"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, December 5, 2023

Looking ahead to April 13th, 2024: Sierra Poetry Festival in Grass Valley

Sierra Poetry Festival’s mainstage event will take place on April 13, 2024 at The Center for the Arts in Grass Valley, CA. Attended by some of the most exciting local, national and international poets and performers, it is the highlight of a month-long festival, taking place in venues across Nevada County and its two California Cultural Districts. 

Keynote Jane Hirshfield will kick off the day. I'm still finding inspiration from a workshop I participated in many years ago Sierra Nevada College led by her. I recommend reading Nine Gates, a collection of essays on creative process along with any of her poetry. 

This poem in particular speaks to my curiosity about the unknowable in poetry:

The Supple Deer by Jane Hirshfield, 1953

The quiet opening
between fence strands
perhaps eighteen inches.

Antlers to hind hooves,
four feet off the ground,
the deer poured through.

No tuft of the coarse white belly hair left behind.

I don’t know how a stag turns
into a stream, an arc of water.
I have never felt such accurate envy.

Not of the deer:

To be that porous, to have such largeness pass through me.

Poet and essayist Ross Gay will be our closing highlight. Gay is author of four books of poetry, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He is a New York Times bestseller, and his newest collection, The Book of (More) Delights was released in September of 2023. The Book of Delights is a collection of short essays I give as a gift to friends and that is always on my desk for me to read through, reminding me of how many ways exist to discover delight in the everyday.

Luis Alberto Urrea, another author I met at SNC and author most recently of the wonderful novel Goodnight, Irene, writes, “Ross Gay is a writer perfectly suited to find delight. His eye is so brilliant, it seems to glow from within. When I need hope, I turn to his words. And this collection will remind you how beautiful it is to be alive.” 

I'll see you there!

Tickets are now on sale at https://www.sierrapoetryfestival.org.

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