Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

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Westcott Neighbor Georgia Popoff Named Poet Laureate for Onondaga County

October 16, 2022

Samuel Gruber

Congratulations to our Judson Street neighbor Georgia Popoff, who has been named as the second Poet Laureate of Onondaga County. The announcement was made at the Central New York Book Awards ceremony on September 29th by reading a proclamation from Country Executive Ryan McMahon by CNYARTS Executive Directors Stephen Butler.

Georgia is well known in the neighborhood and the region for her active role as a writer, editor, and arts administrator. She is currently workshops coordinator for the YMCA of Central New York’s Downtown Writers Center in Syracuse NY, where she has taught poetry and nonfiction since the DWC’s opening in Winter 2000.

She moved to the 900 block of Westmoreland Avenue in 1960 when she was a little girl and came back to be part of the Westcott Nation after college. She’s been a big part of Westcott’s cultural life ever since.  Georgia knows the neighborhood – she’s lived on South Beech Street, Trinity Place, and Victoria Place before settling into her century-old house behind her lush garden on Judson, across from the Vineyard Church.

Georgia has published four poetry collections, most recently Psychometry, released in late 2019 by Tiger Bark Press. Her other books include Coaxing Nectar From Longing (Hale Mary Press, 1997), The Doom Weaver (Main Street Rag Publications, 2008), and Psalter: The Agnostic’s Book of Common Curiosities (Tiger Bark Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in literary journals, anthologies and web publications since the 1980s. Georgi is also co-author of Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2011) with Quraysh Ali Lansana, with whom she also edited the anthology of essays, The Whiskey of Discontent: Gwendolyn Brooks as Conscience and Change Agent (Haymarket Books, 2017).

You can learn more about Georgia and her quirky mind at https://georgiapopoff.com/media/

We’ll be posting a conversation with Georgia recorded back in 2020 during lock-down in which she relates a lot of Westcott history. Stay tuned for that.


And here’s the proclamation! Congratulations Georgia!

County of Onondaga, State of New York


Office of the County Executive

Ryan McMahon II, County Executive

WHEREAS, the literary arts describe and celebrate the core of a community’s identity and express the soul of its people; and

WHEREAS, the creative writing community in Onondaga County has developed rapidly in recent years thanks to the contributions and vitality of its artists and culture; and

WHEREAS, Georgia A. Popoff has been an important part of that creative community, a writer and poet with a significant body of work, an editor, a teacher and teaching artist, writer-in-residence, and tireless advocate for the arts, offering community workshops and creative writing workshops targeted especially to children end miners, and to poets with a disability; and

WHEREAS, she has been a faculty member of the YMCA of CNY’s Downtown Writers Center since its founding in 2000, and workshops coordinator for over a decade, a time which has seen significant growth in the range and professionalism of the writers community in this county; and

WHEREAS, she was honored as a Syracuse University Unsung Hero in 2014 and for Verbal Blends Poetic Icon Award in 2018, received the 2017 CNY Book Award in Nonfiction, and the Nine Mile Community Award in 2019.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, J Ryan McMahon, II, County Executive of the County of Onondaga, in recognition of her many contributions to the craft of creative writing and to the literary and creative community of this county, do hereby proclaim

Georgia A. Popoff to be the Poet Laureate of Onondaga County for a term to begin as of September 15th, 2022, and to end on the last day of December, 2024.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the County of Onondaga to be imprinted, this 15th day of September, Two Thousand and Twenty Two.

(signed) J. Ryan McMahon, II

County Executive