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Lee Herrick, a Writer-Professor from Fresno, is Chosen as California Poet Laureate

Herrick, 52, was born in Daejeon, South Korea, and adopted when he was 10 months old by parents from Northern California. Formerly Fresno’s poet laureate, he teaches at Fresno City College and in the MFA program at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe. Read more

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Can This Quirky Naval Poetry Tradition Make a Comeback?

On every Naval watch shift, an officer records the workaday vital signs of the ship, which might include a chronology of the ship’s movements or particulars of its anchorage, the status of its power systems, vessels spotted nearby, and absentees or injuries onboard. For many ships, logs are held by the Navy for 30 years before moving to the National Archives. It’s generally a dry administrative document. But a long-standing Navy tradition holds that the first deck-log entry of the new year may be written in verse. It’s unclear when or why this tradition began; the earliest mentions date to 1926, according to the Navy, and seem to indicate the tradition was already established. The practice continued during subsequent decades: The New Year’s verse was once a popular enough element of Navy life that the official All Hands magazine and the independent Navy Times held annual contests to decide the best poems, and a Navy-trained astronaut even carried it to the International Space Station’s ship log in the first hours of 2001. Read more

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Indy’s Alyssa Gaines is the 2022 National Youth Poet Laureate

Indianapolis’ own Alyssa Gaines is the 2022 National Youth Poet Laureate. After performing her poem Lágrimas Negras, a piece which blends song and spoken word to provide a powerful commentary on the beauty of communal pain and healing, Gaines was given the top honor out of a group of four finalists and 65 high school poets across the country.  Read more

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Amanda Gorman and PRH have established a $10,000 prize for public high school poets

Exciting news for high school writers: Amanda Gorman and Penguin Random House have teamed up to launch the Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry. The award will recognize a senior from a public high school for an original poem, and the winner will receive $10,000. The Amanda Gorman Award for Poetry is one of five creative writing awards given by Penguin Random House, whose categories include fiction/drama, personal essay/memoir, and spoken word; current high school seniors who attend U.S. public schools and plan on continuing their education in fall 2022 are encouraged to apply. As of this year, the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards have awarded over $2.8 million to public high school students for their original writing. Read more

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