On Sunday, April 23, at the McGroarty Arts Center a celebration of poetry took place: the ninth such event in 18 years. The local poetry and cultural community participated in the Passing of the Laurels 2017 Ceremony, with Elsa S. Frausto, the Eighth Poet Laureate (2014- 2017) passing the laurel wreath and the poets’ heart to Pamela Shea, the Ninth Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga, selected to serve in this voluntary and prestigious post for the years 2017-2019.
The Passing of the Laurels ceremony consists of crowning the new Poet Laureate with a “laurel” wreath – in our case it is a wreath of olive branches: olive for peace and for the oil of inspirationwisdom-anointing. After placing the new wreath’s on Shea’s head, Frausto gave her the golden heart locket that contains dried leaves from all the past wreaths of all the past Poets Laureate. This locket has been passed on from one poet to the next since 1999 in an unbroken tradition. The name of the new Poet Laureate is then engraved on the plaque with all the poets’ names and kept at the McGroarty Arts Center