Former U.S. Poet Laureate Works to Form Bonds with Bulgaria

One of the commitments made by any incoming poet laureate of the United States is to help create an awareness of poetry in the country and throughout the world. william meredithWilliam Meredith, U.S. Poet Laureate 1978-1980, held to that commitment during his tenure by inviting poets from Bulgaria to come and share their works with us. The bond created then has endured throughout the intervening decades, fostering cultural exchange programs and a continuing dialogue between poets in the two countries. Because of that bond, Meredith was awarded the Nikola Vapstarov Poet Laureateship.

Now that bond has tightened and borne more fruit. This summer, Meredith and his partner, Richard Herteis, traveled to Bulgaria for an international poetry conference. While they were there, they laid the groundwork for the William Meredith/Nikola Vapstarov Center for the Arts, a cross cultural center for poets, writers and artists. To support and cement that bond, the mayor of Kavarna, a town in Bulgaria, offered a plot of land in Kavarna to serve as the home for the new center, which is still in the planning stages. When complete, the Center will continue the bridge that was first erected by Meredith during his years as Poet Laureate. Herteis, writing in the Norwich Bulletin, explained:

The Meredith/Vaptsarov center will enable us to expand our efforts in the arts with poetry readings, seminars and a small library honoring these two great poets.

In Kavarna, artists will find an inspirational environment as well as the peace and quiet necessary for their work. It will serve as a writer”s retreat — similar to MacDowell or Yaddo here in the U.S. –to provide uninterrupted time to work, a supportive community, and a commitment to social egalitarianism and internationalism.

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