|Nicole Terez Dutton|
“For me personally, it means I have the opportunity to bring attention and to bring my passion to more people,” Dutton told Somerville Neighborhood News (SNN).
With the help of the City and the Somerville Arts Council, Dutton will have support to network and build programs, but she must be the one to carry out projects.
“The first thing I want to do is to implement an apprenticeship program so that youth have the opportunity to have workshops and tutelage in poetry. My hope is to implement poetry into the schools and implement a mentorship program where I work with,” she said.
At a very young age, the Cleveland, Ohio native was impressed by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, whom first met while in grade school. Dutton recalls the experience to be “incredibly inspiring.”
“Mary Oliver is a fantastic poet who came to my school,” she remembered. “She’s from Ohio and she sat with us and read her poems and she talked about her life as a poet and that was incredibly inspiring. I remember as a young person how you can be really compelled by someone just taking the time to share themselves. I hope to bring other poets into schools to do that as well.”
Dutton began her teaching career in 2007 and currently works at the Solstice MFA Program at Pine Manor College. It’s one of the programs Dutton takes pride in, mostly in part of helping writers build their poems through their life experiences.
“It’s a treat and a privilege for me to work with people who are really invested in their own growth as writers, to have those types of intensive conversations with them and be able to watch them grow and learn and work so hard towards their own goals,” she said.
In 2011, Dutton won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize for her collection If One of Us Should Fall. She has recited her collection in open mic events, poetry slams, and poetry salon series. Her work has been well respected among those in poetry in creative writing.
“I have always felt that her poetry reflected a greater imagination, a greater capacity for the kind of use of language that to me makes for a great poem, the kind that cracks the reader into a new understanding of reality and teaches a reader how words can be used in new and breathtakingly innovative ways,” Tom Daley, poetry writing instructor at the Boston Center for Adult Education, told SNN during a “Round Robin” Poetry evening in Boston.
Dutton was the featured poet in January meeting of salon series, led by Daley. The event gives the opportunity for poets to recite and discuss thought-provoking poems. Her participation in the series sparked another goal for her to accomplish as Poet Laureate, and that is to expand the salon series in Somerville.
Somerville resident Jason Henry Simon-Bierenbaum was at the evening.
“I have read her books a few times; I’ve used it to teach. It was just really nice to see her reading from it, and her warm presence and just hearing some of her approaches,” he said.
Dutton is happy to be in a community that supports “growing young poets.”
“I want people to know that I am open and I am available,” she said. “I am an accessible person and I’m really interested in working with people to get things accomplished, so if people have ideas or if people want to invite me to come to the classroom or they have a notion for other poets to come to where they are to set up events, we can make that happen.”