Lara Keenan, Pierson Library Director
As a joint venture of the Shelburne town manager and Pierson Library director, the Shelburne Selectboard adopted a poet laureate program in fall 2015 to support and celebrate poetry and the arts in the community.
Town Manager Joe Colangelo, Pierson Library Director Lara Keenan, and Flying Pig Bookstore co-owner Elizabeth Bluemle reviewed several nominations for Shelburne’s inaugural poet laureate. After careful deliberation, they unanimously agreed to submit to the Selectboard for affirmation longtime resident and local poet Rick Bessette.
Bessette is well known throughout the Shelburne community as “The People’s Poet,” having written the poem engraved in Shelburne’s Veterans Memorial and shared his poetry with the Shelburne Community School, the Waldorf School, the Charlotte-Shelburne Rotary Club, and several retirement and assisted living communities in the area. His published book of poetry, A Vermonter’s Heritage, Listening to the Trees, was published by local Wind Ridge Publishing.
The Poet Laureate Committee is pleased to recommend Rick Bessette as Shelburne’s first poet laureate, confident that his work over his 2-year term will unite the Shelburne community and foster a true sense of community pride.