© 2024 WLRN
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How to be a poet of place, with Coconut Creek's first poet laureate

Laura McDermott Matheric is the poet laureate for Coconut Creek.
Allee Mackey
Laura McDermott Matheric is the poet laureate for Coconut Creek.

The city of Coconut Creek brought a curious job offer to Laura McDermott Matheric: come tell the stories of our city.

They named Laura Coconut Creek’s first-ever poet laureate. It’s a big honor. The hope is to write and perform poems for special occasions. And raise the community’s awareness of writing.

And that’s exactly what she’s done. People around the community — she calls them “Creekers” — send her photos of their neighborhood. And she’ll write haikus about them.

It’s typical South Florida inspiration: storm clouds, iguanas, sunsets, orchids and dogs.

They seek her out to share their stories with her. She compares that part of her job to being a bartender or hairdresser.

She loves it. It’s inspired her to start a love-story project based on the connections she’s made.

But poetry didn’t always come easy to Laura. Before she was a poet, the literary art form felt out of reach for her.

In college, she was studying business. But she hit a roadblock. She was diagnosed with several learning disorders. It forced her to change her major and the trajectory of her life.

That’s when poetry came into Laura’s life. And it never left.

On the Sep. 26 episode of Sundial, we'll talk to her about the ways she’s bringing poetry into the lives of others.

On Sundial's previous episode, we spoke with Yvonne Lee Odom. She has had a 45-year teaching career in Delray Beach and she desegregated Palm Beach County schools as a 15-year-old high school sophomore. Plus, she is tennis star Coco Gauff’s grandmother.

Listen to Sundial Monday through Thursday on WLRN, 91.3 FM, live at 1 p.m., rebroadcast at 8 p.m. Missed a show? Find every episode of Sundial on your favorite podcast app, such as Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Spotify.

Carlos Frías is a bilingual writer, a journalist of more than 25 years and the author of an award-winning memoir published by Simon & Schuster.
Leslie Ovalle Atkinson is the former lead producer behind Sundial. As a multimedia producer, she also worked on visual and digital storytelling.
Elisa Baena is a former associate producer for Sundial.