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Poet Laureate Applicants Sought for Santa Clara County

Selected Poet to Serve from April 2011 to March 2013

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara, in partnership with Arts Council Silicon Valley, is seeking applicants for the 2011 -2013 Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. An honorary position, 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 22, 2010, at 5:00 p.m.

“The post of Poet Laureate was just created a couple of years ago,” said County of Santa Clara Board President Ken Yeager. “Our esteemed inaugural Poet Laureate, Nils Peterson, has set a very high bar by engaging the community in creating a poetic identity for Santa Clara County.”

Peterson, whose term does not expire until March 2011, has participated in public poetry readings throughout the county. His first major project engaged area residents in a countywide poetry writing exercise that resulted in a 100-line poem about Santa Clara County entitled A Family Album, Santa Clara County, 2009. His second project challenged residents to create poems that celebrate what they observe in day-to-day life and the variety of experiences in the county. There were 275 submissions and Peterson selected 30 to be featured in April, in honor of National Poetry Month. The project was entitled Thirty Poems in 30 Days.

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 the annual State of the County ceremony and at least 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
  • Participate in National Poetry Month events and activities
  • Undertake a project 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 2011 and interviews with finalists will be conducted in February. The recommended Poet Laureate will be announced at a meeting of the Board of Supervisors in March 2011.

Application Guidelines

Application guidelines are available at and at For more information, please contact Arts Council Silicon Valley at or 408-998-2787. Applications should be submitted directly 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, advocacy support, and marketing services to the region’s arts organizations and artists. As the official state/local partner with the California Arts Council, the County of Santa Clara, and the National Endowment for the Arts, 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 more than $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/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Anna Weldon, Director of Communications, Arts Council Silicon Valley (408) 998-2787, ext. 217
Posted: November 12, 2010