Bremerton seeks literary chief

The city is looking for a poet laureate to read poetry at special events, plan Poetry Month and take on other literary roles.

BREMERTON – A city largely known for its shipyards is looking for a chief literary officer.

On Wednesday Mayor Greg Wheeler announced the city is accepting appplications for its first poet laureate – a writer who will work to “enhance literary arts exposure” in Bremerton.

Wheeler first announced the literary top job at his State of the City address on Jan. 16, highlighting some of the efforts of his administration and the Arts Commission to support cultural and artistic life in a city that continues to experience an influx of investment and new young professional residents.

He mentioned five art wraps installed in the city in 2018, plans for more in 2019, and the success of the first annual Wayzgoose public arts festival last September.

“The Arts Commission has been showing leadership in identifying these types of projects,” he said.

“It doesn’t take much to get something like this started,” he said of the poet laureate program. “It just takes effort, focus and attention, and making it a priority.”

The poet laureate is expected to be an expert in the field of literary arts, according to the job announcement, and must have lived in Bremerton for at least 12 months prior to applying.

During the poet laureate’s two-year term, he or she will be asked to host at least four public readings of original poetry each year, the city announced. The person will also be asked to compose poetry for special occassions or “ceremonial purposes” as requested by the Mayor or the Arts Commission, and create programming for schools and libraries during Poetry Month in April.

The job will be mainly a labor of love – the laureate will be paid $500 for their two-year term. The poet does, however, retain ”all rights to work created during their term.”

“Work read and created for the City of Bremerton by the poet laureate during their term should highlight the diversity and beauty of Bremerton,” the announcement read.

Hopefuls are asked to submit at least four original poems, published or unpublished, as well as a CV or resume. Applications will be reviewed by the Arts Commission, with appointments made by the Mayor.

Information on how to apply can be found on the city’s website. The due date is March 10.

Gabe Stutman is a reporter with the Kitsap News Group. Follow him on Twitter @kitsapgabe.

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