The late spring sun is still high in the sky as people begin to appear, park their cars in the walnut orchard, and walk to Gary and Pam Mae’s barn. Outside, people sip glasses of wine and chat with old friends. There is a hint of anticipation in the air. Georgina Marie, the current Poet Laureate of Lake County, makes her way through the crowd, chatting with people and sharing their excitement. Lake County is about to have something new: a young Poet Laureate.
Soon, Gary Maes rings the bell, inviting everyone into the barn, where he welcomes. “Two of mankind’s greatest achievements are music and storytelling. Tonight, we’re enjoying both. And”, he adds as an aside. “We have a fairly large gopher snake on the property.” He’s laughing. “He can arrive and join us tonight.”
After an introduction by Pamela Bordisso, Georgina Marie, Lake County’s 11th Poet Laureate, stands. “Does everyone know what a Poet Laureate does? she asks. A few people nod their heads, while a few others laugh. “A Poet Laureate supports poetry in the community. That’s what I do. And I wanted to extend that to the youth community. I started as a young poet and wanted to provide that opportunity in Lake County.
“The Young Poet Laureate’s goal is to promote poetry in the Lake County youth community. They will organize readings, workshops and attend events. She keeps. “Later we will hear from a young poet, but first I would like to read you some poems.” She holds up a piece of paper and reads her poem “An Open Palm” in a loud, clear voice:
I would give up shame bottled ike IPA de la Rosa sealed and sold at a small town brewery memories broken men who tried to make me match their cracks like cement crevices as a child I used to jump over never once thinking they’d actually break my mother’s back wilted marigolds in recycled honey jars when they’re no longer supple and vibrant though I may dry them out in vintage books, never actually letting go of the life of those lively botanicals ghosts shadow smoke I used to witness as a young girl in the family home, forbidden walls that held all the darkest secrets, those skeletons, Muertos en el armario, dead in the closet take it all from my open palm On the other hand, Valley Oaks that revive me each morning their sage and rust hues painting themselves now that autumn has returned they breathe into me, speaking in psalms, reciting verses of wind and repentance Not an oak nor a crabapple feels shame, don’t see my shame if a tree forgives you in the blue of dawn, does anyone hear it? this must stay all of it
She continues, mesmerizing the audience with her lyrics. The room falls silent as she finishes, then applauds.
Then the group Note Worthy goes on stage to play. Driven by the voice of Sarah Miller and accompanied by Michael Richeson, Bill Bordisso and Tom Aiken, they create a passionately soft atmosphere, covering various songs from artists such as The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell and Extreme. The audience is seated, fascinated, constrained by the atmosphere created by the music.
After three songs, Georgina returns to the fore. “I’d like to introduce you to Ari Fossa, a Junior at Kelseyville High School,” she says as Ari walks forward.
“I’m extremely nervous,” laughs Ari. “I’ve only ever read in front of my creative writing class.” She stops, holding out her hands to see if they are shaking. “I have two personal poems that I will read. This one I wrote at two in the morning three days ago. Hope you enjoy and like it.
Then her tone changes and she holds her head up. “Temptation, temptation,” she begins, reading clearly to the end of the poem. She then reads her second poem, “Nostalgia”. Everyone cheers, cheers and smiles as she walks to her seat.
It is then time for a break, music and aperitifs. People stream from the barn, smiles on their faces. Now is the time to refill the wine glasses, chat with friends and enjoy the selection of cheeses, crackers and desserts. The day is getting colder and the Lake County sky is slowly changing colors. Below the ridgeline, the town of Kelseyville rests, tranquil at this distance. There will soon be more poetry and music, but now is the time to laugh, talk and enjoy the launch of a new Lake County institution.
For more information on the Young Poet Laureate program, Click here.