The search is over! After careful deliberation, The City of Newburgh in collaboration with the Newburgh Arts & Cultural Commission has found its new Poet Laureate in Genie Abrams.
Set to serve a two-year term beginning in 2023, the new Poet Laureate will be responsible for promoting and emphasizing the importance of poetry in our community, through readings in the city. Genie joined the Hudson Valley Poets at the urging of outgoing Poet Laureate Mona Toscano. “Meeting and hearing constructive criticism from fellow poets who write in all forms, reading the works of great poets both from around the block and around the world, and receiving ‘writing prompts’ from great teachers like Mona and others are among my most inspiring learning experiences,” she says.
Her favorite poets are Amanda Gorman and Billy Collins.
Born and raised in Newburgh, Abrams began her college career at age 16 at Syracuse University. With a B.A. and an M.S. in journalism, she began her professional career as a reporter and then copy-editor at the Middletown Times Herald-Record. She later traveled widely, working in public relations for various nonprofits. Returning to Newburgh in 2002, she did a second stint at the TH-R, working on the sports and news copy desks. Abrams also served on Newburgh’s City Council and Conservation Advisory Council, helping kick off the city’s Environmental Justice Fellowship Program. She is the author of three novels published by Outskirts Press: “Louey Levy’s Greatest Catch, ““Louey Levy’s Perfect Pitch” and “Louey Levy’s Heading Home. “
Now retired, she is an active member of Newburgh’s Temple Beth Jacob, caretaker of the Jewish Cemetery at Snake Hill and serves on the Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orange County. For fun, Genie hikes, watches birds and picks up trash from the sidewalks of her dear hometown.
She is married to Tim Riss, a retired pastor and archivist. They are parents of three adult children, Rachel, Jon, and Sam.