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October 19, 2010 > Poet Laureate applicants sought for Santa Clara County

Poet Laureate applicants sought for Santa Clara County

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson

Santa Clara County, in partnership with Arts Council Silicon Valley, invites applications for the position of Santa Clara County Poet Laureate for 2011-2013. The Poet Laureate is an honorary post. The selected poet's role is to elevate poetry in the consciousness of Santa Clara County residents and to help celebrate the literary arts. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on November 22, 2010.

"The post of Poet Laureate was created a couple of years ago," said Santa Clara County Board President Ken Yeager. "Our esteemed inaugural Poet Laureate Nils Peterson has set a very high bar by engaging the community in creating a poetic identity for Santa Clara County."

Peterson, whose term expires in March 2011, has participated in public poetry readings throughout the county. His first major project engaged residents in a county-wide poetry-writing exercise that resulted in a 100-line poem about Santa Clara County entitled "A Family Album, Santa Clara County, 2009." His second project challenged residents to create poems celebrating what they observe in daily life and the variety of experiences in the county. There were 275 submissions and Peterson selected 30 to be featured in April, in honor of National Poetry Month. The project was entitled "Thirty Poems in 30 Days."

There are certain criteria to satisfy. The Poet Laureate will be available to serve a two-year term, will have been a Santa Clara County resident for at least five years and have been published or recognized for poetry and literary contributions. The individual's poetic interests respond to, or represent, the diversity of arts and cultures in Santa Clara County. The individual has demonstrated a commitment to and passion for poetry and embraces the opportunity to engage in civic discourse.

The Poet Laureate will not be considered an employee of Santa Clara County and will continue to have individual pursuits.

The Santa Clara County Poet Laureate will represent the county and the art of poetry through outreach related to poetry, present appropriate works at the annual State of the County ceremony and at least four selected county-sponsored events, dedications, or memorials per year. He or she will act as a resource for poetry and literary activities of the Santa Clara County Library, participate in National Poetry Month events and activities and undertake a project that will make poetry more widely available and accessible to people in their everyday lives. The Poet Laureate will receive a modest honorarium.

Arts Council Silicon Valley will administer the selection process. Applications will be peer-reviewed by established poets in January 2011. Interviews with finalists will be conducted in February 2011. The recommended Poet Laureate will be announced at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors in March 2011.

Application guidelines are available at and at Applications should be submitted to Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, Arts Council Silicon Valley, 4 North Second Street, Suite 500, San Jose, CA 95113-1305.

For more information, contact Arts Council Silicon Valley at or (408) 998-2787.

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