Edinboro welcomes Erie County Poet Laureate to reading Friday


Poet, 2022

Nationally renowned writer and 2021-2022 Erie County Poet Laureate Sean Thomas Dougherty brings his unique style of gypsy punk and Rust Belt romance to Edinboro University on Friday, with a free poetry reading for the campus community.

Dougherty will read from his collective work at 7 p.m. in the Dr. William P. Alexander Music Center – Recital Hall. Prior to his reading, Edinboro students and faculty will also launch the latest volume of the student led publication – Chimera XIX.

Dougherty was born in New York City in 1965, and grew up in Brooklyn, Toledo, Ohio, and Manchester, N.H.

He received his Bachelor of Arts at the University of New Hampshire and his MFA at Syracuse University. He comes from a diverse family with an African-American stepfather and a mother of mixed Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Publisher’s Weekly describes Sean as “A blue-collar, Rust Belt romantic to his generous, enthusiastic core,” and Dorianne Laux praises him as “the gypsy punk heart of American poetry.”

Dougherty is the author or editor of 20 books, including “All You Ask for is Longing: Poems 1994-2014” (BOA Editions) and “Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line” (2010 BOA Editions), which was a finalist for Binghamton University’s Milton Kessler Literary Prize for the best book by a poet over 40.

His book “The Second O of Sorrow” (BOA Editions 2018) received both the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Housatonic Book Award from Western Connecticut State University. His book “Not All Saints” won the 2020 Bitter Oleander Library of Poetry Prize.

His forthcoming book “The Dead are Everywhere Telling Us Things” received the 2021 Jacar Press Full Length Book Prize selected by Nickole Brown and Jessica Jacobs. He is the recipient of over a dozen other awards, including the Twin Cities College Association Poet in Residence, an appearance in “Best American Poetry 2014,” the 2021 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize from Los Angeles’ Cultural Weekly, the 2021 Established Artist Fellowship from Erie Cultural Arts, a United States Fulbright Lectureship to the Balkans, and a Lifetime Achievement in Poetry Award from Erie Civitas, Mercyhurst University and Poet’s Hall. 

Dougherty currently works as a graduate writing mentor with the MFA program in creative writing at Western Connecticut State University and as a Medical Technician and Caregiver for folks with traumatic brain injuries.