Parks and Recreation Commission approves two artists to receive poetry stones at Legacy Park

The stones highlight the importance of poetry and literary arts in Malibu

The Parks and Recreation Commission approved the installation of two poetry stones at Legacy Park for former Poet Laureate Dr. John Struloeff and current Poet Laureate Ann Buxie.

There are three current poetry stones at Legacy Park for poet laureates Ricardo Means Ybarra and Ellen Reich and former Juan Cabrillo student Mandy Mulligan. 

The poetry stones highlight the importance of poetry and literary arts in Malibu and are placed throughout Legacy Park, marking the poets’ tenure as the city’s poet laureate.

Ybarra and Mulligan were the first to have poetry stones laid on the path of Legacy Park.

Struloeff was appointed as the third poet laureate from October 2020 to June 2021, and the poem he chose was “Sea Turtle.” Struloeff also published the first community anthology, “A Place Like This,” coordinated with poetry workshops, and has been involved in the Poet Laureate program since its inception. 

Struloeff has been an English and creative writing associate professor at Pepperdine since 2007.

Buxie was appointed as the fourth poet laureate and chose her poem “Something Pushes.” Buxie coordinated monthly poetry workshops, offered new programs such as poetry jubilations, and is planning the second edition of the community anthology. She is also the current 2021-2023 poet laureate and her term ends in September 2023. 

Acting Community Service Director Kristin Riesgo presented the artists during the meeting on Dec. 20 and said Buxie has been involved before 2018 and brought the poet laureate idea to the city since it started in 2019. 

“Her passion for poetry is unbelievable,” Riesgo said. “She’s a great poet laureate and we’re so excited to honor her for two years.” 

Riesgo said poet laureates serve two terms and are selected by the Malibu Arts Commission, which makes a recommendation to the City Council. Riesgo said the stones would cost between $1,500 to $2,500, which includes the stone, engraving, delivery, and installation.

“I love this program, I love the poetry stones, I’m looking forward to a day when you can walk all along there and read a poetry stone in each place and I’m excited that we’re having two more of them,” commissioner Suzanne Guldimann said. “I love this program so I’m so glad that we can approve this.”

Riesgo said the proposed locations would be towards the anchor at Legacy Park.

“I love it, I think this is a great idea,” Commissioner Cayley Jenner said. “It’s something beautiful, it’s long-lasting, and it’s something that’s important to memorialize artwork like this.”

Guldimann remembered when Reich received her stone in 2020. Reich passed away from cancer on May 1, 2020, during her term, which would have ended in 2021. 

“Her stone is not only her poetry stone, but it’s a way of remembering her in our community,” Guldimann said. 

The commission approved the item and moved on to staff updates. Recreation manager Kate Gallo provided department updates with the Michael Landon Center, such as the new tile and new mirrors that were recently revamped. 

Gallo also said they finished their holiday events hosted by the city: Santa Paws on Dec. 11 and Breakfast with Santa and Friends on Dec. 17. 

Riesgo said they also installed the 11 trail signs at Charmlee Wilderness Park. 

“That’s been on our list for a really long time,” Riesgo said. “That’s a big check mark off our list.” 

Poetry events such as caffeinated verses, the write time, and jubilations are organized by the poet laureate program. The program also included art lessons with Nicole Fisher. 

Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo
Samantha Bravo is an inspiring photojournalist based in Los Angeles California. She began her journalism career at Pierce College Media Arts Department. Twitter @samanthavbravo

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