York City’s new poet laureate is Christine Lincoln.
York City's new poet laureate is Christine Lincoln. (BIL BOWDEN PHOTO)

Just a few years ago, Christine Lincoln found poetry terrifying.

She was a novelist with an affection for the short-story genre who loved to explore different perspectives.

But poetry? Yikes.

So, naturally, Lincoln enrolled herself in a poetry class five years ago. After all, Lincoln is a woman who decided a long time ago to confront that which scares her.

"Whatever I'm afraid of, that's the thing that I really have to do," she said. "Whenever that fear comes up, I know I have to do that thing."

That poetry class had a phenomenally positive impact on her writing, Lincoln said.

"It just changed everything for me," she said.

The honor: That includes her resume. Lincoln is York City's newest poet laureate.

She succeeds Carla Christopher, who was a member of the committee that selected Lincoln.

Applicants performed a piece of original work for the committee. Lincoln brought many of the members to tears, Christopher said.

"She was so passionate in her performance and in speaking about what poetry had done for her," Christopher said. "You could tell that she was just so in love with the written word."

Lincoln, 48, said she moved to York from Maryland about eight years ago in search of better educational opportunities for her son.

The Manchester Township woman said her son is now in college, freeing her to focus more on writing.

"It was time for me to fully come back," she said.

Her goal: Even though she still feels like "a baby poet," Lincoln said she plans to use her post as poet laureate to bridge the gap between communities of creative writers.

Local poets seem to have a foundation in York, but fiction writers are largely silent, she said.

Lincoln said she wants to establish a writing center where literary artists of all genres can gather to learn and share their work.

Meanwhile, she's working on a historical fiction book about William Goodridge, a black businessman who owned a general store on Center Square in York.

Born into slavery, Goodridge eventually owned many properties in York City. He is perhaps best known for helping slaves escape along the Underground Railroad.

Lincoln said she was inspired to write about Goodridge after learning of him at a lecture last year. She's been researching ever since.

"I think I should be ready to start writing something very soon," she said.

— Reach Erin James at ejames@yorkdispatch.com.