Laurel Blossom named Edgefield, SC’s first poet laureate
From the Aiken Standard Article by Stephanie Turner
EDGEFIELD — Listening to the stories of honey-loving Winnie the Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood caused Laurel Blossom of Edgefield to become enchanted with poetry. In March, Blossom was declared Edgefield’s first poet laureate. Her career, though, spans decades. Career overview Blossom was born in Washington, D.C., during World War II, but grew up in her parents’ hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Blossom’s mom was the one who read to Blossom and her siblings A.A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” pieces. “I fell in love with all of it, the way the stories and poems made me feel, and I wanted to be able to make other people feel that joy I felt in language and rhythm, even when the story or the poem was sad,” Blossom said. When she going through her adolescence, the budding writer discovered another impactful poet – Edna St. Vincent Millay. “She was like a celebrity,” Blossom said. “She was (among) the first female (poets) to win the Pulitzer Prize ... She made it possible for me to think that a girl could grow up to be a poet.” Blossom, whose writing won awards when she was in high school, took a break for a few years after college but resumed her craft in 1970. “(I) have been writing and publishing ever since,” she said. Her works have been included in anthologies and magazines and in her line of books. One of her newer publications, “Longevity,” is expected out in October; it follows “Degrees of Latitude,” which she published in 2007. “Degrees of Latitude” is “a book-length poem, really, divided by section breaks to give air: these are short sections, for the most part, and breezy, this is a book-length narrative that covers family and personal history and moves seamlessly through time and space,” according to the book’s description, and Blossom describes “Longevity” as “a book-length narrative prose poem.” Both are published through Four Way Books Becoming Edgefield’s poet laureate Blossom and her husband have lived in Edgefield for around 12 years. “She brought with her many accomplishments in the field of poetry, from published poems to her expertise in editing a poetry journal,” reported The Edgefield Advertiser. “Laurel brought poetry into the homes and businesses of the Edgefield area through her readings.” A five-person committee proposed Blossom for the poet laureate position to the Edgefield Town Council, who approved the decision during their March meeting. Though she has held the position for barely three months, Blossom has many plans for her two-year, renewable term. The biggest of which is a Pottery and Poetry Arts Festival, where Blossom wants to have live music, food, art galleries and a poetry reading. The poet laureate also is looking into publishing a “Poets Corner” column with The Edgefield Advertiser, finding a youth poet laureate and hosting author readings. “I hope to bring poetry and literature of all kinds to students and adults alike throughout (Edgefield) County and beyond,” she said. Blossom’s books can be purchased through websites like Amazon and Better World Books and at the Edgefield Discovery Center, 405 Main St. For more information, visit www.laurelblossom.com.