Public Event Brings Together State, City, and County Poets Laureate of California

Left to right: California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis (photo by Dunya Alwan), former California Poet Laureate Carol Muske-Dukes, former California Poet Laureate Al Young.

LOS ANGELES – California’s literary community will come together for a historic gathering of California poets laureate on Saturday, October 6, at the McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga. California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia will lead city, regional, and county poets laureate, along with former state laureates, to celebrate California’s creative expression through words.

The occasion will be marked by a collaborative group reading by more than 60 city, regional, and county poets laureate, followed by special guest readings from renowned California laureates, past and present, including Gioia, Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis, and former California poets laureate Carol Muske-Dukes and Al Young. A morning session open to participating poets, featuring panel discussion and breakout sessions, will precede the afternoon’s public event.

The free event is the first large-scale gathering of California’s poets laureate since the termed position of state poet laureate was first established in 2001. Poets laureate are recognized for their civic achievement in the art of poetry and selected to serve as a literary representatives for their city, county, region, or state to promote poetry to their communities through readings, lectures, or educational projects.

“This gathering celebrates the contributions of local laureates who do so much on behalf of poetry, literature, and literacy across the state,” said California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia. “Most laureates have never had the opportunity to meet one another and share ideas. It will be an exciting event.”

The McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga, located in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, is the former home of John S. McGroarty, California’s third poet laureate, designated by the state Legislature in 1933.

The day’s activities are co-sponsored by the California Arts Council and the McGroarty Arts Center, and by Engaging the Senses Foundation, dedicated to creating programs that illuminate the intersection of art and compassion.

WHAT: Gathering of California’s Poets Laureate
WHEN: Public Event from 2 – 7 p.m.

  • 2 p.m.: Poet Laureates group reading
  • 5 p.m.: Main reading followed by reception and signing


WHERE: McGroarty Arts Center
               7570 McGroarty Terrace
               Tujunga, CA, 91042

  • Dana Gioia, California Poet Laureate
  • Robin Coste Lewis, Los Angeles Poet Laureate
  • Carol Muske-Dukes, former California Poet Laureate
  • Al Young, former California Poet Laureate
  • 60+ city, regional, and county Poets Laureate from across the state


Registration by the public is strongly recommended for this event. Click here to register.

Media attendance is also encouraged. For press event RSVPs and inquiries, contact Kimberly Brown, Public Affairs Specialist.

About Dana Gioia
Dana Gioia is California’s state Poet Laureate. Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in December, 2015, Gioia serves as the state advocate for poetry and literature in libraries, classrooms and boardrooms across California. An award-winning poet, Gioia is the author of Can Poetry Matter?, which is credited for helping revive poetry’s role in American public life. He is also the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts where he championed arts education. As state laureate, Gioia works to inspire a new generation of writers and celebrate California’s great literary legacy.

About Robin Coste Lewis
Robin Coste Lewis is the poet laureate of Los Angeles and writer-in-residence at the University of Southern California. In 2015 she published her poetry debut, Voyage of the Sable Venus, which was honored with the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry—the first poetry debut to do so since 1975.

About Carol Muske-Dukes
Carol Muske-Dukes is a professor at the University of Southern California and a former Poet Laureate of California. She is an author of eight books of poems and four novels. She is also an essayist and anthology editor.

About Al Young
Al Young is author of 22 widely translated books, including poetry, fiction, essays, anthologies and musical memoirs. Appointed in 2005 by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Young served as California’s poet laureate through 2008.

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The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Vice Chair Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Donn K. Harris, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

Kimberly Brown

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