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San Antonio’s First Poet Laureate
Carmen Tafolla, poet and co-founder of CantoMundo, has been named the first Poet Laureate of San Antonio.
From a post on the Letras Latinas blog:
On April 3, 2012, San Antonio will become the first major city in Texas to appoint a Poet Laureate. Mayor Julián Castro will formally announce nationally renowned author and poet Carmen Tafolla as the Poet Laureate in keeping with the SA2020 goal of turning San Antonio into “a brainpower community that is the liveliest city in the nation.” The initiative applies to the Arts & Culture as well as Education vision areas. The honorary position was created to promote the literary arts and literacy within the community as well as foster a greater appreciation of the poetic arts through the reading and writing of poetry. The Poet Laureate will serve a two-year term and will commit to a minimum of three City sponsored and selected public appearances for each year of service. The Mayor’s announcement and reception will take place on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. at City Council Chambers in the Municipal Plaza Building, 114 W. Commerce St. The event is free and open to the public.
“I can think of no one more worthy of this honor than Carmen Tafolla. She’s not only an accomplished poet and educator; she is a homegrown talent who embodies the power and poignancy of art in our community. I am proud to call her San Antonio’s first Poet Laureate,” Mayor Julián Castro responded to the determination by the Poet Laureate selection committee. The announcement follows the Mayor’s State of the City address where he called for San Antonians to “be bold and invest in the city’s future” through education, early childhood education in particular.
As for Tafolla’s goals for the position:
Tafolla’s goal as Poet Laureate, she believes, is to bring the joy of literature into the daily lives of the people of this great pueblo, and to empower the expression of their own poetic voices in our young and old alike. She believes strongly that a multicultural dual-language education is one of the greatest gifts we can provide our children, and that effective family literacy is heavily dependent on the availability of stories and literature to which people can relate culturally and realistically. “Literacy and literature cannot be realistically separated if we hope to have an impact on all of our residents,” says Tafolla. “Powerful stories that reflect our reality reverberate inside us, and give us meaning. Literature cannot afford to be elitist or disconnected from the community.”