Poet Laureate


April is National Poetry Month

As April is National Poetry Month, you can get involved by joining the LAC in our next step for the 2020 Poet Laureate in the Lamorinda area!  We are putting together a selection committee which will become active when the SIP is lifted. If you are interested in becoming involved please click HERE and select Poet Laureate Program from the list.

The Lamorinda Arts Council would like to thank Amy Glynn, our outgoing Poet Laureate, for her distinguished service as the very first Poet Laureate for our community from 2018 - 2020.

Featured Poem for April 2020

Our featured poem is by Sugawara no Michizane (b. 849 CE, d. 903 CE), a scholar, poet and politician of the Heian Period of Japan. He is revered in Shinto as the god of learning, Tenman-Tenjin. The poem is displayed on the exterior of a building in Liederman, Netherlands. Lamorinda Arts Council board member Lois Reynolds Mead was on the spot to take this photograph - the text of the poem is derived from the photograph, which appears in several languages.

Oh cherry blossoms,

if you are the ones

who do not forget your master, 

send me a message

in the wind that blows my way.

Photo credit: Lois Reynolds Mead
Legend says that Michizane composed the poem when he was forced to go into exile, leaving his home. His intention was to invite the tree to recall its caretaker and blossom even when he is no longer there and that the wind will carry the fragrance of its blossoms to him.

About the Poet Laureate Program

The Poet Laureate Program marks the first opportunity of its kind for our local literary community.  The Lamorinda Arts Council Poet Laureate Program manages and supports the Poet Laureate who serves both Lafayette and Orinda.

The Poet Laureate is called upon to write theme-based poetry and read poetry at civic and other events such as public ceremonies and dedications.  He or she also supports the Lamorinda Arts Council Poet Laureate Program activities in the schools and community and serves as a liaison with literary organizations.

The goals of the program are as follows:

  • to encourage poetry and the literary arts in our communities
  • to stimulate and inspire residents in their writing
  • to present poetry in non-traditional venues to expand its reach
  • to promote dialogue between poets, others in the literary arts, cultural groups and community organizations.

Who Should Apply?

In order to be considered for this position you must be:

  • a resident of and/or work in Lafayette or Orinda*
  • 21 years of age or older
  • the author of published poetry, appropriate for public consumption
  • available to commit to a term of 2 years

In addition, successful candidates should also be:

  • willing to promote and advocate for the Cities of Lafayette and Orinda as venues for poetry
  • able to advocate for the inclusion of poetry in public and civic events
  • able to inspire and foster an awareness and appreciation of the role of poetry in the community through poetry readings, writing educational programs, and other outreach events, activities, and programs
  • available to interface with various literary organizations
  • available to collaborate with the Lamorinda Arts Council Poet Laureate Program committee and provide them with a quarterly report of activities
  • competent to work with digital and social media
  • willing to orient and train the next Poet Laureate.

*As the Town Council of Moraga has not, as of yet, joined the Town Councils of Orinda and Lafayette to endorse this program, we are unable to accept Moraga based applicants at this time.  If you live or work in Moraga and would like to see Moraga included, please contact the Moraga Town Council.


The candidate selected for this position serves a two-year term as the Poet Laureate for the cities of Lafayette and Orinda and receives a stipend of $2,000 per year, plus up to an additional $1,000 per year for expenses, such as location fees, advertising costs, or guest poet stipends.

Important Information

Applications for the current position will be available SOON (spring 2020).  Applicants apply online directly; nominations are not accepted. The Selection Committee reviews all applications to ensure basic criteria are met.  Qualifying candidates will be notified in May 2020 and interviews scheduled shortly thereafter.

Questions: contact us