Poetry is artistic language meant to stir your imagination… it can also be a little intimidating.
Nevada’s new poet laureates want to change that.
Heather Lang Cassera will become Clark County’s poet laureate on June 1, and Pan Pantoja is Reno’s 2019 poet laureate.
“The role of a poet laureate can vary a little bit depending on where it is, but part of the role of poet laureate here in Clark County is to be a poetry ambassador,” Lang Cassera said.
In addition to her new job as a poetry ambassador, Lang Cassera is a creative writing teacher at Nevada State College but she turns to poetry at specific times in her writing process.
“When I turn to poetry is when I want to explore something or when I’m looking for some sense of discovery,” she said, “When I want to better understand something about the world, that’s when I really dive into poetry.”
Poetry is also not Pantoja’s only form of expression. He is a visual artist and an art professor in Sqaw Valley.
Pantoja said he doesn’t look to write or create something. Instead, creativity comes to him.
“I don’t think I turn to anything,” he said, “I think it absolutely turns straight on me.”
Some people may be intimidated by poetry or feel like they can’t understand it but Pantoja is a slam poet, which is partly performance art with a goal of engaging the audience.