Introducing Our California

SACRAMENTO, CA – Inspired by “My California,” California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick’s ode to the Golden State, the California Arts Council (CAC) has announced today the first phase of Our California, an inclusive and participatory arts project that invites all Californians to write a poem about their city, town, or state and explore what they love about it, what they find in it, what they would change about it, or what hopes they hold for it.

“Each of us has a unique experience and relationship with California,” said California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick. “It is a place of bounty of innovation, opportunity, and progress, as well as difficulty and violence, challenges, and areas of need. Poetry can be a bridge to personal and societal change, and it can show us new ways of seeing ourselves and the world around us.”

Our California is a joint project of California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick and the California Arts Council, with support from the California State Library. The project encourages Californians across the state to share their feelings about the place in which they live through the art of poetry. A portal for participants to submit their works will be added to the California Poet Laureate website later this fall. Submissions will be published to the site on a quarterly basis.

No matter the writer’s age, origin, gender, or background, all are invited to contribute their art to the project.

“Join our state Poet Laureate, Lee Herrick, and the California Arts Council, in sharing your poem and celebrating our great state,” said CAC Executive Director Jonathan Moscone. “Whether you’re an experienced or an aspiring poet, we encourage everyone to participate and share your creativity.”

The goals of Our California are:

  • To encourage Californians to write poetry, to think about their communities, and to realize that their voice is important.
  • To inspire Californians to write poetry that uplifts all people through awareness of social justice or civic engagement.
  • To elevate poetry writing as a way to explore one’s creativity and relationship to place.

How to Get Involved

Write a poem (any form, up to 50 lines) about your town, city, or state. For more information about the guidelines and suggested prompts, visit:

Stay tuned for the next project phase, announcing the opening of the Our California poetry submission portal, coming later this fall.

Submission Requirements

Submissions must be unpublished works. The CAC will not censor any poems, but it reserves the right to remove poems from our service if they are plagiarized or if they contain content deemed offensive on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity, class, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Media Inquiries Only:
Kimberly Brown
Public Affairs Specialist

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The California Arts Council is a state agency with a mission of strengthening arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. It supports local arts infrastructure and programming statewide through grants, initiatives, and services. The California Arts Council envisions a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Consuelo Montoya, Chair; Vicki Estrada, Vice Chair; Gerald Clarke; Caleb Duarte; Ellen Gavin; Leah Goodwin; Alex Israel; Phil Mercado; Roxanne Messina Captor; Nicola Miner; and Olivia Raynor. Learn more at

The California Arts Council is committed to increasing the accessibility of its online content. For language and accessibility assistance, visit To read this announcement in Spanish, please use the website’s Google Translate tool by clicking the “Translate” link in the upper righthand corner of this page.

El Consejo de las Artes de California se compromete a aumentar la accesibilidad de sus contenidos en línea. Para obtener ayuda con el idioma y la accesibilidad, visite leer este anuncio en español, utilice la herramienta Google Translate del sitio web haciendo clic en el enlace “Traducir” situado en la esquina superior derecha de esta página.

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