The position of Northfield Poet Laureate was established in 2016 by the Northfield Public Library, in collaboration with the City of Northfield Arts and Culture Commission. The position was funded in its initial year through a grant by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC). The Poet Laureate organizes, hosts, and provides funding for literary events in Northfield such as Poetry Night at Content Bookstore, Writers Night, and poetry workshops in the Northfield Public Schools. The Poet Laureate also writes and recites original poems for local civic events. The Poet Laureate has worked in collaboration with the Northfield Arts Guild, the Greenvale Park Community School, Content Bookstore, the Latino (and Friends) Play Festival, Northfield High School, Arcadia Charter School, and others.
The first Northfield Poet Laureate is Rob Hardy. Rob is the author of Domestication: Collected Poems, 1996-2016 (Shipwreckt Books 2017), The Collecting Jar (Grayson Books 2005), and Aeschylus, The Oresteia: An Adaptation (Hero Now Theatre 2017). Rob's writing (poetry and prose) has appeared in New England Review, Ploughshares, Rattle, New Letters, North Dakota Quarterly, and other literary and scholarly journals. His adaptation of Aeschylus's Oresteia has been staged at Carleton College and by Hero Now Theatre in Minneapolis. Rob is also a member of the Northfield School Board and a Research Associate in Classics at Carleton College, and editor of Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica Selections (Dickinson College Commentaries).
Funding for the inaugural year of the Northfield Poet Laureate program (2017) was provided by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC). In the second year of the program (2018), the Northfield Poet Laureate is supported by funds from the Northfield Public Library and the Friends and Foundation of the Northfield Public Library. In the third year (2019), the program is again supported by a generous grant from SEMAC.
A grant from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) has provided funding for this project thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund made possible by the voters of Minnesota.