Elena Smith

We had a great presentation by Elena Smith (Reference Librarian with the California State Library) who joined us on August 25, 2018 to talk about all the poetry resources we can find at the California State Library/History Section!

Amongst the wealth of information she discussed, Elena gave a case study of Bay Area poet Ina Coolbrith, who was the first Poet Laureate of California. Through the library’s various tools, Elena was able to carefully construct a picture of Ina’s life with the help of various catalogs, citations, and targeted searches. Through her research, we were able to discover a poet who reshaped her trauma and pain into art.

Elena also encouraged us to never delete or trash the writing we produce – no matter how much we don’t like it – because it can help shape our own stories and those of the world around us for future generations. Our writing – no matter how we feel about it – can be important historic resources, not just for our state or city or culture or society or art, but for our own lives.