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City of Davis Announces Next Poet Laureate

James Lee Jobe Selected for 2018-2020 Term

Post Date:September 17, 2018 1:19 pm

The City of Davis is pleased to announce that James Lee Jobe has been selected as our city's next Poet Laureate. Jobe is the city's fouth Poet Laureate. He was inducted at a City Council ceremony on September 11, 2018, and his term will run through September 2020.

In October, 2009 the City Council, wishing to encourage reflection upon the richness and diversity of the people, locations and traditions of the City of Davis, established a two-year, honorary position of Poet Laureate of Davis, California. The Poet Laureate encourages the reading, writing, sharing and celebration of poetry, and brings the power and beauty of poetry to the Davis community while increasing awareness of the literary arts through community education, engagement and outreach. This honorary two-year position celebrates the art of poetry, and its impact on the Davis community.

Allegra Silberstein held the position from 2010 through 2012, Eve West Bessier from 2012 through 2014, and Dr. Andy Jones served two terms, beginning in 2014, and will term out when Jobe takes over the position in September.

The Poet Laureate is a liaison, advocate, and leader who is tasked with leveraging his or her artistic excellence and literary achievements to inspire the diverse residents of the Davis community to read, write, perform, and appreciate the written and spoken word.

James Lee Jobe has been published in Chiron Review, Manzanita, Tule Review, Pearl, Poetry Now, and many other periodicals. His online publications include Convergence, Knot Magazine, Poetry 24, Medusa’s Kitchen, bloodsugarpoetry, and The Original Van Gogh Anthology. His poems are in several anthologies, including Sacramento Voices, and How to Be This Man. Jobe has authored several chapbooks, including What God Said When She Finally Answered Me, and his blog is at james-lee-jobe.blogspot.com. Jobe hosts two on-going poetry reading series and teaches a poetry workshop in Davis, California, where he has lived for many years.

Jobe shares “I am honored to be Davis' fourth Poet Laureate, and I hope I can match the example of my predecessors. During the two year term I hope to bring poetry into even more public events, make myself available to the schools of Davis, set up a free poetry station for giving away books, and to publish an anthology of Davis poets. I love my art and I love our city, and I intend to be busy.”

Duties of the Poet Laureate include representing the city of Davis and the art of poetry through outreach activities, presenting original works of poetry at official city events throughout the year, writing and submitting poetry about Davis for publication, presenting and discussing poetry at community events, in schools or with community groups, and acting as a resource for poetry and literary activities in Davis.

Most recently, the community has benefited from a clever collaboration between the Poet Laureate and our City’s Arts and Urban Forestry programs for the Arbor Day celebration, as seen in colorful mini-poems written by Dr. Andy Jones that are distributed throughout the City on yard signs, juxtaposed next to beloved trees.

Jobe was selected for recommendation by a review committee consisting of members of the Civic Arts Commission and the public. The Civic Arts Commission passed forward this recommendation to the City Council, who approved Jobe’s nomination in the spring. Jobe shared the following poem as a teaser of what is to come during his term:

We are driving through Davis and my wife asks,
“Why are you taking this street?”
“Oh, I just don’t want to go the same old way.”
But friend, it isn’t true. I so love my city
That I just don’t want to miss a single street.
Who knows what we’ll see; a perfect redwood tree,
Or a sweet child on a bike, followed by an old dog.
Looking up, the sun blesses us with golden light.

For more Information, please contact Rachel Hartsough, City Manager's Office, at rhartsough@cityofdavis.org or 530-747-5640.