Kern County artists share and read recognizable work at BC

Gaiana Latelers, Reporter

On Feb. 16, the Bakersfield College Levan Center held a Poet Laureate hosted by Don Thompson. Each poet or art advocate read the works of each poet they were representing in the laureate. The reading was to commemorate eight poets born in the Valley who had achieved a national reputation.

Don Thompson himself read the works of Larry Levis, a poem that was the highlight of the whole evening.

Thompson described the event as a commemoration for “artists that came from the valley and inspiration for young artists looking to make their mark.”

These poets and advocates of the arts are gaining exposure and experience in sharing the works of these past poets from the Valley.

People want to create and get credit for their work, but this can be hard if there are so many other people trying to gain the same recognition. The poet laureate gives these artists and advocates a chance to get their foothold in the art community and get recognized.

Other students such as Matt Woodman and Portia Choi read the works of Robert Duncan and David St John that seemed to spark interest in the listeners. They knew the poet and their work really well and were able to read with passion and lay across the tone of the poem.

One of the most interesting readings of the evening was a poem by Sherley Anne Williams, narrated by Annis Cassells.

Williams was an African American poet who often wrote about life in the black community of her generation. Her poem was strong, sweet, and hopeful.

Another advocate of the arts, LisaAnn LoBasso, read a poem from Frank Bidart, who was a three time Pulitzer Prize finalist in poetry.

The Poet Laureate is held to showcase local poets of all ages and genres of poetry. These shows are held to get the Kern County community in touch with their creative side and to bring new atmosphere to literature. The poets that read in the laureate were full of passion for the works they were reading.

The Levan Center intends on hosting more events like this last performance to get the Bakersfield community more involved in literature and help students showcase their work.