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Poet-in-Chief: Clark County's First Poet Laureate

Bruce Isaacson
Ed Fuentes

Bruce Isaacson is the new Clark County poet laureate.

Clark County now has a poet-in-chief. The first. Officially he’s called a poet laureate.

His name is Bruce Isaacson. This summer, Isaacson is presiding at a series of open readings at the Winchester Cultural Center. He’s also doing a workshop on Beat poetry.

Many other events are in the works. The idea is poetry, poetry, poetry. 

From Desert Companion: Bruce Isaacson, Clark County poet laureate


Life in Las Vegas

by Bruce Isaacson

Even in the shadow of Casinosaurus

Life springs irrepressibly from the sands

Artists, poets, lovers, children

Dream of the seventh gold city...

To those who see in Vegas only what is small

We contain strange multitudes

Old west gun-racked in a pickup

The Liberace Museum

Street dudes lined up to work

New west corporate Disneysaurus

Every great nation’s culture presented in a buffet cuisine

Las Vegas—LA extended east to absurdity

A strip of Hollywood Babylon spread-eagled over the Sierra

Las Vegas— the only town with enough twisted imagination

to conceive of a life size replica of New York

and the humor to call that a resort

Casinosaurus gold flashes in teeth

But maybe here will be raised up the new man— 

beautiful, sexual, immune to breasts on a billboard

Casinosaurus drowses in the dawn

after a typical night on the kill

Later the sun will plump up like a tomato going bad

Later the beast will stretch its talons in advertising

roar back about blackjack, insurance and family fun

But there’s also the gathering of the art tribe on the sands

Or I’m alone 6 a.m. writing poems

in the natural light of the desert

In a moment before the desert begins

When casino neon still outshines the sun

Here I am—  a jew in the desert—  found

among the fabled seven cities of gold

Flamingo... Dunes... Sahara...

We are shimmering.

© 2005 Bruce Isaacson

 From Ghosts Among the Neon

Bruce Isaacson, poet lauerate, Clark County

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Since June 2015, Fred has been a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada.