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Santa Monica Poised to Create Poet Laureate Post

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By Lookout Staff

August 16, 2023 -- Santa Monica could soon have its own poet laureate to create new literary works that celebrate "the spirit and the special qualities" of the city, according to an item on Tuesday's City Council agenda.

The Poet Laureate program -- developed by the City Manager in collaboration with the Library Board and Arts Commission -- sets the terms and conditions for the Council to fill the post every two years.

"Knowledge of poetic traditions allows us to know more about our own culture and can serve as a passport to the cultures of others," City staff wrote in a report to the Council.

The program would specifically highlight the city through the literary arts and "create a new body of literary works that commemorate the diversity and vibrancy of our city," staff wrote.

Those interested in serving as poet laureate can nominate themselves by completing an online application and submitting it by a designated deadline, staff said.

The library director would then recommend a candidate to the Council.

"The purpose of the roles and responsibilities the Poet Laureate would take on would be specifically to share the love of poetry with (the) community," staff said.

This would be done through participation in city-sponsored events, poetry readings, workshops and cultural events.

The poet laureate would create an annual poem celebrating Santa Monica, contribute to the library's National Poetry Month programming and organize multiple poetry related readings and workshops.

If the Council approves the resolution as expected, Santa Monica would become the 13th California City to create a Poet Laureate program, according to the website

Other cities include Los Angeles, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Fresno, San Diego and San Francisco.

Five California Counties also have poet laureates, including Orange and Santa Clara counties.

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