On April 9, 2022, writer, teacher and musician Alice Pero will be inducted as Sunland-Tujunga’s 10th Poet Laureate.
By News Desk
In the ceremony known as the “Passing of the Laurels,” reigning laureate, Pamela Shea will provide a public reading of some of her cherished work. For her final official act, she will transfer the laurel crown to newly elected laureate Alice Pero who will then begin her term as Sunland-Tujunga’s ambassador of poetry and literacy.
The title of poet laureate dates to ancient Greece when a laurel was used to form a crown of honor for poets and heroes. The mantle is bestowed on a writer who exhibits excellence in their craft with a body of work that brings insights and perspective to the human experience as well as emphasizing a love for the local area they represent.
Sunland-Tujunga’s new poet laureate, Alice Pero, has called Sunland-Tujunga her home form more than 15 years. “I have absorbed the spirit of the desert wash, the plants, animals and birds have all become part of my poetry,” says Ms. Pero. “Unlike the crowded rush of the cities I have lived in, there is space and a connection to living things here.” Her poetry has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies including National Poetry Review, and California Quarterly. Her first book of poetry Thawed Stars was praised by renowned poet Kenneth Koch as having “clarity and surprises.” As a member of California Poets in the Schools, she is committed to the creative development of children. “For years I worked in inner city schools as a volunteer tutor and poetry workshop leader with mostly Hispanic children in South Central L.A. as well as the underserved areas of Brooklyn and Staten Island, NY,” says Ms. Pero. When speaking of her mission as new Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate she confidently states “Awakening the creative spirit in children of all races and ethnicities is paramount, as these children are our future.”
Pamela Shea, said that serving as 9th Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga “was a dream come true for me. It gave me confidence to expand my poetic style and submit my work for publication.” As laureate, she was committed to “taking poetry to the people,” at many venues in and around the foothills. Community service is inherent in the post. The poet laureate is often asked to speak at public events or provide a dedication during auspicious moments. She honored the first responders and volunteers who valiantly worked to preserve the grounds and structures of the McGroarty Arts Center that were threatened by the “La Tuna” fire of 2017. She helped coordinate and participated in the Gathering of California’s Poets Laureate in 2018 hosted by California State poet laureate Dana Gioia. She was also among the presenters at the 99th birthday celebration of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Friend of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Passing of the Laurels Free to the public. All are welcome. Sat., April 9, 2022 1-4 pm Location 10755 Art St. Shadow Hills, 91040
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