Better Off Said (copy)

Even if Kenya Burton is not appointed or selected as Salinas’ poet laureate, she’s glad people are finding civic value in poetry. “I’m glad I can start the conversation,” she says.

Following National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman's performance of "The Hill We Climb" on Inauguration day, there was a renewed sense of the power of poetry. The effects even rippled all the way to Salinas, where former city council candidate and community organizer Andrew Sandoval began thinking he knows a young and talented poet himself.

That same day, Jan. 20, Andrew Sandoval sent a letter to the Salinas City Council pitching Salinas resident Kenya Burton to be appointed the city's poet laureate. In the past, the city has had several youth poet laureates. Mayor Kimbley Craig said that if such a position were to be made, there would have to be a process.

On Friday, March 5, and the city and Salinas Public Library announced that the search is officially beginning. The competition is open to all Salinas youth ages 13-20 and welcomes all original poetry. 

Details and application materials are outlined in the submission form, but the deadline is approaching quickly on March 31. The chosen Salinas Youth Poet Laureate for 2021 will receive a medal and a $300 cash scholarship. 

Marielle Argueza is a staff writer and calendar editor for the Weekly. She covers education, immigration and culture. Additionally, she covers the areas of Marina and South County. She occasionally writes about food and runs the internship program.

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