Cupertino Poet Laureate, Where Art Thou?
Poet Laureate is an honorary volunteer position sponsored by the City of Cupertino and seated in its public library. Sponsors and support network include the Library Commission, Friends of the Cupertino Library, and the Cupertino Library Foundation. The Poet Laureate is a practicing poet with professional recognition and a talent for performance. The Poet Laureate is expected to host public events that promote the literary arts in our community and inspire creativity in all residents. Such events might include poetry contests, writing workshops, lectures and public readings, etc. The Poet Laureate works in collaboration with the city, sponsors, and support network to schedule and promote events.
City of Cupertino Names Fourth Poet Laureate
Ann Muto to Enrich Cultural Interaction of Community
Ann Muto comes to this community role with experience as a poet, teacher and avid volunteer. She has a BA in Social Sciences from Berkeley, a Credential in Elementary Education, and a Masters in Administration and Higher Education from San Jose State. Her book, Open Passage, was published by the Japanese American Museum of San Jose in 2010. Ann found insights to her many questions about her family’s history while volunteering at the museum. Her love of nature is reflected in her poetry and her founding and activities of the Point Lobos Docent Poetry Interest Group.
Ann was born in a War Relocation Authority Camp during World War II. After her family’s return to California, they settled in Salinas. She met her husband at Berkeley, and they have one grown daughter. The Santa Clara Valley has been her home since 1970, where she worked in public education for 28 years as a teacher and administrator.
City of Cupertino Third Poet Laureate- Amanda Williamsen
Amanda Williamsen came from rural roots in Ohio to the heart of bustling Silicon Valley, but one thing never changed: her passion for poetry. Amanda Williamsen, has lived in Cupertino for almost 10 years, had an extensive journey to end up not only in Cupertino but also as the city's third poet laureate.
"I feel very lucky," she said of being selected. "I think that I am just one of many people that the city might have chosen. And I'm sure that when my term is over, many other talented people will be able to do this, too."
City of Cupertino Second Poet Laureate- Jennifer Swanton Brown
The City Council of Cupertino unanimously approved the recommendation of the Cupertino Library Commission naming Jennifer Swanton Brown as the second Poet Laureate of Cupertino. Her term will be from October 1st, 2013-September 30th, 2015, a two year period. David Denny, the City’s first Poet Laureate fulfilled a “very successful” first term, engaging all ages of the community in poetry.
Brown “has many ideas about increasing poetry knowledge, enjoyment and participation in Cupertino.” The experience of writing and publishing poems as a school girl “was transformative, and something I believe I can offer the children of our community.” She will also focus on international styles of poetry. “A community as diverse as Cupertino should celebrate the ancient and varied poetic traditions of its citizens’ literature and cultures,” notes Brown.
“I am delighted to be chosen to promote poetry in my home town” said Brown, an educator, writer, and long-time teacher of California Poets in the Schools. “Cupertino has given this community a powerful opportunity to explore together, young and old, the values of imagination and creativity. My favorite inspirational quote is attributed to Picasso, but it applies to poets and all creative experience: ‘Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.’ Becoming the second Cupertino Poet Laureate will give me a chance to work with so many and hopefully to inspire some!”
Cupertino's First Poet Laureate
David Denny served as Cupertino's inaugural Poet Laureate (2011-2013). Through a variety of public events for youth, teens and adults, he brought people together (some new to the art of poetry and some seasoned writers) to share and celebrate creativity. Coffeehouse readings, events with other local laureates, a citywide contest, and poetry writing workshops were a few of the happenings that Denny sponsored as ways to engage our diverse community and encourage literary expression. As Denny said near the end of his term, "It's been such a pleasure to bring the literary arts to the forefront of our community. Cupertino is a great city, and it has been my honor to serve its residents in this capacity. Keep scribbling everybody".
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Folks with disabilities – even verbal ones – and candidates fluent in languages in addition to English, are encouraged to apply, though poems must be submitted in English. Applicants must reside or work in Cupertino for at least 2 years, have published or been recognized as a poet, and be at least 21 years old. The deadline for submittal of applications to Cupertino City Hall, 10300 Torre Avenue, Cupertino, CA 95014 is July 29, 2011. For more information email PoetLaureate@cupertino.org.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) as of April 2011
Q Have you chosen the Poet Laureate yet?
A The PL Committee did their final interviews March 14th and 15th. We met on the 31st and determined that we did not have a viable candidate who met all the criteria.
Q How many candidates did you have?
A Not as many as we had hoped for.
Q How many?
A The number is not as important as realizing we are looking for a special person who is not only a poet, but who is also capable of being a public spokesperson for Cupertino, and an effective advocate of poetry for our Community.
Q What now?
A The PL Committee has discussed next steps at much length. We will be recommending to the Library Commission that we open up the application process again May 1, and have a longer time for applicants to gather their application information. We will give the public until July 29, 2011, to respond.
Q How will you market this new application period?
A We did a pretty extensive blanketing of fliers in the Community and through the media. In addition, this time we will make a concerted effort to reach further into the ethnically diverse communities, to seniors, educational institutions, and the companies who have long-standing employees. We require that candidates live or work in Cupertino for at least the past two years.
Q Is this a paid position?
A No, there is no direct compensation. Reasonable expenses will be paid for. This position requires the designated Poet Laureate to have passion for poetry, be an accomplished poet, and have a desire to educate and motivate all ages in Cupertino to the art and skill of poetry.