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Best Local Poets In Orange County

Poetry Writing
(credit: EMMANUEL-DUNAND/Getty Images)

Poetry can have many styles and forms, especially in the Southern California region. Orange County is home to many different poets that range from Pushcart Prize nominees, artists, professors and much more. Each one offers their own experiences and opportunities to view their work.

Poet Eric Morago
(credit: Eric Morago)

Eric Morago
Whittier, CA

Performance carries as much weight as the written word for this Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. The author of "Mechanical Cluster," Patty Seyburn describes Morago, "With an eye and ear for what makes us human, Eric Morago addresses beauty and mundanity, desire and doubt, with a passionate voice that craves and provides connection to reader and community." Published in both print and online publications, you can find Morago's work recognized in collections including "Carving in Bone," "Beside the City of Angels" and "Don't Blame the Ugly Mug." His full-length collection of poetry in "What We Ache For" illustrates emotion that is raw and real. His spoken word album, "I Don't Like Straws," is a collaboration with Melody Maker Productions with music provided by David Gielan.

(credit: Leigh White)

Leigh White
Costa Mesa, CA

"I write poetry to survive," Leigh White once said. The local poet is also a painter that actually discovered the world of art prior to poetry. The first time the Chicago native read her poetry in front of an audience was at the Laguna Beach Brewery in 1998 and she has since done a wide array performances from locations that include The Gypsy Den, The Ugly Mug and many more. "I am prolific in what I produce. Every day is the chance to say something, speak the truth, shake the complacency, bring beauty and all of the above," says White. You can also follow her on Twitter at @leighwhite.

Kate Buckley
(credit: Kate Buckley)

Kate Buckley
Laguna Beach, CA

A Kentucky native that relocated to Southern California, Kate Buckley is a poet and accomplished artist in the Orange County area. Her accomplishments include various prizes, awards and publications. As a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Buckley's resume is very impressive. She served as a co-facilitator of Laguna Poets and founder of Women Poets of Laguna. In addition, Buckley authored "A Wild Region" in 2008 and "Follow Me Down" in 2009, which has received much acclaim.

Related:  Best Poetry Events in OC

chris davidson poet
(credit Chris Davidson)

Chris Davidson
Seal Beach, CA

As an associate professor at Biola University, Chris Davidson teaches courses in poetry writing and composition as well as directs the composition program and writing center at the university. In addition to his teaching credentials, Davidsson has a long list of accomplishments, awards and honors including the Biola University Travel Grant, Master Class Invitee and Participant from UC Irvine as well as a UC Regents Fellowship and more. Davidson has also been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Orange Coast Review and many more. Preview his work with a reading of "Marriage". You can also catch his work and occasional entries on his blog 52songs.

Lorene Delany-Ullman
(credit: Lorene Delany-Ullman)

Lorene Delany-Ullman
Irvine, CA

Lorene Delany Ullman describes her latest book, "Camouflage for the Neighborhood" as "from toy guns to weed-covered bunkers, this series of prose poems examine the ways the franchises of war pervade our quotidian lives and the complicity that the speaker, her family, and her suburban hometown endure but also share in the propagation of violence." Firewheel Editions published the book in the beginning of 2013 and the collection of work was the winner of the prestigious 2011 Sentence Award. Her other work has been included in many anthologies as well and her most recent collaboration on "Saved" with artist Jody Servon is an ongoing photographic and poetic exploration of life, death and memory.

Related: Best Resources For Aspiring Writers In OC

Elle Toussi is a freelance writer covering all things Orange County. Her work can be found on

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