Glen Cove poet laureate Victoria Crosby is never at a loss for words, or more precisely, rhyming couplets.
Even before then-Mayor Thomas Suozzi honored her with the title 20 years ago, Crosby was dashing off customized poems for all kinds of occasions at the request of Glen Cove's city government, school district, churches and other local organizations.
"If somebody asks me, I'll write a poem," Crosby said.
She started the year with a poem for the New Year's Day inauguration of new Mayor Reginald Spinello at his request. Spinello, the fourth mayor under whom she has served as poet laureate, asked Crosby to write and recite a poem because "she truly loves Glen Cove and puts her heart into every poem every time she's asked to speak."
Her poem, "A New Day for Glen Cove," reads in part:
"In Glen Cove it is time for celebration of our new administration / Time to embrace the chance to start anew with a mayor and city council who will lead the city in a positive direction."
For his part, Suozzi said he decided Crosby should be poet laureate of the city because "she did a great job of capturing what was going on in the city. She's got great talent."Nassau and Suffolk counties each have an official poet laureate. But as far as Crosby knows, she is the only poet laureate for a Long Island town or city.
"My husband complains all the time that I do all this stuff for nothing," Crosby said, adding that she is a paid contributor for the glossy East Norwich-based 25A magazine.
Born in England, she came to the United States as a teenager, but keeps her connection to her native land as New York State president of the charity Daughters of the British Empire.
"I've been reading and writing poetry as long as I could read or write," Crosby said. "It came very easy to me. Also, my father used to write poetry and rhyming verse."
Her poetry interests extend beyond Glen Cove. Crosby hosts a Nassau Community College radio program called "Oasis." And she and two vocalists have put together poetry-and-song programs about the singers Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin, which they perform at rehabilitation centers and similar facilities.
Crosby has lived in Glen Cove for 30 years in a Tudor-style house overlooking Long Island Sound that's filled with antiques and images of Queen Victoria, for whom she was named.
She is active in Glen Cove affairs beyond being poet laureate. Crosby founded the Glen Cove Arts Council more than a decade ago "to expose youth to the arts" and still heads the group. She is vice president of the year-old North Shore Historical Museum. And she is on the board of the InterAgency Council, composed of local nonprofits.
While Crosby is often presented with plaques and certificates from organizations that request her poems, City Council member Pam Panzenbeck has created probably the most appropriate thank you -- a poem.
Her "Ode to Victoria Crosby" reads in part:
"Vic's at every event / Word and lines fully meant."