In addition to writing and reading poetry, activity in community engagement seems necessary. This means cultivating and contributing to a poetry community, and I’d encourage everyone to make time to get out to local readings, whether they’re in coffee shops, bars, house readings, book stores, or in shoe stores that are gracious enough to let literary artists into their space.
If you’re in the San Diego area, consider getting out to occasional readings at Verbatim Books, or the events at SDSU, UCSD, City College, or Grossmont College. These are events that speak to different literary contexts, and are magical ways to discover work that might have otherwise stayed from your view.
Beyond our literary community building, I’d hope that every writer considers how they might contribute to their community beyond events like readings and publishing projects. From 2015 to 2021 I’ve had the pleasure to serve on the Normal Heights Community Planning Group board, and was elected to the position of Secretary, where I was able to use my writing abilities to create the Minutes, which are public documents the city would love for people to read. It’s my firm belief that those of us who are trained in the art of language and rhetoric use our skills in public forums such as these, and I hope you’ll get involved in groups in your community that are designed to serve larger goals for our society.
In February of 2018, The Reader did a story about these efforts.