Santa Monica Seeks First Poet Laureate to Forge Community Bonds and Celebrate Literary Arts

Santa Monica Seeks First Poet Laureate to Forge Community Bonds and Celebrate Literary ArtsSource: City of Santa Monica
Juliette Kessler
Published on November 03, 2023

Santa Monica has launched a program to appoint its first poet laureate. This honorary position, starting on March 1, 2024, aims to celebrate the literary arts and create a strong bond between the community and poetry, as announced recently by the Santa Monica Public Library in a press release.

The poet laureate will serve for two years, receiving an annual $5,000 stipend. The laureate's responsibilities will comprise an original yearly poem about Santa Monica, managing two annual writing workshops or poetry readings, and developing a poetry-related program during April's National Poetry Month and more.

This initiative is, indeed, a testament to the power of poetry in fostering dialogue, bridging divides, and representing diverse viewpoints. The inception of such programs across the country signals the recognized importance of artistic expression in establishing culturally vibrant communities.

The process of choosing a poet laureate will be conducted by a Poet Laureate Review Panel, comprising members from the Arts Commission, Library Board, Friends of the Library Board, and city staff, as per to the announcement. Final selection is set for the February 13, 2024, City Council meeting.

Erica Cuyugan, the Santa Monica Public Library Director, expresses excitement for the program to start. "We're thrilled to soon collaborate with Santa Monica’s first poet laureate. Our aim is to continue to honor the literary arts and increase accessibility to the Santa Monica community and guests. We believe that our future poet laureate can skillfully interconnect the wide-ranging voices and experiences of our unique community," she said. The poet laureate position confirms Santa Monica's unwavering effort to keep artistic innovation central to the city's identity.

All Santa Monica residents aged 18 and above are eligible to apply for the position. The application period opened on October 30 and runs until 8:00 p.m. PST on December 18. Submissions can be done electronically or through paper forms available at any Santa Monica Public Library.