The responsibility for enhancing the literary atmosphere and promoting an appreciation for the arts throughout Brookline falls on Judith Steinbergh, Brookline's first Poet Laureate.
After the search for the town's first Poet Laureate was announced at the end of January, the Brookline Commission for the Arts accepted applications and reviewed the candidates. The committee selected a Steinbergh unanimously from the pool the six applicants, and the Board of Selectmen approved this appointment unanimously.
The group hopes to inaugurate Steinbergh and create an opportunity for her to speak during April, which is National Poetry Month.
"Steinberg rose to the top. Her credentials speak for themselves," Joe McGonegal, BCA member explained that she was a 40-year veteran of public schools and has run programs at the Senior Center.
He added, "she aligned with the mission and purpose, as a lifelong resident of Brookline."
The Poet Laureate idea is a year in the making, McGonegal explained, noting that Selectman Ken Goldstein, and Muddy River Poetry Review editor Zvi Sesling came to the BCA with the charge of creating this program.
Selectman Betsy DeWitt said that her children were "lucky to have" Steinbergh as poet in residence at school, saying "She was the sort of person who took people by their hands and said ‘you can do this’--and they did."
Steinbergh is the author of five collections of poetry: one for children, "Marshmallow Worlds," and four for adults "Lillian Bloom: A Separation," "Motherwriter," "A Living Anytime," and "Writing My Will." She has also written three textbooks on teaching poetry.
A sample of Steinbergh's poetry appears here on the Poetry Place blog.
When accepting the Brookline Education Foundation's Caverly award in 2009, Ricardo Calleja said of Steinbergh, "Through Judy’s encouragement and guidance I began to fulfill the Spanish prophecy which states that all of us have a poet, an artist, and a crazy person trapped inside, and our job is to let them out, or our lives will be diminished."