"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Upcoming Sierra Poetry Festival! Saturday, April 28th, 2018

Nevada County Arts Council (NCArts) will present the 2018 Sierra Poetry Festival on April 28 all day at Sierra College in Grass Valley. Activities will include a keynote address by national Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Cost Lewis, author of Voyage of the Sable Venus, winner of National Book Award for Poetry. Three other California poet laureates, and an array of local, national and international poets and performers will join Cost Lewis. Among the day’s line-up are Kim Shuck, Indigo Moor, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Judy Halebsky, VS Chochezi and Staajabu as Straight Out Scribes, Neeli Cherkovski, Bill Gainer, Molly Fisk, Charles and Gail Entrekin, Sands Hall, Mel Pryor, Kirsten Casey and more.

Eliza Tudor, Executive Director of NCArts, says: “Our inaugural Sierra Poetry Festival in 2017 was a watershed moment for poetry in Northern California. 2018 will be all the more meaningful now that Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee are recognized by the state under the California Cultural Districts Program. 
“We are planning readings, open mics, workshops, discussion, youth voices and activism to celebrate the many ways that poetry can act as an agent for change. We chose our theme, Ordinary Light, as a nod to our brand new United States Poet Laureate, Tracy K Smith, for the title of her award-winning memoir. We challenge our poets and our performers to interpret this as their own, and our audiences to participate with this theme in mind.”

Award-winning young adult novelist Kim Culbertson, new to Nevada County Arts Council’s Literary Arts Committee this year, says: “The idea of what it means to be a literary citizen felt important to us as we designed our program. We’d like to have this conversation with our community – so we will be offering fringe events in cafes, art galleries, and local libraries to create active and engaging poetry experiences for everyone. These will happen all the way through April, National Poetry Month.”

A key priority for Nevada County Arts Council at Sierra Poetry Festival is local youth. Chris Olander, a local California Poets in the Schools teaching poets, says: “We want to offer them an opportunity to grow and thrive – either through poetry recitation or through the simple enjoyment of listening to poetry read by some of our most eminent poets. Our youth can enjoy mainstage readings, attend workshops if accompanied, and participate in the free fringe festival poetry pop-up events that take place all the way through National Poetry Month in April. Our student festival tickets are offered free of charge – and your sponsorship will help us cover the costs for this.”
From now until late April, our California Poets in the Schools teaching poets will be working in high schools across Nevada County to guide and coach teachers and students in preparation for the County – then State – finals in Poetry Out Loud. Nevada County Arts Council then offers participants the chance to present their pieces at Sierra Poetry Festival to friends, family, peers, and new audiences.

We also offer middle school students the opportunity to present poems of their choice at the Sierra Poetry Festival. This month our teaching poets again attended Nevada City School of the Arts 8th Grade Poetry Slam to select interested young poets who are then offered coaching prior to the festival, and during select events during our pre-festival pop-up poetry events. At our festival events our 8th graders get to mingle with our high school students and get a taste of Poetry Out Loud

Monday, January 8, 2018

New Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop series and Revision and Development Workshop series start this month!

It's never too late to start what you didn't start yesterday. 

The newest Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop series and Revision and Development Workshop series start this month.  Let's take advantage of the introspective darkness of winter to stoke creative fires within:

1/12, 2/15, 3/15, 4/19, 5/17 Revision and Development Writing Workshop for Fiction and Memoir:
Attention Nanowrimo-ers! This workshop is deadline- and goal-oriented to help you complete the next draft of a project for publication. In this small workshop, the goal is to revise your first draft by pushing further to the next level, strengthening your writing skills, and simultaneously exploring meaning in your writing. You will get professional feedback for developing the heart of the subject as well as the structure and organization of your project. Learn techniques to creatively unearth what really matters so that your writing stands out as surprising and original to an editor. We will meet to workshop from 5-8 pm on the third Thursdays of each month. Expect readings and deadlines to keep you accountable and move your writing forward. $220 for four months. 5-8 pm.

I decided to take a writing class by Karen Terrey through Tangled Roots Writing as a last attempt to gain the upper hand over Writer's Block. And to my surprise, she gave me more gun powder than I could have ever expected. Through her class, I was able to write some of my favorite scenes for a trilogy I'm writing and since taking her class, I'm back on a normal writing schedule. I'm very thankful for Kat and her dedication to writing. - Courtney

1/22 - 3/5  Monday Night Creative Writing Workshop:  
A fun and generative workshop. Do you wish you wrote more? Want to feel a sense of community when you write? Do you have a neglected blog crying out for fresh ideas? Want to explore ideas for beginning or finishing a book? This series specifically supports Nanowrimo participants! Craft, technique, and prompts for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. A kick in the butt for your writing life! Connect with a community and improve your writing practice. Tea and chocolate provided. 6 week series Mondays from 6:30 to 8 pm. $150. Downtown Truckee.

Thank you so much for the wonderful writing experiences.  I came home Monday night and told my husband how much I absolutely love and value your classes, your prompts, your insight and how taking your classes has really helped me in trying to move my writing beyond the hobby level. - Liz

Call me anytime to talk about your writing and to discover ways to find and connect with writing communities. 

Happy New Year!