This event was presented in collaboration with the Poetry Society of America and the Mill Valley Library. Over 300 people attended, a lively and engaged audience for poetry!
Robert Hass, former United States Poet Laureate, has illumined the poetic landscape with his many books of poetry, translation, and essays. His honors include the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. His celebrated books of essays include A Little Book on Form: An Exploration Into the Formal Imagination of Poetry and What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World, the recipient of the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Hass translated many of the works of Czeslaw Milosz, and he edited Selected Poems: 1954-1986 by Tomas Transtromer; The Essential Haiku: Versions of Basho, Buson, and Issa; and Modernist Women Poets: An Anthology (with Paul Ebenkamp). His many honors include the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the National Book Critics’ Circle Award (twice), and the Wallace Stevens Award. His poetry is deeply reflective of the California landscape, domestic life, and spiritual awareness. To hear him read or speak is transformative, whether a Haiku from Issa, a mediation from Miłosz, or his own lyric work.
Essy Stone is a PhD student in poetry at the University of Southern California. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami, and recently completed a Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Her work has been published in the New Yorker, 32 Poems, and Prairie Schooner. Her first book, What It Done to Us, was awarded the Idaho Prize in Poetry and was published by Lost Horse Press in 2017. For much of her life she supported herself as a waitress. Her work reflects the East Tennessee culture in which she grew up, an often oppressive world, especially for women or minorities. The freshness of her language and imagery reflect and transform that environment just as she has transformed herself.