For reasons that I cannot explain, the Poet Laureate gives his or her annual report to the Livermore City Council in February. (I was installed at the end of June 2017.) So last week I compiled a massive spreadsheet of my activities and presented it to the City Council. I couldn’t believe how much work I’d done.
Okay, maybe I could.
In case you, like most people, wonder what a Poet Laureate does, I’m including the summary here.
In the eight months since I was installed as Poet Laureate, I have:
- Hosted 9 open mics plus 3 additional poetry events summarizes below.
- Held a reading at the Civic Center Library called Meet the Poet Laureate. I read selected poems from my chapbook along with new work, and answered questions about my goals as Poet Laureate.
- Curated an hour of classic and contemporary cowboy poetry for a community event held by the Livermore Heritage Guild at Hagemann Ranch. It proved extremely popular, so I’ll be doing it again this summer.
- After six months negotiating with LARPD, I found a compromise so we could continue the Ravenswood Poetry Series. The 1st event, held January 21st, was a Tri-Valley Poetry Showcase featuring seven local poets plus myself. It was well-attended and well-received. Future events at Ravenswood will be held on the following Sundays: April 22, July 22, and October 28th from 5 to 7 pm. I’ll be announcing the featured poets for the April event soon.
- Held 4 Teen Poet of the Month contests, with 3 more slated for this spring plus a public reading for the winning teens and honorable mentions scheduled for late May.
- Received a mini grant from the Livermore Commission for the Arts so I could expand Poetry in a Test Tube: Livermore’s 2nd Annual Science Poetry Contest. We now offer cash prizes in 3 divisions: Youth (K-8th), Teen (high school), and Adult. Deadline for submissions is March 10th. The award ceremony will occur on Sunday, March 18th.
- Wrote the poem, “A Place to Call Home,” for my swearing-in last June as well as the poem, “Eulogy for the Old Library, 1966-2004/2018,” for the recent ground breaking ceremony (and demolition).
- I’m currently working on a poem for the Livermore Civic Center Library, as well as another dealing with autism. These will be read at Audacious April—an event celebrating National Poetry Month, Autism Awareness Month, and National Library Week.
- I was selected to serve as Poetry Judge at the Alameda County Fair. On Saturday, June 23rd, I’ll be hosting a reading and teaching a free poetry workshop.
- Represented the City at literary events in San Jose, Pleasant Hill, Oakland, and San Francisco.
There’s more juicy stuff waiting in the wings, but I’ll save that for later when I have more details.
In short, it’s been a busy eight months, and I expect the rest of my term to be just as full. And that’s a good thing because it means I’m spreading the joy of poetry and prose far and wide. I’m grateful that I took the plunge.
Until next time,