A few words with Heather Lang-Cassera, the county’s new poet laureate
What does it mean to you to be poet laureate?
I have been working to champion poetry through workshops at the Green Valley Library and a reading series at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery. As poet laureate, I’ll be able to reach more broadly and more deeply into the community, and this is something about which I’m ecstatic. My predecessors, Bruce Isaacson and Vogue Robinson, are phenomenal literary stewards. It is an incredible honor to carry on the title.
What do you bring to the position that’s uniquely you?
Perhaps one of my strengths is effectively working with writers regardless of their experience. I have taught creative writing at the college level and published established poets through Tolsun Books and as The Literary Review’s world literature editor. However, what I love most might be working with folks who never thought that they could be poets. (I was once one of them!) Witnessing people who have never written a poem leave a workshop brimming with joy, holding their brand-new poems, is, well, everything! They have discovered a new sense of self and of community.
What can poetry mean to Las Vegas?
Poetry is a means for exploring the magnificent connections we have to each other and to this world. It can help us better understand ourselves and further our communication skills. I could go on and on about the benefits of poetry. That said, I think it is most important to note that poetry is not some strange, isolated art form appropriate only for certain folks. Poetry is for everyone and in everyone, and everything is poetry. It’s an ideal medium for inspirational public commentary and for celebrating our vibrant home.