Organizer: Joyce Jenkins


For Calendar Editors:

21st annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, Saturday, October 1, noon-4:30 pm, at Civic Center Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, at Center Street, Berkeley. With readings by poets Robert Hass, Jane Hirshfield, journalist/Buddhist teacher Wes ‘Scoop’ Nisker, poets Alison Hawthorne Deming, Juliana Spahr, John Shoptaw, and poet/cognitive-neuroscientist Pireeni Sundaralingam, and a talk by Ohlone Indian descendant Vincent Medina; California Poets in the Schools students with poet-teachers John Oliver Simon and Maureen Hurley with Kirk Lumpkin and Richard Silberg; also readings by Chris Olander, Judy Halebsky, Katherine Hastings, poet/biologist Maya Khosla, and Bill Vartnaw; music by The Barry Finnerty Trio, River Village exhibits: books, literary and environmental organizations. Strawberry Creek Walk at 10:00 am precedes the main event with poetry and nature, meet at Oxford and Center Streets, UC Berkeley. All free admission. Sponsored by Poetry Flash, Ecology Center/Berkeley Farmers’ Market, Pegasus Books Downtown, Moe’s Books. For information: (510) 525-5476,, or



“Stand Up for the Earth” with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Hass, poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield, famed journalist, ‘crazy’ wiseman, and Buddhist teacher Wes ‘Scoop’ Nisker, poet and nature writer Alison Hawthorne Deming, poets Juliana Spahr, John Shoptaw, Pireeni Sundaralingam, Ohlone Indian descendant Vincent Medina, California Poets in the Schools K-12 students, The Barry Finnerty Trio, and more!

Saturday, October 1, 2016, Noon–4:30 pm, Free,

Civic Center Park by the Berkeley Farmers’ Market

Martin Luther King Jr. Way, at Center Street, Berkeley

The Strawberry Creek Walk leaves from Oxford and Center Streets on the edge of the UC Berkeley campus at 10:00 am.

Poets, writers, and environmentalists will gather to “Stand Up for the Earth” with readings, music, and exhibits at the 21st annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, Saturday, October 1, noon-4:30 at Berkeley’s Civic Center Park, one block west of downtown Berkeley BART. Poetry readings by renowned poets and authors, K-12 student poets, music, exhibits, and We are Nature Open Mic take place in front of Watershed banners by Bolinas artist Arthur Okamura. The Berkeley Farmers’ Market that will be in full swing as the presentations begin. Tents will provide shade; chairs and recycled carpet squares available for seating. Bring your lunch or visit the Farmers’ Market!

The Strawberry Creek Walk begins at 10:00 am, Saturday morning, October 1, just inside the UC Berkeley campus at Oxford and Center Streets. The public is invited to join the Creek Walk for poetry and natural history commentary, led by poet-performer-teacher Chris Olander, poet and naturalist Maya Khosla, poet Judy Halebsky, and two former Sonoma County poet laureates, Katherine Hastings and Bill Vartnaw. Tim Pine from UC Berkeley will provide nature notes on the creek. The Creek Walk will follow Strawberry Creek through the University of California campus and trace the creek’s path as it flows above ground then tunnels beneath the city to the festival site.

River Village exhibitors include Poetree Interactive Writing with Sharon Coleman; Berkeley City College’s Milvia Street: Art and Literary Journal, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Sixteen Rivers Press, California Poets in the Schools, St. Mary’s College MFA in Creative Writing Program, Deborah Kennedy’s Nature Speaks: Art & Poetry for the Earth, Robert E. Johnson and Janet L. Byron’s Berkeley Walks, Pegasus Books Downtown, and more. Creek Poems artwork will be installed over the footprint of Strawberry Creek (it runs under the park). Exhibit deadline: Sept. 24; e-mail, or see

Books by the readers will be available for purchase at the Pegasus Book Tent.


• We Are Nature Open Mic, six three-minute reading spots, enter the lottery by noon at the Info Tent on site.



• Robert Hass has published six books of poems, including Time and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005, for which he won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and The Apple Trees at Olema: New and Selected Poems. He has also published two major books of essays, Twentieth Century Pleasures: Prose on Poetry and What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World, along with many other books of translation, essays, and scholarship. He was US Poet Laureate from 1995-97.

• Jane Hirshfield has published eight books of poems, including The Beauty, Come, Thief, After, and Given Sugar, Given Salt. She’s the editor and co-translator of four books of the work of poets from the past and author of two major collections of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World, winner of the 2016 Northern California Book Award for Creative Nonfiction. She’s been a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize, and she’s won a California Book Award, a Poetry Center Book Award, and the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry.

• Wes ‘Scoop’ Nisker is the author of You Are Not Your Fault and Other Revelations, his “collected wit and wisdom,” rounding on and deepening his previous The Essential Crazy Wisdom and Buddha’s Nature. His first fame was earned as a radio journalist—he’s been on Bay Area radio for thirty-five years—with his great tagline, “If you don’t like the news, go out and make some yourself.” He’s also a renowned Buddhist meditation teacher and founder and co-editor of the international Buddhist journal Inquiring Mind.

• Alison Hawthorne Deming is author of six poetry collections, including her newest, Stairway to Heaven, Rope, Genius Loci, and Science and Other Poems. She’s author of several nonfiction books, including Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit, Writing the Sacred into the Real, and The Edges of the Civilized World: A Journey in Nature and Culture; and she’s co-editor of The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World and The Colors of Nature.

• Juliana Spahr has published many books of poems, including her newest, That Winter the Wolf Came, well then there now, The Transformation, This Connection of Everyone with Lungs, and Response, for which she received a National Poetry Series Award. She’s editor of Commune Editions and, with Jena Osman of Chain Links book series. She’s also editor of several single volumes, including American Women Poets in the 21st Century, with Claudia Rankine, and A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays on the Continued Usefullness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism, with Stephanie Young.

• John Shoptaw is a poet who teaches at UC Berkeley. His debut book of poems, Times Beach, won both the Notre Dame Review Book Prize and the 2016 Northern California Book Award for Poetry.

• Pireeni Sundaralingam is a poet and cognitive scientist. Her poetry has been widely published in literary journals and translated into Gaelic, Swedish, Vietnamese, and Tamil. She’s co-editor of Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry, which won both a 2011 Northern California Book Award and a 2011 PEN Oakland- Josephine Miles Literary Award.

• Vincent Medina is an Ohlone Indian descendant and assistant curator at Mission Dolores in San Francisco. He is working to preserve the Chochenyo dialect of the Ohlone language. During the Pope’s visit to Washington D.C. to celebrate the canonization of Junipero Serra, he was chosen to read a passage from the Old Testament in Chochenyo (Medina is a devout Catholic, but he disagrees with the decision to canonize Serra).

• California Poets in the Schools K-12 students presented by John Oliver Simon and Maureen Hurley, CPITS poet-teachers. Maureen Hurley is the recipient of eight California Arts Council grants and two KQED SPARK artist grants. John Oliver Simon is a National Endowment of the Arts fellow in literary translation, author of Caminante, a narrow road into the far south, and Son Caminos, selected poems in Spanish. His new book is Grandpa’s Syllables.

• The Barry Finnerty Trio. Guitarist Barry Finnerty’s CDs include Blues for Trane, Straight Ahead, and Manhattan Sessions with the NY All Stars. Also performing: Peter Barshay on bass and Ron Marabuto on drums.
• Emcees: Richard Silberg, Associate Editor of Poetry Flash, author of The Horses, New and Selected Poems, and poet, lyricist, and performer Kirk Lumpkin, former manager of the Ecology Center/Berkeley Farmers’ Market, author of In Deep and Co-Hearing, and two poetry/music CDs.


10:00 am—STRAWBERRY CREEK WALK, leaves from Oxford and Center, UC Berkeley:

(Creek Walk poets will also appear on the main stage in the afternoon.)

• Chris Olander, author of Mallard, is an eco-performance poet; he is a California Poets in the Schools teacher and Poetry Out Loud teacher-mentor. He lives in Nevada City, California and will lead the Creek Walk.

• Judy Halebsky, poet and teacher, is author of Tree Line, Sky=Empty, and Space/Gap/Interval/Distance, winner of the Sixteen Rivers Press Poets-Under-Forty Award.

• Katherine Hastings, poet and curator of WordTemple, is author of Shakespeare & Stein Walk Into a Bar, Nighthawks, and Cloud Fire. She is a former poet laureate of Sonoma County 2014-2016.

• Maya Khosla, poet and biologist, is author of Keel Bone and Web of Water (non-fiction). She is co-director of “The Turtle Diaries Project,” supported by awards from Save Our Seas Foundation. She was a screenwriter for Shifting Undercurrents: Women Seaweed Collectors in Gulf of Mannar (2012 Jeevika Film Festival Award) and Village of Dust, City of Water (2007 Lion Award, Wildlife Asia Film Festival).

• Tim Pine is a Creek Restoration expert who works in Environmental Protection at UC Berkeley. He is Director of the UC Berkeley Environmental Health and Safety Department.

• Bill Vartnaw, poet and editor publisher of Taurean Horn Press, is a former poet laureate of Sonoma County.



Free admission. Wheelchair accessible. ASL interpreters will be provided if an email request is made by September 23, 2016. Email:

Watershed History & Sponsors

Watershed Environmental Festival is a collaboration of Robert Hass and Poetry Flash; co-sponsored by the Ecology Center/Berkeley Farmers’ Market. A “100 Thousand Poets for Change” event. Our community partners are Pegasus Books Downtown (book tent), Moe’s Books (media sponsor), and The East Bay Express (media sponsor). Watershed presents a session for students with featured poets at Berkeley High School on Friday, September 30. The Watershed Festival emerged from Robert Hass’s national Watershed initiative during his tenure as U.S. Poet Laureate, 1995-97, which explored connections between the environment and the American literary imagination.

Watershed is made possible by the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission and the Zellerbach Family Foundation. This event is also supported in part by Poets & Writers through grants it has received from The James Irvine Foundation and the Hearst Foundations.


Join us at the Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival—October 1, 2016!

Joyce Jenkins
Poetry Flash •
Northern California Book Awards
1450 Fourth Street, #4
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 525-5476 •

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