Rare opportunity to hear prize-winning poets: Leading U.S. Poets, including a “Genius” Award recipient and former U.S. Poet Laureate, to read at Miners Foundry | TheUnion.com

Rare opportunity to hear prize-winning poets: Leading U.S. Poets, including a “Genius” Award recipient and former U.S. Poet Laureate, to read at Miners Foundry

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Six of the nation's leading poets, including a former U.S. Poet Laureate and MacArthur "Genius" Award recipient, two Pulitzer Prize winners and one current Pulitzer finalist, will read at the Miners Foundry in Nevada City on Friday, June 22. The second annual event — last year's iteration drew an ecstatic full house to the Foundry — again offers a lineup of excellence rarely seen outside the top writing conferences and literary festivals, from a diverse range of powerful voices.

Acclaimed poets Kazim Ali, Mónica de la Torre, Robert Hass, Sharon Olds, Evie Shockley and Dean Young 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 Nevada City appearances to raise funds for Community of Writers scholarships. The evening begins at 7 p.m. and will be emceed by Nevada County poet laureate Molly Fisk.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with discounts available to groups of 10 or more. Given the large turnout last year, advance tickets are highly recommended, available at http://www.communityofwriters.org/public-events. A signing and reception with the poets will follow.

The poets

The six poets appearing are both esteemed and diverse.

Kazim Ali was born in the United Kingdom to Muslim parents of Indian, Iranian, and Egyptian descent. His books include "Sky Ward," "The Far Mosque," "The Fortieth Day"; and the cross-genre text "Bright Felon."

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He has also written novels, including "The Secret Room: A String Quartet" and among his books of essays is "Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice." His new book of poems, "Inquisition," and a new hybrid memoir, "Silver Road: Essays, Maps & Calligraphies," will both be released in 2018.

Mónica de la Torre is the author of six books of poetry, most recently "The Happy End/All Welcome." Born and raised in Mexico City, she translates poetry, writes about art, and is a contributing editor to BOMB Magazine.

Her work has appeared in Harper's, Poetry, The White Review, Erizo, and the New Yorker. She teaches in the Literary Arts program at Brown University.

Robert Hass won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for his collection "Time and Materials." His other books include "What Light Can Do: Essays 1985-2010," "The Apple Trees at Olema," "Sun Under Wood: New Poems," "Human Wishes," "Praise," and "Field Guide."

He has also co-translated many volumes of the poetry of Czeslaw Milosz and is the author or editor of several other collections of essays and translations, including "The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa"; "Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry"; and "Now & Then: The Poet's Choice Columns 1996-2000."

He served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to 1997. Awarded a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Critics Circle Award twice, he is a professor of English at UC Berkeley and directs the Poetry Program of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.

Sharon Olds is the author of 11 books of poetry. "The Dead and the Living" received the National Book Critics Circle Award; "The Unswept Room" was a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and "One Secret Thing" was a finalist for the Forward Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize.

She teaches at New York University's Graduate Program in Creative Writing, where she has been involved with New York University's outreach workshops, including the Goldwater Hospital Writing Workshop, which serves veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Her collection of poetry, "Stag's Leap," won the 2012 T.S.Eliot Prize and the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. In 2015 she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2016 The Academy of American Poets awarded her the Wallace Stevens Award. Her most recent collection is "Odes."

Evie Shockley is the author of several collections of poems including semiautomatic, a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, and "The New Black" (2011), which won the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry. She has also published a critical study, "Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry."

Her poetry and essays appear widely in journals and anthologies. Her honors include the 2015 Stephen Henderson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry and the 2012 Holmes National Poetry Prize. Currently serving as creative editor for Feminist Studies, Shockley is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University — New Brunswick.

Dean Young's numerous collections of poetry include "Strike Anywhere," winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; "Skid," finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; "Elegy" on Toy Piano, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and "Primitive Mentor," shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize.

He has also written a book on poetics, "The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction." His poems have appeared frequently in The Best American Poetry. He holds the Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas, Austin. His most recent book is "Shock by Shock."

The goal

Funds raised by this special evening will help emerging and developing poets study with mentors of these readers' caliber.

For 47 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.

As the organizers write, "Our aim is to assist writers in the refinement of their craft and thus, in an atmosphere of camaraderie and mutual support, move them closer to achieving their goals."

The Community of Writers was co-founded in 1969 by prolific novelist and longtime Nevada City resident Oakley Hall.

Tickets to this benefit poetry reading are available online at https://communityofwriters.org/public-events 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 Miners Foundry is located at 325 Spring St., Nevada City.

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