It’s National Poetry Month and San Diego’s First Poet Laureate Launches Signature Project

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From the City of San Diego: For the first time, the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture is launching a digital platform for poetry at https://www.sandiego.gov/blog/san-diego-poet-laureate, including a writing workshop series offered for free to San Diego residents. The digital platform is part of San Diego Poetry of Resilience, a project created by San Diego’s first Poet Laureate Ron Salisbury which also includes a new interactive map to highlight local poets.

“For millennia, people have turned to poetry in times of intense joy or agony. Poetry is the literary form of creative expression that can most quickly reach into our deepest feelings,” said Poet Laureate Ron Salisbury. “San Diego Poetry of Resilience provides a chance for writers to learn, craft and share poems that reveal these challenges and how they have responded with resilience to these times.”

Online poetry workshops will be curated by Salisbury, where the occasional guest teaching poets will join him. Coinciding with National Poetry Month, the digital platform launched on April 2 with the first virtual, on-demand workshop available for viewing. Subsequent workshops will be uploaded to the platform on the first Friday of every month through September 2021.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ron Salisbury has shown how poetry can promote a deeper conversation between individuals, communities and the arts.” said the City’s Chief of Civic Art Strategies Christine E. Jones. “So much is still uncertain in this moment but I’m thankful this year will give Salisbury the opportunity to develop a digital place for poetry, a place for San Diego poets and the public to connect and creatively express themselves.”

While residents of all ages are welcome to participate, Salisbury is particularly interested in reaching out to San Diego seniors who have become even more isolated during the pandemic. By encouraging seniors to express themselves and providing a space for their poems to be read publicly, Salisbury hopes to decrease their sense of isolation and provide senior poets with a greater voice in their communities.

After each workshop, participants will be invited to submit poems of resilience. An online, interactive map will feature these poetry submissions and begin to identify the location of poets across San Diego. Up to 30 representative poems will be selected by Salisbury to be published and included in a special section of the 2021-2022 San Diego Poetry Annual at https://sandiegopoetryannual.com/

The project will culminate in fall 2021 with a poetry reading and open mic event for poets, workshop participants and the public. For more information on the Poet Laureateship and project, visit sandiego.gov/blog/san-diego-poet-laureate.

About the Commission for Arts and Culture: The City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture serves in an advisory capacity to the Mayor and City Council to promote, encourage and increase support for the region’s artistic and cultural assets, integrating arts and culture into community life and showcasing San Diego as an international tourist destination. Additional information is available at sandiego.gov/arts-culture.


In February 2020, UC Talks host Jemma Samala sat down with Ron Salisbury for a podcast interview. Take a listen at https://www.universitycitynews.org/2020/02/27/uc-talks-ron-salisbury-san-diegos-and-university-citys-inaugural-poet-laureate/

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