Laguna Beach has its poet laureate.
Last week the City Council heeded Grant Hier’s recommendation and approved Kate Buckley to the role from May 1 through April 30, 2018.
Hier, a Laguna College of Art and Design professor and award-winning poet, selected Buckley out of four candidates.
“I was thrilled to take on such an exciting project marrying my love for poetry and the literary arts with my love for Laguna Beach,” Buckley wrote in an email.
Hier could not be reached for comment.
The poet laureate program aligns with Laguna’s goal of raising awareness of literary arts to people who have limited access to poetry or opportunities for expressive writing, according to a November 2016 Daily Pilot story when the Arts Commission recommended the program.
Buckley, a Laguna Beach resident, will share original content, organize public readings, workshops and a poetry festival. Buckley said she will meet with the Arts Commission to schedule events.
Buckley, born and raised in Kentucky, grew up listening to stories from her grandmother and fell in love with poetry at an early age.
She has authored two books of poetry — “A Wild Region: Poems & Paintings” and “Follow Me Down” — and won multiple awards for her work, including a Gabehart Prize for Imaginative Writing for poetry and North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Prize, selected by Molly Peacock, according to her website.
In her email, Buckley said she considers herself a “brand ambassador” for poetry and the literary arts in Laguna. She has had poems and creative nonfiction published in a variety of journals, including 2nd & Church, the Bellingham Review, The Cafe Review, and The Heartland Review.
“I’d like to both educate and inspire the people of Laguna Beach to read, write and perform poetry, to show them how poetry and the literary arts immeasurably enrich our lives, our community and provide yet another filter through which to view reality,” Buckley said. “Poems help us get beneath the skin of things — to see things differently, to express the ineffable.”
Buckley said geography and landscape play a central role in her work and Laguna Beach is a fertile field in that regard.
“The iconic coves and hillsides of Laguna Beach have deeply informed my work as a poet...” she said.
Buckley is an artist, working primarily in acrylics and mixed media, and an entrepreneur. She is founder and chief executive of Buckley Media Group and is a certified life and corporate coach.
She earned a bachelor of arts degree in advertising and public relations from the University of Kentucky and a master’s of fine arts in poetry from Spalding University.