Event Recaps!

Sharon Olds, 12/2/16

As you may know, Sharon Olds is one of the most influential poets of our time and she is coming here to Las Vegas! Her early work set a unique standard of beauty, sympathy, and truth for poets writing from personal experience. In 2012, she won the Pulitzer Prize and the T.S. Eliot Prize for her book Stag’s Leap. Her work is characterized by family troubles and triumph, having in some ways initiated the genre of Survivor Poetry in the USA, and also writing memorably of love in her own successful family. Her latest book, Odes, recently reviewed on the cover of the NY Times Arts section, describes ongoing trials of the American family.


Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Sun

Patricia Smith, 8/27/2016

Nationally-renowned poet and author Patricia Smith lead a writers’ workshop at 2:00 p.m. August 27 at the Flamingo Branch Clark County Library. At 7:00 p.m. the same evening she read from her work at the Nevada State College Auditorium in Henderson. Both events were free and open to the public.

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Smith is a four-time National Poetry Slam Champion, the most successful ever. She is featured in the film Slamnation and on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. She is also honored as an academic poet. Her book awards include a National Poetry Series selection, the Academy of American Poets Lenore Marshall Prize, the Library of Congress Bobbitt National Prize, and selection as a National Book Award finalist. She won a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award in Poetry, the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, the National Poetry Series award, the Patterson poetry award, two Pushcart prizes, and the Rattle poetry prize. Her non-fiction book, Africans in America, was published by Harcourt Brace as a companion book to the PBS television series.

Nationally-renowned poet and author Patricia Smith read from her work and conducted a poetry workshop in Las Vegas on Saturday, August 27 as part of Clark County Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson’s “Poets of National Stature” series. Isaacson previously presented U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and San Francisco poet Michael McClure in the series. Isaacson also hosts an open poetry readings series at 2 p.m. most Saturdays at Winchester Cultural Center and a monthly series of poetry workshops at noon at the same location.

The Poets of National Stature series is supported in part by the Clark County Department of Parks and Recreation, Nevada State College, Nevada Humanities, NV Energy, and the Las Vegas Clark County Library District.

Michael McClure, 4/30/16

Michael McClure has been a major poet since his first reading at the famed Six Gallery in 1955, where Allen Ginsberg first read Howl and McClure, Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Rexroth, and Phillip Whalen founded the movement that became known as the San Francisco Poetry Renaissance and the Beat Generation. In the 1960s, his play The Beard became a huge cause when it was repeatedly censored in San Francisco and Los Angeles. The play was eventually moved to New York where McClure won an Obie Award as its author. The play was also cited by notable playwright Sam Shepard as an important precursor to his work which radically transformed the theater in the 1970s and 1980s.
In the early 1970s, McClure was one of the first writers to popularize the movement to Save the Whales, and his poems and activism have been important to ecology movements ever since. A noted American Buddhist, McClure has written some of the most beautiful and profound poems in that genre. His relation with elders who inspired the San Francisco poetry renaissance, such as Robert Duncan and Charles Olson, has made him a key progenitor of modern writing. McClure’s research into evolutionary biology, biophysics, neurology and other sciences has done as much as any living writer to draw the link between art and science in profound ways of interest to both artists and scientists. McClure’s work has been cited by a variety of leading scientific thinkers, i.e., Francis Crick who received a Nobel for discovery of DNA.

Michael McClure Reading in Las Vegas, KNPR

McClure has also been prominent in the world of rock music. He authored the lyrics to the song “Mercedes Benz” popularized in the classic performance by Janis Joplin. He worked closely with members of The Doors, including encouraging Jim Morrison to publish his poems and performing extensively with Ray Manzarek, the ground –breaking keyboardist. McClure has also maintained other notable music and performance connections, including with Christian McBride and Terry Riley.

His books are from the most important publishers of the era including: Huge Dreams: San Francisco and Beat Poems (Penguin), Scratching the Beat Surface (Penguin), The Beard (Grove Press & Evergreen), Mysteriosos (New Directions), Rain Mirror (New Directions), and Rebel Lions (New Directions).mcclure-press-release-c_001


Juan Felipe Herrera 9/26/15

Juan Felipe Herrera, Newly Appointed Poet Laureate of the United States, Read His Works Sept. 26 at Nevada State College. Clark County Poet Laureate Bruce Isaacson announced a reading by the Poet Laureate of the United States, Juan Felipe Herrera, on the campus of Nevada State College in Henderson, 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

The reading marked Herrera’s Nevada debut after being appointed the 21st U.S. Poet Laureate in June 2015. He earned an MFA at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an M.A. from Stanford. He is the author of 28 books of poetry, novels for young adults and collections for children, most recently Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes (2014). His poetry books include Half of the World in Light (University of Arizona Press) and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross the Border (City Lights). His latest book, Notes on the Assemblage (City Lights) was in pre-release and was available at the reading.jfh-poster_001Mr. Herrera also conducted a Writers’ Workshop at the Clark County Library, 1401 Flamingo Rd., at 3:00 p.m. on September 26. He is the first Hispanic poet to serve in the position. When his appointment was announced he said: “This is a mega-honor for me, for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 — the honor is bigger than me.”

Juan Felipe Herrera at Nevada State College