Ron Salisbury. Photo courtesy City of San Diego

San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture launched a digital platform for poetry Friday, including a writing workshop series offered for free to San Diego residents.

The digital platform is part of San Diego Poetry of Resilience, a project created by San Diego’s first Poet Laureate, Ron Salisbury, and which includes an interactive map to highlight local poets.

“For millennia, people have turned to poetry in times of intense joy or agony,” Salisbury said. “Poetry is the literary form of creative expression that can most quickly reach into our deepest feelings. San Diego Poetry of Resilience provides a chance for writers to learn, craft and share poems that reveal these challenges and how they have responded with resilience to these times.”

Online poetry workshops will be curated by Salisbury, where the occasional guest teaching poets will join him. Coinciding with National Poetry Month, the digital platform launched Friday with the first virtual, on-demand workshop available for viewing. Subsequent workshops will be uploaded to the platform on the first Friday of every month through September.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ron Salisbury has shown how poetry can promote a deeper conversation between individuals, communities and the arts.” said Christine E. Jones, the city’s chief of Civic Art Strategies. “So much is still uncertain in this moment but I’m thankful this year will give Salisbury the opportunity to develop a digital place for poetry, a place for San Diego poets and the public to connect and creatively express themselves.”

While residents of all ages are welcome to participate, Salisbury is particularly interested in reaching out to San Diego seniors who have become even more isolated during the pandemic. By encouraging seniors to express themselves and providing a space for their poems to be read publicly, Salisbury hopes to decrease their sense of isolation and provide senior poets with a greater voice in their communities.

After each workshop, participants will be invited to submit poems of resilience. An online, interactive map will feature these poetry submissions and begin to identify the location of poets across San Diego. Up to 30 representative poems will be selected by Salisbury to be published and included in a special section of the 2021-2022 San Diego Poetry Annual.

The project will culminate in fall 2021 with a poetry reading and open mic event for poets, workshop participants and the public.

For more information on the Poet Laureateship and project, go to sandiego.gov/blog/san-diego-poet-laureate.

–City News Service

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