Emma Trelles has been named the poet laureate for the city of Santa Barbara.
The Santa Barbara City College instructor will start her two-year term April 13 as the recipient of the city’s Poetry Month Proclamation, according to Monday’s announcement by the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture.
Ms. Trelles will succeed Laure-Anne Bosselaar, who has served as the city’s poet laureate since 2019.
The new poet laureate is the daughter of Cuban immigrants and the author of “Tropicalia,” published by University of Notre Dame Press. “Tropicalia” won the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, the first book prize to be awarded to a Latinx poet living and writing in the U.S.
Ms. Trelles’ work has been published widely and anthologized in publications such as Best American Poetry and Best of the Net. She has presented her poems across the country and received fellowships from CantoMundo and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.
She is currently writing her third collection of poems, “Courage and the Clock.”
As the poet laureate, Ms. Trelles will participate in the community’s ceremonial, educational and cultural activities. The poet laureate program was started in 2005 by the city of Santa Barbara.
“Our city’s poet laureate position speaks right to the heart of our community,” Mayor Cathy Murillo said in a news release.
Ms. Trelles teaches composition and creative writing at City College. Since 2014, she has curated the Mission Poetry Series, featuring Latinx and diverse poets from Santa Barbara, throughout California and as far away as El Salvador.
“Throughout my work curating, teaching, and writing poetry, I’ve also been committed to how my role as a poet can bring people together,” Ms. Trelles said.
As the official “Home of the Poet Laureate,” the Santa Barbara Public Library is a major partner in the program.
“Santa Barbara Public Library is honored to continue to work with the Santa Barbara Poet Laureate to celebrate poetry in our community and make the literary arts more accessible to all,” Library Director Jessica Cadiente said.
Santa Barbara’s poets laureates have the dual task of celebrating the city’s joyous occasions and efforts for resilience and recovery.
“There’s a poet in all of us — it is essential to remember that, especially during these times of isolation and self-quarantine,” said Ms. Bosselaar, the outgoing laureate.
“So let’s continue to celebrate those poets among us in our special Santa Barbara community: poets young and old, from all backgrounds and origins, for poetry offers us the skill and capacity to sing about us all!”