Andrea Musher, appointed by John Tuschen and Mayor Sue Bauman,served as Poet Laureate from January 2001 through December 2006 upon the appointment of the third Poet Laureate, Fabu.
Andrea was born in Chicago, but during the formative years from 5-18 she resided in the Maryland suburbs outside Washington DC. She received a BA cum laude from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (Major: English, Minor: Theater Arts) where she studied with the poets, William Matthews and A.R. Ammons. Both her M.A. and Ph.D. are from UW-Madison where she took and then taught some of the first classes offered in Women's Studies. Her Ph.D. Thesis is entitled Vital Connection: The Poetics of Maternal Affiliation in the Poetry of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Lucille Clifton and Judy Grahn. She taught classes in the Department of Languages and Literatures as well as in the Department of Women's Studies UW-Whitewater for 26 years, from which she retired as an Associate Professor in June 2011. Now Professor Emeritus, she is observing the newly visible horizon unblocked by thousands of pages of student papers to be graded.
Musher believed that when Tuschen selected her and introduced her to former Mayor Bauman, he wanted her to take the position of Poet Laureate to the next level, and that she did. Not only did Musher write occasional poems for the City, as she wrote two sesquicentennial poems A Tinker's Prayer for Madison's 150th Birthday (PDF) and Nine Stanzas for Madison's 150th Birthday, (PDF) and the mayoral inauguration for example, she continuously educated the public about the importance of poetry, highlighted the myriad ways poetry enhances our lives, and to continued to increase the visibility of this art form in the artistic community and throughout the City.
In summer of 2007, Ms. Musher met with Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, Assistant to the Mayor Mario Mendoza, Madison Art Program Administrator Karin Wolf, and the Madison Arts Commission (MAC) about sheltering the position under MAC's umbrella. The Mayor and the Madison Arts Commission were very enthusiastic about both formalizing the position and appointing the next candidate.
Further, Ms. Musher generously established “The John Tuschen Poet Laureate Memorial Fund” through the Madison Community Foundation. When matured, this endowment will offer future Madison Poet Laureates a small honorarium at the beginning of their term that they can use as matching money for grant applications or to fund projects they are interested in accomplishing during their tenure. The Madison Community Foundation generously matched the first $1000.00 in contributions to this fund.