Prince William Poets Laureate Named
LAKE RIDGE, Va. — The two top poets in Prince William County were named at a special ceremony at Tacketts Mill in Lake Ridge.
Dr. Robert Scott of Haymarket and Alexandra “Zan” Hailey of Manassas will share the honor of being the county’s first Poets Laureate.
They’ll hold the title for the next two years, and they were selected for a group of 14 writers who were all vying for the distinction.
“According to the 11-member selection panel, both candidates simply blew them away with their individual creative strengths. For Dr. Scott, it was the project he proposed: using a website, a series of community seminars and a great deal of pavement pounding, Dr. Scott plans to encourage budding and seasoned Prince William poets to submit poems for inclusion into a permanent “10,000 poem exhibit,” a press release stated.
“For Zan Hailey, it was the power of her submitted poems, such as “Around the Yellow House.” Though still a college student, Zan has already published her work, garnered an award, mentored young writers through the Northern Virginia Writing Project and even created an on-line collection of poetry from all over, using Band-Aids® as a prompt. She is a graduate of the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, Woodbridge Senior High School,” the press release continued.
The announcement was made June 14 at the Tacketts Mill Shopping Center in Lake Ridge. Guy Lambert, a news personality at WPGC-FM in Lanham, Md. served as the emcee of the event.
Seven of the 14 nominees were school teachers in Prince William County. The nominess will now form Prince William Poet Laureate Circle to spur other community poetry projects. Those nominees are:
1. Phebe Ciemny, Woodbridge: student, Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Woodbridge Senior High School
2. Joe De Cesare, Woodbridge: marketing assistant, Fort Belvoir Federal Credit Union & stagehand, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Manassas
3. Brittany Crow, Woodbridge: student, Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, Woodbridge Senior High School
4. Melody Lane Ashtara De Furia, Manassas: Northern Virginia Community College, Woodbridge Campus Business Office
5. John Dutton, Woodbridge: Language Arts teacher, Beville Middle School
6. Paulette Garner, Manassas: Language Arts teacher, Parkside Middle School
7. Katherine Gotthardt, Bristow: author, editor, blog and website developer
8. Neil Hailey, Manassas: student, Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, Woodbridge Senior High School
9. Bennie Herron, Manassas: educator
10. Dora Muhammad, Woodbridge: author, editor and performer
11. Renee Ordoobadi, Bristow: student, Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, Woodbridge Senior High School
12. Heather Stevens, Manassas: author, artist and performer