Promotional graphic featuring a photo of poet kate hymes with a quote about poetry's accessibility, and a link for more information, celebrating national poetry month.

League of Women Voters Mid-Hudson Region Member Kate Hymes named Ulster County Poet Laureate

Kate Hymes is Ulster County’s first Poet Laureate and a distinguished writer and poet currently living in New Paltz. She has led workshops with the Wallkill Valley Writers Group for over twenty years. The Ulster County Poet Laureate was first instituted in 2023 by the County Executive, with Arts Mid-Hudson managing the public call for nominations. We share this poem by Kate in honor of National Poetry Month:


APRIL 1968


Red azaleas blazed. Dogwoods bloomed white

four-petal crosses passed the Greyhound bus windows as Mama and I rode, New Orleans to Atlanta,

that April. Mama said, “They crucified Jesus


on a dogwood.” How could they have – so frail, so delicate to bear all that weight.

Mama said, “God stunted the once mighty tree, then redeems it each spring with remembrance.”


The night before on TV we saw cities _

burn. Mama and I wore black

arm bands. As we rode, we watched azaleas and dogwoods in riotous_

celebration bear witness: stones still roll away.