October 19, 2020 – Nevada County’s inaugural Poet Laureate Molly Fisk has edited an anthology of poems about climate crisis: California Fire & Water. This book is the culmination of Fisk’s Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship project designed to help Californians face uncertainty and express their personal responses to the climate crisis.

Funded by a $30,000 grant from the Academy of American Poets, Fisk sent 23 poet-teachers from California Poets in the Schools into K-12 classrooms statewide and produced an anthology that includes adult and children’s poems about wildfire, flood, drought, and other climate-related disasters.

Contributors include Brenda Hillman, Gary Snyder, Jane Hirshfield, Juan Felipe Herrera, Ellen Bass, Danusha Lameris, Indigo Moor, Kim Addonizio, Lee Herrick, Kim Shuck, and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, with a forward by S.A. Smythe.

“Readers tell me these poems provide them much-needed comfort and a sense of shared humanity now that fire season’s here again,” says Fisk.

YouTube video

One key-note talk and three readings are scheduled for 2020, all virtual:

Saturday, Nov. 7, 12 p.m.

Poetry and Crisis: California Fire & Water

Local Author’s Showcase, sponsored by the Nevada County Library

Molly will discuss the process of editing an anthology, read poems from the book, and take questions


Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.

California Burning: NorCal and Coast sponsored by Poetry Center San Jose will feature 20 Northern California contributors from two anthologies: California Fire & Water and Fire & Rain: Ecopoetry of California


Tuesday, Nov. 22, 4 p.m.

California Burning: SoCal and Sierra sponsored by Inlandia Institute will feature 20 Southern California contributors from two anthologies: California Fire & Water and Fire & Rain: Ecopoetry of California

Thursday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m.

December Poem Jam sponsored by the San Francisco Public Library

will feature 20 contributors from California Fire & Water


Fisk has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council as well as the Academy of American Poets inaugural Poets Laureate Fellowship, funded by the Mellon Foundation. (She was one of 13 Poets Laureate in the U.S. to receive this award.) She’s also received a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her poetry collections are Salt Water Poems, Listening to Winter, and The More Difficult Beauty. Fisk was the inaugural Poet Laureate of Nevada County, CA (2017-2019).

Fisk is also the author of four books of radio commentary “Observations from a Working Poet” for community station KVMR in Nevada City, CA. She’s a 15-year veteran of the News Hour and is approaching her 500th essay, some of which are collected in Blow-Drying a Chicken; Using Your Turn Signal Promotes World Peace; Houston, We Have a Possum; and Naming Your Teeth.

Proceeds from the sale of the anthology will go toward printing more copies to donate to public, school, and prison libraries in California.