Poet pioneers: Gary Snyder & Will Staple have an early reading as a benefit for the Sierra Poetry Festival in Nevada City | TheUnion.com

Poet pioneers: Gary Snyder & Will Staple have an early reading as a benefit for the Sierra Poetry Festival in Nevada City

Gary Snyder reads passages from his book "Mountans and Rivers Without End" during an appearance last year at The Open Book in Grass Valley.
Photo by Elias Funez


WHAT: Gary Snyder & Will Staple — A benefit reading for San Juan Ridge Community Library and Sierra Poetry Festival

WHEN: 7-9 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) Friday

WHERE: Shady Creek Event Center, 18601 Pathfinder Way, Nevada City

TICKETS & REGISTRATION: https://www.nevadacountyarts.org/poetry-pop-ups and https://conta.cc/2Defc4e

INFO: For more information visit https://www.nevadacountyarts.org, email info@nevadacountyarts.org, or call 530-718 0727

San Juan Ridge Community Library and Nevada County Arts Council will co-present a special reading with Gary Snyder and Will Staple at 7 p.m. Friday.

Designed as a benefit for both the library and the Sierra Poetry Festival, the two organizations are thrilled have this opportunity to support one another.

“A friend wrote ‘How would it be if the governments had to raise money for planes and battleships with bake sales and poetry readings?’ Well, we’re still trying with programs for kids, free books to borrow, and streams that run free,” Synder said. “This benefit reading on Friday might not save the world but it’s going the right direction.”

Roo Cantada, a founder of the San Juan Ridge Community Library said, “Our reading with Gary and Will highlights the importance of poetry in our communityGary Snyder has brought the world to our foothills, making intimate our mountains and flora through his eloquence. Perhaps less known is Will Staple‘s work with the youth of this county through California Poets in the Schools.

“I met both men in 1997 when I moved here as a performance poet and they both became mentors to me in different ways. I am happy to be supported by such amazing champions of the written word. It is our library’s honor to have them read on our behalf.”

Sierra Poetry Festival was inaugurated last year in recognition of the rich literary landscape in Nevada County. Poets, presenters, and performers came from across California and beyond to celebrate National Poetry Month, with California Poet Laureate and former Chairman of National Endowment for the Arts, Dana Gioia, attending as keynote speaker.

Inspiring the youth

A founding principle of Sierra Poetry Festival is its commitment to local youth. School age children can enjoy mainstage readings, attend workshops, and participate in the free fringe festival poetry pop-up events that take place all the way through National Poetry Month each April. Festival tickets for youth are offered free of charge.

As part of this effort, Nevada County Arts Council offers Poetry Out Loud high school finalists the chance to present their pieces at Sierra Poetry Festival to friends, family, peers, and new audiences. It also offers middle school students the opportunity to present poems at the festival and mingle with high school students to get a taste of Poetry Out Loud.

New to the festival this year is Dream a Difference, a poetry project connecting children in small schools in United Kingdom and United States with children in Syria, Palestine, Malaysia, and Zimbabwe.

This year, Nevada County Arts Council has partnered with Twin Ridges Schools District to coach children in poetry at Washington and Grizzly Hill Schools.

These students are part of an emerging global community of young people who are gaining awareness and learning empathy for the way others live and, in the spirit of sharing the poetry they write in the form of song and recitation, share their own experience of life in rural California.

At the festival

The 2018 Sierra Poetry Festival’s culminating event takes place all day on April 28 at Sierra College in Grass Valley.

Activities will include a keynote address by national Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis, author of Voyage of the Sable Venus, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. Three other California poets laureate and an array of local, national, and international poets and performers will join Coste Lewis.

Among the day’s line-up are Kim Shuck, Indigo Moor, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Judy Halebsky, V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu as Straight Out Scribes, Neeli Cherkovski, Bill Gainer, Molly Fisk, Charles Entrekin, Gail Entrekin, Sands Hall, Mel Pryor, Kirsten Casey and more.

Nevada County Arts Council is enthusiastic about this year’s Sierra Poetry Festival.

Eliza Tudor, its executive director, said, “Gary Snyder was inducted into the California Hall of Fame last December. He was California Arts Council’s first Chairman, stoked the deep ecology movement, was an intrinsic part of the Beat generation, writes beautiful poetry and earned a Pulitzer Prize for it. We are honored that he will read for us on Friday.”

In 2017 Six Ft. Swells Press released Will Staple’s long-awaited collection, “Arrows Go Thru Hearts.”

Gary Snyder said at the time, “I have followed Will Staple’s unique, cranky, original poetry since we first met in the ’60s. His book, “Arrows Go Thru Hearts,” has his particular original signature: something is here that belongs to the world of shamanism, deep power, a certain kind of sexual energy, a certain kind of rebellion. His steadiness and commitment to poetry is peerless.”

Source: Nevada County Arts Council

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