What We Do
We manage the Poet Laureate selection process, leverage a network of literary professionals to fuel submittals, and promote Poet Laureate projects and activities on behalf of Santa Clara County. The Poet Laureate is formally appointed by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, acting on a recommendation determined through an artistic and community panel selection process coordinated by SVCREATES. SVCREATES administers this County program in partnership with the Santa Clara County Library District (SCCLD) and Poetry Center San José.
Who We Serve
The Poet Laureate is an honorary two-year position that facilitates programs throughout the Santa Clara County community and makes poetry more available and accessible to people in their everyday lives. As the Poet Laureate administrator, we serve the Santa Clara County Library in their effort to celebrate the art of poetry and make poetry more accessible in the everyday lives of Santa Clara County residents.
Why It’s Important
Poet Laureate programs grow public awareness in the literary arts, foster cross-cultural understanding, and connect us to our heritage and to each other.
What’s Been Done
- Administered the selection process and supported the terms of the Poet Laureates Nils Peterson (2009-2011), Sally Ashton (2011-2013), David Perez (2014-2015), Arlene Biala (2016-2017), Mike McGee (2018-2019), Janice Sapigao (2020-2021), Tshaka Campbell (2022-2023), and Yosimar Reyes (2024-2025)
- Elevated the Poet Laureates’ community outreach efforts through our network, including Content Magazine features and social media engagement
- Administered the annual Santa Clara County Poetry Out Loud competition; part of the national Poetry Out Loud program
Yosimar Reyes has been selected to serve as the 8th Santa Clara County Poet Laureate. Yosimar will serve a two-year term from January 2024 to December 2025.
Hailing from East San José by way of Guerrero, Mexico, Reyes quickly made a name for himself at the tender age of sixteen, exploding onto local Bay Area stages and captivating his audiences with deeply moving spoken word performances.
Reyes’ repertoire has since evolved to include nationally-acclaimed keynotes, writing workshops, and his one-man show, Prieto, a coming-of-age story that explores subjects like migration, sexuality, and socio-economic struggle—all while empowering his audiences to tap into their own creative potential.
In addition to being the first-ever undocumented poet to be selected as Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, Reyes was chosen to be a 2024 Creative Ambassador by the City of San José, The Advocate named him one of "13 LGBT Latinos Changing the World," and Remezcla included him on their list of "10 Up And Coming Latinx Poets You Need To Know."
Amongst numerous accolades, Reyes has been awarded an NALAC Catalyst for Change Grant (2020), a Gerbode Foundation Grant and most recently, a Walter & Elise Haas Creative Work Fund Grant (2023). His writing has appeared in publications such as MARIPOSAS: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry, Somewhere We Are Human: Authentic Voices on Migration, Survival, and New Beginnings, and the forthcoming UndocuPoetics.
Through his inspiring narratives and indomitable presence, Yosimar Reyes continues to be a leading voice in contemporary poetry and an important figure for queer and undocumented immigrant communities.
Applications for the 2026-27 Poet Laureate will open in the fall of 2025.
For questions about this program, contact Alyssa Erickson, SVCreates Program Director at email@example.com.