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Governor Markell Appoints 17th Poets Laureate for the State of Delaware

Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | News | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2015



Wilmington, DE – Following the recent retirement of JoAnn Balingit as Delaware’s Poet Laureate, Governor Jack Markell today announced the Twin Poets, Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Albert Mills, will share the title of 17th Poets Laureate of the State of Delaware.

“I’m thrilled to appoint the Twin Poets to the Delaware poet laureate position,” said Governor Markell. “Their artistic excellence, combined with extensive experience in outreach to underserved communities and infectious love of poetry and spoken word will be a benefit for all Delawareans.”

Inspired at an early age to express themselves through writing, Chukwuocha and Mills have become two of the most respected poets on the reemerging poetry and spoken word scene. Performances with such poetic legends as the Last Poets, the late Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Walter Mosley, Haki Madhubuti and the late Chinua Achebe have paved the way to repeated performances at well-known theaters, college/universities, preschools, orphanages, and area group homes, as well as prison poetry programs in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York.

“We see the ills in our community, the things that are going wrong,” says Mills. “And we feel that art truly is our way to help address some of these things. Given the appointment, I think we’ll be able to put poetry and art in places and conversations where it hasn’t been in the past. In reference to the violence, in reference to the detention centers, the work-release programs — I just think that art plays a part in the whole scheme of things. I think, so often, it’s completely overlooked as even part of the solution, which we truly feel it is.”

“This appointment will allow us to continue to create an environment where it’s OK to express your emotions and your love, your care and concern for another person,” said Chukwuocha. “This camaraderie, this brotherhood, it’s in everything we do, and it’s sorely missing from our community.”

The Twin Poets have won many awards for their work, including the Village Award from the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (2006), Bank of America’s Local Heroes Award (2006), Citizens of the Year from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (2006), Christi Award for Community Service through the Arts (2005), Mentors of the Year from the City of Wilmington (1998), The Mayors Award for Service to Children (1997), and Outstanding Young Wilmingtonian Award for Community Service (1997).

The Twin Poets have also been featured on the Peabody Award-winning HBO program Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Café, and NPR’s Poetic License, and they are the subject of a Hearts and Minds Films documentary called Why I Write. They have toured nationally and internationally, most recently with the Poetically Incorrect Tour.

The Twin Poets have authored several poetry books and have been included in many anthologies. Their latest work, a children’s book entitled Homework For Breakfast, is illustrated by Robyn Phillips-Pendleton and is scheduled for release in 2016 (Mariposa Ranch Press).

The State Poet Laureate program is facilitated by the Delaware Division of the Arts. The Division works with the Delaware Poet Laureate to coordinate activities and appearances in communities throughout the state. As the Poets Laureate for Delaware, the Twin Poets plan to be strong advocates for poetry throughout the state by:

  • Incorporating poetry/ spoken word and creative writing programming into schools, libraries and community centers.
  • Introducing poetry as a tool for transformation within youth detention centers and adult correctional facilities.
  • Utilizing the poetic art form to strengthen the healing and support process for veterans, especially those suffering from PTSD.
  • Taking poetry/spoken word and creative writing into communities of need to assist with addressing gun violence.

Nnamdi Chukwuocha is a member of the Wilmington City Council and chairs the city’s Education, Youth and Families committee. He is a community-based social worker who sits on an array of boards and commissions including the Sustainable Energy & Utilities Commission and the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission. Chukwuocha has well over 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit world, was recently awarded the Wilmington Urban League’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, and has been recognized as an outstanding Delaware State University Alumni.

Albert Mills is a community-based social worker deeply rooted in the juvenile justice system. Mills has designed and led organizations that provide services for delinquent youth and their families. As a therapist, he serves New Castle County Delaware’s Multisystemic Therapy Services. Mills is a certified A.R.T. therapist, and takes pride in his efforts to utilize art as a tool for foundational change in youth, families, communities, and our society. A cofounder of G.O.A.L.S., and S.Y.A.-Tutoring and Mentoring Programs in Wilmington, Mills is also an honored army veteran who served in Iraq and speaks about his struggles with PTSD as a result of the war.

For more information on the Twin Poets, and instructions for how to bring them to your community, please visit http://www.artsdel.org/poetlaureate/default.shtml. Note: information on the Twin Poets will be available here on December 17.

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Governor Markell Appoints 17th Poets Laureate for the State of Delaware

Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | News | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Wednesday, December 16, 2015



Wilmington, DE – Following the recent retirement of JoAnn Balingit as Delaware’s Poet Laureate, Governor Jack Markell today announced the Twin Poets, Nnamdi Chukwuocha and Albert Mills, will share the title of 17th Poets Laureate of the State of Delaware.

“I’m thrilled to appoint the Twin Poets to the Delaware poet laureate position,” said Governor Markell. “Their artistic excellence, combined with extensive experience in outreach to underserved communities and infectious love of poetry and spoken word will be a benefit for all Delawareans.”

Inspired at an early age to express themselves through writing, Chukwuocha and Mills have become two of the most respected poets on the reemerging poetry and spoken word scene. Performances with such poetic legends as the Last Poets, the late Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Walter Mosley, Haki Madhubuti and the late Chinua Achebe have paved the way to repeated performances at well-known theaters, college/universities, preschools, orphanages, and area group homes, as well as prison poetry programs in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York.

“We see the ills in our community, the things that are going wrong,” says Mills. “And we feel that art truly is our way to help address some of these things. Given the appointment, I think we’ll be able to put poetry and art in places and conversations where it hasn’t been in the past. In reference to the violence, in reference to the detention centers, the work-release programs — I just think that art plays a part in the whole scheme of things. I think, so often, it’s completely overlooked as even part of the solution, which we truly feel it is.”

“This appointment will allow us to continue to create an environment where it’s OK to express your emotions and your love, your care and concern for another person,” said Chukwuocha. “This camaraderie, this brotherhood, it’s in everything we do, and it’s sorely missing from our community.”

The Twin Poets have won many awards for their work, including the Village Award from the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families (2006), Bank of America’s Local Heroes Award (2006), Citizens of the Year from Omega Psi Phi Fraternity (2006), Christi Award for Community Service through the Arts (2005), Mentors of the Year from the City of Wilmington (1998), The Mayors Award for Service to Children (1997), and Outstanding Young Wilmingtonian Award for Community Service (1997).

The Twin Poets have also been featured on the Peabody Award-winning HBO program Def Poetry, BET’s Lyric Café, and NPR’s Poetic License, and they are the subject of a Hearts and Minds Films documentary called Why I Write. They have toured nationally and internationally, most recently with the Poetically Incorrect Tour.

The Twin Poets have authored several poetry books and have been included in many anthologies. Their latest work, a children’s book entitled Homework For Breakfast, is illustrated by Robyn Phillips-Pendleton and is scheduled for release in 2016 (Mariposa Ranch Press).

The State Poet Laureate program is facilitated by the Delaware Division of the Arts. The Division works with the Delaware Poet Laureate to coordinate activities and appearances in communities throughout the state. As the Poets Laureate for Delaware, the Twin Poets plan to be strong advocates for poetry throughout the state by:

  • Incorporating poetry/ spoken word and creative writing programming into schools, libraries and community centers.
  • Introducing poetry as a tool for transformation within youth detention centers and adult correctional facilities.
  • Utilizing the poetic art form to strengthen the healing and support process for veterans, especially those suffering from PTSD.
  • Taking poetry/spoken word and creative writing into communities of need to assist with addressing gun violence.

Nnamdi Chukwuocha is a member of the Wilmington City Council and chairs the city’s Education, Youth and Families committee. He is a community-based social worker who sits on an array of boards and commissions including the Sustainable Energy & Utilities Commission and the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission. Chukwuocha has well over 30 years’ experience in the nonprofit world, was recently awarded the Wilmington Urban League’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Award, and has been recognized as an outstanding Delaware State University Alumni.

Albert Mills is a community-based social worker deeply rooted in the juvenile justice system. Mills has designed and led organizations that provide services for delinquent youth and their families. As a therapist, he serves New Castle County Delaware’s Multisystemic Therapy Services. Mills is a certified A.R.T. therapist, and takes pride in his efforts to utilize art as a tool for foundational change in youth, families, communities, and our society. A cofounder of G.O.A.L.S., and S.Y.A.-Tutoring and Mentoring Programs in Wilmington, Mills is also an honored army veteran who served in Iraq and speaks about his struggles with PTSD as a result of the war.

For more information on the Twin Poets, and instructions for how to bring them to your community, please visit http://www.artsdel.org/poetlaureate/default.shtml. Note: information on the Twin Poets will be available here on December 17.

###

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