Do you have what it takes to be the next San Francisco Poet Laureate?
Mayor Ed Lee and the SF Poet Laureate Nominating Committee put out a call Thursday for nominations to the post.
Candidates have to meet a daunting set of standards; they must have published “one full length book (minimum 48 pages, not self-published or vanity press) and/or professional digital recording of performance with text (not self-produced) or 20 or more published poems in established publications, print or online, over the past five years.”
That line knocking vanity presses is just cruel.
The nominee must also be a city resident. What poet can still afford to live in San Francisco?
Beat survivor Lawrence Ferlinghetti inaugurated the post.
Alejandro Murguía is the current Poet Laureate, the first Latino to hold the position. He’s written four books of history, short stories, and poetry in Spanish and English. He gave a speech recalling that the first time he was paid for a reading, he got two beers, but one was thrown at him.
Here’s an excerpt from his poem “O California”:
Se fueron por el Camino Real
Ese largo y triste camino de eucaliptos
Cargados con frijol y maíz
Y llegaron en lowered-down Chevy ranflas
Con gafas fileros y tomando botellas de tequila
Que decían Made in Mexico
Hablando tres palabras de inglés
Apple pie y coffee
Vámonos a California Vámonos a California
The new laureate will be judged worthy by a panel of their peers on the selection committee, including former laureates Jack Hirschman and Janice Mirikitami.
There is an honorarium. The public library, which runs the program, pays a $5,000-stipend.
If you think you have what it takes, here’s the link to the application. The deadline is April 17.