Michelle Bitting, a published author and versatile teacher of poetry, was recognized as the Poet Laureate of Pacific Palisades at the Community Council meeting on March 8.
After her introduction Bitting acknowledged the community's previous poet laureate, Ruth Lorins, who passed away last year at age 98. Bitting then referenced her own extensive teaching work with children in the Palisades and other areas as well as workshops she offers for prisoners at the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles.
"In light of the increased emphasis on rote academics and testing due to overwhelming pressure for schools to compete for dwindling funds, creative thinking and learning is often sacrificed when it should be nourished and encouraged," Bitting said. "Thinking outside the box, the supreme importance of the imagination, as the great John Berryman said, 'passion is genius.'"
Mary Hopf, senior librarian at the , was at the forefront of Bitting's selection to become the new Palisades Poet Laureate and introduced her at the PPCC meeting.
"Michelle Bitting, a fourth generation Palisadian, has had quite a career in the arts including training in music, dance and culinary classes," Hopf said. "She has studied theatre at UC Berkeley and later attained a masters in fine arts and poetry from Oregon's Pacific University."
Hopf also noted Bitting's professional accomplishments, which include three award-winning books of poetry and numerous magazine and journal contributions that include the prestigious Prairie Schooner and American Poetry Review.
"Her valiant volunteerism has ranged from collaborating with the California Dance Institute, LAUSD, a California Poet in the Schools at the Marquez and Palisades elementary schools ..., in the Twin Towers prison with a grant from the Poets and Writers Magazine and in the hands-on outreach to the sick, hungry and homeless," Hopf said.