THE Gail Rich Award
2007 Gail Rich Award Recipient
"Wallace Stegner’s famous quote describing California as 'America, only more so,' can be applied in microcosm as well. Of course, it would only make sense to those who live here to say that Santa Cruz is 'California, only more so.' Each year we stop and take stock of the creative individuals who give Santa Cruz its distinctive West Coast nature. Named after the late Gail Rich who embodied the spirit of appreciation for the arts, the Gail Rich Awards are our way of singling out the faces that enhance our community with their commitment, talent and vision. Thank you for giving this community its unique cultural personality." – Wallace Baine, Santa Cruz Sentinel, January. 6, 2007
Want to get a sense of poet, teacher and critic Morton Marcus? Just pick up his muscular 2008 kaleidoscopic memoir Striking Through the Masks. Still, however comprehensive, no book is capable of containing the energy of Mort and his literary legacy. A former Santa Cruz County Artist of the Year, Mort published 11 books of poetry and a novel before his death in 2009 (and another posthumously) and his work was published and anthologized all over the world.
He was also Santa Cruz’s most prominent film critic, having taught film and English at Cabrillo College for more than 30 years. All the while, he maintained a high profile in the poetry and film communities, as a public speaker, newspaper columnist, and radio and TV personality. Taken together, it all made Mort one of Santa Cruz’s most vigorous man of letters.
— Wallace Baine, The Creatives Among Us: 20 Years of the Gail Rich Awards
Photo (right) © Shmuel Thaler