Ventura County Poet Laureate

The Ventura County Poet Laureate advances awareness of and appreciation for literary arts and humanities within Ventura County. The laureateship is an honorary position held by a distinguished poet who is a Ventura County resident with a history of publication of poems and/or books, who has an established presence and history of involvement in the Ventura County literary community (i.e. readings, publications, public presentations, hosting or teaching), and who has previously received recognition as demonstrated by special honors, awards or press coverage.

Role in the Community

Each Poet Laureate serves a two-year term of service, during which they promote a wide range of literary arts and participate in ceremonial, educational and cultural activities throughout the county. They celebrate the diversity and history of Ventura County, and they are an ambassador of the county’s literary community.

During their term, the Poet Laureate comes into contact with the public and with students of all ages, in local colleges and schools, and by creating or facilitating workshops and readings in a variety of settings. Through various activities, they encourage community members to develop their own creative interests.

Naming of the Laureate

Laureates are nominated by individuals or organizations, and Ventura County Arts Council convenes a Poetry Committee, which is broadly representative of the Ventura County literary community, to review nominations and recommend one or more candidate for consideration. VCAC makes the final appointment of the Poet Laureate.

The position of Poet Laureate is largely voluntary and no tax dollars are spent in the execution of its duties. All funding is generated through private contributions and cultural grants.

VCAC recently named and inaugurated Santa Paula resident Luzmaria Espinosa as the third Ventura County Poet Laureate. The laureateship has previously been held by local poets Phil Taggart and Mary Kay Rummel.

Current Ventura County Poet Laureate, Luzmaria Espinosa.
VCAC literary programs coordinator Fernando Salinas introduces the 2020/2021 Ventura County Poet Laureate, Luzmaria Espinosa, at her February 2020 inauguration held at the Agriculture Museum in Santa Paula.

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