Pulitzer Prize winner to speak in Grass Valley
This year, “An Evening with Beloved Poets” comes with a timely bonus: among the readers is the winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize.
For the third year in a row, local residents will have the rare opportunity to hear six of the nation’s leading poets, including a National Book Award winner and a former United States Poet Laureate, in a lineup of powerful voices rarely seen outside of top literary festivals.
The Pulitzer honoree, Forrest Gander, will read with Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, David Tomas Martinez, Jane Miller, Sharon Olds and Gregory Pardlo at 7 p.m. on Friday, June 21 at Grass Valley’s St. Joseph Cultural Center.
The poets are all participating in the reading as a stop-off on their way to the annual Community of Writers workshops in Squaw Valley, and donating their Grass Valley appearances to raise funds for Community of Writers scholarships.
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“Four of our participating poets have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, most recently Forrest Gander, who has been a beloved staff poet for many years,” said Squaw Conference Executive Director Brett Hall Jones, a longtime resident of Nevada City.
“This is particularly poignant because his book, ‘Be With,’ was written after he lost his wife, the poet CD Wright, several years ago. He tells me some of the poems he wrote in 2016 when he was on staff at the Community of Writers appear in this new book. That resonates with me in terms of how important our program has become for poetry in this country.”
The reading, emceed by Nevada County poet and poetry teacher Maxima Kahn, will move this year to the St. Joseph Center, which is “flexible and bohemian with a rich history,” Jones said — and also offers air conditioning.
Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with discounts available to groups of ten or more. Given the large turnout in past years, advance tickets are highly recommended, available at http://www.communityofwriters.org/public-events. A signing and reception with the poets will follow.
The six poets appearing are both esteemed and diverse.
In addition to “Be With,” Forrest Gander’s many collections include “Core Samples from the World” and “Eye Against Eye.”
Robert Hass is former Poet Laureate of the United States, and a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Time and Materials as well as a National Book Award.
Brenda Hillman’s many collections include “Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire;” she is a winner of the Los Angeles Times Books Prize and the William Carlos Williams Prize.
Pushcart Prize winner and National Endowment for the Arts poetry fellow David Tomas Martinez is the author of the collections “Hustle and Post Traumatic Hood Disorder.”
Jane Miller, recipient of the Wallace Award for Poetry, a Guggenheim fellowship, and two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, has authored 11 books, including “Working Time: Essays on Poetry, Culture, and Travel.”
Sharon Olds is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Critics Circle Award; her many collections include “Stag’s Leap” and “Odes.”
Gregory Pardlo is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Digest and author of the collection “Totem and the memoir Air Traffic.”
For 48 summers, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley has brought together poets and prose writers for separate weeks of workshops, individual conferences, lectures, panels, readings, and discussions of the craft and the business of writing.
“We are so impressed by this community and thank everyone who has come out to support our scholarship program these past few years,” Jones said.
“These funds help us make the Poetry week in Squaw Valley accessible to talented poets who otherwise would be unable to afford to attend. In the past we have held these readings in San Francisco, Berkeley and in Sacramento. The Nevada City/Grass Valley area events have been better attended and served as more effective fundraisers than any of the events in the big cities. I’m proud of that, and grateful to this place I call home.”
Tickets to this benefit poetry reading are available online at communityofwriters.org/publicevents or by phone: 530-470-8440. Tickets are $25 advance/$30 at the door for general admission and $12 advance/$15 at the door for students (with current student ID). Premium seating for the first 2 rows is $45. The group price for 10 or more tickets purchased at the same time is $20 per ticket. The St. Joseph’s Cultural Center is located at 410 S. Church St. in Grass Valley.
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