Celebrating National Poetry Month during Pandemic

Dear friends and fellow poets! 

April – the National Poetry Month is here! I am reaching out to tell you you’ve been in my thoughts and in my heart! As we continue to follow the Santa Clara County “shelter-in-place” until May 3rd, we shall stay connected and celebrate Poetry together!

It is the most difficult time we are going through right now – if you or your loved ones are isolated, suffering from Coronavirus, hospitalized or lost jobs, I am sending my courage & love to you and your family! As this COVID-19 has rapidly hit every corner of globe, I hope our poetry about how “Social Distance” reshapes our lives during this exponential pandemic will help us to battle, to heal and to prevail. 

Let our inner Shakespeare speak out and loud, the stories of our own may offer a sense of comfort, hope and strength to the person next to us, the power of words may save lives! 

Please submit 1-3 poems to the below email, thank you! PoetLaureate@cupertino.org or cpl.jingjingyang@gmail.com

Stay Safe & Poetic! 

Jing Jing

Thank you, Cupertino!

ill-try-to-keep-calm-but-ill-miss-youMy term ends at the close of February, and it’s with both great joy and sadness that I leave the position of Cupertino Poet Laureate. Joy because I’ve had the privilege of celebrating creativity with hundreds of community members in workshops and open mics, at speaking engagements and public events, and in small gatherings of creative-minded people. Sadness because I will miss these CPL programs and contacts.

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Although my time as CPL has come to an end, my work of igniting the creative fires in the community is just beginning. Beginning in March with a workshop at World Poetry Day Festival and continuing into April with four different offerings in honor of National Poetry Month, I hope to see you all at different programs and events in the months and years to come.

Celebrate Creativity COVER KINDLEOne of the things I’m most proud to have accomplished as Cupertino Poet Laureate is the community anthology, Celebrate Creativity. This book is a beautiful collection of voices from Cupertino and Silicon Valley, and it shares over 80 unique experiences through poetry and prose.

It was a true labor of love to produce this book, but it was well worth the effort. Please come out on April 23 at 7 PM to the Cupertino Library to hear contributors read selected works and for the dedication of community copies to the library system. I’ll be signing copies of the book as will the contributors in attendance, so bring your copy to have it autographed by our local creatives!

To view or purchase your copy of Celebrate Creativity: A Cupertino Community Anthology, please click here.

I look forward to joining you all in celebrating creativity with our new Cupertino Poet Laureate, Jing Jing Yang. I am excited about what Jing Jing’s passion for poetry and the CPL program will bring to our town. Check out the photos below from last night’s Farewell Kaecey, Book Launch, and Welcome Jing Jing Celebration.

Do you have photos from last night? Please share them with me here! I am missing photos from my events, and I’d love to have more to cherish the memories. I will add them to the carousel!

Until we meet again, don’t be a stranger! Connect with me on Facebook or join my email list to stay up-to-date on my latest programs and creativity offerings. As always, please send me your creative works, thoughts, and questions — I love engaging with everyone, and that includes you!

With warmth and spirit,

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Local Poetry Contest!

filoliWinter at Filoli Haiku Contest

Haiku poets and those new to the haiku form are invited to submit up to three original poems that reflect the beauty of Filoli’s garden in winter. Haiku must be in the 5-7-5 format.

Entries should be submitted by February 15, 2020, at 12:00 pm

Finalists will be announced on February 19 and invited to a special event at Filoli on March 1, where the winners will be announced. Judging the contest will be San Mateo County Poet Laureate, Aileen Cassinetto. Winners will have the opportunity to read their haiku at the event. Prizes for First, Second and Best under 18 under years old will include free Filoli membership for the year and more.

Please click here for the guidelines and submission form.

Good luck!

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Anthology Update!

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I’ve been busy at work, compiling and editing poetry and prose for the Cupertino community anthology, Celebrate Creativity. The book is over 300 pages of poetry and prose from local poets and writers. It’s been an honor to compile this beautiful collection of community voices.

The book’s release date is set for February 27, 2020.

On this day, we’ll celebrate with a launch party at the Quinlan Center in Cupertino from 7pm – 9pm. This will also be the date we celebrate the end of my term as Poet Laureate and welcome the next Cupertino Poet Laureate.

Mark your calendars and plan to join us at this fun-filled event! (More details to come in January.)

Celebrate Creativity will be available in both Kindle e-book and paperback.

The Kindle version is available for pre-order effective today. If you select this option, the book will automatically arrive on your Kindle on the release date. Paperback copies of the book will be available to order from Amazon on February 27, 2020. While you cannot pre-order the paperback, I will update if the release date moves up.

In the meantime, enjoy the winter holidays and have a wonderful and safe New Year!

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The poetry of winter nights and holidays

Last night, I hosted my final Community Poetry Night as Cupertino Poet Laureate. I feel honored to have had the opportunity to celebrate creativity with an amazing community.

What a true gift I have received from all of you. Thank you.

If you weren’t able to join us last night, you missed a beautiful gathering of communityIMG_20191212_190057 members, poets, and poetry supporters. Like my heart, the room was full.

Standing-room only is a wonderful problem to have at any poetry event!

I began the evening with a discussion of the poetry of winter and the holidays, and we were then treated to the soulful works of our invited readers and the poems of community members who shared during open mic.

If you took pictures, please share them with me! As the person at the front of the room, I rarely get the opportunity to snap photos of my events!

I left the event on a true poet’s high, excited for the new season that’s about to arrive. Those who shared their work provided me with inspiration and food for contemplation. I left with the message to be on the lookout for poetry in unexpected places this winter and holiday.

IMG_20191212_190017I will miss serving as Poet Laureate. But my work in the community is not over. I will celebrate creativity and the deep well of creative genius that resides in us all with my continued work teaching and coaching in the community.

If you’re interested in joining me at a future event, sign up for my newsletter!

Below is a list with links to the poems I shared last night. Do you have a favorite winter or holiday poem? Please share it with us in the comments!

Again, thank you to those who came out to celebrate in community with me last night.

And although my term won’t end until early in 2020, I want to thank you for making serving as CPL one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

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Winter and Holiday Poetry Reading List

PS — If you love poetry and the Cupertino community, consider applying to be the next Cupertino Poet Laureate! Applications are due January 10, 2020, by 5pm. Email me for more information or click here to apply

Calling Cupertino Poets! Are You The Next Poet Laureate?

cpl logoIf you’re passionate about poetry and live or work in Cupertino, California, consider applying to be the City’s 6th Poet Laureate!

Feel free to email me for more information about what it’s like to serve as Cupertino Poet Laureate, and be sure to visit the City’s program page, which has information on the application process.

I’ve copied the page below. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE 1/10/2020!

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From https://www.cupertino.org/residents/arts-and-culture/cupertino-poet-laureate

Celebrate Creativity

Apply to Become Cupertino’s Poet Laureate

Our Vision:

The Cupertino Poet Laureate program will stimulate cultural and literary awareness in Cupertino; introduce youth and adults to the personal and community benefits of poetry both as personal reflection and as a reflection of our history and culture; reveal, recognize, and engage literary talent residing in our community; and promote our library as a cultural center in Cupertino.

Our Mission:

To provide the residents of Cupertino with programs, workshops, and events that introduce and reinforce poetry as an enriching cultural artform open and accessible to all.

Objectives:

  1. Raise awareness of poetry as a viable cultural art form for Cupertino residents, as
    measured by media presence, event variety, and increasing participation.
  2. Build interest in the various poetry forms, as measured by event and workshop
    participation.
  3. Build a desire for residents to be involved in further art and cultural activities.
  4. Increase active participation in all art forms, especially poetry, by all ages and
    ethnic communities who form the rich fabric of Cupertino as measured by
    offerings and involvement.

About the Position:

The Cupertino Poet Laureate is an honorary, volunteer position sponsored by the City of Cupertino and seated in the Cupertino Library. Sponsors and support networks include the Cupertino Library Commission, Friends of the Cupertino Library, and the Cupertino Library Foundation.

The Poet Laureate is a practicing poet with professional recognition and a talent for performance. The Poet Laureate is expected to host public events that promote the literary arts in our community and inspire creativity in all residents. Such events might include poetry contests, writing workshops, lectures, and public readings.

Each Poet Laureate brings a unique set of skills, attributes and interests to the position
along with varied and unique approaches to poetry. It is preferred that the Cupertino
Poet Laureate (CPL) come to the position with a willingness and experience in:

  • Planning
  • Budgeting/Fiscal Management
  • Scheduling
  • Writing
  • Marketing
  • Teaching/Facilitating
  • Speaking
  • Social Media

To apply, please submit the application (link above) and required attachments
to the Cupertino Poet Laureate Selection Committee at 10185 N. Stelling Rd.
Cupertino, CA 95014 or by e-mail to PoetLaureate@cupertino.org by
5:00pm, January 10, 2020.

 

Poetry Workshop Wonders: List-Definition Poems & Defining Home

This afternoon, I had the privilege of spending time in one of my favorite places with my favorite people: a community creativity workshop.  This October and November, I’m leading my last Lunch Hour Language Artists Workshop Series as Cupertino Poet Laureate.

Perhaps it’s because the end of my term is drawing near, or perhaps it’s because the group of attendees at these workshops never fail to inspire and humble me, but I find myself looking more and more forward to each session.

46R4BWGDYUI6NJK7YYP2B6SSAQThe theme for LHLA 3 is “Poetry of Place.” In the first session, we wrote about our childhood homes. Today the focus was on finding and defining home, and I introduced the concept of List-Definition Poetry — a form I made up that combines the list poem and the definition poem.

I structured the workshop so participants would consider the juxtaposition of “Home Then,” and “Home Now.” I like to join in during writing time whenever possible, and I was amazed by how my brainstorming around “Home Now” centered on the people I’ve met and worked with during my time as CPL and how much I’ll miss hosting these community events.

I feel truly blessed to have had my life touched by so many amazing people and their moving poetry. I can’t wait to see where the poem I started today leads as I continue to work on it over the next few months.

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At the start of our writing period, the group and I brainstormed words and phrases related to the concept of “Home, Then and Now” to generate ideas for our own List-Definition poems. If you weren’t able to join us, you can use the same concept as a poetry prompt!

I thought it would be interesting to turn our brainstorming lists into a poem using every word and phrase generated.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Then and Now

Then we were fearless
running in clean air
with the outside cats
through mustard yellow fields
playing with the neighbors
on rope swings in fruit trees.

Then we were joyful and safe
in our backyard adventures
our trust in friends expansive
jumping from diving boards
into swimming pools.

Then we were playful
trudging through white snow
splashing into cedar hot tubs,
seldom lonely and only
sometimes confused.

Now we are isolated
amidst the tall green spires
in a sea of dusty earthquakes,
suffocating in politics
and exhausting chaos.

Now our expensive empty nests
feel claustrophobic and tiny,
leaving us alone but safe
in our book-filled havens.

Now, as then, we find love and gratitude
hidden in Sunday dinners and boba tea,
waiting between cracks on the sidewalks
and countless cars parked on freeways.

Then and now we are Cupertino.
                                                            © 2019 Kaecey McCormick

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FREE CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS – POETRY OF PLACE!

LUNCH HOUR LANGUAGE ARTISTS (1)Starting this week, I’m offering FOUR free creative writing workshops as part of my last Lunch Hour Language Artist series as Poet Laureate. Though I’m sad this will be my last workshop series as your CPL, I’m *super* excited about this particular grouping of workshops.

That’s because in series we’ll explore one of my favorite things: Poetry of Place with a focus on revision. Throughout the series, we’ll investigate poetry related to homes, journeys and maps, and places of the imagination. While the lessons in each workshop are designed to build on each other, it’s not necessary to attend them all as each works well as a free-standing workshop.

Here are the session dates and times: 

  • Session 1: 10/16, 12:00 – 1:30PM
  • Session 2: 10/30, 12:00 – 1:30PM
  • Session 3: 11/06, 12:00 – 1:30PM
  • Session 4: 11/20, 12:00 – 1:30PM

SPECIAL NOTE: We’ll be meeting at the Quinlan Community Center in the Music Room.

No previous poetry or writing experience necessary! Attend one, some, or all of the meetings in the series.

Space is limited

SPACE IS LIMITED! Please reserve a ticket on Eventbrite or email Kaecey to save a seat. If your plans change and you can no longer attend after reserving a seat, no worries. I only ask that you email me so I can free up a seat for another participant!

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS!

SUBMIT YOUR WORK!If you live or work in the South Bay or Peninsula area, consider submitting your creative writing for inclusion in this community anthology! This is a chance for the many varied and beautiful voices of our community to come together. I would love to include pieces in other languages with English translation.

If the work you submit was inspired by a CPL event or program, let me know!

EVERYONE is welcome to submit — kids, teens, adults, new writers, and established!!

Check out the flyer below and email with questions!
Deadline is 9/30.
No more than 10 poems or pages of short prose pieces.
Previously published is fine (include the relevant information).

Email your work to poetlaureate@cupertino.org