Aurora

Local poet Leo Zarko (r) presents a book of poetry to Mayor Irvin in celebration of the City's new Aurora Poet Laureate volunteer position. (Photo provided)

Boxcars clatter and train whistles blow | The Fox River rolls, sometimes fast, sometimes slow | Highs and lows, we all stand together Aurora Strong | Generations of history spanning miles and miles long | A sense of renewal is growing in the City of Lights | Aurora is climbing higher and accomplishing new heights. 

This excerpt from a poem was recited by Mayor Richard Irvin during his media briefing yesterday as he announced the opening of the application process to become the first Aurora Poet Laureate. 
 
Written by Aurora resident and poet Leo Zarko, the poem - simply titled ‘Aurora’ - pays homage to Aurora’s historical roots and current renaissance.  
 
“This is the type of energy and sincerity that we are looking for in our first poet laureate,” said Mayor Irvin. “We need someone who can help tell our story in a poetic and empowering way.” 
 
Zarko was one of many residents who submitted poems in response to City’s social media request for original poetry to be read during the mayor’s announcement.
 
“There is a great need for this position. Poetry heals,” Zarko said as he presented his book of poetry, Drifting, to the mayor for the City’s archives. 
 
The Aurora Poet Laureate will celebrate the heritage, uniqueness, diversity and achievements of the City of Aurora through the art and appreciation of poetry. To qualify for the position, the applicant must be a self-identified poet, a full-time resident of Aurora for the duration of the position and available to participate in public events for the duration of the position. 
 
Full details, including the application, are available at www.aurora-il.org/AuroraPoetLaureate or at the Mayor’s Office, 44 E. Galena Blvd. Applications are due Tuesday, October 15 at 4 p.m.
 
A committee will review the applications, and finalists will be invited for face-to-face interviews and recitations. The final selection will be made by Mayor Irvin during a media briefing on Tuesday, November 5. The first official public appearance at the new Aurora Poet Laureate will be at the annual Veterans Day Parade on Monday, November 11.
 
The volunteer position is for a two-year term with the inaugural poet laureate serving until the end of Mayor Irvin’s first term in April 2021.