The Poet was at a loss for words.
“It’s my work with language that has brings me here today,” Frank Sherlock said. “But I can’t find the words to express the gratitude I have for this city that raised me, beat me up a few times and still reveals Philadelphia’s unending love.”
Frank Sherlock, a self-taught Southwest Philadelphia poet, was named the city’s second-ever Poet Laureate. Mayor Michael Nutter appointed Sherlock on Friday morning.
Sherlock, 44, is best known for “Neighbor Ballads” (Mural Arts Program, 2011), “Over Here” (Factory School, 2009), “The City Real & Imagined” (Factory School, 2010, written with 2011 Pew Fellow CAConrad) and a collaboration with Brett Evans entitled “Ready-to-Eat Individual” (Lavender Ink, 2008).
The nine-member Poet Laureate Governing Committee chose Sherlock out of 26 applicants last month.
Sherlock will have some big shoes to fill. Sonia Sanchez, a renowned writer, educator and activist, assumed the position of Philadelphia’s inaugural poet laureate in January 2012.
He called Sanchez, who couldn’t attend, the city’s “enduring force for poetry, for social justice, and a commitment to young people.”
Surprisingly, a city with a rich history of housing well-known wordsmiths had never bestowed the honor upon one of its citizens until Nutter established the position to give one talented poet the opportunity to publicly represent the city in the medium of poetry and to serve the art form within the city.
Sherlock said he was proud to live and work in this city, which is seeing a creative renaissance, and contribute to this “poem called Philadelphia.”
“And I’m happy to represent during the creation of this collaborative piece that is being written now in the subway, in school, in church, in the bar, on the corner, this poem called Philadelphia,” he said.
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