Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Did you know Rochester has its own official poet? Make that official poet laureate. A new one is expected to be formally appointed Monday.

Mayor Kim Norton has appointed Susan McMillan to the position and the City Council is expected to affirm the decision Monday. Jane Belau became the city’s first Poet Laureate when she was appointed by Mayor Ardell Brede in 2012.

According to the city, Rochester’s Poet Laureate was established to promote appreciation for poetry and the language arts, and to further community understanding of, and support for, the Laureate’s role. The Poet Laureate works with cultural, educational, and other organizations to encourage the public to enjoy and express poetic and literary creativity. These goals are accomplished via public appearances, readings, workshops, and other public displays of poetry. Additionally, the Poet Laureate will participate in an inaugural reading and will help organize at least four additional community events during the term.

As for the new Poet Laureate, here is her bio (according to the city):

Sue McMillan has been active in the city as a member of the League of Minnesota Poets and serves in leadership roles in Southeast Minnesota’s formal and informal poetry groups. She works with schools, post-secondary educational institutions as well as organizing poetry displays and collaborations with other art groups. Susan McMillan began her career as a technical writer and editor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in scientific and technical communication from Michigan Technological University. For the past decade, she has chosen to focus her talent on creative writing, particularly poetry, which has been her lifelong passion. McMillan’s poetry has been widely published in local and regional publications, including The Talking Stick, Green Blade, Poetic Strokes, The Moccasin, and Rochester Post Bulletin, as well as recent anthologies from Poets Unite Worldwide. Her work has appeared in special editions of Essential Inklings (La Crosse, WI), Lanesboro Water/Ways: Old Photos & New Poems, and will soon appear in Upon Waking: 58 Voices Speak Out From the Shadows, a new anthology on the subject of abuse. Her work has also been included in the Poet-Artist Collaboration through Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota, the Cracked Walnut traveling literary reading series, and the Minnesota Voices program through the Wadena County Historical Society. McMillan has presented poetry workshops and helped coordinate poetry events for UMR Connects (a University of Minnesota public engagement and outreach program), Rochester Public Library, and Learning Is Forever (a Rochester Community and Technical College outreach program). She has been instrumental in organizing poetry sharing groups and public readings in the Rochester area, and has served as a juror for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies as well as regional poetry contests. An active member of the League of Minnesota Poets, McMillan served on the executive board for six years. She has led Rochester area chapter, Southeastern Minnesota Poets, since 2009. McMillan hopes to foster a strong literary community in the greater Rochester area by helping to create opportunities for the region’s many outstanding writers to grow and share their work. She believes that, through collaborative efforts, poetry can find an essential place in Rochester— both for its healing qualities as well as its ability to educate and inspire. She has lived, worked, and volunteered in the Rochester area for 40 years.

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