NO. R-55.  House concurrent resolution congratulating Grace Paley on designation as Vermont’s State Poet.


Offered by:  Representatives Masland of Thetford and Seibert of Norwich.

     Whereas, Vermonters’ deep poetic passions were officially confirmed in 1961 when the General Assembly enthusiastically adopted Joint House Resolution 54, declaring Robert Frost as the state’s poet laureate and first state poet, and

     Whereas, in 1988, Governor Madeleine Kunin signed Executive Order No. 69 establishing the new office of state poet, and beginning in 1989, the second state poet, Galway Kinnell, was appointed for a four-year term, and his colleagues Louise Gluck and Ellen Bryant Voigt have proven worthy successors, and

     Whereas, on February 7, 2003, based on the recommendation of the state poet advisory panel, Governor James Douglas named Grace Paley of Thetford as the new Vermont State Poet, and

     Whereas, Grace Paley’s multifaceted life as short story writer, essayist, poet, teacher, and indomitable feminist and political activist, and since 1975, proud Vermonter, began in the Bronx, New York where she was born in 1922, and

     Whereas, she began her literary career as an author of prose, publishing her inaugural collection of short stories, “The Little Disturbances of Man,” in 1959 which was immediately praised, and subsequently several highly-acclaimed compendiums of her fiction have appeared, including “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute” in 1974,  “Later the Same Day” in 1985, and the National Book Award finalist “Collected Stories”  in 1994, and

     Whereas, her illuminating observations on the serious and mundane aspects of human life through fiction, both in her books and in magazines such as the New Yorker, Ms., and Mother Jones, have during the last two decades been increasingly superseded by her alluring poetic musings which in 1985, were initially published in collected form in “Leaning Forward” and in 2000, appeared in “Begin Again:  Collected Poems,”  and

     Whereas, her literary genius has been repeatedly honored as she is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Edith Wharton Citation of Merit, an award from the National Institute of Arts, a senior fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and here in Vermont, the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and 

     Whereas, she has imparted her love of the written word and the writer’s craft to attentive students at institutions of higher education, including the City College of New York, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, and Syracuse University, and

     Whereas, this youthful 80-year-old denizen of the poetic arts will enthusiastically and energetically descend from her Thetford Hill retreat to entice Vermonters young and old to celebrate the breadth and beauty of her poetic cadence, now therefore be it


     Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

     That the General Assembly congratulates Grace Paley on designation as the new Vermont State Poet, and be it further

     Resolved:  That the Secretary of State be directed to send a copy of this resolution to Grace Paley in Thetford.