Poet Laureate

Erie County Poet Laureate Chuck Joy
Poet Laureate Chuck Joy

Erie County’s 2018-19 Poet Laureate is Erie resident Chuck Joy.

Joy’s poems have appeared in a number of magazines, including Chiron Review, Rattapallax, Foundlings and Great Lakes Review, and the anthologies Lake Effect, Dwelling in Possibility and Picture This. Chuck appears with Kurt Sahlmann on the CD “Live at The Jive” (CDBaby.com).

Collections of Joy’s poems include “Every Tiger Wants To Sing” (Poets’ Hall Press), “Said the Growling Dog” (Nirala Publications), “Percussive” (Turning Point), and the new chapbook “The Opposite of Gifts” (Heyman! Productions).

Joy is a member of the Italian-American Writers Association and the Mercyhurst Community Writing Workshop. A child psychiatrist, Joy is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is poetry editor of their newsletter.

A poet producer, Chuck partnered with Kathleen Cantrell for Poetry Scene, a weekly poetry event at the Erie Book Store. Currently he’s producing Poetry Night, a weekly poetry event at Calamari’s, 1317 State Street, where he also hosts. Stage shows have included Exploring The Border, All Aboard, Silver Creek, Helping Ricky and We Make It Easy.

Joy attended Cathedral Preparatory School (1969), received his BA from Fordham University (1973), and his MD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (1978). He pursued psychiatry training at Warren State Hospital and West Virginia University at Morgantown, where he was Chief Resident and completed a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship.

Joy was a founding member and initial chairman of the Erie County Pennsylvania Poetry Initiative. He is Erie County’s sixth Poet Laureate. He lives with his wife, Dawn, and their children Nicole, Veronica and Gregory, all grown. Read more on his website, chuckjoy.com.

Read some of Chuck Joy’s poetry.

About the Poet Laureate Initiative

In addition to the honor of being named, the 2018-2019 Erie County Poet Laureate will be awarded a $7,500 grant, which provides a $3,000 stipend to the poet and $4,000 to carry out a project to help bring poetry to the people of Erie County. Five hundred dollars goes to administration and other costs. The community project is unique to the Erie County Initiative, ensuring that the Laureate uses the majority of the public funding to enrich and educate the region through poetry.

Erie County government, in cooperation with Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University and Penn State Behrend, started the Poet Laureate Initiative in 2009. Already, it has received recognition for its impact on the arts in our region, receiving the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association County Arts Award in 2011 and the National Association of Counties National Arts Award in 2012.

Past Laureates are Berwyn Moore, 2009-2010; Dr. Thomas Forsthoefel, 2010-2012; Ron Hayes, 2013-2014; Cee Williams, 2015-2016; and  Marisa Moks-Unger, 2017 -2018.

Governing the Initiative are the members of the Erie County Poetry Committee: Joseph Giles, former Erie County Councilman; Dr. Greg Brown, Professor of English, Mercyhurst College; Helene Grande, Communications Specialist, Erie School District (retired); Mary Jane Koenig, Writing Specialist (retired), Erie School District; George Looney, Professor of English, Penn State Behrend; Berwyn Moore, Professor of English, Gannon University; Caroline Hohmann, Professor, Edinboro University; Tom Ferarro, Executive Director of Erie Arts and Culture; Ben Speggen, Program Director at Jefferson Educational Society; and Douglas Smith, Erie County Clerk.