Billy Collins, former United States Poet Laureate, gave a poetry reading on November 9 at Kepler's Book Store in Menlo Park. Mr. Collins entertained the 300 attendees with his sense of humor as well as his poetry taken mainly from his new book, Aimless Love.
All of my District 4 staff attended the special evening as well as San Mateo County's 1st Poet Laureate, Caroline Goodwin along with two members of the selection committee. Kepler's was good enough to give Caroline and I a very special introduction.
What was originally a campaign issue for me - encouraging the arts, humanities and reading - turned into the poet laureate program. After getting elected in November 2012 and taking office on January 7, 2013, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to introduce the legislation in our county that created its first poet laureate program. Following approval by the Board of Supervisors, we set about creating a selection committee that eventually reviewed the 15 applications that were received. A rigorous selection process followed and concluded with finalists being asked to give a poetry reading and answer questions about what they would do as the county's poet laureate.
Needless to say, Caroline Goodwin shined through the entire process and will begin her official duties on January 1, 2014.
Below is a picture of Mr. Collins autographing his book for me as well as a short video of the crowd that came to see him.