The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors has appointed Mike McGee to the honorary post of Santa Clara County Poet
Laureate for a two-year term ending Dec. 31, 2019. McGee, a long-time resident
of the San José area and a local fixture in the poetry community, is a performance poet,
storyteller, writer, comedian, creator of open mic events, and facilitator of San
José Poetry Slam since its inception.
The Poet Laureate's role is to elevate Santa Clara County residents’
awareness of poetry, and to help celebrate the literary arts. McGee was recommended to the Board following the call for
applications, and a two-step review process organized by the County of Santa
Clara, Silicon Valley Creates (SVCreates), and the Santa Clara County Library
McGee started his
career in spoken word, poetry slam and performance poetry in 1998. Mike McGee holds several poetry slam championship
titles, and is the first slam poet to win both the American National Poetry
Slam Individual Grand Championship (2003) and the Individual World Poetry Slam
As a poet, he has toured
throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe. He has performed at the University of
on HBO's Def Poetry Jam, on CBC Radio & Television, and is a
regular on NPR's Snap Judgment. He
is also a board member for Poetry Center San José.
Through McGee’s travels in North
America and Europe, he has seen the lasting impact that performance poetry can
have on youth development and creativity. He is an advocate of expanding opportunities for
youth to discover the poetic arts, and instilling an early interest, love and
appreciation for poetry.
McGee will visit schools, libraries and
community spaces to introduce performance poetry and offer them a curriculum of
poetry for their young community. He is already engaging youth in poetry
through a workshop at Willow Glen High School.
The honorary post of Santa Clara County Poet Laureate was created by the Board of Supervisors on November 18, 2008. The County works in partnership with SVCREATES to identify a nominee. The nominee is appointed by the Board of Supervisors to fill the two-year post.
The Poet Laureate acts as a resource for poetry and literary activities to the Santa Clara County Library District, represents the County of Santa Clara through outreach related to poetry, conducts presentations of appropriate works at selected County-sponsored events, as well as at activities to celebrate Poetry Month.
is the fifth poet laureate to be appointed by the County of Santa Clara Board
of Supervisors. Nils Peterson was the County’s first Poet Laureate (2009-2011),
followed by Sally Ashton (2012-13), David
(2014-2015), and Arlene Biala (2016-17).
NEWS RELEASE: Board of Supervisors Appoints Performance Poet and
Comedian Mike McGee as 2018-19 Santa Clara County Poet Laureate
The mission of the Poet Laureate is to:
* Elevate poetry in the awareness of Santa Clara County residents and to help celebrate the literary arts;
* Serve as an advocate for poetry, literature, and the arts;
* Lead a community project that makes poetry more accessible; and
* Contribute to Santa Clara County’s poetry and literary legacy.