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HomenewsA Professor From New Jersey City University Will Soon Be Jersey City's...

A Professor From New Jersey City University Will Soon Be Jersey City’s Poet Laureate.

After exhausting medical testing for her multiple sclerosis diagnosis, English Professor Ann Wallace turned her preoccupation with illness and trauma into poetry.

Wallace said he had vestibular tests for balance and vertigo 10 years ago. I couldn’t process the tests. I wrote poetry to process them and was unwell afterward.

The day after, I was resting in bed and started composing a poem about one of the tests on my phone’s notes app. Once I started writing, the poems just gushed out.

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Wallace said one “horrific” test purposefully causes vertigo, a typical MS symptom.

New Jersey City University professor Wallace is likely to be appointed poet laureate by the Jersey City Council on Monday. Wallace would receive $3,000 annually for two years as a titleholder.

The 52-year-old English professor is only the third to hold the title since the city resurrected it in 2018. Wallace succeeds Rashard Wright and Susan Justiniano, RescuePoetix.
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Wallace added, “It’s a great honor.” “I am really looking forward to what I think of as an ambassador of poetry for Jersey City over the next two years.

It is an amazing opportunity to share poetry to get more people reading it, to create opportunities to hear it, to compose poetry and share (others’) work.”

City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, unrelated, said Wallace is deeply rooted in Jersey City.

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Wallace-Scalcione said she will share her passion for poetry and the community through engagement on many platforms, including public events, to improve arts and culture citywide.

Wallace traveled to New Jersey to attend Drew University in Morris County from a small Massachusetts hamlet. She resided in Hoboken for nearly a decade after college before moving to Jersey City, where she has lived since 2002.

Wallace added, “I didn’t want to be in New York itself, but I wanted the thrill of living in the metropolitan area and Hudson County felt like the right fit.

Wallace had ovarian cancer in her 20s and multiple sclerosis in her 40s. Wallace, like many others, contracted COVID-19 and is currently suffering from its long-term repercussions.

Over 25 months, the poet wrote “Days of Grace and Silence,” a collection of poetry on living with the virus and its long-term symptoms like weariness, headaches, and lung burning.

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Wallace stated, “I felt terribly ill and it just kept going.” I had little energy or bandwidth, but I committed to writing a poem a day because I wanted to memorialize the experience.

I documented for myself and others because few people I know had COVID-19.

NJCU spokesman Ira Thor praised the city’s choice of Wallace as poet laureate.

Thor noted that Ann’s passion for poetry and writing inspires her pupils and colleagues.

Wallace will host a Native Plant Society open mic for nature-inspired poetry at NJCU Lemmerman Gallery at 6 p.m. on Dec. 2.


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