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NPR / Capital Public Radio - Beth Ruyak speaks with  poet Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Recorded Live by Capital Public Radio on April 25, 2018 in advance of Sierra Poetry Festival


Sierra Poetry Festival Media Lounge with Elisa Parker

Live-streamed on Facebook by KVMR Radio from the Nevada City Winery on April 27, 2018. Show host: Alisa Parker

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Sierra Poetry Festival - Youth Voices at BriarPatch

Recorded Live at BriarPatch Food Co-op on Earth Day, April 21, 2018

  Keynote Speaker  Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis

Keynote Speaker Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis

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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.


Nevada County Arts Council presented the 2018 Sierra Poetry Festival on April 28, all day, at Sierra College in Grass Valley, following four weeks of poetry programming across the western slope of the Sierra as part of National Poetry Month. 

Our mainstage festival included a keynote address by Los Angeles Poet Laureate Robin Coste Lewis, author of Voyage of the Sable Venus, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry. Three other California poets laureate, and an array of local, national and international poets and performers joined Coste Lewis. Among the day’s line-up were Kim Shuck, Indigo Moor, Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Judy Halebsky, V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu as Straight Out Scribes, Neeli Cherkovski, Bill Gainer, Molly Fisk, Charles Entrekin, Gail Entrekin, Sands Hall, Mel Pryor, Kirsten Casey and more.

Eliza Tudor, Executive Director of Nevada County Arts Council, says: “Our inaugural Sierra Poetry Festival in 2017 was a watershed moment for poetry in Northern California. 2018 was all the more meaningful now that Grass Valley, Nevada City and Truckee are recognized by the state under the California Cultural Districts Program." 

Award-winning young adult novelist Kim Culbertson, new to Nevada County Arts Council’s Literary Arts Committee this year, said: “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 offered fringe events in cafés, art galleries, and local libraries to create active and engaging poetry experiences for everyone.”

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 poet, says: “We 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."

New to Sierra Poetry festival this year was an international project that Nevada County Arts Council is inaugurating in the US, bringing together Nevada County children with young people in countries such as Syria, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Jordan, Palestine, Malaysia and Zimbabwe. You can learn more about Dream A Difference here.

Tudor says: “Students from Grizzly Hill and Washington Schools are forming part of a growing global community of young people who are gaining awareness and learning empathy for the way others live and, in the spirit of sharing the poetry they write, will share their own experience of life in rural California. 

Come November, 2018 Nevada County Arts Council will be announcing its 2019 Sierra Poetry Festival, taking place on April 27 in Grass Valley, and registration will be open. Please reach out to us with questions here.

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