Watershed Festival: Forrest Gander

Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center

2180 Milvia St

Berkeley, CA 94704

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23rd Annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival

“Stand Up for the Earth” with dynamic readings of over thirty poets and writers, including Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman reading from her newest, Extra Hidden Life, among the Days, Forrest Gander, Be With, and featuring the launch of Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, a new anthology edited by Lucille Lang Day and Ruth Nolan - more featured poets and speakers to be announced.

There will be California Poets in the Schools students reading led by poet-teacher Maureen Hurley; We Are Nature Open Mic, (to read, enter drawing at noon); Richard Silberg and Kirk Lumpkin emcee, music; River Village exhibits will include Scarlet Tanager Books, Sixteen Rivers Press, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal; and a Pegasus Downtown book tent with books for sale and signing. 100 Thousand Poets for Change event, sponsored by Poetry Flash, Ecology Center, Pegasus Books Downtown and Moe’s Books.

Be with

Drawing from his experience as a translator, Forrest Gander includes in the first, powerfully elegiac section a version of a poem by the Spanish mystical poet St. John of the Cross. He continues with a long multilingual poem examining the syncretic geological and cultural history of the U.S. border with Mexico. The poems of the third section—a moving transcription of Gander’s efforts to address his mother dying of Alzheimer’s—rise from the page like hymns, transforming slowly from reverence to revelation. Gander 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.” Be with was long-listed for the 2018 National Poetry Book Award.

Forrest Gander (1956– ) was born in the Mojave Desert and grew up, for the most part, in Virginia. With degrees in both geology and English literature, Gander is the author of numerous books of poetry, translation, fiction, and essays. He’s the A.K. Seaver Professor of Literary Arts and Comparative Literature at Brown University. A U.S. Artists Rockefeller fellow, Gander has been recipient of grants from the NEA, the Guggenheim, Howard, Witter Bynner and Whiting foundations. His 2011 collection Core Samples from the World was an NBCC and Pulitzer Prize finalist for poetry.