Meet Bucks County's New Poet Laureate

Yardley resident Corie Feiner has been named the 2011 poet laureate by Bucks County Community College. She will do a public reading Sunday, Nov. 13.

Bucks County’s new Poet Laureate Corie Feiner lives in the same Yardley Borough home as former Poet Laureate Marie Kane.


Sort of.

Feiner, who moved to Bucks County in July, noticed several poetry journals at the home when she was walking through as a potential buyer. And once her family decided to purchase the house, she learned it was owned by Kane, Bucks County’s 2006 poet laureate.

At closing, Kane and Feiner chatted about their background in poetry. Kane suggested Feiner apply to be Bucks County’s poet laureate. She did. And now she is.

Since that initial meeting, Feiner and Kane have kept in touch. “We were just instant good friends,” Feiner said of Kane.

According to Bucks County Community College, 72 people entered the 35th annual contest, which is the longest-running poet laureate competition in the state.

Members of the public can experience Feiner’s poetry Sunday, Nov. 13 at a special reading in the Orangery on BCCC’s Newtown Campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The reading starts at 2 p.m. and will be about 30 minutes long, Feiner said, adding she expects to read about 10 poems. She’ll also provide some insight into the poems before reading.

She’ll be joined by the three runners-up in the contest: first runner-up Geri Ann McLaughlin of Quakertown; second runner-up Katherine Falk of Newtown; and third runner-up Nick Hiser of Warrington. Outgoing poet laureate Lorraine Henrie Lins of Langhorne will also read from her works.

Feiner is a former teaching artist and said she hopes to focus on education as part of her new role.  “I really love to go into schools and give readings and answer questions,” she said. “I think it’s important for young people to see a real, living poet who is not starving.”

Ever since she was in fourth grade, Feiner said she knew she wanted to be a poet. “When I was 12 years old, I started keeping a journal. When I was 15, I declared I was going to take it seriously,” she joked. But it wasn’t until she was earning her MFA in Poetry from NYU that she realized she could do it as a profession.

Feiner is the author of the poetry collection “Radishes into Roses.” Her work has been published in several journals, including Calyx, Kalliope, The Cortland Review, Zeek, Runes, The Jewish Review and Natural Bridge.

She has also taught at New York University and Manhattanville College and is a longtime teaching artist for organizations such as Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Poets & Writers and Poets House. 

She said the tone behind her poems “changes as my life changes.” Most often, though, her poems are about family, ancestry and food -- not a gluttonous rant but rather the feelings that natural elements, like a butternut squash, evoke.

“When I was younger, I would write very formal. When I was a teenager, they had a lot more angst. Once I went through grad school, they got very tight,” she said. “Now since I am a full-time mom, they are short. “

But Feiner said she doesn’t necessarily sit down at a desk all day to brainstorm about poems. Rather, they just sort of come to her.

“You can sit there and wait for a poem to arrive, which requires great discipline, but often they just happen,” she said.

Visit www.coriefeiner.com to learn more about her work.


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