Sierra Poetry Festival

Saturday April 1, 2017

Registration & Coffee Bar OPEN at 8am


Open 8am–5pm

serving coffee, tea, scones, muffins and cookies with wheat-free options

provided by:

$25 - General (Readings only)

$45 - Full Pass (Readings + Workshops)

Student (Limited Free Sponsored Scholarships for youth 18 & under)

10% discount for Nevada County Arts members

click HERE for tickets & info

Saturday March 11 at 7pm

The Poetry Crashers with Gerry Pineda on stand-up bass @ Ol' Republic Brewery in Nevada City

Friday March 17 at 7pm

Open Mic @ Art Truckee hosted by Tahoe School of Music & Tangled Roots Writing

Sunday March 19 at 4.30-6pm

Literary Arts & Wine presents Gayle Brandeis and MK Chavez, featured poets from the 1st Annual Sierra Poetry Festival @ Art Truckee

Thursday March 23 at 7pm

Nevada County poets Molly Fisk, Judie Rae, Kirsten Casey, Ingrid Keriotis, and Judy Crowe @ the Osborn Woods Gallery in Nevada City

Saturday March 25 at 12 noon

Youth Poetry in front of Briar Patch with KVMR



Nevada County Arts Council presents the inaugural Sierra Poetry Festival bringing together an array of local, national and international poets and performers to kick off National Poetry Month on April 1, 2017. With a keynote address by California's Poet Laureate Dana Gioia, the day will be filled with readings, open mics, workshops, discussions, parties and youth voices.

Featured poets and presenters:

Al Young  •  Molly Fisk  •  Kazim Ali  • Genny Lim

Charles Entrekin • Gail Rudd Entrekin •  Kirsten Casey  • Mel Pryor

Jahan Khalighi  •  MK Chavez  •  Eve Bradford  •  Gayle Brandeis


 Gene Berson  • Pablo Frasconi  • Jonathan Kinsman • Sands Hall

Poetry Out Loud Performances & Youth Slam

As a lead-up to the Festival, fringe events will take place in the streets, cafes, art galleries, and local libraries to create active and engaging poetry experiences for everyone. The Festival will also feature Poetry Place, a literary vendor fair with books, information, literary items, and interactive multimedia activities. All day Coffee Bars and healthy lunch options will be available for purchase throughout the day by festival founding partner, BriarPatch Food Co-op.

During the festival, in partnership with Nevada County Board of Supervisors, we will inaugurate our county's first ever Poet Laureate Program. Our day will end with a wrap party for all at 151 Union Square in Grass Valley.

Nevada County Arts Executive Director Eliza Tudor, says: “We chose our festival theme, Soul of Place, because it calls out to each of us in different ways, yet remains somehow grounded in what is meaningful to us here in the Sierra.”

To Register and Purchase Tickets: Click here


Registration opens

All day Festival Café courtesy of BriarPatch Food Coop opens in Lobby


Introduction from Nevada County Arts Council; and a Native American Welcoming Ceremony with Shelly Covert, spokesperson of the Nevada City Rancheria Nisenan Tribe.


Main Stage Poetry Reading

Four featured poets: Gayle Brandeis, Guari Delgado, Mel Pryor and MK Chavez, and a short film by expert in Poetic Cinema, Pablo Frasconi.


Poetry Place, a literary vendor fair, opens in the Library. This cornerstone of our festival will remain open until 4:30. Here you will find publishers, editors, writers, colleges and literary organizations with books, information, literary items and interactive activities for all ages – as well as a coffee bar courtesy of BriarPatch Food Coop.


Workshop Session 1 (concurrent)

Poetry and Jazz with Genny Lim (main stage)

We will take our cue from this original American music idiom to solo and improvise fresh poetic, narrative forays into the hidden streams of our consciousness, to explore the vast emotional landscape and language of our personal stories and journeys in written form. This workshop is open and welcome to writers of all genres to spark the rhythms of ideas and images in one’s writing.

Word, Voice, Power: Spoken Word and Performance Poetry with Jahan Khalighi (N15-101)

Experience the potential of your voice and body as a powerful vessel for creative expression. Build your confidence, grow your performance skills, and cultivate your stage presence. If you have stories rattling in your heart, rhythms that rock in your blood, words that need to be spoken, this workshop will be a chance to develop your skills in performance poetry in a fun and supportive space. This workshop is open to all interested youth and adults, and no previous performance experience is necessary. Poetry Out Loud students are especially encouraged to attend, and are welcome to bring a poem to work on during this session.

Hunting the Poetic Animal with MK Chavez (N11-102)

Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves   –Mary Oliver

This generative workshop will explore all that is considered wild as an entry point to writing about the personal and political landscape. Speaking from the voice of the wild whether it be flora or fauna has the potential to subvert the internal editor, allowing the writer to approach the complexity of human existence without the self-consciousness that is so often a barrier in writing. We will explore the language and craft of eco-poetics and nature poetry. Writing prompts will be provided.

11:45 - 12:10

Keynote address with Dana Gioia, California State Poet Laureate.

12:15 - 1:00  

Lunch Sessions: Open Mic in Poetry Place and Lunchtime Workshops (45 minutes)

Nutritious and delicious boxed lunches from BriarPatch Food Co-Op will be served in the Student Center Cafe (N5)

Audience Open Mic (Poetry Place in Library)

Sonnet Writing Studio with Mel Pryor (N15-101)

A generative workshop which looks at why the sonnet has remained so popular since the 16th Century. We will explore the “rules” of traditional sonnet forms, and when it’s OK to break them. There will be close readings of sonnets from Shakespeare to Don Paterson and you will have a go at writing your own sonnet during the session.  If you already have a sonnet then bring it along, with copies to share with other participants.

Poetry and Movement with Gayle Brandeis (N11-102)

In his essay “Strict Wildness:  The Biology of Poetry,” Peter Viereck writes ‘Far from being artificial or unnatural, poetry is your most physical expression, it’s basic throb your body throb.’ In this workshop, we’ll explore poetry as physical expression, both on the page and through simple movement. No dance experience is necessary - just a willingness to move your bones around and give them voice.


Main Stage Poetry Readings

After-lunch rejuvenating poetry readings by Kazim Ali, Eve Bradford, Shawn Odyssey, and Jahan Khalighi.


Workshop Session 3 (concurrent) 

Pablo Frasconi and Dana Gioia: The Beat Friar – a film in the making (main stage)

Dana Gioia and Pablo Frasconi will present their work on The Beat Friar, a new film under the banner of Poetic Cinema. This film in-the-making explores the life of William Everson (1912-1994), a poet of the Beat movement and the San Francisco Renaissance, who later became known as Brother Antoninus during his years as a Dominican Monk. As a poet, Everson’s focus spanned nature, eroticism and religion. During this workshop Gioia and Frasconi will discuss his cultural and artistic impact.

Meditation, Yoga and the Writing Practice with Kazim Ali (N15-101)

In this generative workshop Kazim Ali will teach some basic meditation and light movement techniques designed to connect physical environment, the body’s innate energies (as described in yoga philosophy) and writing prompts designed to use these techniques to access creative response. Come with a notebook and pen or your favorite writing implements/technology and dress appropriately for light movement and/or sitting on the ground if you are able. Chairs will also be provided and all movements will be adjusted modified so everyone can participate regardless of physical condition.

Songwriting: Essential Poetic Devices with Sands Hall (N11-102)

Within the last year Robert Allen Zimmerman, music’s own poet laureate – otherwise known as Bob Dylan – has won the Nobel Prize for Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". This workshop explores how sound and figurative language are essential to putting a song together. Participants are encouraged to bring a favorite lyric (not an entire song, just a line or two) and to talk about why they think it works; we’ll use these as a springboard to discuss your own lyrics.


Main Stage Poetry Readings

Join five stellar poets as they read from their work: Gene Berson, Kirsten Casey, Jonathan Kinsman, Gail Rudd Entrekin and Charles Entrekin.


Poetry Out Loud and Student Slam (main stage)

Student Poetry Out Loud county champions will perform and spoken word and slam students from Nevada City School of the Arts will also light up the stage.


Grand Reading (main stage)

The 1st Annual Sierra Poetry Festival will be highlighted by readings and performances by Genny Lim, Molly Fisk, Al Young, and California Poet Laureate, Dana Gioia. Nevada County will also announce the launch of its own Poet Laureate Program – and its inaugural Poet Laureate.  Not to be missed!


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