Why to These Rocks Anthology Reading at Sierra Poetry Festival

The Sierra Poetry Festival Hosts a Group Reading to celebrate
Why To These Rocks:
50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers

Sunday, April 11 | 11:30 AM (Pacific)

The Community of Writers will join the Sierra Poetry Festival online for a virtual poetry reading for Heyday’s release of Why to These Rocks: 50 Years of Poetry from the Community of Writers.

Introduced by: Lisa D. Alvarez, the project’s editor.

Both teaching staff poets and alumni poets of the storied annual summer Poetry Workshops of the Community of Writers will read from the first section of the anthology, “Poems about Place.” In addition to reading from their own work, each featured poet will also select another poem to read. Although the place where these poems were first written unifies these poems, they are as varied and distinctive in their lyricism, voice, and scope as the watershed of the Sierra itself.

Join Chris Davidson, Christina Hutchins, Patricia Spears Jones, Francisco Márquez, Sharon Olds, Maw Shein Win, and Matthew Zapruder for another celebration of the publication of this extraordinary anthology, as they read and discuss poems first written during the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop.

See bios, below.

Pre-Order Book


Lisa Alvarez has edited two landmark collections: Writer’s Workshop in a Book: The Community of Writers on the Art of Fiction with Alan Cheuse and Orange County: A Literary Field Guide with Andrew Tonkovich. She is a fiction writer and poet whose work has appeared in HuizachePANKSanta Monica Review and others. Her commentary has been featured in the Los Angeles Times. She teaches writing at Irvine Valley College and co-directs the Community of Writers.

Chris Davidson‘s poetry and prose have appeared in Zocolo Public Square, The Rumpus, Zyzzyva, Green Mountains Review, Miramar, Dust Up, Monster Verse, Poems Human and Inhuman, and elsewhere. He is the poetry editor for The Curator, and is associate professor of English and co-director of first-year writing at Biola, teaching critical thinking and writing, writing for competency, and creative writing. He is an alumnus of Community of Writers.

Christina Hutchins is the author of two collections, Tender the Maker (May Swenson Award) and The Stranger Dissolves, has worked as a biochemist, Congregational minister, and professor of theology and literary art; has been the Dartmouth poet in residence at the Frost Place; and lives in Albany, California, where she served as the first poet laureate.

Patricia Spears Jones is the author of five chapbooks and four collections, including her most recent collection, A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems, which includes the 2017 Pushcart Prize–winning poem, “Etta James at the Audubon Ballroom.” She is a recipient of the Jackson Poetry Prize and a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Prize. Her many honors include fellowships and grants; and awards from the NEA, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, and Yaddo, among others. Long affiliated with the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s, Jones is a senior fellow at the Black Earth Institute and has taught widely, most recently at Adelphi University.

Francisco Márquez is a Venezuelan poet with work appearing in The Brooklyn Rail, Bennington Review, and Narrative, among other publications. He has received support from Tin House, The Poetry Project, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He is the assistant web editor at Poets & Writers and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Sharon Olds has published over a dozen books, including the 2012 collection Stag’s Leap, which won the Pulitzer Prize and the T. S. Eliot Prize. Satan Says received the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award. A chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the recipient of the National Book Circle Critics Award and the Wallace Stevens Award, Olds served as New York State poet laureate from 1998 to 2000. She currently teaches in the graduate writing program at New York University. Her most recent collection is Arias.

Maw Shein Win is a poet, editor, and educator who lives and teaches in the Bay Area. Her poetry chapbooks are Ruins of a glittering palace and Score and Bone. Invisible Gifts: Poems was published by Manic D Press in 2018. She was a 2019 Visiting Scholar in the Department of English at UC Berkeley. Win is the first poet laureate of El Cerrito, California (2016 -2018). Her full-length poetry collection is Storage Unit for the Spirit House (Omnidawn, 2020), longlisted for the 2021 PEN America Open Book Award.

Matthew Zapruder is the author of five poetry collections, one of which, The Pajamaist, won the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Other awards include a Guggenheim fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Residency fellowship, and the May Sarton Prize. He is editor at large at Wave Books, where he edits contemporary poetry, prose, and translations, and he teaches at Saint Mary’s College of California. His most recent publications are Father’s Day and a book of prose, Why Poetry.


More about the Sierra Poetry Festival:

Sierra Poetry Festival is a live international festival marking National Poetry Month from the rolling foothills of California’s Gold Country to the rugged High Sierra, bringing a rich literary community together to celebrate the spoken word and reach out to brand new audiences in fresh ways. 

This year, with our theme of “Re-membering,” we are presenting some of the most exciting poets, musicians, literary critics, and presenters from across the world for an interdisciplinary experience that engages audiences globally. Join us in celebration of our fifth annual festival!

On this site, please find information on our program schedule, our presenters, and how to register. We are offering our festival to you FREE of charge. That’s right – we are offering unparalleled access to workshops, readings, open mics, key conversations of relevance, humor and meaning, at no cost to you.

Event Details