Navigate Up
Menu + Public Affairs
Home > News Releases

Poet Laureate Applicants Sought for Santa Clara County

Selected Poet to Serve from April 2013 to March 2015
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.—Today, the County of Santa Clara in partnership with Arts Council Silicon Valley announced the opening of the application process for selecting the 2013 -2015 Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate is an honorary post.  The selected poet’s role is to elevate poetry in the awareness of Santa Clara County residents and to help celebrate the literary arts. The application deadline is November 19, 2012, 5:00 p.m.
The honorary post of Santa Clara County Poet Laureate was created by the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors on November 18, 2008. The County works in partnership with Arts Council Silicon Valley to select a nominee every two years for Board appointment.
“Santa Clara County is truly fortunate to have an outstanding Poet Laureate like Sally Ashton whose extraordinary leadership brought poetry to public transit,” said County of Santa Clara Board President George Shirakawa. “Both of Sally and former Poet laureate Nils Peterson have set great examples and a path for the upcoming Poet Laureate by creating a poetic identity for Santa Clara County.”  
Ashton, whose term does not expire until March, 2013, is a poet, writer, college professor, Editor-in-Chief of the DMQ Review, and poetry teacher. She published 3 poetry books These Metallic Days; Her Name Is Juanita and Some Odd Afternoon in 2005, 2009 and 2010 respectively. She was awarded an Arts Council Silicon Valley Artist Fellowship, Poetry, 2005. Ashton was also a 2006 and 2001 Pushcart Prize nominee, a finalist for Best of the Net 2007. In 2012, Poet Laureate Ashton teamed up with Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, and Arts Council Silicon Valley to launch ‘Poetry on the Move’ project that put winning poetry in VTA buses and light rail vehicles. Over 100 residents answered the call and five winners were selected.
Eligibility Criteria for the Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

• The Poet Laureate will be available to serve a two-year term
• The individual will be a Santa Clara County resident of at least five years who has 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.

Duties of Santa Clara County Poet Laureate

• Represent Santa Clara County and the art of poetry through outreach related to poetry
• Present appropriate works at a minimum of four selected County-sponsored events, dedications, or memorials per year
• Act as a resource for poetry and literary activities of the Santa Clara County Library
• Lead and participate in National Poetry Month events and activities
• Undertake projects throughout the County of Santa Clara that will make poetry more available and accessible to people in their everyday lives

The Poet Laureate will receive a modest honorarium.

The selection process will be administered by Arts Council Silicon Valley. Applications will be peer-reviewed by established poets in January.  Interviews with finalists will be conducted and completed in February. The recommended Poet Laureate will be announced at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors in March 2013.

Application guidelines are available at and at For more information, please contact Arts Council Silicon Valley at or 408-998-2787 ext 214. Applications should be submitted by email to .  Paper submissions can be sent to: Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, Arts Council Silicon Valley, 4 North Second Street, Suite 500, San Jose, CA 95113-1305. 

Arts Council Silicon Valley is an independent, nonprofit arts agency dedicated to providing funding, and marketing services to the region’s arts organizations and artists. As the official state/local partner with the California Arts Council and the County of Santa Clara, Arts Council Silicon Valley is the largest nonprofit arts council in the state. Since the organization’s inception in 1982, the Arts Council has provided nearly $25 million in grants and services to local arts and cultural organizations, individual artists, schools, and community groups. For more information on Arts Council Silicon Valley go to:




Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Shirley Zackor, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, Josh Russell, Director of External Affairs, Arts Council Silicon Valley, (408) 396-2483
Posted: August 15, 2012