Canton Appoints Town Poet Laureate

Canton now has a town poet laureate

CANTON — A resident who is a professor at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford has been named as the town's first-ever poet laureate.

Joan Hofmann was appointed to that position by the board of selectmen when it met on Wednesday. Hofmann joins a small but growing number of town poet laureates in the state and the idea was proposed by members of the Canton Main Street Project earlier this year to promote the town's arts community. In addition, the selectmen appointed David Leff as the first town historian for Canton.

Four people applied for the poet's position but only two were given serious consideration. One applicant lives out of town and therefor did not meet the selection criteria and another used her application to voice support for Leff, who applied for the poet's post and the historian's job.

Selectmen said they were happy with the quality of the applicants.

"With David we are in good hands with the historian and Joan presents fine credentials for the poet," said selectmen Stephen Roberto, who nominated Hoffman for the poet's position and Leff to be town historian. The board approved both in a unanimous vote.

Hofmann could not be reached on Thursday for comment. She is a professor of special education at the University of Saint Joseph and according to the resume she gave to the town she has taught there for 24 years. She has published her own volume of poetry and her work has also appeared in anthologies. According to her application, Hofmann has also participated in numerous poetry readings and conferences in New England.

In addition to Leff, Mary Ellen Cosker applied for the historian's post. The selectmen named her deputy town historian and she along with Leff are members of the Collinsville Historic District Commission.

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