(This letter was also addressed to the mayor.)
We would like to congratulate you on the success of the first poet laureate program in Laguna Beach and also give credit to the hard work and imagination of Kate Buckley, who proved to be an outstanding choice.
In her capacity, she held multiple public presentations, offered educational outreach and created the city’s first literary festival. She was democratic in her approach, extending a platform to distinguished local writers as well as those who may have been writing their first poem or story. She also taught workshops to children and disabled adults, facilitated public readings, wrote a commemorative poem and organized an innovative bus trip through town entitled “Poetry Moves You.”
It should also be noted that creating a program like this from scratch is exceptionally difficult and time-consuming. Each element needs to be imagined and invented, then the scaffolding designed and put in place out of nothing. The things Kate accomplished should be lauded both privately and publicly.
Let us also offer commendation to the government of Laguna Beach for the vision behind this continuing program. Yours is a city known internationally not just for its physical beauty, but for the pioneering artistic spirit that its residents uphold. We see the written word as a vital part of this enviable civic identity and we will keep coming back to Orange County’s premier artistic city to read and write.
Tom Zoellner, Pasadena
Also signing for: Victoria Patterson, Grant Hier, Francesca Bell, Eric Morago