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Poet Laureate Program

Meet Amesbury's Poet Laureate:
Ellie O'Leary


In partnership with the John Greenleaf Whittier Home and City of Amesbury, the Amesbury Cultural Council is pleased to announce the selection of Amesbury's third Poet Laureate, Ellie O'Leary. Ellie will serve through January 2024 after the Poet Laureate Support Committee voted to extend her term due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

(excerpt from a 2020 Newburyport News article 2020, by Jim Sullivan)

O’Leary, 71, grew up in Freedom, Maine, and moved to Amesbury in 1986. The mother of three worked as a real estate agent in the city for many years and now teaches workshops for first-time homebuyers. “I have got to be the most business-minded writer that I know,” O’Leary said. “I have all of my poems on a spreadsheet.”

O’Leary moved back to Maine in 2004 and hosted “The Writers Forum” on community radio station WERU-FM and taught writing at Senior College at Belfast. She also co-founded the Fall Writerfest at the Pyramid Life Center in Paradox, New York. “I probably really got start writing in 1996,” O’Leary said. “I always wanted to be a writer, but I thought you had to somehow be chosen as a writer. Then, I decided to just start writing.”

O’Leary received the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance’s Martin Dibner Memorial Fellowship in poetry in 2013 and moved back to Amesbury in 2017. The author will also see her poetry manuscript “Breathe Here” published by North Country Press later this year.

“It’s a validation,” O’Leary said. “You like your own work anyway but when someone picks it up for publication, especially if it is a really attractive publication, it is just good to see. Your real estate friends will always love it. But they’re not quite sure what they are reading. They just think it’s nice.”

O’Leary holds a master of fine arts in poetry from the University of Southern Maine. She said she intends to keep up the monthly poetry readings at Amesbury Public Library and hopes to start a poetry workshop soon.

Like her Facebook page for the latest happenings, upcoming events and readings.

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