New Cupertino Poet Laureate Seeks to Inspire

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jennifer-swanton-brown-cupertino-poet-laureate-cupertino-libraryThe Cupertino City Council unanimously approved the recommendation of the Cupertino Library Commission naming Jennifer Swanton Brown as the second Poet Laureate of Cupertino. Her two-year term will be from October 1st, 2013 to September 30th, 2015. David Denny, the City’s first Poet Laureate fulfilled a “very successful” first term, engaging all ages of the community in poetry.

Brown “has many ideas about increasing poetry knowledge, enjoyment and participation in Cupertino.” The experience of writing and publishing poems as a school girl “was transformative, and something I believe I can offer the children of our community.” She will also focus on international styles of poetry. “A community as diverse as Cupertino should celebrate the ancient and varied poetic traditions of its citizens’ literature and cultures,” notes Brown.

“I am delighted to be chosen to promote poetry in my home town” said Brown, an educator, writer, and long-time teacher of California Poets in the Schools.  “Cupertino has given this community a powerful opportunity to explore together, young and old, the values of imagination and creativity. My favorite inspirational quote is attributed to Picasso, but it applies to poets and all creative experience: ‘Inspiration does exist, but it must find you working.’  Becoming the second Cupertino Poet Laureate will give me a chance to work with so many and hopefully to inspire some!”

Ann Stevenson, Selection Committee member, and member of the Library Commission, commented: “Our selection committee had a robust process of vetting the candidates, and a ranking process that has proved quite beneficial when we have competent candidates, as we did this year.” Four final applicants from Cupertino were interviewed.

Members of the Poet Laureate selection committee were: Adrian Kolb, chair, member of the Cupertino Library Commission; Roz Davis and Beverly Lenihan, Board members of the Cupertino Library Foundation; Kathy Stakey, longtime member of the Friends of the Cupertino Library; Deborah Vanni, English teacher, Homestead High School; Thomas Ray, dean of language arts at DeAnza College; and preceding Cupertino Poet Laureate, David Denny.

Adrain Kolb, Library Commissioner, said, “Helping to select our city’s new poet laureate was fulfilling and enjoyable. I was honored to work with a dedicated team of people who wanted to see this program continue. I have much faith in Jennifer and believe that our community will love her.”

In December 2010, the City Council of Cupertino unanimously adopted a resolution put forth by the Library Commission establishing the office of the Cupertino Poet Laureate. During the two years that the Cupertino Poet Laureate presides there are personal presentations and hosted educational events. The Laureate will introduce adults and youth to the benefits of personal and community expression which, among other qualities, highlight the benefits of living and working in Cupertino.

Questions and comments may be emailed to Poetlaureate@cupertino.org.