Former poet laureate of Santa Barbara to judge entries

By Lauren Sharp 

for the Wildling Museum

The Wildling Museum of Art and Nature is sponsoring an environmental poetry competition with the theme “Why Earth Day Matters,” inviting writers to interpret the importance of Earth Day in a variety of ways. The competition is open to Santa Barbara County residents of all ages, and the deadline to submit is 5 p.m. Monday, March 22.

The competition is a celebration of Earth Day, on April 22, and is intended to highlight the importance of standing up to protect the planet’s dwindling natural resources and working against the threats of climate change.

Poetry entries will be judged by poet Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, former poet laureate of Santa Barbara, 2015-17. The top three poems will be announced and read at the annual Santa Barbara Earth Day virtual celebration organized by the Community Environmental Council (CEC). CEC will focus on climate leadership for its 2021 Earth Day celebration.

For poetry competition guidelines and entry forms, visit Direct questions to or call 805-686-8315.

In addition to serving as the city’s poet laureate, Kincaid Rolle was one of the poets-laureate-in-residence at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History during its 2016 Centennial. The museum published “Moving Forward, Looking Back; Poems Celebrating Nature” as a part of that group residency.

In 2017, Kincaid Rolle, also a community activist, was profiled in Holli Harmon’s “Portraits of the Central Coast.” Kincaid Rolle has authored three collections of poetry: “The Mellow Yellow Global Umbrella,” “Common Ancestry,” and “Black Street.” A selection of her poems appears in “What Breathes Us: Santa Barbara Poets Laureate 2005-2015” and “The Geography of Home.”

Her in-progress book, “Where The Hum Begins” is a collection of “place” poems inspired by the California Central Coast and beyond. She has engaged young poets through her Song of Place Poetry Project and the Santa Barbara Public Library, as well as the youth-serving programs City At Peace, Endowment for Youth, and various after-school programs.

Kincaid Rolle has served as chair of the annual MLKSB Essay and Poetry Contest, is a past board member of California Poets-in-the-Schools, and a former associate editor for “Sage Trail Poetry Magazine.” Her environmental activism includes work with Agua Pura, Sierra Club, Community Environmental Council and Watershed Resource Center.