Luza says he was inspired by the national poet laureates - in particular, Robert Pinsky.
"I wondered why we couldn't have a poet laureate of our own right here in Hudson County," Luza says.
This person, he says, would need special qualifications, of course - someone who has a particular dedication to the art of poetry, and someone who would put promotion of the local arts ahead of his or her own ego.
"That's what Robert Pinsky did," he says. "But it's not something artists normally do."
Luza envisioned someone touring the county to spread the word about poetry, touching people's lives and inspiring them. "It's not the same just reading journals or books," he says.
Although many local scribes would disagree with him, Luza called Hudson County "a desert artistically with a few oases."
"If you have a central head, not just for poetry, but for arts in general, all that could change," he says.
A modest proposal
Luza's proposal would create the position and offer pay that could allow the poet to dedicate him- or herself to the promotion of the arts full time.
Of course, Hudson County does have a director of Cultural & Heritage Affairs, William La Rosa - one of the many people Luza contacted with his idea - but Luza believes a poet laureate is also needed. He sent letters to Freeholder Chairman Sal Vega and Hoboken Freeholder Maurice Fitzgibbons lobbying for the idea before making an appearance at a Freeholders meeting to hammer home the point.
In his outline of duties, Luza also suggested an annual salary of about $10,000 and office space for the poet.
"Rather than get someone famous that doesn't know the area," Luza says, "I suggest someone local be appointed to the position, someone who knows the theater and arts of the area - perhaps someone who teaches in the college, who has run reading series or published widely. I think I would be a perfect candidate, but that's not why I'm doing this."
Luza has some claim since he has run three reading series and has more than 100 works published in various journals. Luza was the founder of the Monochrome Monday reading series in Hoboken and the co-founder of Alliteration Alley in Jersey City.
Of course, Hudson County has several other candidates who might be in the running if such a position were established.
Hoboken's Joel Lewis has also run numerous reading series, dating back to the dismal years of the early 1980s when he talked the owners of the Beat'n Path into allowing his motley crew to use their back room. Lewis is also the author or editor of numerous publications including Blue Stones and Salt Hay (Rutgers University Press), which is considered one of the definitive collections of work by New Jersey poets.
Danny Shot, also of Hoboken, could lay claim to the position since he and others published Long Shot - considered one the nation's finest literary publications featuring some of the best in contemporary poets.
Herschel Silverman, of Bayonne, may have the best claim to the title since he is one of the original Beat poets. During the heyday of the Beats, he had people like Allen Ginsberg hanging out at his Bayonne candy store.
Picking up on Luza's idea, the Waterbug Hotel in Jersey City, which hosts its own poetry events, has been promoting the idea of a poet laureate as well.