California Arts Council

State of California

California Poet Laureate Review Panel to meet on Tuesday, June 24
State literary experts to make recommendations for California's top poet

Published: 06-18-2008

Literary experts in California will meet in Sacramento on Tuesday, June 24, to review the applications for the position of California State Poet Laureate and make recommendations to the Governor. The panel process starts at 2:30 p.m., and is estimated to conclude at the end of the business day with a list of three California poets to recommend to the Governor for appointment.

The thirteen candidates that the panel will consider are (in random order): Carol Muske-Dukes, David Alpaugh, Kevin Hearle, Al Young*, Diane di Prima, Suzanne Lummis, Charles Harper Webb, Marilyn Chin, Luis Rodriguez, Juan Felipe Herrera, Amy Gerstler, Wanda Coleman, and Francisco X. Alarcon. (*Young has served one term as California Poet Laureate and is eligible for re-appointment.)

The panelists who will review the applications and make suggestions to the Governor are:

-- Dr. Opal Palmer Adisa, a Jamaica-born author of It Begins With Tears (1997) and resident artist in internationally acclaimed programs such as Sacatar Institute (Brazil) and Headlines Center for the Arts (California);

-- Gloria Alvarez, a Chicana poet and community-based artist who has published books including the poetry books Emerging En Un Mar De Olanes and La Excusa/The Excuse, and has been included in multiple poetry anthologies;

-- Robert Hass, a San Francisco-born poet who served as the Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997, as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2001 to 2007, and is the most recent recipient of the Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his book Time and Materials;

-- Jack Hicks, an instructor at the University of California-Davis, the school's former Director of the Graduate Creative Writing Program, co-editor of both The Literature of California and the comprehensive collection California Poetry, and is the founder of "The Art of the Wild," an annual summer program on writing creatively with nature, wilderness and the environment; and

-- Susan Hildreth, the current State Librarian of California, former City Librarian of San Francisco, and immediate past president of the Public Library Association.

-- Jack Webb, founder-director of the Border Voices Poetry Project at San Diego State University, an award-winning literary arts program that includes annual anthologies, an annual Poetry Fair, a weekly television program, and a program that places professional poets in K-12 schools.

The role of the California Poet Laureate is to spread the art of poetry from classrooms to boardrooms across the state, to inspire an emerging generation of literary artists, and to educate all Californians about the many poets and authors who have influenced our great state through creative literary expression. The position of California Poet Laureate was established in 2001, and the California Arts Council is designated to recommend individuals to the Governor for the position of Poet Laureate. The Governor chooses the Poet Laureate, and the Senate approves the appointment.

Over the course of a two-year term, the California Poet Laureate provides six public readings in urban and rural locations across the state, educates civic and state leaders about the value of poetry and creative expression, and undertakes a significant cultural project. One of the goals of the project must be to bring the poetic arts to students who might otherwise have little opportunity to be exposed to poetry. The Governor has the option of reviewing all the nominations and other California poets as well.

The public may attend and listen to the panel recommendations; contact Kristin Margolis at 916-322-6555 or For more information on the California Arts Council and the California Poet Laureate, please go to .

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