Nevada City, Calif. March 21, 2023 – Nevada County Arts Council announces its seventh annual Sierra Poetry Festival. During a month-long celebration of poetry this day-long event will take place on Saturday, April 15th at The Center for the Arts, as National Poetry Month and Arts, Culture & Creativity Month collide. From the rolling foothills of California’s Gold Country to the rugged High Sierra, the Sierra Poetry Festival has brought our rich literary community together to celebrate the spoken word and reach out to brand new audiences in fresh ways.  The festival’s signature events include keynote addresses, workshops, “un-workshops”, open mics, youth recitations and much more.

Starting now and throughout the month of April local and regional poets of all ages will be reading, reciting, or singing out their poetry at fifteen pop-up events across Nevada County (see below) – beginning with Poems on Belonging at the Rood Center this Tuesday, March 21 at 4:45pm. Pop-up events leading up to and after the mainstage festival on April 15 are diverse. From ekphrastic poetry presentations at ASiF, to community open mics in galleries; to tasting room workshops in which any member of the public can give poetry a go; to enjoying the work of our most loved poets and poetry ensembles as a listening member of an audience.

California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick
California Poet Laureate Lee Herrick (Photo: Curtis Messer)

Mid-month our Main Stage event at The Center for the Arts will host some of our most exciting local, national and international poets and performers. We are pleased to announce our Un-Keynote presenter this year, Lee Herrick, who was recently selected as the tenth Poet Laureate of California, and the first Asian American to serve in the role. Born in Daejeon, South Korea, Herrick grew up in Modesto. He has taught in Qingdao, China, and for Kundiman, a national non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. He is the author of three books of poetry: Scar and Flower, Gardening Secrets of the Dead, and This Many Miles from Desire.

Maw Shein Win
Maw Shein Win (Photo: Maw Shein Win)

Other Main Stage presenters include Dorianne Laux, a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Joseph Millar, winner of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts; Jamaica Baldwin, associate editor of Prairie Schooner, whose debut poetry collection Bone Language published by YesYes Books will be out in April. Maw Shein Win, Burmese American poet, editor, and educator whose most recent book Storage Unit for the Spirit House, was nominated for a Northern California Book Award and shortlisted for the Golden Poppy Award. Indigo Moor, poet laureate emeritus of Sacramento, whose award-winning works include Tap-Root, In the Room of Thirsts & Hungers, and Through the Stonecutter’s Window.

Local poets include Iranian-born Rooja Mohassessy, her debut collection When Your Sky Runs Into Mine was the winner of the 22nd Annual Elixir Poetry Award; Gail Entrekin, Poetry Editor of Hip Pocket Press and Editor of the online environmental literary magazine, Canary; And long-time resident of the San Juan Ridge, Doc Dachtler whose collections of poems and stories include Drawknife, Waiting for Chains at Pearl’s, Skidmarks and Snowgeese, Why Am I Telling You This? and A Little Stream & Star Twinkle  as well as two music albums.

Sierra Poetry Festival’s planning team are excited about the festival’s international presence this year. Says Sands Hall: “Live from Australia, we welcome a conversation with celebrated Australian poet, essayist, and teacher Mark Tredinnick, along with one of the most important Aboriginal artists and poets today, Judith Nangala Crispin.”

Nevada County Arts Council inaugurated Sierra Poetry Festival in 2017 alongside California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia. Eliza Tudor, Executive Director at the Council says: “It was a seminal moment for poetry in rural Northern California. Not only were we acknowledging our own rich culture of literary arts, but inviting some of the nation’s most inspiring poets and presenters. We were bringing poetry in from the margins.”

Poetry Out Loud Finalists from Bear River and Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning gather will perform at Sierra Poetry Festival
Poetry Out Loud Finalists from Bear River and Sierra Academy of Expeditionary Learning gather will perform at Sierra Poetry Festival (Photo: Diana Arbex)

Nevada County Arts Council welcomes students free of charge, assuming they can share their ID. Similarly, it is partnering with the County of Nevada through its Military Appreciation Program through which it offers registered discounts and special offers for active military, veterans and Gold Star parents who show accepted forms of identification.

This year’s Sierra Poetry Festival wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of our sponsors: Coldwell Banker Grassroots Realty, the Entrekin Foundation, Caseywood, Volz Brothers, the National Exchange Hotel, Grass Valley Courtyard Suites, and Elevation 2477’. Poetry is an invaluable outlet for expression and connection, and as we emerge from a terrible time of isolation, our community benefits from gathering and celebrating the written word.


Poems on Belonging at the Rood

at the Eric Rood Government Building

From March 21st to April 30th

Song of Poetry / Poetry of Song

at The Wild Eye Pub

Sunday, March 26, 2023, Doors 3:30 / Event: 4:00 PM

Five Dudes on Love

at Elixart

Thursday, March 30, 2023, Doors 7:00. Reading 7:30 PM

Reception: Ekphrastic Fantastic: Art-Inspired Poetry

at Asif Studios

Friday, March 31, 2023, 5:00 – 8:00 PM

Bring Your Fool Self

at Carson Art

Saturday, April 1, 2023, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Cornucopia: Nevada County Poets Read

at The Wild Eye Pub

Monday, April 3, 2023, 7:00 – 8:30 PM

Fundraiser Pizza Night

at the Northridge in Nevada City

Monday, April 10, 2023, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM Dine in or Take Out!

Five Nevada County Women Poets

at The Stone House

Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

The Poetry Crashers

at The Chambers Project

Thursday, April 13, 2023, 6:00 – 8:00 PM

Poetry Happy Hour Celebrating National Poetry Month

at Communal Café

Thursday, April 20, 2023, 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Melange: Art Show and Poetry Reading

at Nevada City Winery

Friday, April 21, 2023, 5:30 – 7:30 PM

Poetic Crossings, Past & Present: San Juan Ridge Poets

at North Columbia Schoolhouse

Saturday, April 22, 2023, Doors 6:00. Reading 7:00 PM

Poetry in The Park

at Empire Mine Park

Saturday, April 29, 2023, 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Rooja Mohassessy

at ASiF Art Center

Thursday, May 4, 2023, 5:00 – 7:00 PM

Sierra Poetry Festival Media Lounge

at Nevada City Winery

Friday, April 14, 2023, 5:00 PM 7:00 PM

WHAT:       Sierra Poetry Festival

WHO:       Nevada County Arts Council

WHEN:     All daySaturday, April 15 (Doors Open at 8:30am, Wrap Party concludes around 7:30pm)

WHERE:    The Center for the Arts, 314 W Main St, Grass Valley, 95945

HOW:       Register online at

For more information about Sierra Poetry Festival, and to buy tickets, see

For more information about California Arts, Culture & Creativity Month, see