Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announces the creation of the City of Los Angeles’ first Poet Laureate Program in collaboration with the Los Angeles City Council, the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships (OSP), and the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA).
The City of Los Angeles Poet Laureate will serve as the official ambassador of Los Angeles’ vibrant poetry and literary culture. The Poet Laureate will use the position as a platform to promote the City’s greatest writers and the transformative qualities of poetry and the written word throughout all parts of the community.
Nominations will be accepted until 5:00pm on October 10, 2012 with the Poet Laureate Announcement later that month.
Los Angeles’ Poet Laureate will serve for a term of two years. The first Poet Laureate honored with this distinction will serve from November 2012 to October 2014 and receive a $10,000 annual grant from DCA.
Over the course of the appointment, the City of Los Angeles Poet Laureate will provide at least four public readings and four school visits annually. The readings will consist of either original works created for the events, past work appropriate to the occasion and to the audience, or historic works by past Los Angeles poets in locations across the city.
The appointed Laureate will educate Los Angeles residents, visitors, civic and elected leaders, young people, adults, seniors, and students of all ages about the value of poetry and creative expression through self-coordinated or community-partnered events and activities that are reviewed and approved by DCA, and write one or more commemorative poem(s) about Los Angeles.
Candidates must be poets who demonstrate excellence in their artistic work and have received wide recognition in the professional community and have significant ties to the Los Angeles community.
The selection process will be overseen by a Poet Laureate Task Force, appointed by Mayor Villaraigosa. The current Task Force consists of:
Dana Gioia, Chair of the Task Force, a distinguished poet, the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture at USC, and former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts;
Amy Uyematsu, an award winning poet, whose poems consider the intersection of politics, mathematics, spirituality, and the natural world;
Carolyn See, a Los Angeles-based author of nine books, winner of a number of literary awards and a recipient of both the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Getty Center Fellowship;
Douglas Kearney, whose manuscript, The Black Automaton, was chosen by Catherine Wagner for the National Poetry Series and published by Fence Books in 2009 and was a finalist for the Pen Center USA Award in 2010;
Kate Gale, the author of several poetry collections, founder and managing editor of Red Hen Press and editor of the Los Angeles Review;
Lester Lennon, poet and author of The Upward Curve of Earth and Heavens, found in more than 70 public and university libraries including the Los Angeles Public Library, Yale and Oxford.
William Archila, an English teacher who earned his MFA in poetry from the University of Oregon, and whose poems have appeared in Agni, Blue Mesa Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Georgia Review, The Los Angeles Review, Notre Dame Review, Poetry International and Puerto del Sol, among others.
To review City of Los Angeles Poet Laureate Guidelines and Application/Nomination Instructions: www.culturela.org