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Current Council Agenda and Past Meeting Information



Meeting Date: March 14, 2006

Subject/Title: Approve Arts Commission recommendation for Poet Laureate

Prepared by: Rebekah Burr-Siegel, Arts Services Manager

Submitted by: Craig D. Bronzan, Director of Parks and Recreation

Approve the Arts Commission’s recommendation of Diane Lando as the City of Brentwood’s second Poet Laureate.

On November 12, 2002, the City Council approved Mary Jane Barnes as the first Poet Laureate for the City of Brentwood on the recommendation of the Brentwood Arts Commission. Her Poet Laureate term expired on December 31, 2004. On January 11, 2005 the City Council approved the appointment of Mary Jane Barnes as Poet Laureate Emeritus.

In September the Arts Commission began recruitment for a new Poet Laureate to replace Ms. Barnes. The submission deadline of October 17, 2004 saw no submissions. The Arts Commission recommended leaving the position temporarily vacant.

The Arts Commission and Literary Arts Committee acknowledge the importance of the literary arts in Brentwood and have worked diligently to find a viable candidate to recommend to City Council in order to continue the advocacy for the appreciation and advancement of the literary arts, particularly poetry in our community.

After several open mike literary readings the Literary Arts Committee offered local poet Diane Lando a featured poet reading on June 1, 2005. The committee interviewed Ms. Lando in August 2005 and asked her to submit a proposal for the post of Poet Laureate. The Literary Arts committee reviewed and accepted her proposal (with minor alterations) on January 17, 2006. The Arts Commission approved the recommendation of Diane Lando to Poet Laureate at their February 22, 2006 meeting.

There is no fiscal impact.


This position is an interpretive liaison between the political/social functions of the city government and the populace. We all speak the languages of everyday interaction, but the ideas need translation from the prosaic to the poetic. This transition allows us to see and feel the positive aspects of our growing and changing "home".
The idea of home is one we wish to magnify and honor with our diverse populace. Those of us who have lived here all of our lives will have many opportunities to welcome and get to know our new neighbors. Our new residents will have opportunities to enjoy our town and culture, through the many events and activities offered.
Poetry is the exquisite medium with which we can communicate our wonder and enjoyment of each other. Our physical environment, the old and the new, will be the stage upon which we perform the dance of our interactions. Poetry will chronicle our experiences of this living history in a beautifully concise manner.

The Arts Commission has delineated this position's duties as:

1. Public Advocate for the appreciation and advancement of the arts, specifically with area schools.
2. Promote a minimum of four (4) readings per year throughout the community.
3. Serve as a liaison between the Arts Commission and local schools, library, and literary organizations and conduct readings and workshops devoted to poetic works on an as-needed basis.
4. Establish projects to reach residents who might not otherwise have this exposure.
5. Serve as a scout for suitable poets who could appear at cultural performances.
6. Go to ribbon cuttings, etc.
7. Write one (1) – two (2) commemorative poems annually, by invitation.

As a local poet, residing in the parklike fringes of Brentwood, and being a longstanding published poet and teacher, I fulfill the basic qualifications of this position. My resume is already on file, and I have recently done a poetry reading for the Arts Commission, and written poetry for the Art Gallery.
I understand that this position has been designed for an unpaid volunteer. As such, one's responsibilities will consume a minimum amount of time, while assuring quality performance.
Poetry functions can piggyback on the established "Cornfest" and "A Day in the Park", "Music in the Park", events. The search for local poets has already begun with the Summertime poetry contest. I would like to add the following:

1. Do two (2) themed contests annually.
2. Do a reading with cowboy poetry/poets.
3. Consider developing a future writer's conference.
4. Poet Laureate may attend Historical Society Events.
5. Poet Laureate may attend LUHS plays, concerts, etc., as well as other BUSD events (including elementary, and junior high)
6. Go to classrooms in the schools to promote poetry and Commission events. Help establish a relationship with the school districts concerning literary arts.
7. Poet Laureate may attend Senior Citizen events (community center, Summerset, etc.)

Respectfully submitted,

Diane P. Lando

City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
150 City Park Way
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5440
Fax (925) 516-5441