On March 1st, 2022, I was appointed for my second term as Lake County’s Poet Laureate. It just so happened to be the first day of Women’s History Month, and every day since my proclamation I have been reflecting on my voice and presence in this position. I’ve repeatedly expressed how rich of a literary community we have here in Lake County and when I say this, it includes writers of all genders, race and ethnicities, ages, and more. But if you attend a virtual or in-person writing gathering, you may notice there are more women present than men. It has become inevitable that countless, nameless women inspire me, and support me in return. Sure, there are some who criticize me, however, the genuine encouragement and kindness outweigh the negative.
Four local high schools participated in this year’s competition: Clear Lake High School, Kelseyville High School, Middletown High School, and Upper Lake High School. This marks the second year the competition had to be held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the second episode, Georgina Marie discusses poetry with poet and Alameda Poet Laureate Kimi Sugioka. Kimi is an educator and poet. She earned an MFA from Naropa University and has published two books of poetry; the newest of which is Wile & Wing on Manic D Press. She is the poet laureate of Alameda, California, and her work appears in various anthologies including Civil Liberties United, Endangered Species Enduring Values, Colossus: Home, and The City is Already Speaking Vol. 4.
In our inaugural episode, Georgina Marie discusses poetry with poet Beulah Vega. Beulah Vega is a writer, poet, and theatrical artist living and working in California’s Bay Area. Her poetry has been published in The Literary Nest, Sage Cigarettes, Walled Women, and Blood & Bourbon among others. Her first book of poetry, ‘A Saga for the Unrequited’, will be published in August of 2021 by Fae Corps Publishing. And her theatrical production company: Heroines, Harpies, and Harlots will present the second annual Sonoma County Women’s theater festival “In Their Own Voice” starting May 8th. She will also be reading as part of the Eclipse Lit launch party/American Foundation for Suicide Prevention fundraiser on May 22nd. She is still amazed when people refer to her as a writer, every time. To listen, follow this link or visit https://www.lakecountybloom.com/rootedinpoetry
As anyone reading this may already know: on January 20th, 2021, the role of the inaugural poet returned to the White House for the first time since the Obama Administration. Amanda Gorman, the first Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, read her poem The Hills We Climb for President Elect Joseph Biden and Vice President Elect Kamala Harris’ inauguration. Amanda Gorman wowed us her with poise and eloquence. She inspired us with her spoken word and her message of unity and resilience. In a move most if not all poets would applaud, she offered respect and remembrance to the great Maya Angelou who once was also an inaugural poet. Above all, she motivated an innumerable population of Americans to want to read poetry, to write poetry – the ultimate goal of a poet laureate.
This particular time of the coronavirus challenges us to maintain our relationship with our creative lives and it very well could be a time of pause. One may find it hard to write when we’re worried about our health and livelihoods or our families. One of my favorite writers, Nicole Gulotta, recently discussed in her podcast Wild Words how writing is certainly essential but in a way that is different than our basic essential needs. This may very well be a period of time this year where we slow down or even stop writing because we feel exhausted, we don’t have the energy or the motivation, or we just don’t feel like it. All of this is okay and I would even say that it is certainly a part of living a writer’s life.
Lake County Poet Laureate Georgina Marie and The Lake County Bloom invite Lake County writers to submit to our bi-weekly poetry column, Rooted in Poetry.
This column is a collaboration to offer a platform for local writers to introduce themselves to the community through their writing. Writers of all backgrounds are welcome regardless of your experience or style. We support established and emerging writers and look forward to reading a wide range of work and perspectives.