Alameda selects new poet laureate

Alameda selects new poet laureate

Michele Ellson
Julia Park Tracey

Julia Park Tracey, Alameda's incoming poet laureate. Photo by J. Astra Brinkman.

The city has selected a new poet laureate. The City Council is set to appoint Julia Park Tracey to the volunteer post on September 16.

“I’m honored to be named Alameda’s next poet laureate,” said Park Tracey, 51, who has lived in Alameda since 2001. “I started out as a poet in my teens, and have never stopped writing. I’m hoping to inspire some new writers as well as learn from those who’ve been writing poetry for a long while.”

Park Tracey was the founding editor, and later, publisher, of the Alameda Sun newspaper; her essays, articles and reviews have appeared in several Bay Area publications. Her poetry has been published in numerous literary journals and reviews and in a book, Amaryllis: Collected Poems, published in 2009.

Park Tracey organized the Alameda Literati Festival for several years and has read her work at the Oakland Art & Soul Festival and at poetry gatherings on the Island and in New York and Scotland. She has also taught journalism and creative writing in schools across the Island and helped students produce newspapers and literary magazines.

She’s also the author of a pair of biographies of the 1920s, I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do: The Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (2012) and Reaching for the Moon: More Diaries of a Roaring Twenties Teen (2013); recently signed by BookTrope, she has a new novel scheduled to come out this fall.

Park Tracey will be Alameda’s second poet laureate after Mary Rudge, who died in January after serving as Alameda’s poet laureate for nearly a dozen years. Her appointment is for a two-year term.

She said she’ll use her new post to build Island residents’ interest in poetry. She’s set up a Facebook page to promote local poetry and literary happenings and will be tweeting using the hashtags #poetlaureate and #whypoetrymatters.

“Poetry is kind of like Brussels sprouts,” said Park Tracey. “Some people love it and most people hate it. So I’m going to work on changing that.”

The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. in council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue, and Park Tracey plans to read a special poem to commemorate her appointment. Additional information is available by contacting Library Director Jane Chisaki at 747-7747 or


Submitted by Mary Loughran (not verified) on Thu, Sep 4, 2014

I believe Mary Rudge would have approved this message. Congratulations, Julia!