MALIBU—On Wednesday, May 20, a poetry reading to honor the late Ellen Reich will take place online at 6 p.m., according to a Facebook post by former Ventura County Poet Laureate Phil Taggart. He will host the event along with other former Poet Laureates Enid Osborn and Ricardo Means Ybarra who served for Santa Barbara and Malibu, respectively. Anyone wanting to read poetry by Reich or a poem about her can sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. This will not be an open mic event.
According to the press release from the city of Malibu press, Reich passed away on Friday, May 1, from cancer. She became the second Poet Laureate of Malibu on March 11, 2019. Her term began on March 28, 2019 and it would have ended on March 27, 2021.
“Ellen’s spirit and ideative poetry, along with her relentless devotion to the development of poetry in Malibu since 1974, made her the ideal artist to hold the position of Malibu Poet Laureate,” the release stated.
Reich was a longtime resident of Malibu who taught poetry and writing at the Malibu Senior Center, and creative writing and autobiography at Emeritus College, a division of Santa Monica College. The poet was an award-winning, published author of hundreds of poems and stories over the years. Her work has been featured in The Los Angeles Times, Slant, and Mudfish. Poetry from her published collections include “Reverse Kiss” from Main Street Rag, “The Gynecic Papers” from Conflux Press, and “Sleeping Guardian” from Finishing Line Press.
As an artist, her work in the field has been published and received awards. Pieces have displayed in the Weisman Museum of Art and the Ojai Valley Gallery, and published in Red Dancefloor, Vernal Calibrations, and Isis Rising. She received two first-place awards from the Malibu Art Association. In the Los Angeles Times, she was described as a poet and artist.
In November 2016, Malibu’s Cultural Arts Commission spoke to the Malibu City Council about starting their own Poet Laureate program. The Poet Laureate serves the City of Malibu and the Malibu Library as the official Consultant in Poetry. They collaborate with the Laureate Committee to promote poetry and literary arts across schools and the community. They also represent the city at literary and poetry events.