Ann Muto becomes fourth Cupertino Poet Laureate

Great news (bittersweet, it’s true for me) for poetry lovers every where!

Amanda Williamson, Cupertino’s third poet laureate, has to step down from the post this summer to move with her family out of the area. I’ll miss Amanda, and I hope the poetry community where she’s going is ready for her energy, her smile, her all-poetry-business sparkly dresses.

The greatest outcome of this sad turn, however, is that Ann Muto, long-time Cupertino resident, has agreed to step in and complete Amanda’s term. The photo above is from the article published Friday 6/3/16 in the Cupertino Courier.

Cupertino Courier June 03 2016 Ann Muto page

Read the article online at the San Jose Mercury News site here. Photo above by Jacqueline Ramseyer/Bay Area News. Story by Kristi Myllenbeck,

Ann recently read at San Jose’s 36th annual Day of Remembrance held in Morris Dailey Auditorium at San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. The event commemorates Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group). Start here to click through all seven photos. Ann can be seen in these: photo#3 and photo#4.  The photos are embedded in this article, by Marisa Kendall Marisa Kendall,, in the San Jose Mercury News.

Ann also won third place in the 2015 Los Gatos Poetry Contest, hosted by Erica Goss, who served as that city’s poet laureate at the time. Read that story in the Los Gatos Weekly-Times, the local edition of the Mercury News.


Fiber Art and Ekphrastic Poetry

“The Classical Elements in Fiber & Poetry” was an exhibition of sixteen fiber art pieces and corresponding ekphrastic poetry, produced by ARTful Women, and presented at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. I was privileged to be invited to write four poems for this exhibit, by Sally Ashton, who organized the poets (including Parthenia Hicks and Persis Karim). Sally, a former Poet Laureate for Santa Clara County, was contacted by Lin Schiffner, a member of the ARTful Women, a group of fiber artists from Nevada County, California.

There were several things about this process I found wonderful and interesting. Meeting the fiber artists was delightful; collaborating on poetry with other artists is a great adventure that enriches one’s own work. For this project it happened twice: first while working with the other poets, and second while interacting with the quilters. Thinking about “the elements” proved to be a deeply moving experience for writing poetry. I wanted my four poems to be similar, so I wrote them all in one afternoon (the first drafts) and thought about prayers to the earth as my inspiration. I also thought about who might be using quilts in their lives, lovers, babies, the dying. Not all those ideas made their way into the finished poems, but the value, beauty and power of earth, air, fire and water, and how we experience them on our increasingly embattled planet, I hope come through.

The photos here are from the poetry reading and artist reception, February 7, 2016.

This link takes you to a video made by The Quilt website. I’m not sure how it was done, but I think by someone videotaping the poems and the artwork on the wall at the museum. It’s more like a slide show than a video and a nice representation.

You may purchase a catalog from the exhibit at the museum bookstore or by contacting ARTful Women.

Learn more about ekphrastic poetry here (at the Poetry Foundation website) and here (posts from the Cupertino Poet Laureate blog).

Two Cupertino Poets Laureate to Read in Pacifica

Yes, Amanda Williamsen and I will be reading in Pacifica on Saturday, March 26 at Florey’s. Looking forward to it!

floreys bookstore


Cupertino Poet Laureate

Hello, Poetry Lovers!

Two of Cupertino’s Poets Laureate will read at Florey’s Book Company in Pacifica on Saturday, March 26, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.  The bookstore is located at 2021 Palmetto Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044.

Jennifer Swanton Brown, Cupertino’s second Poet Laureate, and I, our third and current Poet Laureate, are excited to read together.  I’ll be sharing poems from my poetry memoir project about growing up in rural Ohio.  Many of these poems are hot off the press (of my computer printer under a table in my living room) and you may be the first listeners to hear them!

There will be time for open mic readers as well, so bring your poetry to share.  I hope to see you there.  Hey, that rhymes….  Hmm….  I know!  Don’t be square.  Let down your hair.  Dance yourselves on down there.  If you can’t get a partner, use a wooden chair.


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A Poetry Contest!

Some wonderful happenings from the Cupertino Poet Laureate, Amanda Williamson (my successor in that post) and the Cupertino Rotary Club. A contest (with prizes) for middle and high school students. Share the love!

Cupertino Poet Laureate

In conjunction with Cupertino’s Rotary Club, I’m excited to announce that organization’s first poetry contest.

Please help us spread the word and encourage students to enter.  This is an exciting opportunity.  In each age group, three prizes will be awarded.  First prize is $100.  Second prize is $50.  Third prize is $25.


Students from Homestead, Lynbrook, Monta Vista, Fremont, and Cupertino High School (grades 9- 12) as well as Middle Schools Kennedy, Miller, Hyde, Lawson, and Cupertino Middle Schools (grades 6 – 8) are invited to submit poems for the first annual poetry contest hosted by the Rotary Club of Cupertino.

Award ceremony and reading:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 12:00 – 1:30 pm at Quinlan Center, Cupertino


Students may submit poems that address “Be a Gift to the World” which reflects Rotary’s core values of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity…

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