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Finding the perfect poet in Nevada County

When it comes to clout in California, Nevada County doesn’t have much. Our outnumbered legislators do their best, but there are probably more voters stuck in traffic in South San Francisco at any moment of the day than we can get to the polls on Election Day.

While we don’t have the votes to carry much clout statewide, Nevada County is rich in a natural resource that is surprisingly in demand – poets, particularly poets who might be willing to serve as the state’s poet laureate.



California is searching for its sixth poet laureate, a successor to Charles B. Garrigus, a former state legislator whose poetry was – how do we say this nicely? – the sort of poetry one would be pleased to receive from a state legislator.




The poet laureate serves as ambassador for poetry in California and is called upon occasionally to write something. Only 10 poets have applied to become the state’s poet laureate, and those who worry about these sorts of things say they’re not certain they can find an acceptable set of three nominees to send to Gov. Gray Davis.

You’re thinking, of course, that Nevada County’s Gary Snyder would be a great choice to serve as poet laureate. So did we, until we heard Mr. Snyder’s fears that the appointment would mean that he’d need to have a suit. If that’s a requirement of the job – and we suspect it probably is – then we wouldn’t want to put our Pulitzer Prize winning poet through that particular kind of hell.

Still, there are lots of good poets in Nevada County. Some are kids who have kept poetry slams alive for many a weeknight. Others are respected writers with good-size bodies of work. And all of them, being residents of Nevada County, have a good sense of what it’s like to live in a state which is equal parts natural beauty, urban energy and cutting-edge goofiness.

So here’s what we need to do: Let’s get a candidate for poet laureate from Nevada County, put all our energy behind the candidate and, for once, see if Nevada County can’t exercise a little clout.

Any nominees?


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