Legislature Chair Michael Lane announced the appointment of Zee Zahava as Tompkins County Poet Laureate for 2017. The position of Tompkins County Poet Laureate was established by the Legislature to honor local outstanding poets, integrate poetry into the community, enrich the education of our young people, and enhance the County's position as a cultural center. The selection and announcement of the Poet Laureate is administered by the Community Arts Partnership (CAP).
Zee has been actively involved in the literary life of Ithaca for the past 35 years — advocating for writers of all ages by organizing public readings, leading writing workshops, and producing print and on-line publications, helping to. create programs promoting awareness of the written and spoken word. Zahava was owner of Smedley's Bookshop; then outreach librarian for the Durland Alternatives Library (and director of its downtown branch); and now as the director of her own writing studio on West State Street. Over the years, she has led many different kinds of writing workshops, organized dozens of group and solo readings throughout the county, hosted writing circles for teens and adults, and served as editor of numerous literary publications. Her own stories and poems have appeared in many online journals and publications. Find her work on her blog: http://zeezahava.blogspot.com/
“2017 is going to be a challenging year for us,” the new Poet Laureate notes. “Staying connected with one another, building bonds of community, recognizing and celebrating all expressions of artistic spirit — these things will inspire us, strengthen us, and enliven us. I plan to dedicate my efforts to bringing people together to share their stories, to listen deeply to one another, and to be enriched by one another. It will be an honor to be allowed to pursue these intentions as the Tompkins County Poet Laureate.”