Springfield, MA – Mayor Domenic J. Sarno announced today that he has extended the term of Springfield’s Poet Laureate, Magdalena Gomez, for another year. Ms. Gomez is the recipient of a $50,000 Poet Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, with funds from the Mellon Foundation. A portion of those funds will support her work in the Springfield City Libraries which will begin this Fall.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Gómez was unable to present in-person events in the City, although she offered many virtual trainings and performances as well as launching a podcast, Jazz Ready. Now with the reopening of the libraries, she will be facilitating poetry writing and performance workshops at various Springfield library locations throughout the City.
Mayor Sarno states, “I commend our Poet Laureate Magdalena Gomez for her continued support and passion for our Libraries. These past 18 months have been challenging but Ms. Gomez has adapted and was creative in ways to continue her wonderful work. We are looking forward to all the great things she is planning for our libraries in the near future.”
Ms. Gómez has been a volunteer writer with Springfield’s African American Point of View for over twelve years, and is the producer and host of Jazz Ready, a podcast of diverse, multicultural, and intergenerational arts, which she began in response to COVID-19 for Springfield listeners and has since attracted a national and global audience, with 219 episodes to date, available 24/7 on Spotify and Anchor.fm.
Ms. Jean Canosa Albano, Assistant Director for Public Services at Springfield City Library, made the initial request for the extension to Mayor Sarno’s office. “Poetry has long been exceedingly popular among Springfield residents, young and old. From our bookshelves, to open mic events, to contests and workshops, the Library has responded by offering diverse ways for people to find joy, deal with pain, and explore their voices through poetry. We are thrilled to partner with Magdalena to expand these offerings.”
Information regarding the workshops by Ms. Gómez is available on the Library’s website now: https://www.springfieldlibrary.org/library/poetry-workshops/. The workshops will culminate in a public performance by participants at the Mason Square Branch Library. To learn more about Springfield’s Poet Laureate, you can visit: www.latinapoet.com
Founded in 1857, the Springfield City Library provides nearly 5,000 educational and recreational programs per year. To learn more, visit www.springfieldlibrary.org