The Suffolk County Poet Laureate is selected by an independent committee comprised of former Laureates.
Suffolk County, NY - May 18, 2017 - The Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved legislation cosponsored by Legislators Bill Lindsay III (8th District) and Leslie Kennedy (12th District) to name Mrs. Gladys Henderson of Nesconset as the Suffolk County Poet Laureate at the May 16 General Meeting. Mrs. Henderson will begin her 2 year term as the Laureate on June 1; succeeding Robert Savino of West Islip.
The Suffolk County Poet Laureate is selected by an independent committee comprised of former Laureates. Upon their selection, the committee then submits its recommendation to the Economic Development Committee of the Suffolk County Legislature, where the nominee is further evaluated and invited to discuss their plans and ideas to promote poetry and the arts throughout the County as the official poet.
“Gladys Henderson truly cares about her craft and the craft of other poets, especially those who are local Long Islanders,” said Legislator Kennedy “It is vitally important that we encourage the arts here in Suffolk County and Gladys L. Henderson is the perfect candidate to do that as Poet Laureate.”
Mrs. Henderson is a seasoned poet who has been featured in several publications and in addition to placing in the top 3 in over 25 competitions, she has received many distinguished awards, including the Walt Whitman Poet of the Year in 2010 and placement on the Writer's Digest Poetry Competition's Top 100. Gladys has been published throughout various publications and has authored “Eclipse of Heaven,” a 2008 chapbook published by Finish Line Press.
“Poetry is an art form that creates a common family; one that spiritually connects us to each another - regardless of our faith or position. It becomes our language; it dissolves differences and it is truly a healing art, said Gladys Henderson at the Economic Development Committee. She went on to explain that her goal is to help young children become excited about poetry, so that it creates a lasting impact on their lives. She discussed partnering with the members of the committee to create free workshops in their communities, at parks, and within our schools.”
Mrs. Henderson credits her older brother for her initial spark to write about nature and life, as they traversed the woods and waterways around their childhood home in New Rochelle. Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Art Education and Psychology from Midwestern University, she moved to Long Island where she began teaching English and Art in both public and private schools and set off down the path that led her to advance poetry for all Long Islanders.
“Gladys is a remarkable poet who is always striving to better educate our communities across Long Island,” said Legislator Bill Lindsay III. “As a former teacher she knows that the influence of a good educator can never be erased, and I’m confident that Gladys will help to craft many long lasting programs that cement poetry, art, and cultural education throughout Suffolk County.”
As an active member of the poetry community on Long Island, Mrs. Henderson was part of the committee to create the 1st Long Island Poetry Marathon, the “Frost on the Road” workshop fundraiser for the Robert Frost Fundraiser; and in addition, she runs two poetry workshop venues on Long Island, conducts lectures, serves as a poetry competition judge, and takes every opportunity to advance the arts and art education. Mrs. Henderson was also selected by 1964 Pulitzer Prize Winner, Louis Simpson, as a member of his monthly writing group – an honor that she holds near to her heart and helped her to further develop her craft.
Mrs. Henderson has already made plans to meet with Parks Committee Chairwoman, Kara Hahn (5th District) to discuss poetry workshops in Suffolk County Parks and is ready to advance the work of many young poets throughout Suffolk County as the official Suffolk County Poet Laureate.