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April 7, 2010 > Thirty poems for 30 days

Thirty poems for 30 days

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Laurel Anderson

On April 1, “Signs of Winter,” by Katie Carter was the first of 30 poems about Santa Clara County to be featured this month, National Poetry Month. The poem was one of 275 submitted in response to a call from Santa Clara County’s Poet Laureate Nils Peterson. Peterson, the County’s first official poet laureate, challenged residents to create poems celebrating what they observe in daily life.

Residents were invited to submit up to three poems. Ninety-five poets submitted a total of 275 poems.

“It was a difficult choice,” said Peterson. “There were many good poems.”

To ensure an objective process, all poets were given a number which was affixed to one copy of each of their poems, and the poems placed in a great pile then read anonymously. All of the poems were read at least twice. Entries were whittled down to 30 poems from which the final winners will be picked.

In “Signs of Winter,” Carter draws contrasts between her life in Santa Clara and her friend’s in Chicago

“It is raining again
is the punch line to a letter
I am writing to my friend in Chicago.
She is huddled in her windy city
apartment surrounded by
knee-deep snow,
contemplating staying there
until spring.
I am in my kitchen in Santa Clara
surrounded by winter green hills,
contemplating a Safeway bag
full of Meyer lemons from my
parents’ yard…”

To read the complete poem and follow the others for the remaining days in April, including “Pickers Wanted,” by Bill Emerson and “This Poetry Happened,” by Kirsty MacKay, visit The top winners will be announced after this month’s features.


About the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate
The Santa Clara County Poet Laureate post was advocated by Supervisor Liz Kniss and approved by the Board of Supervisors November 2008. The mission of the Poet Laureate is to create a poetic identity for Santa Clara County and showcase the spirit of the people and the county’s special qualities through poetry. Nils Peterson was appointed as Poet Laureate by the Board of Supervisors in March 2009.

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