s news both bittersweet and great:
After 3 years, Westport has a new poet laureate.
Hopefully, she’s a better poet than I am.
Diane Lowman’s 3 years as Westport’s poet-in-residence ends June 30. She’ll pass the torch — or pen, or computer keyboard or whatever — next Wednesday (June 29), at a noontime Westport Library ceremony.
Our new poet laureate is Jessica Noyes McEntee. Her 2-year term begins July 1.
McEntee, her husband, 2 young children (now teenagers) and pets moved into a historic Westport house in 2013. She is active in the community, serving on the boards of the Westport Young Woman’s League and Save Westport Now.
She’s also a working poet. Her debut chapbook, Jackie O. Suffers Two Husbands & Other Poems, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2019. She’s taught at Westport Writers’ Workshop since 2015,
Poet laureate is not a full-time gig. McEntee works in marketing for the Pequot Library in Southport. The Amherst College graduate was previously an editor at John Wiley & Sons.
The Westport Arts Advisory Committee oversaw the selection process of the new laureate. Applicants met with a selection committee that included members of the WAAC, Westport Public Schools and the Westport Library. McEntee was officially appointed by 1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker.
As Westport’s first poet laureate, her predecessor Lowman enriched town meetings, collaborated with schools, and ran workshops for the Senior Center. She recited original haikus at many local events, including the dedication of the reimagined Library in 2019.