SOMERS POINT Starting in the spring, she'll catch many people by surprise.

They might be standing in line or sitting at a table at a Somers Point restaurant, store, or bank when Maria Provenzano will suddenly break into a poetry recital.

Provenzano, 26, newly appointed poet laureate of Somers Point, will recite up to three poems before crowds as a part of an initiative called "Pop Up Poetry" to demonstrate the Atlantic County community's support of literature.

She was approved in January by the Somers Point Arts City Commission to be poet laureate and will share poetry at various locations that sign up for the program. She will be paid $500 for the year.

"I am eager to make poetry more accessible and easier to hear," Provenzano wrote in a letter to the commission. She is an Egg Harbor Township resident and Northwestern University graduate who works at Passion Vines & Spirit Co., a Somers Point wine and liquor store.

The arts commission established the poet laureate position in part to promote literary arts and "to recognize that poetry expresses personal and public stories that are accessible to all members of the community."

"This is an amazing opportunity to make everyone aware that the arts are alive in Somers Point," said Kathleen Arleth, chair of the arts commission.

"It's a fun and interactive way to keep the focus on the arts and integrate them into our everyday lives," she said.

Any businesses interested in being part of the program can contact Arleth at

- Edward Colimore