Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - June 24, 2011

Poetic Pleasanton

by Deborah Grossman

Laureate, what's it all about?

During my two years as Poet Laureate I encountered many quizzical looks when people heard of my role, which ends this month.

"What is a laureate?" they asked.

In ancient times, leaves from a bay laurel tree were woven into a wreath to identify "laureate" people who did something unique. In this city alive with the fine arts and theater, I didn't make any fashion statements with laurel leaves, but I did set a goal: To inspire people to enjoy the literary arts. Many accompanied me on this journey.

Prose Poem for Poetry Partners

That Marilyn Slade co-led the Poetry on Main group with humor and cupcakes; that Liz Fortini, costumed up for two BOO-etry Halloween programs and lead "Poetry Rocks"; that LaDonna Fehlberg led me to a well of creative inspiration; that David Alpaugh become Robert Frost for one wintry afternoon; that Fred Norman challenged me to think and write; that Robert Eastwood grandly hosted the "The Literary Evening;" that the Livermore and Dublin poets laureate current and emerita, Jannie Dresser, Ronna Leon, Teresa LeYung Ryan and many others spread the word; that the Teen Poets Laureates inspired the youth; that Sandra Harrison Kay, stepped up at "Laugh Out Loud"; that Librarian Sandy Silva and Sherry Smith sparked the kids into poetry; that Jerry Ball taught haiku and Connie Post shared "how to get published"; that Vivienne Chen set up chairs and read at my first program and at the last, the full-on Teen Poetry Blitz; that Dave Wright served as literary catalyst; that teens Arany Uthayakumar and Kelly McDeavitt were always ready to read; that Michelle Russo of the city's Community Services Department energized every word, every program; that all who listened and laughed and learned with us remember the gifted people in this poem.


Summer knocks at the door

hands ripe peaches, poems

savor, turn the page.

Deborah Grossman is finishing her term as Pleasanton Poet Laureate. Email her at


Posted by Arany Uthayakumar, a resident of Las Positas
on Jun 28, 2011 at 7:46 pm

Deborah Grossman has been a wonderful mentor to me. She is the perfect person to get any soul engaged in the arts, and I'm really going to miss seeing her doing her Laureate work :(
We've been blessed to be raptured by her enthusiasm and talent, and I can't thank her enough for what she has done for the community, and especially for me. (:

Posted by Claudette , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 29, 2011 at 10:00 am

Poetry is such a Creative ArtForm ~ I love it and find many do as well, but are shy about exposing that part of themselves. Poetry like many ArtForms are personal. If you want to share your Poetry but are too shy, you can post it on my Poetry WebPage Blog and author anonymously : Web Link

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jul 3, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Warning: careful where you post your might get stolen if you know what i mean...duh

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