Write On, Door County is pleased to announce that Sturgeon Bay poet Mike Orlock has been appointed Door County Poet Laureate. The appointment was made at the March 23 meeting of the Door County Board of Supervisors. Orlock will begin his tenure on April 1, 2021, the start of National Poetry Month, and will serve through March 31, 2023. He succeeds Nancy Rafal of Baileys Harbor as the seventh poet to hold this position.
“I want to thank the County Board, the Committee that selected me from a wide range of worthy poets, and to those poets who have so capably served and brought distinction to the promotion of the arts in general and poetry in particular in Door County,” Orlock said. “I will strive to continue the fine work you have already done in the past, representing the vibrant community of writers and artists who call this thumb of paradise home. Nancy Rafal, Sharon Auberle, Ralph Murre, Estella Lauter and Barbara Larsen have all held this honorary position in my time living in the county, and I consider it a privilege to follow in their steps as we go forward.”
Outgoing Poet Laureate Nancy Rafal offered her congratulations to Orlock on his appointment. During her tenure, Rafal worked with several organizations, including Write On, Midsummer’s Music and the Egg Harbor Eggstravaganza to create commemorative poems. Though in-person programs were not possible for the second year of her appointment, she actively promoted poetry in Door County through various online opportunities and published work in Halfway to the North Pole, an anthology edited by the Door County Poets Collective; Through This Door, an anthology of poems by Wisconsin’s state and community Poets Laureate, and Other Words, a bilingual English/Chinese anthology.
Orlock is a former high school teacher and coach who retired to Sturgeon Bay with his wife Liz in 2008. He enjoys writing, reading, film, travel and spending time with his two children and five grandchildren. He has published two collections of poetry, You Can Get There From Here: Poems of Door County & Other Places and Poetry Apocalypse & Selected Verse. Among his honors are the Wisconsin Writers’ Association Jade Ring Award and the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets’ Muse Prize.