Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Earlier this month, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that the city’s first Civic Poet will be Claudia Castro Luna. The new Civic Poet position will serve as “an ambassador for Seattle’s rich literary landscape and represents the city’s diverse cultural community.” The Civic Poet program will be administered by the city’s Office of Arts & Culture. Luna will serve a two year term from August 2015 to 2017 and will receive a $10,000 stipend. Originally from El Salvador and immigrating to the U.S. as a young teenager fleeing civil war, Luna is a K-12 certified teacher with a passion for arts education and teaching immigrants. She has also completed a Master of Arts in Urban Planning, and in 2012, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Mills College.
In addition to her duties as Civic Poet, Luna will participate in the Seattle Public Library’s Sharing Our Voices project. The library will commission three original poems, record Luna reading her poems, and record an oral interview with Luna discussing the poem’s creative process. The recordings will then be added to the Library collection.
Mayor Murray stated, “Claudia brings a fresh perspective and a deep commitment to engaging the community through her poetry. We are a literary city and we’re excited to have an accomplished poet that will celebrate and inspire us through her creativity.” City Councilmember Nick Licata also commented, “Words can change the world and no one knows the power of words better than a poet.”