Presented by PEN Oakland

Hearing Room 4: 4:30—6:00pm

The present state of East Bay poetry illuminates a complex of emotions and ideals across the diverse scope of local life. We build. We dismantle. We reimagine. Yet many local poets are consumed by the heavy demands of their daily professions—some becoming cyclic grunts of an all too brutal workforce that eats away at the proper amount of time they need to write. Nonetheless, these poets find time to compose their intricate verses. Poetry writing is their trade. It is both their love and their duty.

ELMAZ ABINADER’s latest book, This House, My Bones, was the 2014 Editor’s Selection at Willow Books. She is the author of three books and four plays. The cofounder of VONA/Voices, Elmaz teaches at Mills College in Oakland.

SHARON COLEMAN is a poet and educator whose family has lived in Oakland for five generations. She’s the author of a chapbook of poetry, Half Circle, and a book of micro-fiction, Paris Blinks. She’s the codirector of the Berkeley Poetry Festival and co-curator of the reading series Lyrics & Dirges.

SHARON DOUBIAGO is an award-winning poet, memoirist, and essayist. My Father’s Love, Vol 1+2, The Visit, and I, Poet, have been published recently. She’s been a PEN Oakland board member for ten years.

CLAIRE ORTALDA is an award-winning writer and the cofounder of PEN Oakland, and coeditor of the PEN Oakland anthology Fightin’ Words: 25 Years of Provocative Poetry and Prose from “The Blue Collar” PEN.

FLOYD SALAS is an award-winning author of eight books, including an Oakland-based memoir Buffalo Nickel. He was Regent’s Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, staff writer for the NBC drama series Kingpin, and the recipient of the California Arts Council, Rockefeller Foundation, NEA, and Eugene F. Saxton fellowships, as well as the Joseph Henry Jackson Award.

AL YOUNG’s books include poetry, fiction, essays, anthologies, and musical memoirs. He served as California’s poet laureate. Honors include NEA, Fulbright, and Guggenheim Fellowships and the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Award. He is Distinguished Professor at California College of the Arts’ MFA In Writing Program.

TONY R. RODRIGUEZ (moderator) is a board member of PEN Oakland and novelist of five books, including the best-selling Under These Stars. His novels have been published in Scotland and the United States of America. He has prefaced Norman Mailer. His work has been studied at the University of Texas Pan American and other colleges. And he’s rocked the casbah.