We’re pleased to present this month’s Member Spotlight featuring poetry champion Cal Lambert.


Academy of American Poets (AAP): Tell us a little about yourself and your community project. 

Cal Lambert (CL): I am a 90-year-old retired journalist, a late-comer poet, and a member of the Poets Corner here in Green Valley, Arizona. In September 2018, I was inspired by Poem-a-Day to write my own daily poems and by September 2019 I had written 509 poems, some of them simply awful. I don’t know how many I am up to now, although I have slowed down some.

I originated the PoeTrail here in the Desert Meadows Park, which includes five stations along the walking trails (like a realtor’s box) that hold poems the walkers can read or take home if they wish. We feature four local poets each month and the fifth box is equipped with pencils and a pad for walkers to write their own.


AAP: What has been your favorite aspect of the PoeTrail project? 

CL: I believe my favorite aspect is the reception and reaction of the park visitors. It has been so favorable and welcoming. Of course, a good part of it is the park itself, such a little gem. The park, about two city blocks long, has many gazebos, tables and chairs; many shady spots and lovely vegetation that  get a lot of use. I even have people stop me at a grocery or some place and mention the PoeTrail. And, I often have to refill the boxes, as they take the poems with them.


AAP: Did you face any unexpected obstacles in getting your project installed? What has been the best surprise? 

CL: No obstacles, really!  The GV Gardeners were enthusiastic and so cooperative. As an example, I was going to get just steel fence posts to mount the boxes but Henry Garcia, a member of the Gardeners and a metal sculptor, designed metal posts. They are lovely; one with a butterfly, another a Hummingbird, etc. Members of Poets Corner are also enthusiastic about the program and happy to submit poems.


AAP: Do you have a favorite poem that has been featured along the PoeTrail??  

CL: I cannot really recommend or pick a favorite. I'm sure I could come up with some, but you understand that all the poems are locally written. There may come a day when we pick poems from other authors, but so far we haven't needed to.