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Legacy of Poetry Day: Diverse Poets, Poems on the Spot

Award Winning Poets & Made-to-Order Poetry

SJSU’s Legacy of Poetry event will feature Palestinian-American poet and playwright Nathalie Handal. The New York Times says her work “trembles with belonging (and longing).” (photo courtesy of nathaliehandal.com)

By Professor Alan Soldofsky, 408-924-4432

In celebration of National Poetry Month, San Jose State University will once again host Legacy of Poetry Day 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 18 at Caret Plaza, outside the campus entrance for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library.

Provost Ellen Junn, and Dean of Humanities and the Arts Lisa Vollendorf will offer opening remarks and readings for the event, which will feature readings by Palestinian-American poet and playwright Nathalie Handal, and San Jose State alumna and award-winning poet Carmen Giménez Smith, an assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University.

Award Winning Poets & Made-to-Order Poetry

In celebration of National Poetry Month, SJSU will once again host Legacy of Poetry Day 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 18 at Caret Plaza, outside the campus entrance for King Library.

Also featured will be Santa Clara Poet Laureate Sally Ashton, and contributors to the poetry anthology Poetry On the Move: Poems that Celebrate Who We Are and What We Do In Silicon Valley. The anthology is comprised of poems submitted to the Poetry On the Move Contest; the five winning poems were published as placards placed in VTA light rail and buses and Santa Clara County Libraries.

SJSU’s Legacy of Poetry Day will continue with an afternoon of readings by students, faculty members, emeriti, and alumni. Professors Alan Soldofsky and Annette Nellen organize the annual gathering, sponsored by the Poets and Writers Coalition, with co-sponsorship support from the Campus Reading Program, the MLK Library, the Middle Eastern Studies Program, the Creative Writing Program, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Associated Students, and Poetry Center San Jose.

Poems on the Spot

At this year’s event the students of the Poets and Writers Coalition will staff the Lit Factory booth, which provides typewriters for poets to write short pocket-sized poems on the spot to be given away to those attending the Legacy of Poetry Day events. Submit your poem’s desired elements and characteristics to the Lit Factory, and see what interesting poem comes out. The Lit Factory will be SJSU’s way of participating in the Poetry In-Your-Pocket Day, a national event sponsored by the Academy of American Poets on April 18, during National Poetry Month.

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Legacy of Poetry Day 2013

11:45 a.m. Opening remarks and readings by Provost Ellen Junn and Dean of Humanities and the Arts Lisa Vollendorf. Readings in honor San Jose State’s first major poet, Edwin Markham (April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940).

Noon – 12:30 p.m.: Featured guest poet, Nathalie Handal, award-winning poet and playwright, and Carmen Giménez Smith, winner of the 2012 Juniper Prize in Poetry.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.: Faculty, staff, student, and alumni Poets Reading, featuring SJSU faculty poets Samuel Maio, Persis Karim, Neli Moody and Alan Soldofsky.

1:30 – 2 p.m.: Featuring a Reading by Sally Ashton, Santa Clara County Poet Laureate, presenting Poetry on the Move: Poetry that Celebrates Who We Are and What We Do In Silicon Valley.

2 – 3 p.m.: Poems and Letters: A reading featuring a sampling of letters and poems from SJSU faculty, students, and alumni poets, and their favorite poets.

Special Added Legacy of Poetry Day Event

7 – 8 p.m.: Palestinian-American poets Nathalie Handal and Philip Metres reading from their works. Dr. Martin Luther King Library, Rm. 225, sponsored by Middle East Studies and the Poets and Writers Coalition.

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