Amanda Williamsen named Cupertino Poet Laureate

Amanda Williamsen named Cupertino Poet Laureate

Congratulations to the new City of Cupertino Poet Laureate Amanda Williamsen! (pictured center) from past Poets Laureates David Denny and Jennifer Swanton Brown.

The Cupertino City Council voted to accept the recommendation of the Library Commission and appointed Amanda Williamsen as the city’s third poet laureate.

Poet Laureate Responsibilities

The other requirements have been broadened for this two-year term. In addition to applicants needing to be at least 21 years of age, the adult must be an active poet, been published or recognized publicly for his or her contributions to poetry. Two consecutive years of living or working in Cupertino have always been required. This application process has widened the pool of prospects to those who have two consecutive years of demonstrable ties to Cupertino. An honorarium of $500 each year is being offered to the 2016-17 Cupertino Poet Laureate by the Cupertino Library Foundation.

From Our Current Poet Laureate

“My two-year term as Poet Laureate has gone so quickly,” remarked current Cupertino Laureate, Jennifer Swanton Brown. “It has been so rewarding engaging with different groups throughout the community. I believe we have awakened more youth and older adults to the variety of poetry styles.” Dave Denny, Cupertino’s first Poet Laureate concurs, and both are actively involved in the selection committee. Read the Cupertino Poet Laureate Report (June 2015 PDF).


In December 2010, the City Council of Cupertino unanimously adopted a resolution put forth by the Library Commission establishing the office of the Cupertino Poet Laureate. During the two years that the Cupertino Poet Laureate presides there are personal presentations and hosted educational events. The Laureate will introduce adults and youth to the benefits of personal and community expression which, among other qualities, highlight the benefits of living and working in Cupertino.


“This third term will begin officially January 1 and continue through December 31, 2017,” clarified Bev Lenihan, member of the Cupertino Poet Laureate Selection Committee. “The past two terms have started in October, but the past two Poets Laureate and we believe the success of the program lies in giving the new appointee time to plan for his or her term.” Interviews will be held with the Selection Committee the later part of July, and a recommendation made to City Council through the Library Commission in August.


The Cupertino Poet Laureate program is co-sponsored by the City of Cupertino, the Cupertino Library Commission, the Cupertino Library Foundation, and Friends of the Cupertino Library. Members of the Poet Laureate Selection Committee are: The members are Ann Stevenson from the Cupertino Library Commission; Roz Davis, The Friends of the Cupertino Library; Deborah Vanni, English Teacher in the Fremont Union High School District; Jennifer Swanton Brown, current Poet Laureate; Dave Denny, past Poet Laureate; Pushpa MacFarlane, area educator; Beverly Lenihan, Cupertino Library Foundation; Adrian Kolb, community leader. Gayathri Kanth, Cupertino Librarian, is a resource to the Committee.


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