Poet Laureate Laura McDermott Matheric

Laura McDermott Matheric, a native Floridian, studied creative writing, business, and education as an undergraduate at Florida State University and received her Masters of Fine Arts in poetry from Florida International University.

She is co-founder of the Orange Island Arts Foundation, has worked with many nonprofit organizations including the Miami Book Fair International and the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, and currently serves as president of the Women’s Club of Coconut Creek.

Laura began her teaching career at Broward College in 2007 and has been a tenured Professor of English since 2010. She serves as the Dual Enrollment Faculty Coordinator for Broward County.

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In 2008, she received a Conference on College Composition and Communication Professional Equity Project grant and in 2012, was presented with the Paragon Award by the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.

She was the 2014/2015 Writer-in-Residence at Girls' Club, a private foundation and alternative space that inspires cultural growth in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Her first book of poetry, Visions on Alligator Alley, published by Lominy Books in 2015, is an ekphrastic story in verse inspired by that residency.

Accolades continued with the 2014/2015 Wells Fargo Endowed Teaching Chair of Broward College and the 2022/2023 Robert Elmore Family Endowed Teaching Chair. Teaching Chair awards acknowledge the contribution of outstanding educators.

In May of 2021, Laura graduated from the President’s Leadership Academy, which is part of the Leadership Broward Foundation.  She is an Association of College and University Educators scholar, and a certified facilitator of the Entrepreneurship Leadership Institute.

Laura regularly teaches writing workshops and literature courses at Broward College and throughout the community.

As a native of Broward County, Laura lives in Coconut Creek, Florida with her husband Walter, their two daughters, Jordan and Lena, a dog named Farley, and a cat named Hazel.


A resolution appointing Laura McDermott Matheric as the City's first Poet Laureate for a two-year term beginning on September 1, 2022, and ending August 31, 2024.

Agenda Items

Videos:Butterfly Haiku

Our Baggage: a Creekside Collaborative Poem
by Laura McDermott Matheric

 

I believe it takes courage
for any 18-year-old to leave home,
and travel to the unknown,
so I carry that with me
even until today.

I felt detached from my mother
and my high school friends.
When I was drafted,
just took my wallet
with my girlfriend’s yearbook picture,
an old photo of my mother,
and around 40 bucks and a lucky coin
my brother gave me
in an old pair of jeans and an old shirt.
With my nickname stitched on the back of my dungarees,
I quickly learned this was a status symbol
of someone from a big city.

I wore my Jewish Star necklace, in case I died
so that they would know how to bury me.
I was issued dog tags so
I could never be lost. My blood type
and religion were on them.
God could never lose me.
I carried a Bible because I wanted to
hedge my bet with the Almighty.
Thought more of that than my social security card
or birth certificate. From the very first day,
till the last day, I had those tags around my neck
no matter where I was or what I was doing. And I thank God
I was able to wear them home from combat.

When discharged, I wore my issued old boots
comfortable,
like an additional safety weapon
for defense, just in case.
I lived so much of my life then in those boots
and in my field jacket.
It was warm in the winter
and sometimes my whole life was in all those pockets.

I wore a beret.
I wore fatigues.
I wore my four air medals.
I wore the Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal for the Gulf War.
I wore my name and stripes on my Army field jacket.
I wore my heart on my sleeve.
I wore American pride and the feelings of an optimistic future.

They say,
If you’re going to go, you don’t take anything,
just a goodbye letter to kids and Mom.

What I brought home
at the end of my service
was my jungle knife
and my short timer stick from Vietnam,
along with my honorable discharge.
Images of countries I traveled to,
the various people I came in contact with,
countless memories worn well into my head.

And I thank God I was able to wear this home.


Butterfly Haiku

Laura McDermott Matheric

Summer sun setting
on the horizon. Look! A
Monarch Butterfly.

Orange fades to black.
The nightingale’s sweet music
trills through the silence.

Song blooms like jasmine –
the scent chases the fat moon
through the eastern sky.

Vapors trail that sky
in the dance on the Monarch;
swirling, jagged steps.

The moon’s dance leads west.
Together they dip behind
fluttering monarchs.

Having slept, the sun
spans her wings in early hours.
black becomes orange.