Mountain View Voice

News - August 24, 2012

Community Briefs

County seeks poet laureate

Feeling literary? Santa Clara County is now accepting applications for the position of poet laureate, to be selected in March 2013. The application deadline is Nov. 19 at 5 p.m.

To be eligible for this position, applicants must be five-year residents of the county and published or recognized for their poetic works. Upon submitting a written application to Arts Council Silicon Valley that includes background information and a proposal for the applicant's planned project as poet laureate, a peer review panel of poets selected by the Arts Council sorts through the candidates. Another committee interviews the finalists.

Gwendolyn Mitchell, director of the county's Office of Public Affairs and a member of the interview committee, says that while the committee is open to all creative proposal ideas, the poet laureate must create a "poetic identity" for the county.

"The person has to have a demonstrated commitment and passion for poetry, and also recognize the importance of engaging in civic discourse," Mitchell says. "We look for projects that are going to involve members of the community."

The best thing about poetry, Mitchell says, is its ability to touch anyone who listens. She says the poet laureate's primary duty is to bring a literary bent to the county that inspires and educates all members of the community.

"Poetry in particular is something that's really accessible to everyone, you can be thoughtful and reflect and capture your thoughts in a poem," Mitchell says. "It makes it possible for people to participate at every level."

Among other duties during the two-year term in office, the poet laureate must present poetry works at county-sponsored events, lead National Poetry Month activities and create projects that facilitate the distribution of poetry throughout the county. For his or her services, the poet laureate receives a modest honorarium.

Applications can be found at sccgov.org/poetlaureate and artscouncil.org. The Arts Council Silicon Valley can be reached for more information at poet@artscouncil.org, or by calling (408) 998 - 2787 ext 214.

—Emily Efland

MV Reads Together

Living in Silicon Valley, Mountain View residents often recognize the power of creativity. This fall, they will have a chance to explore the mechanisms behind innovation with the Mountain View Public Library's next book selection for the yearly community book club, Mountain View Reads Together.

A committee including librarians and other volunteers has chosen "The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How" by Daniel Coyle, a book exploring the brain mechanisms behind learning and inspiration. The book is replacing the committee's previous selection of Jonah Lehrer's "Imagine: How Creativity Works" after a recent article exposed fraudulent Bob Dylan quotes in the book that were made up by the author.

Candace Bowers, a librarian for the public library who served on the book-choosing committee, says the committee was very interested in the neurological themes of talent and motivation when choosing this year's book.

"We were really interested in this theme of creativity and talent, and what defines people who are successful with their natural talents," Bowers says. "Especially in Silicon Valley, because we're a talent hotbed ourselves."

Those interested in reading Coyle's book have approximately one month before the library begins a series of events in October geared toward discussing the book's themes and messages. Apart from a book discussion, the library will also host speakers and organize tours pertaining to the theme of creativity.

Bowers says the committee always gears the book choice towards readers of all ages and interests. More information on this year's Mountain View Reads Together events is at www.mountainview.gov/library or www.mvreads.org.

—Emily Efland

Blood donation milestone

A 75-year-old Mountain View man hit a personal milestone when he made his 600th blood donation at the Stanford Blood Center Monday afternoon, Aug. 20.

David "Mitch" Mitchell has been donating blood since he was 17 years old and serving in the U.S. Air Force, according to the blood center.

Mitchell donates blood components such as platelets through a specialized two-hour process that allows him to donate as many as 24 times a year. Whole-blood donors are limited to about six donations per year, center officials said.

Mitchell is one of only four donors — along with Eric Buhr, Linda Johnson and Dick Tagg — who have given blood more than 500 times to the Stanford Blood Center.

"Someone with a loved one who needs blood would offer every vein in their body," he said. "Well, there are a lot of people out there who need blood and don't have anyone to help, so I do what I can."

The Stanford Blood Center is located at 780 Welch Road, Suite 100, in Palo Alto. More information about the blood center and how to donate can be found at bloodcenter.stanford.edu.

—Bay City News Service

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