Grass Valley – March 21, 2021. Nevada County Arts Council will present the 5th annual Sierra Poetry Festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 10 and 11, expanding for the first time to a two-day format for its mainstage event. The festival will be online, live, will feature international, national and regional poets and performers, and will be offered free of charge.
What: Sierra Poetry Festival
April 10 – from 9.30am–4pm April 11 – from 10am–4pm
Where: Online & Live
Who: Nevada County Arts Council
Admission: Free of Charge
Eliza Tudor, Festival Director, says: “A year ago we were one of only a handful of festivals that transformed into a fully functioning event just weeks into lockdown during National Poetry Month. We imagined that we would be together in person this year, and we will be, but once again online for the safety of all.”
Sierra Poetry Festival marks National Poetry Month from the rolling foothills of California’s Gold Country to the rugged High Sierra, bringing a rich literary community together to celebrate the spoken word and reach out to brand new audiences in fresh ways. Through Sierra Poetry Festival Nevada County Arts Council celebrates California Arts, Culture & Creativity Month and draws attention to the County’s two coveted California Cultural Districts.
This year, Sierra Poetry Festival draws upon a theme of “Re-membering,” a theme chosen in partnership with its keynote, Tanaya Winder. Winder came with a personal recommendation from Joy Harjo, US Poet Laureate, the first Native American to hold that esteemed position. She is a poet, author, singer, songwriter, speaker and educator, and comes from an intertribal lineage of Southern Ute, Pyramid Lake Paiute, and Duckwater Shoshone Nations.
Says poet Maxima Kahn, who is helping to coordinate the festival, “Tanaya works to empower Indigenous youth and women, protect sacred lands and foster healing of trauma through the arts, among other passions. She speaks eloquently on why poetry is essential for survival and to the process of ‘decolonizing’ the stories we tell. We are honored to bring this powerful First Nations voice to the Festival.”
Also joining the festival this year are four celebrated Anglo-French poets from Montreal –
Endre Farkas, Hélène Dorion, Carolyn Marie Souaid and Alain Cuerrier – who will be sharing their journey between Canada’s “Two Solitudes.” Farkas will also be joining Sunday’s culminating feature, The Conversation, in which literary translator and Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books, Boris Dralyuk, will discuss translation in poetry with one of America’s foremost translators of Pablo Neruda, William O’Daly; and Zara Houshmand, author and translator of Rumi.
Sands Hall, Sierra Poetry Festival Committee member, says: “This year’s festival continues and expands our efforts to provide wide-ranging options to the attendees. Not only are we offering readings from a dazzling array of poets, and public workshops that cover a dozen different topics, but we also encourage attendees to enjoy our annual Conversation – always a highlight. This year our Conversation takes on writers living in other lands and using other languages. The Festival shines a light on the youth poets of our community. One of things I appreciate most is that the poets are not only diverse in race and culture, style and language, but also that they hail from places far away and—with our inspiring assemblage of local poets, many of whom have new books out—nearby.”
In addition to Sierra Poetry Festival’s mainstage events on April 10 and 11, the festival presents pop-up poetry throughout National Poetry Month in April, in the form of diverse events from readings to writing workshops, prompts and poetry challenges, led by an array of regional poets and many the result of a partnership with Nevada County Libraries.
Information on the festival’s program, its presenters, and how to register can be found at sierrapoetryfestival.org. Tudor says, “We are offering unparalleled access to workshops, readings, open mics, key conversations of relevance, humor and meaning, at no cost to attendees. We encourage the public to take advantage of this beautiful gift as COVID wears on and a silver lining forms around its cloud.”
This festival is made possible through the generous contributions of BriarPatch Food Co-op, the Robertson Family Foundation, the Entrekin Family Foundation, SPD Markets, Caseywood Corporation, Volz Bros., and many brilliant poetry lovers from across the globe.