ARTHUR SZE, SANTA FE'S FIRST POET LAUREATE
and Moi had a nice chat with a 2003 cabernet at the Rutherford Grill tonight, following his reading (with Antonya Nelson) as part of the Napa Valley Writers Conference which is taking place in wine country this week. Of course Arthur's reading was fabuloso, but what I really want to blather about is why Santa Fe, New Mexico is G!R!E!A!T!
To wit, apparently, Arthur became poet laureate as part of a four-part plan by the city:
1) to become a nuclear-free zone (relevant given the proximity of Los Alamos);
2) to raise the local minimum wage above national standards;
3) to have a poet laureate; and
4) to have all government buildings be "green" (no fossil fuels) by the year 2030.
I LOVE THIS -- that poetry is deemed as civic-ly relevant as the other matters noted above. Yay, Santa Fe! I shall toast you in person when, synchronistically, I visit you in a couple of weeks.
It was really nice to see Arthur, whose poem "Black Lightning" had inspired the title of my first book. And also fabulous to catch up with Forrest Gander (who thought it a hoot how I subvert blurbs in PUNCTUATIONS) (we also had fun discussing the Blurbed Book Project), and reacquaint with C.D. Wright. Catch them and Brenda Hillman if you're in Bay Area for lectures and readings open to the public at this conference schedule.