In light of recent events, an ad-hoc selection committee has formed to find a creative solution to the small-city problem of everyone knowing everyone else and to combat any illusion of favoritism.

In the spirit of fairness and anonymity, the selection committee will hold a raffle. The drawing will take place in public. A blindfolded shopkeeper will draw the winning ticket from a hat. The winner will become the Belfast area interim poet laureate. The winner will also get a free T-shirt. Two alternates will be chosen in case the winner chooses to decline the honor in a public ceremony.

We believe this process is entirely in keeping with the originator’s requirements for the position — “be Belfastian, thoughtful, make us think, help us see,” etc., whatever it was — and will include everyone. Writing poetry is not a requirement.

The selection committee seeks only basic human courtesy and fair press for our volunteer labor. All proceeds from the raffle will go toward paying for the raffle. Any money left over will be donated to the Belfast Poetry Festival and other poetry events in the city of Belfast.

So, be on the lookout for $1 raffle tickets. To avoid insinuations of elitist fraud, only one ticket per person will be available. Neither nominations — “enthusiastic” or otherwise — nor transfers will be accepted.

Committee members are:

Meredith Bruskin, Karin Eberhardt, Betsy Headley, Bill Hauk, Shelley Johnson, Mary Johnston, Sandhya Maltby, Barbaria Maria, Amy Miller, Kathy Muzzy, Susie O’Keefe, Kathryn Robyn, Elizabeth Schaab, Karin Spitfire