Published March 17, 2009
Volume 17, Number 3

Pleasanton’s Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival Attracts Local Literary Lions

Pleasanton’s Eighth Annual Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival is a two-day celebration of writing, accented by workshops, contests, musical performances, and a fine arts exhibit. Hosted by the Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council (PCAC) and City of Pleasanton Civic Arts, the festival opens at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, April 4, for registration. Dana Gioia, one of America's leading contemporary men of letters, delivers the keynote address at 9:30 a.m.

A poet, critic, and best-selling anthologist, Gioia is the immediate past chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and a winner of the American Book Award. He is known for bringing poetry to a broader audience with his unique combination of populist ideals and reinvigorated rhyme, meter, and narrative.

Gioia is hardly the only literary lion who will be in attendance. Workshops—for both adults and teens—will be led by an impressive list of writers whose work is well known in the Bay Area and beyond: Poet Laureate Emeritus of California Al Young, Ellen Bass, Toby Bielawski, Susan Browne, Sandra Kay, Alison Luterman, Elizabeth Rosner, Floyd Salas, and Penny Warner.  Morning and afternoon sessions on both Saturday and Sunday will cover such topics as metaphor, teen slam poetry, adult/teen blogging, and jump-starting the creative impulse. Two two-day mini-courses—on turning truth into beauty and writing and selling fiction—will also be offered.
The festival opens to the public for Literary Row, a reception and book signing, and a fine arts exhibit presented by the Pleasanton Art League and other regional artists on Saturday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Registered attendees can enjoy a buffet lunch to the strains of musician Jim Steinke playing classical guitar, mandolin, and mandocello.

The festival also includes contests in various literary categories and age groups, the youngest of which is devoted to children aged four to seven. Winning poems will be read and a total of $1,200 in prizes will be handed out at Saturday evening’s Banquet & Awards Ceremony, which will also feature music by classical harpist Dominique Piana.

Sunday’s schedule starts with continental breakfast at 9 a.m., workshops at 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and a buffet lunch in between. The festival closes at 3:30 p.m. The event will be held at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Boulevard.

Registration fees vary according to the level of participation. Complete festival information and registration forms are available at www.pleasantonarts.org or by contacting Michelle Russo at (925) 931-5350 or mrusso@ci.pleasanton.ca.us. Registration forms for the festival must be postmarked by March 24, 2009. The deadline for the contest has passed.

Committed to the nurturing spirit of the arts, the all-volunteer, non-profit Pleasanton Cultural Arts Council (PCAC) promotes, creates, and supports arts institutions, experiences, facilities, and opportunities for the enrichment of the Tri-Valley area.


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