Dan Speers, who has had distinguished careers as an author and high-technology inventor, was proclaimed Haverhill’s poet laureate Tuesday night.
Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night endorsed a proclamation by Mayor James J. Fiorentini, honoring the poet and Renaissance man. Prior to presenting Speers with the proclamation, Councilor Melinda E. Barrett listed some of his many accomplishments.
“He’s a former journalist and columnist, managing editor of a daily newspaper, an author of numerous college and adult education textbooks. He’s also an award-winning novelist and poet. Dan also holds a number of U.S. and foreign patents in instant photography and optical computing,” she said.
Speers’ first patent was for instant film motion picture camera. He also holds a patent for rapid x-ray development, allowing dentists to produce an x-ray while a patient is waiting, and others for solid state batteries and chemical processing of solid waste.
His poem, “So Very Cold Outside,” is based on events and people in Haverhill and was published in The American Journal of Poetry. Accepting the award, Speers pointed out America’s first poets actually came from the Merrimack Valley and he believes that continues today.
“Our first American poets came from the Merrimack Valley. The very first published poet was Anne Bradstreet, a woman who published in the 1600s. One of the things we’re going to do with poetry is, we’re going to create a portrait in poetry of Haverhill that not only extols the beauty and power of our city but will inspire the future,” he said.
Speers, a member of Haverhill River Bards, is also chairperson of Haverhill’s Native American Task Force.
Councilors were unanimous in praise for the local bard and his contributions and endorsed the proclamation by a vote of 8-0 with Council President Timothy J. Jordan absent.