how did it begin?

In April 2107 we kicked off National Poetry Month in the Sierra with some exciting literary firsts for Nevada County:

The 1st Annual Sierra Poetry Festival was held on April 1, 2017, thanks to partial support from California Arts Council an impressive list of founding partners and sponsors (see below).

We welcomed nationally acclaimed Climbing PoeTree to Nevada County for the first time thanks to a key partnership with The Center for the Arts

Our festival was strengthened by a month-long series of pop-up poetry events in advance of the big weekend - a perfect fringe festival spanning East and West Nevada County

We announced a Nevada County Poet Laureate Program in collaboration with our Board of Supervisors.

We are celebrating our Nevada County’s first Poet Laureate, acclaimed poet Molly Fisk, for term of two years.

A highlight for us all was the visit of Dana Gioia, California Poet Laureate and former Chair of National Endowment for the Arts, alongside a plethora of local, national and international poets and performers. Enjoy Dana Gioia’s keynote here.

Our poets included Al Young, Kazim Ali, Mel Pryor, Gail Rudd Entrekin, Charles Entrekin, Molly Fisk, Gene Berson, Eve Bradford, Guarionex (Guari) Delgado, Jahan Khalighi, Gayle Brandeis, Kirsten Casey, MK Chavez, Jonathan Kinsman, Genny Lim, Shawn Odyssey, middle school students from Nevada City School of the Arts and Poetry Out Loud finalists Nevada and Placer Counties.

We also benefited from a depth and breadth of knowledge from writer Sands Hall, our emcee; filmmaker Pablo Frasconi, Professor of Cimematic Arts at University of Southern California; and Shelly Covert, spokesperson for the Nisenan, who gave us a stirring and poetic welcome from the perspective of Nevada County’s tribal forefathers.

what now?

Following the success of our inaugural Sierra Poetry Festival, presenting an annual poetry festival is now a key focus in our calendar year and will prioritize youth voices, and community participation. Our 2018 Sierra Poetry Festival will take place all day on April 28.

how you can get involved

Lend us your ideas for literary initiatives which will bring joy and add meaning to our daily lives in the run up to the festival, or programming for the festival itself.

Volunteer! Contact us at for more information.

Become a benefactor. We welcome gifts, however small – each one makes a difference.