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Council News Release

8/17/2006  4:36:00 AM
Frank Video (206) 684-8849

Council President Nick Licata

Outgoing Seattle Poet Populist and top contenders to perform

SEATTLE - The votes are in and Seattle has selected the four finalists in the 2006-2007 Poet Populist election. The current Poet Populist, Pesha Joyce Gertler, will perform along with the finalists during the Bumbershoot Arts Festival this Saturday, September 2, on Starbucks Literary Stage in the Alki Room, at 12:30 p.m. After the readings, Seattle's next Poet Populist will be announced, awarded a $500 cash honorarium, and begin his or her term immediately.

"The slate of candidates this year represented a variety of styles and personalities." said Council President Nick Licata, founder of the Seattle Poet Populist program. "Although Pesha will be a hard act to follow, I believe the next Poet Populist will provide the public a real literary treat, whichever finalist wins."

The finalists, top vote-getters in the election, are in alphabetical order John Burgess, Crysta Casey, Lyn Coffin and Jourdan Keith. One among them will become Seattle's next Poet Populist. The other three candidates were Anna Maria Hong, Barbara Petite and Joannie Kervran Stangeland.

Local poets were nominated by Seattle literary organizations for election to the post of Seattle Poet Populist for the 2006-2007 term. The Seattle Central Library held a candidate's "read-off" on July 16th, which attracted an audience of over 100 poetry lovers. The public was invited to vote at the official web site,, through August 21st.

In addition to the cash award of $500, the winning poet will write one poem and perform various readings throughout the city during the 2006-2007 term. A Poet Populist is expected to represent and promote the principals of populist poetic expression when performing for the public.

Previous Seattle Poet Populists include Barnard Harris, who served 2 terms, Bart Baxter, Tara Hardy and Pesha Joyce Gertler.

Visit the Seattle Poet Populist web site to learn more about the program and its history at


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