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PHCC names first poet laureate

To honor National Poetry Month and distinguished faculty at Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), Associate English Professor Joyce Staples recently was named the first poet laureate of PHCC. 

Staples said of the honor, “I am humbled and grateful to have been named PHCC’s first poet laureate. If this recognition encourages people to read or write poetry to gather a deeper appreciation of this genre, then that’s great.” 

To celebrate National Poetry Month throughout April, Staples’ English 112 students presented oral presentations on a selected poet and studied poems by Natasha Trethewey, former poet laureate of the United States. Staples said she also explained what a poet laureate is and the honor it is to be named one.

Other activities on campus included a brown bag seminar titled the Poetic Heart Summit where guests were welcome to share poems of their choice, and a celebration of National Poem In Your Pocket Day on April 30. Students were invited to share poems of their choice with the Writing Lab at PHCC for the chance to win a prize. 

Dr. Angeline Godwin, president of PHCC, said she chose to name Staples as the first poet laureate “to recognize the immense talent and expertise of our faculty, specifically Professor Staples as a poet and an English teacher, and to highlight how poetry, like all creative activity, enriches our lives.”

Patrick Henry Community College President Angeline Godwin (left) presents Associate English Professor Joyce Staples (right) with a medal officially naming her the first poet laureate of PHCC.