Eureka has a nice new waterfront trail.
It has a store where pretty much all they sell is exotic cacti and succulents to collectors of weird plants.
It has some roads and city parking lots, and also a hospital.
It has a Trump bird.
It will soon have an In-N-Out.
Is there anything Eureka doesn’t have?
A poet laureate!
Until soon, that is. Apparently a group of local citizens has been working behind the scenes for quite a while now to institute a municipal poet laureate program right here in Humboldt County’s capital, so that our praises might be more extensively and officially sung. This afternoon, two of this group — councilmember Leslie Castellano and Kristi Patterson, the director of Trajectory — gave a presentation on their work to the city’s Arts and Culture Commission.
The program isn’t completely nailed down yet, Castellano and Patterson told the commission, but they’re looking at the idea of some city-sanctioned body appointing not one but two poets laureate per year — a youth laureate and an adult laureate. The two would be expected to write a certain number of poems about Eureka during their tenure, read one to the City Council, participate in a poetry reading, and perhaps network with other city poets laureate around the state.
In exchange, the poets would receive publicity, a small run of a chapbook or broadsheet of their own work, opportunities to appear on something like Access Humboldt and a small — very small — stipend. Figures of $150 for the youth laureate and $250 for the adult laureate were mentioned.
View video of Castellano and Patterson’s presentation below:
What will it take to be named Eureka’s official poet? Again: It’s not completely locked down yet, but Castellano and Patterson say they imagine they’ll ask applicants — limited to Eureka residents, or people who live within one mile of the city — to submit three of their previous poems to the panel that will choose from among them, as well as a proposal for a community project related to poetry and the town.
Do you a way with the Muse and something to say about Eureka? Do you have what it takes to be Eureka’s youth poet laureate, or adult poet laureate? You just might. Let’s take a look at your potential competition.
Here is Outpost graphic designer Christian Testanier’s application:
I found it.
I lost it.
Your Screams and Woes.
Don’t let me down.
English is not Testanier’s first language.
Here is Andrew Goff’s effort:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Wait, a what?
Really, astoundingly bad. Can you do better? Probably. You’re going to have a hard time topping Virgil Shaw’s mid-‘90s ode to life in the Victorian Seaport …
… but maybe you can. Judging from Castellano and Patterson’s presentation, it looks like they’re hoping to have the program blessed by the city and ready for applications before the end of April (National Poetry Month).
So sharpen your pencils and wait for the official announcement, poets! Good luck, and thank you for your service.