POMONA, Calif. – For writer Judah 1, every poetic word he expresses carries great intention.
As the inaugural Poet Laureate of Pomona, he’s honored to take on the new role, which he received at the start of 2020, and will carry on until the end of 2021. He hopes his position will help set a new standard for art and community in Pomona.
“It just feels like a great honor. A great esteem. People talk to me as such. They treat me as such. I think that’s really cool. I’m beginning to be requested for commissioned poems, official poems, and doing well with them I believe,” Judah 1 explained.
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Writing isn’t the only thing that keeps Judah 1 busy. His day job as a public works inspector, which is still considered essential in this pandemic season, is what pays the bills. But for the young artist, everything he does fuels inspiration.
Walking through the Pomona Arts Colony, Judah 1 reflects on how poetry has been a tool to elevate both his community, and himself.
“It has unlocked the man in me. It has unlocked my gifts. It has unlocked my smile. It has unlocked, I believe it has unlocked my purpose. Everything that I’ve done in my life has been in alignment with poetry,” he explained.
The Poet Laureate has many plans for Pomona with his new position, including establishing the Poetry and Arts Festival of Pomona, which he hopes will take place in September -- providing that the Coronavirus “Safer at Home” order is lifted. He wants to remind the world that Pomona is present, and here to stay.
“A lot of people overlook Pomona. A lot of people overlook the IE. But we’re out here," he said. "And we’ve always been here. We came from here back to there. And then now we’re back again. So it’s really just notoriety. And really just building up my city. My town. My community. Building them up from the mind.”
From pen, to paper, to Pomona.