Chalfont resident Lara Adams Gaydos has been named the 36th Bucks County Poet Laureate by officials at Bucks County Community College.
Gaydos will give her first reading as 2012 Bucks County Poet Laureate at 2 p.m. on Dec. 1 in the Orangery at Bucks County Community College's Newtown Campus. In addition to the inaugural reading, Gaydos receives a $500 award and a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners.
Gaydos grew up in a house full of writers. Her father, Thomas E. Adams, won an O. Henry award for a short story in 1962 and her mother, Patricia Ann Adams, was a poet. “I was surrounded by it, but I didn’t think about writing as a career.”
Instead, Gaydos graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University in 1994 with a degree in history and political science. She later moved to Colorado Springs with her husband, working as a graphic designer for a small company. It was around that time that she put pen to paper and discovered her talent.
After moving back east and settling in Bucks County, Gaydos said it more than a year to connect with local poets. Every Monday evening, she’d call Colorado Springs to teleconference from afar with her poetry circle there. When a friend showed her a flyer for the 2008 Bucks County Poet Laureate Contest, Gaydos entered and placed sixth runner-up.
“I felt honored to place as a runner-up,” Gaydos said. “But really, just finally finding all the local poets and being able to meet them at last was the real winning moment for me.”
After placing as a runner-up again in 2009 and 2010, Gaydos rose to the top of 77 entrants this year in the longest-running poet laureate competition in Pennsylvania.
The preliminary judge was BCCC Professor Emeritus Robert Bense. The final judge was D. Nurkse, former poet laureate of Brooklyn, who called her poetry “beautifully realized work.”
“These poems invoke and explore a world both actual and mythic," Nurkse said.
Gaydos, whose poetry has appeared in the anthology Poems from the Baca Grande and is forthcoming in U.S. 1 Worksheets, is currently assembling her first chapbooks and manuscript for publication. She lives in Chalfont with her husband and two daughters.
The judges also named several runners-up in the contest, who have also been invited to read at the Dec. 1 reception. They are Sandra Becker, Camille Norvaisas, Tom Mallouk, and Jane Mohler. They’ll be joined by 2011 Bucks County Poet Laureate Corie Feiner.