Cupertino — a city on the cutting edge of science and technology — also wants to be known for celebrating the arts. With the first poet laureate announcing citywide poetry contest winners this week, it seems well on its way.
The city’s Poet Laureate, David Denny, organized the first citywide poetry contest and invited anyone who lives, works or studies in Cupertino to submit up to three poems for consideration. He received more than 130 entries by the Nov. 30 deadline, and winners will be recognized Thursday at 7 p.m. in Cupertino Community Hall. (Story continues below.)
This is the first year of the contest, but even the idea of having a city poet laureate is new for Cupertino. Ron Miller, former chair of the Library Commission, urged the City Council to create the post after he attended a poetry reading organized by Los Gatos’ poet laureate, Parthenia Hicks in Aug. 2010. A poet himself, Miller said the “connection” with Hicks’ poetry made him want to cultivate a greater awareness of the arts in Cupertino. The City Council members agreed, and Miller chaired the poet laureate search committee, which considered nine candidates and chose Denny, a professor of English at De Anza College.
Miller said the committee selected Denny, in part, because he is a teacher. “Teaching, it turns out, is one of the major values a Poet Laureate can have.”
Since accepting the job last September and taking a two-year sabbatical from DeAnza College, Denny has hosted poetry readings in cafes around Cupertino, held poetry workshops to guide locals in writing poetry and honed his poetic skills in locales around town.
In this video profile, Denny reads excerpts from three of his poems: “June 1,” “The River Guide as Marriage Counselor” and “5pm Cupertino.” “5pm Cupertino” is published in his newest book of poems, “Plebeian on the Front Porch,” which is about life in Cupertino.