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Gary Young (poet)

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Last Updated: 18 January 2022

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Gary Young (poet)

Born1951 (age 68-69)
OccupationPoet, printer, book artist
Alma materUniversity of California Santa Cruz University of California, Irvine

Job Of Poet Laureate Is To Advance And Enliven Art Of Poetry In County. Young will act as advocate for literature, and arts, and contribute to SANTA CRUZ's Cultural legacy through public readings and participation in civic events. Here, he offers his thoughts on why poetry, seemingly becoming lost art in this digital day and age, is in fact integral to expressing human condition-in sorrow and in joy, in anguish and in love, in abandonment and in faith. At time when it seems that only thing we hear about books is fact that they will soon be obsolete, and that readers are becoming endangered species, it's rare and glorious thing for community to come together to recognize value of poetry and to encourage participation in its many joyful manifestations. By naming Poet Laureate, community make unequivocal declaration that poetry is vital artistic pursuit that should be encouraged and applaud. Poetry's primary is to speak about things for which there are no words. Poetry offers US chance to articulate pain that ordinary speech cannot express; joy that surpasses our capacity to explain; or love that resists reduction to mere words. This paradox is one of things that keeps poetry alive at every age and in every culture. In increasingly secular age, poetry is also place where things of spirit may be freely investigated or extol without constraints of one or another orthodoxy. For Poet, Poetry offers life of inexhaustible possibility. It's humbling art, because we wrestle most often with our failures-every poet knows that his or her best poems be even better. Poetry is hard work, but is labor touch by grace. Human beings were made to sing-in praise and in sorrow, to each other, to earth, to gods. It is one of our precious birthrights. In age when electronic media dominate so much of our conversation, Poetry offers little island where words are still holy. William Carlos Williams said it best in asphodel, that Greeny Flower: It's much more important that our community determine that we should have Poet Laureate than fact that any individual was honored with position. This is really about recognizing poetry and art of word. I'm flatter to have been chosen for post, of course, but I'm nothing more than stand-in for all many wonderful poets who live here. I came to SANTA CRUZ 40 years ago with explicit intention of becoming poet. I studied at UCSC with William Everson, Stephen Kessler, and many other marvelous writers and teachers, and I was blessed with friendship of Morton Marcus, Joe Stroud, Jim Houston, and army of brilliant and generous poets and writers. This place has made me I am.

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