The title of Poet Laureate is a time-honored tradition. In 1668, England officially established the post as a royal office. In the 19th century some local Poet Laureates were recognized in their communities. In 1937 the U.S. created the position of National Poet Laureate.The position of California Poet Laureate was established as a part of the California Government Code in 2001 through AB 113.
About Amador’s First Poet Laureate:
First Poet Laureate of Amador County: Kat Everitt
By Penny West, Publicist
It was an honor and a pleasure to have a phone conversation with Kat Everitt last week. She has completed her two-year term as Amador County’s first Poet Laureate, a fulfilling time for both her and the community.
The cheery go-getter in her mid-70s enthusiastically cited the many collaborative projects that came out of her tenure. She originated the 2019 Songbook of Amador and Calaveras Counties in which 28 local performers shared their lyrics in a magazine format published by the Ledger-Dispatch. Watch for a similar magazine, which she engendered, along with publisher Jack Mitchell, coming out June 26 that collaborates poets and photographers of the two counties. Poetry lovers have long-enjoyed her weekly poems in the Poet Laureate column in the Ledger-Dispatch called “Rivers and Rhymes.” Included most times is a photograph by a local photographer, in collaboration.
Tutoring the teenaged candidates for the Poetry Out Loud competition was another gratifying accomplishment for Poet Laureate Everitt. She greatly aided the young poets’ recitations by creating recorded samples of how to recite poems from the official Poetry Out Loud Anthology always available here www.poetryoutloud.org.
This past year, she established the Amador Storytelling Guild which has a faithful following, even though meeting through Zoom (required at the moment) somewhat decreases the “sociability” aspect so necessary to story recitation and sharing. The group is eager to meet in-person once allowed.
When asked who do you most admire, Kat quickly answered the 250 individuals she interviewed for “Everywoman’s Hour” on KQBM Blue Mountain Community Radio, a broadcast of “Women Who Make a Difference in Their Communities”, archived in www.everywomanshour.org and on the website of the Amador County Historical Society (https://www.amadorcountyhistoricalsociety.org/), as one of the largest collection of oral histories of women in the Mother Lode. Kat is also the creator of three cookbooks written in poetry, the latest being “Kat’s Eclectic Hodgepodge of International Cookery,” coming out in Fall, 2020.
I had to pose the question: “Who is your favorite poet?” Kat answered: e e cummings, because “He had the courage to write poetry HIS way.” And that lead us into her response to my closing question: “Do you have Words of Wisdom for us all? And Kat Everitt said it all with one sentence. “When being creative, do it exactly as you please. Nothing else will satisfy you!”
Kat Everitt is the original “woman who made a difference”. And she still does! Amador County Arts Council established the Amador Poet Laureate Program in 2018 to highlight all kinds of poetry throughout our community. The Amador County Arts Council thanks Kat Everitt for her superlative creativity and dedication to the project.