On January 31, 2014, Frank Sherlock's appointment as Philadelphia's second Poet Laureate was announced by Mayor Michael Nutter at a ceremony at City Hall. The laureate was selected by the Mayor's Poet Laureate Governing Board. “I am honored and excited to appoint Frank Sherlock as Philadelphia’s second Poet Laureate,” said Mayor Nutter. “Frank is a native Philadelphian and a 2013 Pew Fellow in the Arts for Literature. He is one of Philadelphia’s most talented homegrown artists. I am confident that Frank will represent Philadelphia well during his term as Poet Laureate.” “How lucky I am to be a poet in my favorite city in the world? This city raised me, beat the hell out of me a few times, and still reveals the magic of Philadelphia Brotherly Love,” said Sherlock.
Twenty-five years ago to the day I arrived in Philadelphia, having been hired as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. As I flew in a Piedmont Airlines jet over the city, I looked below me and saw huge plumes of black smoke rising up from a neighborhood west of the west bank of the Schuylkill River. What the hell is going on? What is this city I've come to?