Sierra Poetry Festival keynote Forrest Gander wins Pulitzer Prize

Forrest Gander, the keynote speaker for the Sierra Poetry Fesival on April 27 in Grass Valley, today won the Pulitzer Prize in poetry.

Gander won for his anthology Be With, “a collection of elegies that grapple with sudden loss, and the difficulties of expressing grief and yearning for the departed.” The prize was $15,000.

“He has been called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and, as one critic noted, ‘the most eclectic diction since Hart Crane,’” according to the Pulitzer website.

Gander 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.

The 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners in 14 journalism and seven letters, drama and music categories were announced at Columbia University in New York.

The Sierra Poetry Festival — now in its third year — kicks off as National Poetry Month is celebrated across America and marks California’s first Arts, Culture & Creativity Month.

During April over 30 local and regional poets of all ages will read, recite, or sing out their poetry at ten events across Nevada County – all leading up to a mainstage event on April 27 at Sierra College’s Nevada County campus in Grass Valley.

Nevada County Arts Council inaugurated Sierra Poetry Festival in 2017 alongside California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia.

“It was a seminal moment for poetry in rural Northern California,” said Eliza Tudor, Executive Director at the Council. “Not only were we acknowledging our own rich culture of literary arts, but inviting some of the nation’s most inspiring poets and presenters.

(Photo: Gage Skidmore)

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