Be San Mateo County’s first Poet Laureate



June 6, 2013


Calling all San Mateo County Poets!

San Mateo County Poet Laureate Nomination Period Officially Opens


(Redwood City, CA)  – Saturday, June 8, will mark the opening of the nomination period for all poets interested in becoming San Mateo County’s first Poet Laureate, or for those interested in nominating a poet for the honorary post.  Supervisors Carole Groom and Warren Slocum will officially open the search for the County’s first Poet Laureate during an opening day event on the San Mateo County’s Literary Stage, located in the Fine Arts Galleria within the San Mateo County Fair.  The program will begin at 12:30 p.m.

The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors created the honorary post of Poet Laureate at their April 23rd meeting.  Supervisors Groom and Slocum formed the San Mateo County Poet Laureate Advisory Committee which includes:  California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera; Jackie Berger, Director of the Master of Arts in English Program at Notre Dame de Namur University; Kalamu Chaché, East Palo Alto Poet Laureate; Maryann Moise Derwin, Chair of the San Mateo County Library JPA Governing Board and Portola Valley City Council; Anne-Marie Despain, Director of Library Services for San Mateo County Library; Julie Fellers, President, Peninsula Arts Council; Mary Gutierrez, Dean of Language Arts at Skyline College; Clark Kepler, local business advocate; Bardi Rosman Koodrin, Literary Director of the San Mateo County Fair; Donald Mulliken, San Mateo County Arts Commissioner; Christopher Wachlin, President of the CA Writers Club, San Francisco-Peninsula Branch; and Bonny Zanardi, Arts Columnist for the San Jose Mercury News.  The selected Poet Laureate’s role will be to elevate poetry among San Mateo County residents and to celebrate the literary arts. The nomination deadline is July 31, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.

“We know there are many fine poets within San Mateo County who have never been recognized before. We are looking for all to come forward and apply to be our first Poet Laureate and an ambassador for the literary arts in our County,” said Supervisor Warren Slocum. “We look forward to celebrating the diversity of our County through the spoken word and literary arts.”

Supervisor Carole Groom added, “In our Silicon Valley world of hurried communication, poetry offers a gift of the well-crafted phrase.  A Poet Laureate can act as a steward of language, providing opportunities to savor words and sound.  We are hoping that this will inspire children and adults to read, write, and share poetry in San Mateo County.”

Eligibility Criteria for the San Mateo County Poet Laureate includes:

  • The Poet Laureate must be 18 years or older.
  • The Poet Laureate will be available to serve a two-year term, commencing in October 2013.
  • The Poet Laureate will be a San Mateo County resident of at least three years who has been published or recognized for poetry and literary contributions. The number and quality of published works will be taken into account in our selection process.
  • The Poet Laureate will have demonstrated a commitment to and passion for poetry and embraces the opportunity to engage in community service to make poetry more accessible and available.
  • The Poet Laureate must have a willingness to serve as an ambassador for San Mateo County and to engage the citizens of San Mateo County in poetry at public events through public readings, workshops, visiting schools and other means.
  • The Poet Laureate must be available to travel throughout San Mateo County.

Responsibilities of the San Mateo County Poet Laureate include:

  • The Poet Laureate will represent San Mateo County and the art of poetry though outreach activities related to poetry.
  • The Poet Laureate will present appropriate works at a minimum of four selected County-sponsored events during the year, including events involving schools and youth.
  • The Poet Laureate will write a commemorative poem about San Mateo County or its environs.
  • The Poet Laureate will open the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors meetings with a poem every quarter.

 Nomination forms and guidelines will be available on June 8th online at, as well as at local libraries and at the County Government Center.  For more information, please contact Marci Dragun at or (650) 599-1021. Applications should be submitted by email to  Paper submissions can be sent to: San Mateo County Poet Laureate, Supervisor Warren Slocum, Board of Supervisors, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA  94063.