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Leaning Toward Light: An Evening of Poetry with Tess Taylor, Danusha Laméris & Ellen Bass
August 31 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm | Bookshop Santa Cruz
FREE IN-STORE EVENT: Bookshop welcomes poets Tess Taylor, Danusha Laméris, and Ellen Bass for a reading of their beautiful anthology Leaning Toward Light: Poems for Gardens & the Hands that Tend Them, an inviting selection of poems from a wide range of voices that speak to the collective urge to grow, tend, and heal—an evocative celebration of our connection to the green world.
This event is cosponsored by The Hive Poetry Collective and The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz.
“This collection brings together many of my favorite writers to celebrate the limitless offerings of nature; wandering through its pages feels like taking a long stroll through a beautiful garden.”
— Alice Waters, chef, author, food activist, and founder of Chez Panisse and the Edible Schoolyard Project
“As Aimee Nezhukamatathil reminds us in the delightful and informative foreword to this bountiful collection, the word anthology means a gathering of flowers. How perfect is this bouquet! Diverse and delightful. At turns, tender and tough. I’m sure I’ll be reading the poems gathered in this anthology for years to come.”
— Camille T. Dungy, author of Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden
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Much like reading a good poem, caring for plants brings comfort, solace, and joy to many. In this new poetry anthology, Leaning Toward Light, acclaimed poet and avid gardener Tess Taylor brings together a diverse range of contemporary voices to offer poems that celebrate that joyful connection to the natural world. Several of the most well-known contemporary writers, as well as some of poetry’s exciting rising stars, contribute to this collection including Ross Gay, Jericho Brown, Mark Doty, Jane Hirshfield, Ada Limón, Danusha Laméris, Naomi Shihab Nye, Garrett Hongo, Ellen Bass, and James Crews. A foreword by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, reflective pauses and personal recipes from some of the contributing poets, along with original, whimsical illustrations by Melissa Castrillon, and a ribbon bookmark complete this stunning, hardcover gift format.
Tess Taylor, an avid gardener, is the author of five acclaimed collections of poetry including Work & Days, which was named one of the 10 best books of poetry of 2016 by the New York Times. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, Tin House, The Times Literary Supplement, CNN, and the New York Times. Taylor has been Distinguished Fulbright US Scholar at the Seamus Heaney Centre in Queen’s University in Northern Ireland, and the Anne Spencer Poet-in-Residence at Randolph College. She has also served as on-air poetry reviewer for NPR’s All Things Considered for over a decade. Taylor lives in El Cerrito, California, where she tends to fruit trees and backyard chickens.
Danusha Laméris’ first book, The Moons of August (2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Some of her work has been published in: The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, Orion, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, and Prairie Schooner. Her second book, Bonfire Opera, (University of Pittsburgh Press, Pitt Poetry Series), was a finalist for the 2021 Paterson Poetry Award and the winner of the Northern California Book Award in Poetry. A recipient of the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award, and the 2018-2020 Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, California, she currently co-leads Poetry of Resilience webinars with James Crews, as well as the HearthFire Writing Community, and is on the faculty of Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA program.
Ellen Bass is co-author of the best-selling The Courage to Heal, which has sold more than one million copies and has been translated into nine languages. She has also published several volumes of poetry, including The Human Line and Indigo, and her poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and The New Republic. A Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she lives in Santa Cruz, and teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University.