Poet Laureate: Wendy Van Camp
Wendy Van Camp is Anaheim’s poet laureate and literary ambassador, working to connect our community through writing.
Van Camp is what's known as a speculative poet, part of a genre of poetry that draws inspiration from science fiction, technology, fantasy or mythology.
While Van Camp is a science fiction fan, actual science is her inspiration.
As a young girl, she was inspired by watching Neil Armstrong land on the moon. Astronomer Tabetha Boyajian, namesake of Tabby's Star, is another inspiration.
Van Camp also is a fan of Jane Austen and her writing on Britain in the 1800s. "Persuasion" is her first and favorite Austen read.
As poet laurate, Van Camp is looking to expand awareness of poetry and literature, support open mic events at Anaheim Public Library, teach poetry classes and edit an anthology from our community of poets.
Van Camp holds a bachelor's in radio, television and film production from California State University, Long Beach. She's also a graduate of the Ad Astra Speculative Fiction Workshop.
Her poems have appeared in “Starlight Scifaiku Review,” “Quantum Visions,” “The Junction,” and “Far Horizons.” She is the poet and illustrator of “The Planets: a scifaiku poetry collection” and editor of the annual “Eccentric Orbits: An Anthology of Science Fiction Poetry” by Dimensionfold Publishing.
Van Camp's work has been nominated for award consideration, including for the Elgin Award for best speculative poetry book of the year for 2019 and 2020, the Pushcart Prize for Poetry in 2022 and the Dwarf Star for best speculative micropoem of the year in 2022.
She lives in east Anaheim with her husband Allen Van Camp, an employment law attorney. The couple has lived in Anaheim for more than 20 years.
Van Camp was born in Long Beach and grew up in Kirkland, Wash., outside Seattle before moving back to Southern California after high school.
She has worked in television production and as a teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Van Camp was named Anaheim's second poet laurate in April 2022 and serves through April 2024.
You can learn more about Van Camp here.
About Anaheim's Poet Laurate
The poet laureate is Anaheim's literary ambassador, helping to inspire appreciation of poetry and the arts in the city.
Anaheim is one of only a handful of cities in California to have a poet laurate, including Los Angeles, Fresno, Santa Barbara and Laguna Beach.
A poet laureate serves as the official poet for a city, county, state or nation. The tradition goes back centuries. In America, the precursor to our nation’s poet laureate today dates back to 1937.
To be eligible for consideration as Anaheim’s poet laureate, applicants much be a published poet, have strong ties to the city for the past five years, be at least 21 years old and be able to give public poetry readings.
Anaheim’s poet laureate holds free workshops at Anaheim Public Libraries, leads poetry readings at city events and heads up community gatherings that promote poetry, literature and the arts. You can learn more about Anaheim's poet laurate below.
Past Poet Laureate: Grant Hier
Grant Hier was Anaheim’s inaugural poet laureate and literary ambassador from April 2018 to April 2020.
During his tenure, he shared his love of poetry with Anaheim at public readings, library events, community gatherings and social media.
“The best poetry shows us who we are,” Hier says. “It broadens our perspective. It shows us how other people think and live and how much we have in common. And that builds compassion and community.”
Hier’s favorite poem? “Song of Myself” by American great Walt Whitman.
“I love it for its all-inclusiveness and tremendous heart,” he says. “He revolutionized poetry with his form.”