Legacy of Poetry Day



In celebration of National Poetry Month, San Jose State University will host its annual Legacy of Poetry Day 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. April 23 at Caret Plaza, outside the campus entrance for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library. San Franciso Poet Laureate. Alejandro Murguia, American Book Award-winning author of Stray Poems and the short story collection This War Called Love, will be the keynote reader.

The theme of this year’s ninth annual Legacy of Poetry Day is “What Work Is: A Memorial Tribute to Philip Levine.” The late Philip Levine was a U.S. Poet Laureate 2011-2012, and was a distinguished faculty member at CSU Fresno 1958-92. Levine is notable in American literature for giving voice to blue-collar workers and writing about physically demanding blue-collar work.  

SJSU Legacy of Poetry Day will also feature readings by former California Poet Laureate David Perez, recent Santa Clara County Poet Laureates Sally Ashton and Nils Peterson, as well as by Los Gatos Poet Laureate Erica Goss, award-winning SJSU faculty poets including Alan Soldofsky, Creative Writing Program director, Persis Karim, Samuel Maio, and Gloria Collins. Also featured will be poets on the SJSU staff including Curt Anderson, author of the recent award winning book, The Occasionist. The reading will conclude with readings by SJSU alumni poets and the announcement of awards for the 2014-15 prize-winning SJSU student poets. These talented student poets will read from their award winning poems. Readers include recipients of the 2014-15 awards for poetry, including the 2015 winners of the Phelan Awards, the Dorrit Sibley Award, and the Virginia de Araujo/Academy of American Poets Award.



SJSU President Mohammed Qayoumi and Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein will offer opening remarks and readings for the event. Professors Alan Soldofsky (English and Comparative Literature) and Annette Nellen (Accounting and Finance) organize the annual gathering, which is sponsored by the SJSU Poets and Writers Coalition, with co-sponsorship support from the SJSU President's Office, Academic Senate, the College of Humanities and the Arts, the MLK Library, the Creative Writing Program, Department of English and Comparative Literature, SJSU Associated Students, and Poetry Center San Jose.




Also, 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 day’s events. Submit your poem’s desired elements and characteristics to the Lit Factory, and see what interesting poem comes out. The Lit Factory is SJSU’s way of participating in the Poetry In-Your-Pocket Day, a national event sponsored by the Academy of American Poets on April 24, during National Poetry Month. National Poetry Month is held every April, when schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets throughout the United States band together to celebrate poetry and its vital place in American culture. Thousands of organizations participate through readings, festivals, book displays, workshops, and other events.  

SJSU’s Legacy of Poetry Day is celebrated annually as part of National Poetry Month, on the Thursday closest to San Jose’s first nationally renowned poet, Edwin Markham’s, birthday (April 23, 1852). Markham is best known for writing “A Man With A Hoe,” a poem embodying the oppressed suffering of farm laborers.


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Legacy of Poetry Day 2015 Schedule


2:30 p.m.
SJSU President Mohammad Qayoumi; Provost Andrew Hale Feinstein; Lisa Vollendorf, Dean of the College of Humanities and the Arts, and Professor Lynda Heiden, Chair of the Academic Senate. Opening Readings and remarks.  Tribute to SJSU's heritage in poetry, including the poetry of Edwin Markham (April 23, 1852 – March 7, 1940), and Henry Meade Bland (1863 – 1931), California’s second Poet Laureate.

Keynote readings and tributes to Philip Levine: 

2:45 p.m.
Al Young, former California Poet Laureate

3:00 p.m.
Alejandro Murguia, San Francisco Poet Laureate 

3:15 p.m.
Keynote reading: David Perez, Santa Clara County Poet Laureate 

3:30 p.m.
Nils Peterson and Sally Ashton, former Santa Clara County Poet Laureates

3:45 p.m.
SJSU Creative Writing faculty and SJSU staff, including Alan Soldofsky, Persis Karim, Samuel Maio, Gloria Collins, Curt Anderson, and others.

4:00 p.m.
Los Gatos Poet Laureate Erica Goss, reads, introduces SJSU student poet award-winners and alumni readers.

5:00 p.m.
Reading ends.