poets, performers, and presenters

We will formally announce our line-up of poets, performers and presenters in late February. For now, please enjoy this sneak peek.


Forrest Gander

Gander is author of numerous books of poetry, including Redstart: An Ecological Poetics and Science & Steepleflower. Core Samples from the World was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Gander also writes novels and his most recent translations are Alice Iris Red Horse: Poems of Gozo Yoshimasu, Then Come Back: the Lost Neruda Poems and Fungus Skull Eye Wing: Selected Poems of Alfonso D'Aquino. Recent anthologies include Pinholes in the Night: Essential Poems from Latin America and Panic Cure: Poems from Spain for the 21st Century. His own work has been translated and published in France, Mexico, Chile, Spain, Bulgaria, Japan, China, Germany, Turkey, Italy, and the Netherlands. He is a United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow and has received fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim, Whiting, and Howard Foundations. He has been awarded the Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship and was the Briggs-Copeland poet at Harvard before becoming The Adele Kellenberg Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University. In 2018 Gander was longlisted for The National Book Award for Poetry for his anthology, Be With.

Forrest Gander   Photo: Gage Skidmore

Forrest Gander

Photo: Gage Skidmore


sara borjas

Sara Borjas is a 4th-generation Chicana, a pocha, and a Fresno poet. Her debut collection of poetry is forthcoming from Noemi Press in 2019. Sara earned a B.A. in English Literature from Fresno State and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Writing for Performative Arts from University of California, Riverside. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. Her poetry can be found in TinderBoxThe Offing, Entropy, Queen Mob's Tea House, Cultural Weekly, The Acentos Review,and Luna Luna, amongst others. She is a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow, a 2016 Postgraduate Writers Conference Fellow at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a 2013 Community of Writers Workshop at Squaw Valley Fellow. She is the recipient of the 2014 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize. Sara was also named runner-up for the 2010 Larry Levis Undergraduate Memorial Prize judged by Phillip Levine and thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She digs oldiez, astrophysics, aromatics, and tiny prints is about decentering whiteness.

Sara Borjas

Sara Borjas


MATTHEW ZAPRUDER

Guggenheim Award-Winning Poet Matthew Zapruder, is the author of Why Poetry, 2017 Harper Collins. His second poetry collection, The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon Press, 2006), won the 2007 William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and was chosen by Library Journal as one of the top ten poetry volumes of 2006. His first book, American Linden (Tupelo Press, 2002) won the Tupelo Press Editors' Prize. His most recent book of poetry, Sun Bear (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), brings the strangeness of poetry closer to everyday life. His poems have appeared in The Boston Review, The Believer, Fence, Bomb, McSweeney's, Jubilat, Conduit, Harvard Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review. In 2007, he was a Lannan Literary Fellow in Marfa, Texas. He is the winner of the Tupelo Poetry Editors' Prize and the 2008 May Sarton poetry award from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. As of late 2008, German and Slovenian language editions of his poems were planned from Luxbooks and Serpa Editions. Luxbooks is also publishing a separate German language graphic novel version of his poem "The Pajamaist."

Matthew Zapruder

Matthew Zapruder


MARCELO HERNDANDEZ CASTILLO

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo

Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of the poetry collection Cenzontle, chosen by Brenda Shaughnessy as the winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize from BOA editions. His first chapbook, DULCE, was the winner of the Drinking Gourd Prize published by Northwestern University Press. His memoir, Children of the Land is forthcoming from Harper Collins in 2020. He was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated to the California central valley with his family. He holds a B.A. from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. He cofounded the Undocupoets campaign which successfully eliminated citizenship requirements from all major first poetry book prizes in the country and was recognized with the Barnes and Noble “Writers for Writers” award. His work has appeared or is featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, People Magazine, PBS Newshour, Fusion TV, New England Review, Gulf Coast, Buzzfeed, Indiana Review, and Southern Humanities Review, among others. He lives in Marysville, California where he teaches poetry to incarcerated youth and also teaches at the Ashland University Low-Res MFA program. 


Alice Anderson

Alice Anderson is the author of the 2017 national bestselling memoir, Some Bright Morning, I’ll Fly Away from St. Martin’s Press. Her poetry collection, The Watermark, was published in the UK and US simultaneously from Eyewear Publishing. Her first collection of poems, Human Nature, was awarded both the Best First Book Prize from the Great Lakes Colleges Association and the Elmer Holmes Bobst Prize from NYU. Anderson has also appeared in The Rumpus, Goodhousekeeping, Literary Hub, Poem of the Week, The Manifest-Station, Electric Lit, New Letters, CUTTHROAT, The New York Quarterly, Tupelo Quarterly, AGNI, and more. Her work is anthologized in On The Verge: Emerging Poets and Artists in America; and American Poetry, The Next Generation. A New York Times bestselling ghostwriter, Anderson is also a former executive for a major book retailer and former acquisitions editor at Random House. While at Random House, she shepherded books in the memoir, nonfiction, business, entertainment genres. She has been a visiting professor at St. Mary’s College, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, DePauw University, Hope College, and Antioch University and more.

Alice Anderson

Alice Anderson


BLAs FALCONER

Blas Falconer

Blas Falconer

Blas Falconer is the author of Forgive the Body This Failure (Four Way Books, 2018); The Foundling Wheel (Four Way Books, 2012); A Question of Gravity and Light (University of Arizona Press, 2007); and The Perfect Hour (Pleasure Boat Studio: A Literary Press, 2006).  He is Poetry Editor at The Los Angeles Review and a co-editor for The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity(University of Arizona Press, 2011) and Mentor & Muse:  Essays from Poets to Poets (Southern Illinois University Press, 2010). He teaches in the MFA program at San Diego State University. Falconer’s awards include a 2011 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, a Tennessee Individual Artist Grant, the New Delta Review Eyster Prize for Poetry, and the Barthelme Fellowship. Born and raised in Virginia, Falconer earned an M.F.A. from the University of Maryland (1997) and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston (2002).


Lucinda Jarrett

Lucinda Jarrett is a dancer, poet and playwright who creates ambitious collective performances written in partnership with vulnerable people facing serious illnesses. She has led residencies with the National Theatre Studio, directed Rosetta Requiem (2005) a song cycle developed in hospices across the UK with leading singer songwriters and featuring Billy Bragg, Jarvis Cocker, David Matthews and Roots Manuva.  She directed The Song Rooms, a songmaking project for children in hospices (2007), wrote and produced The Magical Glow of the Co Op at Birmingham Rep written in partnership with people using St Marys Hospice Birmingham (2010) and most recently has co-written and co-produced Hospital Passion Play at The Victoria and Albert Museum (2017) composed by Orlando Gough. She has also led an online poetry project for World Hospice Day (2007) culminating in an anthology entitled Life Lines and a poetry performance at Tate Modern. She edited a collection of stories of arts and social change participation in palliative care entitled My Place at the Front of the Queue, Creative Engagement in Palliative Care (Radcliffe Press 2007). She is founder and director of Dream A Difference.

Lucinda Jarrett

Lucinda Jarrett


Maya Khosla

Maya Khosla’s new poetry collection, All the Fires of Wind and Light, is co-winner of the 2017 Sixteen Rivers Press Poetry Competition, and is forthcoming in April 2019. Maya is Poet Laureate of Sonoma County. Her first book of poetry, Keel Bone, won the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize and was published by Bear Star Press. Her chapbook, Heart of the Tearing, was published by Red Dust Press, while her writing has been featured in World Literature Today, Poem, Munyori Literary JournalNature Writing, and Flyway. She has read at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and for the film Village of Dust, City of Water. Maya has taught writing workshops at Stanford Continuing Studies, Stanford Biology Department, and Mendocino Writers Workshop. A field-based biologist and a writer, her concerns for the natural world have led her through the wild, to the page and to the screen. Her first filmSearching for the Gold Spotis about the wilds of the American West after wildfire, and is being featured in festivals across the United States. She is currently working to assess the forests and rivers of California.

Maya Khosla

Maya Khosla


Molly Fisk

Molly Fisk

Molly Fisk

Molly Fisk is Poet Laureate of Nevada County and author of the poetry collections, The More Difficult Beauty and Listening to Winter, and the essay collections Houston, We Have a Possum; Using Your Turn Signal Promotes World Peace; and Blow-Drying a Chicken. Her radio commentary, “Observations from a Working Poet,” has aired weekly in the News Hour of KVMR-FM Nevada City, CA since 2005. Fisk has been awarded grants by the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She’s the Poet Laureate of KVMR and Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah, teaches writing to cancer patients, and works as a life coach in the Skills for Change tradition. During the 2018 Camp Fire in California, which devasted the city of Paradise, Molly’s poem, Particulate Matter, was published in Rattle and quickly went viral.


Russell Reza-Khaliq Gonzaga

Russell Reza-Khaliq Gonzaga

Russell Reza-Khaliq Gonzaga

Poetry Slam Champion Russell Reza-Khaliq Gonzaga leads our Open Mic at Sierra Poetry Festival this year. Gonzaga is an esteemed member of the art and healing communities. The sixth Poet Laureate of Lake County, and a former resident and employee of Harbin Hot Springs, Gonzaga was displaced by the devasting Valley Fire and moved to Nevada County in time for the inaugural Sierra Poetry Festival in 2017. Born in the Philippines and raised in Oakland, Gonzaga is a Dervish, minister, writer, freelance journalist, editor, social justice activist, teacher, youth mentor, and martial artist. He states: “Giving expression and voice to our grief, rage, hopes and joys serves the healing of an individual, and in turn, a community.”


Lucille Lang Day

 Lucille Lang Day’s most recent poetry collections include Becoming an Ancestor, The Curvature of Blue, and God of the Jellyfish (Cervena Barva Press, 2007, 2009 and 2015), Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems (Blue Light Press, 2015), The Book of Answers (Finishing Line Press, 2006), and Infinities (Cedar Hill Publications, 2002). She has been the recipient of the Joseph Henry Jackson Award in Literature. She is a coeditor of Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California (Scarlet Tanager Books, 2016) and Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California (Scarlet Tanager Books, 2018). She received her M.A. in English and M.F.A. in creative writing from San Francisco State University, and her M.A. in zoology and Ph.D. in science/mathematics education from the University of California at Berkeley. The founder and director of Scarlet Tanager Books, she also served for seventeen years as director of the Hall of Health, a museum in Berkeley. She is of Wampanoag, British, and Swiss/German descent.

Lucille Lang Day

Lucille Lang Day


Karen Terrey

Karen Terrey

Karen Terrey

Karen A. Terrey earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2007.  She loves to collaborate with other artists and is currently working on projects with Sierra Poetry Festival, Surprise Valley Writers’ Conference, and Truckee Community Theater’s Ten-Minute Play Festival. Her poems have appeared in Rhino, Edge, West Trestle Review, Sierra Nevada Review, The Meadow, Squaw Valley Review and Puerto Del Sol, among others. Bite and Blood, a book of poetry published by Finishing Line Press, is available in local bookstores. As a builder of literary community, she is a writing coach and editor, offering workshops, manuscript review and coaching through her business Tangled Roots Writing.  She’s taught writing at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe Community College, and Sierra College. To see her poems and info on other events and workshops check out her website at www.karenaterrey.blogspot.com.


John Deaderick, Master of Ceremonies

John Deaderick

John Deaderick

John Deaderick is an actor, director and playwright, with a special fondness for Beckett, Albee, Shakespeare and Euripides. He is a member of Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and has been in over 200 plays, films and commercials. He has also acted and presented for radio – with KXPR in Sacramento and KVMR in Nevada City.  John directed Nevada County Arts Council in the early 80s, and chaired the Drama Department at Colfax High School for many years. In 2017 he led a series of theatre workshops for incarcerated adults under Nevada County Arts Council’s new Acting Up pilot, and in partnership with California Lawyers for the Arts. He now teaches Acting and Theatre History at Sierra College in Rocklin and at Sierra College’s Grass Valley Campus – and, in his spare time, reviews National Theatre Live and The Metropolitan Opera Live at Sierra Cinemas.


Chris Olander

Chris Olander

Chris Olander

Chris Olander, poet, teacher and bio-educator with California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) since 1984, blends performance techniques with spoken word to create an Action Art Poetry: musical image phrasing to dramatize relative experiences–a poetry arising from oral and bardic traditions. Chris Olander’s debut book of poems is River Light. Kirk Lumpkin says, “What has always impressed me about Chris Olander’s poetry is how present, how kinetically alive the energies of nature are in it and of how the words dance in the breath and sinew of it.”


Tumble

Tumble

Tumble

Sierra Poetry Festival welcomes the Northern California-based world music jazz group Tumble.

Tumble is a collective that includes Robert Heirendt on the Zimbabwean instrument the mbira, Sean Kerrigan on guitar, Randy McKean on tenor saxophone and clarinets, and Bill Douglass on acoustic bass.  The quartet plays intricate, trance-like compositions that combine folkish melodies and driving rhythms with an improvisational jazz sensibility.