This is Santa Monica’s First-Ever Poet Laureate

Her Work Touches Subjects of Personal Narrative, Individual/Cultural Identity, Philosophy, and Spirituality

By Zach Armstrong

As part of an effort to magnify literary works and bolster literary creations that celebrate the dynamic nature of Santa Monica, the City along with its public library have announced the seaside charter town’s first-ever Poet Laureate. 

Anne Carmack, a local, mixed-race multidisciplinary artist, has been selected for the position. Her work, as described by a City government post, touches subjects of personal narrative, individual/cultural identity, philosophy, and spirituality through various modalities: poetry, painting, photography, filmmaking, storytelling and screenwriting. 

Within a day of its 2020 release, Carmack’s debut poetry collection, “My Own Body Breathing,” became an Amazon #1 Best Seller. It can be found for check out at: https://tinyurl.com/4wmv4w77. Her other writings and artwork can also be viewed at https://annecarmack.substack.com/

“As a long-time resident and dedicated poet/artist, Anne embodies the spirit and the soul of Santa Monica through her words and her art. We look forward to experiencing the inclusive, unifying, and powerful nature of poetry in all its forms with our community.” said Library Director Erica Cuyugan in a statement. 

Carmack’s two-year term, which commenced on March 21, comes with several key tasks: creating an annual poem that glorifies Santa Monica; conducting two yearly writing workshops at a local public school, the Library or at community events; coordinating poetry programs each year for the Library’s National Poetry Month activities; among others. The term is accompanied by a $5,000 annual stipend. 

Applications opened for the honorary role in late October and concluded in Mid-December; open to Santa Monica residents aged 18 and above. At the time, it was reported that the selection process would be executed by a Poet Laureate Review Panel, consisting of community members drawn from the Arts Commission, Library Board, Friends of the Library Board, and city staff.

Westside locals have a chance to meet Carmack at the following events:

  • A poetry workshop and welcome reception for the Poet Laureate. Taking place on Saturday, April 20, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Main Library, Multi-purpose Room and Central Courtyard. 
  • The Arts & Literacy Festival at Virginia Avenue Park. Taking place Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees can contribute words to a poem by Carmack in honor of the Pico Branch Library’s 10th Anniversary. The poem will be revealed and read by the Poet Laureate at the Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, June 29, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
in News, Upbeat
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