Dear Students of Anaheim,
Did you know that Anaheim now has a Poet Laureate? Last year the City of Anaheim created that position —“Literary Ambassador and Poet Laureate for the City of Anaheim” — and guess what? They picked me to be the first one! That is a huge honor for a poet, especially for someone who lives in Anaheim (like many of you do!), and who grew up in Anaheim (just like many of you are doing!), and who was educated in our Anaheim schools (just like all of you!). We have a lot in common. And just think: one day, one or more of you might be future Poets Laureate, too. How cool is that?
You can start that journey now, even if you’ve never written a poem before. I’d like to invite you to write a new poem that shows us your view of the world, and then read it with me on stage (or have me read it) in the big room at Anaheim Central Library next month.
Why? Because in addition to poetry, one of the things that I care a lot about is my hometown, Anaheim—and beyond Anaheim, the planet Earth itself. I’m thinking that you probably feel the same way too. So, in honor of Earth Day, I’ve reserved the entire basement of Anaheim Central Library for a “Poet Laureate Special Event: Earth Day Poetry with the Students of Anaheim.” That’s right! I’m inviting you to write your own poem about the Earth or with the theme of Earth Day, and then come join me on stage to read it between 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. on April 22nd—which happens to be… Earth Day!
Here are some links that explain what Earth Day is, and why it was created:
https://www.epa.gov/earthday https://www.epa.gov/history/epa-history-earth-day https://www.earthday.org/earthday/ https://www.earthday.org/campaigns/endangered-species/earthday2019/
If you need help getting started, here are some tips for how you might proceed. In the upcoming days:
think about the Earth and your place on it, of all life forms who share it with you, and what the future could look like.
paint pictures with your words—vivid images of what you are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching.
arrange those thoughts and images into phrases that flow like music does, or that pulse like nature does.
see if you can come up with a memorable first line and last line that will catch our attention or makes us think.
edit it all into a poem that that takes between 1-3 minutes to read aloud (use a timer to be sure).
then, practice reading it over and over, and revise anyplace where you stumble, or where you can make it flow better.
finally, join me at the microphone on April 22nd, and read or recite it out loud to your friends and family in Anaheim! (If you’re too shy to speak in front of a crowd, just hand it to me and I’ll read it for you!)
Your voice is important. Your thoughts matter. I want you to be heard!
So please join me, and invite your family to come hear you read with the Poet Laureate!
This is exciting! I’m really looking forward to meeting you and sharing the mic with you, as we co-create a magical evening of live poetry in Anaheim—especially on Earth Day, when we can raise our voices together to celebrate our creativity, and celebrate the Earth!
Your Poet Laureate,