Malibu Poet Laureate

Dr. John Struloeff

Dr. John Struloeff was appointed the Malibu Poet Laureate by the Malibu City Council on October 12, 2020.

Dr. Struloeff serves as the City's third Malibu Poet Laureate, who will serve until June 1, 2021. He follows past Malibu Poets Laureate Ellen Reich, who passed away in May of this year, and Ricardo Means Ybarra, the City’s first Poet Laureate. 

He is the Director of Creative Writing at Pepperdine University and has been involved in the City's Poet Laureate program since its inception. 

He is the recipient of multiple literary awards, including the Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, an NEA Literature Fellowship, a Sozopol Fiction Fellowship from the Elizabeth Kostova Foundation (Bulgaria) and the Tennessee Williams Scholarship from the Sewanee Writers' Conference. Additionally, Dr. Struloeff's work has been published in more than 50 literary journals and magazines. 

While working with the Malibu Poet Laureate Committee, Dr. Struloeff will host a series of free monthly poetry programs in 2020. Join the Poet Laureate at Caffeinated Verse on Saturday, October 24 at 11:00 AM, which will include Dr. Struloeff as the featured reader, followed by an open-mic format. Additional poetry programs will take place on November 21 and December 12. All programs will take place virtually over Zoom video conferencing and RSVPs are required. To make a reservation or for more information, visit

Dr. John Struloeff

Past Poet Laureates

Ellen Reich                                 March 28, 2019 - April 1, 2020                               
Ricardo Means Ybarra               March 28, 2017 – March 27, 2019

: Ellen Reich was appointed as the Malibu Poet Laureate by the Malibu City Council on March 11, 2019. Mrs. Reich served one year, before her passing in May of 2020.  Her spirit and ideative poetry, along with her relentless devotion to the development of poetry in Malibu made a lasting impression on the community. The City of Malibu and the entire Malibu community mourn the loss of Mrs. Reich. Read the City press release.

Poetry Stones at Legacy Park

In 2018, the Cultural Arts Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission approved the placement of two poetry stones at Legacy Park. The stones were placed in honor of the City’s first Poet Laureate, Ricardo Means Ybarra, and recognized the importance of poetry and literary arts to Malibu. Mr. Ybarra was recognized as the first Poet Laureate with a stone that contains a portion of his poem, America. The second stone included the poem, Thank You, by Mandy Mulligan, a graduate of Juan Cabrillo Elementary School, part of the City’s Arts in Education program. The stone installation of the City’s second Poet Laureate Ellen Reich, took place on October 8, 2020.  Her black Belgian stone is an appropriate fit for the native park and includes her poem, Interruption of Bird.


All of the poetry stones are located at Legacy Park. Mrs. Reich’s poetry stone is placed opposite of Mr. Ybarra’s, near the amphitheater overlooking the water, which was selected due to its purpose as a place for creativity and location for cultural events. Ms. Mulligan’s stone is placed in the amphitheater containing multiple mosaic animal sculptures.