Tuesday, November 03, 2015

My bid for Spokane Poet Laureate - DENIED!!!!

Well, it's official. There's a new poet laureate, and it's not me. Congratulations to Laura Read. 

No. I don't know if her name is pronounced in the past or present tense. Either way, it's an awesome name for a poet, laureate or not.

I knew I was a long shot.  And Laura has an impressive resume. My only complaint is not getting any word from the Spokane Arts Commission regarding my application. Even after I emailed them to ask whether they had received my submission, they remained curiously silent.

Maybe they were swamped by poet laureate applications. 

Bukowski and Poe were held in contempt by the poetry establishment in their time and locale. If that is what is happening here, and I'm not saying it is, I raise a glass and utter a hardy "Huzzah!" to those who would include me in such noble company.

I have decided to share with you, my readers, my online application. I have removed some of my contact info. The last thing I need is gifts sent my way to cheer me up.

Here is my submission package:.

Here is the online questionnaire:

Title: John Griffith - Spokane Poet Laureate Application Cover Letter:

What are the responsibilities of a city poet laureate?

You have laid out the responsibilities very well in the job description. I would add that I would extend the role into, at least, a weekly presence via social media, inviting all of Spokane to participate in creating and enjoying poetry. I think there are excellent opportunities to create events with the private sector to promote poetry, as well.

How would you promote poetry in Spokane?

Primarily through social media. I have been using Periscope to host a live video poetry program on a weekly basis. Participation has been good and viewership has been from around the world. I have not seen another program like this. Public gatherings and events would be key, as well.

Over the last two years, I have promoted group seven-mile runs/bike rides to visit local breweries along the Centennial Trail. I envision similar opportunities to combine poetry with enjoyment of Spokane's outdoor beauty and a celebration of local craft businesses.

Describe the first laureate project you would like to undertake.

My first project would be the first of an on-going weekly web series. But, my first "big" project would be a February Valentines Day themed Wine and Roses poetry fest. This event would feature local wineries, chocolate and roses. I would partner up with local wineries for a tasting event. Florists and local candy makers would also be invited. During this time, we would have scheduled poets read their work and also open mic opportunities. I would emcee. I envision a steampunkish vibe for the event and we would promote it much like the Get Lit festival or Terrain.

Both Get Lit in April and Terrain in October would be excellent opportunities to partner up. Also, I would keep an eye out for conventions coming to Spokane and have an event for out-of-towners to celebrate poetry in Spokane. A great opportunity would have been Sasquan last month.

In September or October, an Oktoberfest Centennial Trail Brew and Haiku run or bike ride would be a great way to promote the Centennial Trail, the Spokane River and local breweries.

I believe poetry is a great way to easily experience creativity in anyone's life. I think having it woven into our daily lives, starting as children and extending into our golden years is a beneficial gift to the entire community. I would love to see Spokane known for this endeavor.

Thank you!

John Griffith, spokanarama@comcast.net,

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