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Bettina 'Gold' Wilkerson Named 2017 Dutchess County Poet Laureate

Bettina "Gold" Wilkerson
Bettina "Gold" Wilkerson Photo Credit: Contributed

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- Residents who love poetry will be pleased to know the county's newest Poet Laureate is Poughkeepsie resident Bettina “Gold” Wilkerson.

In her unpaid role as Dutchess County’s Poet Laureate, Wilkerson will serve for a one-year term and bring poetry to the community through a series of readings and events.

“As Poet Laureate, through a series of poetry workshops and performances, I hope to empower communities to find their voice for their dreams, goals, and aspirations,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson was the recipient of the 2016 Dutchess County Executive’s “Artivist” Award; a 2016 Dutchess County Athena Award honoree by The Chamber Foundation, Inc.; the 2016 recipient of the Exempt Firemen’s Association Black Heritage Committee’s “Outstanding Community Service Award” for Extraordinary Contribution and Dedication; and the 2014 New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Individual Artist Tier Grant awardee for Dutchess County, among others honors.

She was selected from 65 nominations by a panel of literary professionals and community members.

Wilkerson will kick-off her duties by presenting a poem at County Executive Marcus Molinaro's State of the County address at 5 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park.

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