(Bay City News) Roses are red, violets are blue, San Mateo County is looking for its first poet laureate — and it could be you!

The poet John Milton--not born in San Mateo County.
The poet John Milton–not born in San Mateo County.

Now through July 31, the county is seeking nominations for poet laureate, someone who can act as an ambassador for literary arts in San Mateo County.The Board of Supervisors, at its April 23 meeting, created the honorary post to highlight county poets past and present who might not otherwise have been recognized.

A Poet Laureate Advisory Committee has been formed and consists of 12 members of the county’s literary arts community, including Poet Laureate of California Juan Felipe Herrera.

“We know there are many fine poets within San Mateo County who have never been recognized before,” Supervisor Warren Slocum said. “We look forward to celebrating the diversity of our county through the spoken word and literary arts.”

Those nominated for the position must be at least 18 years old, a county resident for at least three years and able to serve a two-year term beginning in October. The person should possess a demonstrated commitment to and passion for poetry and have been published or recognized for poetry and literary contributions, according to the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors say the poet laureate must be willing to travel within the county, the goal being to bring appropriate works to at least four selected county-sponsored events, and open a meeting each quarter in poem.The poet laureate is also expected to write a commemorative poem about the county.

“A Poet Laureate can act as a steward of language, providing opportunities to savor words and sound,” San Mateo County Supervisor Carole Groom said.

Nomination forms and guidelines are available online at www.sanmateocountypoet.org, as well as at local libraries and at the County Government Center.

Paper submissions can be sent to San Mateo County Poet Laureate, Supervisor Warren Slocum, Board of Supervisors, 400 County Center, Redwood City, CA, 94063.

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