Poetry readings by Peggy Shumaker and Maurya Simon, to be followed by a discussion moderated by Open Books Poet-in-Residence Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.
Peggy Shumaker is the daughter of two deserts—the Sonoran desert where she grew up and the subarctic desert of interior Alaska where she lives now. Shumaker was honored by the Rasmuson Foundation as its Distinguished Artist. She served as Alaska State Writer Laureate. She received a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Shumaker is the author of eight books of poetry, including Cairn, her new and selected volume. Her lyrical memoir is Just Breathe Normally. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA at PLU. She serves on the Advisory Board for Storyknife, and on the board of the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation. Shumaker is editor of the Boreal Books series (an imprint of Red Hen Press), editor of the Alaska Literary Series at University of Alaska Press, poetry editor of Persimmon Tree, and contributing editor for Alaska Quarterly Review. Please visit her website at www.peggyshumaker.com.
Maurya Simon’s tenth volume of poetry, The Wilderness: New & Selected Poems, 1980-2016, will be published in April 2018 by Red Hen Press. Simon’s third book, Speaking in Tongues, was a Pulitzer Prize nominee, and her seventh book, Ghost Orchid, was nominated for a 2004 National Book Award in Poetry. Other recent publications include: The Raindrop’s Gospel: The Trials of St. Jerome & St. Paula, a novel-in- verse (Elixir Press, 2010), and Questions My Daughter Asked Me, Answers I Never Gave Her (Blackbird Press, 2014). Simon’s received an NEA Fellowship in poetry, and she’s served two Visiting Artist residencies at the American Academy in Rome and The MacDowell Colony. She is currently a Professor of the Graduate Division and a Professor Emerita at the University of California, Riverside, where she taught literature and creative writing for nearly thirty years. She lives in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California’s San Gabriel Mountains.
Lena Khalaf Tuffaha is a poet, writer, and translator. She is the winner of the 2016 Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize for Arab in Newsland, and the author of Water & Salt, a book of poems from Red Hen Press published in April 2017. She is currently Poet-in-Residence at Open Books: A Poem Emporium.