Local poet, writer and educator Arielle Greenberg will be inaugurated as the 10th poet laureate of Belfast during a short, lively ceremony Monday, Dec. 31, at 6 p.m. at The Playhouse, 107 Church St.

As the poet laureate is a city position, Greenberg’s appointment was ratified Dec. 18 at the regular meeting of the Belfast City Council. Her term is for two years, 2019 and 2020. Outgoing Poet Laureate Thomas Moore will make it official during the free New Year’s by the Bay event by passing along the embroidered cape that first draped the shoulders of the late Bern Porter — Manhattan Project scientist cum pacifist, research physicist, poet, publisher, artist and founder of his own Institute of Advanced Thinking.

“‘The Ceremony of the Yellow Cape’ will take place at New Year’s Eve at The Playhouse, next to Left Bank Books. I will make some remarks about my laureateship. Then former laureates — Elizabeth Garber, Karin Spitfire, Linda Buckmaster, Jacob Fricke and Ellen Sander — will read poems,” Moore said. “I’ll introduce the new poet laureate, bedeck her with the Yellow Cape, and she will speak and read a poem or two.”

Greenberg had been nominated for the post several times in recent years and now feels she has the time to devote to it, according to members of the Belfast Poet Laureate Outreach Committee. There was an unusually large number of applications this year — all of them outstanding, according to committee member Sander — and all from Belfast proper. The post is open to Belfastians, as well as residents of towns that directly abut the city.

Greenberg, a full-time resident of Belfast, is an internationally renowned practicing poet with numerous national publications, including three full-length poetry collections published by national presses and two more forthcoming; and many anthology inclusions. She has taught in undergraduate and graduate creative writing programs; in local schools, including writing workshops at Cornerspring Montessori and Troy Howard Middle School; and, currently, at College of the Atlantic and one-on-one.

In her remarks at the City Council meeting, Greenberg said her goal for her tenure as poet laureate is to focus on the ways in which poetry is relevant and useful, emphasizing the art of reading, rather than writing, poems “because we actually have far too many people writing poems in the country and far too few people reading them.”

And people are the reason Greenberg gave up a coveted tenured academic job in Chicago for a life in Belfast, she said. She considers the poet laureate post voluntary public service performed for the community, crediting her predecessors with that approach.

“I want people — especially children, who hopefully have not yet heard that poetry is elitist and silly and old-fashioned — to understand that contemporary American poetry exists, and it’s here to be their companion if they are willing to let it in,” she said.

Her focus will be on working with kids to help them enjoy reading poetry and finding poems that speak to them, “and I want to do the same for adults in the community, as well,” Greenberg said of her upcoming term. “So my hope is to do some recitation and appreciation workshops with local kids, and to also help others in Belfast access poems they will love to read.”

Committee member Brenda Harrington of Belfast Free Library said she is looking forward to working with Greenberg. The library proved to be a centerpiece of Moore’s term as poet laureate, which he spoke to during the City Council meeting.

“I am happy to report that poetry is thriving and vibrant in Belfast as I leave my laureateship,” he said in his State of Poetry address. “During ‘Poet Laureate Office Hours,’ I’ve met with a writing group in the library every Tuesday since February 2017.’

The average attendance was eight poets, and sometimes was as many as a dozen. Visitors from Michigan, Virginia and New York who read about the office hours on the city’s Poet Laureate website stopped in.

“We call ourselves The Wheelbarrow School of Poetry,” said Moore, who will release a book in 2019 of poems written during his tenure as laureate.