For Rent: Pacific Grove 3br/1ba historic cottage. Nice wooden porch. A block and a half from Lovers Point and walking distance to shops and restaurants. Applicants should be struggling to pay bills—and able to whip up a haiku or sonnet at a moment’s notice.
This is the sort of ad that the city of Pacific Grove might run to fill their town’s poet-in-residence position. Back in January of 2001, the late Whitney Latham-Lechich gave America’s Last Hometown the three-bedroom residence at 140 18th St. with one stipulation. The domicile had to contribute to the small city’s poetry scene. Laura Emerson, chair of the Pacific Grove Arts Commission, says she has never heard of a municipal position like it anywhere else.
Since poetry is rarely a lucrative endeavor, PG decided to award the historic cottage to a financially strapped wordsmith. The poet—and his or her family—must have a combined income that is under 80 percent of the median income for this area. Also, the recipient of the home should be a published poet and able to teach poetry workshops.
The poet gets to rent the dwelling at a reduced rate (as little as $550).
The first Whitney Latham-Lechich poet-in-residence was Ryan Masters. During his tenure in 2003 and 2004, he organized poetry workshops, established a poetry reading series, published the Monterey Bay Poetry Anthology and held two Monterey Bay Poetry Festivals at Chautauqua Hall. Kate Spencer has held the position since.
Emerson is wading through applicants. Though she prefers that they find a local resident to fill the position, she is open to anyone who has one qualification: “What we are looking for,” Emerson says, “is that gleam in the eye when the individual is talking about poetry.”
TO APPLY, GO TO CI.PG.CA.US. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE AT PACIFIC GROVE’S CITY HALL BY 5PM FRIDAY, MAY 11.