Phoenix Poet Laureate

More from this show

The city of Phoenix is going to start the nominating process to name its first ever Poet Laureate. The new Poet Laureate will start a two-year term next year. Gail Browne, the executive director of the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, will tell us about the new position.

TED: TONIGHT'S EDITION OF ARIZONA ARTBEAT LOOKS AT HOW TO CITY OF PHOENIX ANNOUNCED TODAY THAT IT'S KICKED OFF THE NOMINATING PROCESS TO NAME ITS FIRST EVER POET LAUREATE. HERE WITH MORE ON THE CITY'S POET LAUREATE SEARCH IS GAIL BROWNE, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PHOENIX OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE.

GAIL BROWNE: IT'S A PLEASURE TO BE HERE.

TED: A POET LAUREATE FOR THE CITY OF PHOENIX, WHY?

GAIL BROWNE: MAYOR STANTON AND COUNCILWOMAN LAURA PASTOR ARE LEADING THE EFFORT WITH SUPPORT OF THE OFFICE OF ARTS AND CULTURE AND THE PHOENIX LIBRARY, TO NAME A POET LAUREATE FOR PHOENIX. WE FEEL THAT THE TIME IS RIGHT AND THE CITY IS GROWING AND IT WOULD BE WONDERFUL TO FIND A WRITER TO HELP US CAPTURE THE DIVERSITY AND -- SOMEONE TO BRING MESSAGE OF POETRY AND APPRECIATION FOR POETRY TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND CULTIVATE THE NEXT GENERATION.

TED: INDEED, PROMOTING POETRY AND THE APPRECIATION OF POETRY IS A BIG DEAL HERE?

GAIL BROWNE: IT IS, IT IS, THIS IS A COMMUNITY WHERE THE ARTS ARE FLOURISHING ON SO MANY LEVELS AND SEEMS TIME TO BRING THE LITERARY ARTS FRONT AND CENTER.

TED: A TWO-YEAR TERM.

GAIL BROWNE: WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF NOMINATING, THIS IS THE BEGINNING OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES MONTH. IT'S A CALL FOR NOMINATION, POETS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN APPLYING OR PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY OR PEOPLE IN THE COMMUNITY WHO WOULD LIKE TO NOMINATE SOMEONE ELSE TO BE A PART OF THE PROCESS.

TED: AS FAR AS THE NOMINATES REQUIREMENTS, IT CAN'T JUST BE ANYONE, CORRECT?

GAIL BROWNE: THAT'S RIGHT. YOU NEED IT BE A PHOENIX RESIDENT, THAT'S A REQUIREMENT AND THEN YOU NEED TO HAVE A BODY OF WORK. BUT THAT CAN LOOK LIKE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT THINGS. EITHER TO HAVE A BOOK OR A CHAP BOOK THAT'S BEEN PUBLISHED OR A RECORDING, SOME POETS ARE MORE OF A SPOKEN WORD TYPE OF POET. OR I GUESS WE MIGHT SAY A RECORD OF COMMUNITY SERVICE IN EDUCATION AND TEACHING POETRY.

TED: SOMEONE WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW, AND SAID I'VE WRITTEN A LOT OF POEMS BUT I HAVEN'T SHOWN IT TO ANYONE AND DON'T HAVE STANDING AS A POET, THEY -- SHOULD THEY BOTHER TRYING TO BE NOMINATED. THEY COULD BE WONDERFUL POETS.

GAIL BROWNE: WHILE THE QUALIFICATIONS ARE IMPORTANT AND THE BODY OF WORK IS SOMETHING WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT I WOULDN'T DISCOURAGE ANYONE FROM APPLYING. ANOTHER VALUE THE PROCESS IT, ALLOWS US TO GET A BETTER SENSE WHO IS OUT THERE AND WHO IS WRITING AND HOW WE CAN CONNECT THEM TO OUR PROGRAM.

TED: I BET YOU'LL GET A LOT OF NOMINATIONS. A LOT OF PEOPLE WRITE POETRY.

GAIL BROWNE: THAT'S SOMETHING WE WOULD LIKE TO ENCOURAGE, MORE READERSHIP OF POETRY.

TED: MUST BE WILLING TO SPEAK IN PUBLIC, I WOULD IMAGINE, MAKE PRESENTATIONS CORRECT?

GAIL BROWNE: THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PIECE IS IMPORTANT. WE'RE EXPECTING OUR POET LAUREATE TO DO A NUMBER OF PRESENTATIONS, THE LIBRARY WILL HOST SOME AND AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, TO ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN, YOUNG PEOPLE, IT'S GOING TO BE IMPORTANT TO HAVE SORT OF A PUBLIC FACE THEY'RE WILLING TO SHOW.

TED: AND I GUESS FOR CEREMONIAL PURPOSES, IF YOU WANT A POEM, YOU HAVE SOMEWHERE TO GO.

GAIL BROWNE: THAT'S RIGHT. WE MIGHT ASK A POEM TO BE WRITTEN FOR A INAUGURATION OR SOME SPECIAL MOMENT.

TED: I NOTICED AS FAR AS THE JOB DUTIES, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO COLLABORATE WITH OTHER CITY, STATE POET LAUREATES. DO OTHER ARIZONA CITIES HAVE POET LAUREATES?

GAIL BROWNE: TUCSON DOES. FOR SOME YEARS AND SO WE'RE HOPING VERY MUCH TO CREATE A DIALOGUE, A CONVERSATION AMONG POET LAUREATES AND, OF COURSE, WE WANT -- AN EXTRAORDINARY POET LAUREATE FOR THE STATE OF ARIZONA.

TED: SOMEONE WATCHING THIS AND THEY'RE INTERESTED IN DOING THIS, DO THEY HAVE TO HAVE SOMEONE ELSE NOMINATE THEM?

GAIL BROWNE: NO, THEY CAN NOMINATE THEMSELVES, BUT WE'RE ASKING FOR LETTERS OF REFERENCE OR RECOMMENDATION. FROM ORGANIZATIONS THEY MAY HAVE WORKED WITH. SCHOOL GROUPS OR WHATEVER MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR THAT PERSON.

TED: HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO SEE? AS FAR AS OUTPUT IS CONCERN. YOU DON'T WANT TO SEND 15 BOOKS BUT WANT TO MAKE SURE WE CAN WRITE MORE THAN ONE POEM.

GAIL BROWNE: IF YOU GO INTO THE WEBSITE, WE'LL DEFINE IT MORE CLEARLY. BUT THAT'S HOW TO APPLY FOR THE PROJECT.

TED: HOW DID IT IDEA GET STARTED?

GAIL BROWNE: WELL, YOU KNOW, THIS CAME FROM THE MAYOR'S OFFICE AND COUNCILWOMAN PASTOR WAS EAGER FOR US TO MOVE FORWARD ON IT. SO THERE'S A POET COMMUNITY IN PHOENIX, WE'RE SEEING MORE AND MORE READINGS AND MORE AND MORE PUBLICATION AND ASU, THE CREATIVE WRITING PROGRAM AND THE CENTER FOR CREATIVE WRITING ARE IMPORTANT INFLUENCES IN POETRY. IT'S A GROWING AWARENESS.

TED: SOUNDS LIKE THEY'RE OUT THERE. JUST NEED TO BE HEARD AND SEEN AND READ.

GAIL BROWNE: THAT'S RIGHT. AND WE WANT TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO ELEVATE THE ART FORM AND OUR LOCAL WRITERS.

TED: ONE LAST QUESTION, AS FAR AS YOU'RE INTERESTED, WHERE DO YOU GO?

GAIL BROWNE: PHOENIX.GOV/ART/POETLAUREATE.

TED: AND IF YOU CAN'T SPELL LAUREATE, YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR SEARCH.

GAIL BROWNE: THANK YOU.

Gail Browne, executive director, Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture

airs Feb. 28

Desert Dreams: Celebrating Five Seasons in the Sonoran Desert

Barry Gibb singing (Bee Gees: In Our Own Time)
aired Feb. 24

Bee Gees: In Our Own Time

A cute little duckling with text reading: Arizona PBS Ducks in a Row Event
March 6

Getting Your Ducks in a Row to Avoid Conflict When You Are Gone

Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson
aired Feb. 23

The Highwaymen: Live at Nassau Coliseum

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters

STAY in touch
with azpbs.org!

Subscribe to Arizona PBS Newsletters: