Local poet and Westmont professor Paul Willis will be installed as the City’s next Poet Laureate at the April 12th City Council meeting shortly after 2pm. The occasion will be celebrated through the reading of a Proclamation from the Mayor recognizing the contributions and accomplishments of Mr. Willis and April as National Poetry Month in Santa Barbara. As the incoming Poet Laureate Willis will read a poem in honor of the occasion.
“Our city is blessed with talent in every field, but perhaps nowhere more richly than in poetry, where Paul Willis stands out for his wisdom, passion, spirituality and love of the natural world, not to mention his incisive power of craft and music,” remarked Barry Spacks, Santa Barbara’s first Poet Laureate.
The City of Santa Barbara established a position of Poet Laureate in 2005 in order to direct proper attention and honor to the spoken word by utilizing poetry to celebrate and elevate community events. Since the establishment of the position the City has been remarkably fortunate of have three exceptional Emeritus Poet Laureates—Barry Spacks, Perie Longo and David Starkey. Longo and Spacks will be at the Council event for the passing of the ceremonial laurel wreath to Professor Willis.
The entire month of April will be filled with a myriad of readings and events throughout the City celebrating all things poetic. A listing of events can be found at http://www.sbpoetry.net
Paul Willis has had more than 400 of his poems published in more than 100 literary journals and has inspired many as a Professor of English at Westmont College where he has taught since 1988.
Willis was approved on March 29th, by Santa Barbara City Council meeting and will serve in the role of Poet Laureate until April 2013.
For more information visit www.sbartscommission.org.