MILTON — The City Council is expected to appoint someone as the city’s official poet laureate at its next Executive Committee meeting.
At the June 22 Committee of the Whole meeting, Marc Livanos, a local poet, expressed a need for a local poet laureate to the council.
“There's so much rich history in Milton, and it's crying to have a poet laureate,” Livanos said. “This is our chance to promote who we are, our values and how we feel about Milton. The community is growing and a poet laureate enhances the quality of living in Milton for poets, students and the community at large.”
A poet laureate is a local poet appointed to a region and who seeks to attract a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. According to Livanos, the poet laureate’s focus would be on children by promoting and nurturing their poetry.
“We will open portals at the Milton Library and Milton High School,” Livanos said. “We don’t want to go to the schools saying that Milton has no poet laureate. We are here for what’s best for Milton. There is a benefit to be had.”
Livanos supplied a list of eligibility requirements for the unpaid position, which would have a term of two years.
The requirements read as follows:
Be a full-time resident of Milton and its surrounding area.
Be a poet of stature recognized in the literary, cultural or educational communities.
Have high-quality published or documented work.
Be willing to attend and organize in the city of Milton at least 12 events per year including workshops, school poetry contests, local authors’ events, presentations and on-the-spot writing contests.
Provide a poem to the city manager for inclusion in the quarterly newsletter that reflects Milton’s history and culture.
Pursue projects related to poetry that encourage, advocate and spread the joy of poetry in the community.
Livanos is a member of the Santa Rosa County Writers' Guild. Mayor Wesley Meiss and the council asked the guild to nominate someone for the position of poet laureate and submit their application to the council for review. According to Livanos, the choice was between him and his fellow guild member, Jane Hutto.
The writer’s guild decided to nominate Livanos; he accepted the nomination and submitted his application to the council. The city council is expected to make a decision at the July 6 Executive Committee meeting.
“I am profoundly honored,” Livanos said. “As someone who has been sustained by poetry, I understand the powerful and necessary purpose that the writing and reading of poetry provide for ordinary folks and sensitive types.”