Local authors, Dana Gioia and Ron Koertge, will present their nationally-acclaimed work at a free public reading in South Pasadena on Friday, May 11. The “Poetic Doubleheader” will feature the two poets and a complimentary video presentation.

When Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Gioia as the California Poet Laureate in 2015, Gioia vowed to personally deliver live poetry events for all ages to all of California’s counties. To date, he has presented poetry gatherings in 50 of the state’s 58 counties and plans to conclude the tour in Imperial county in Oct. 2019. A video showing highlights from a sampling of Gioia’s poetry readings will be screened during the “Poetic Doubleheader” at the South Pasadena Public Library.

“I’m always delighted to read in public libraries. I practically grew up in the Hawthorne public library,” Gioia said. “It’s nice to have a place like the South Pasadena Library where the community can get books for free.”

Gioia was the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009, and he has been the USC Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture since 2011. He is a resident of South Pasadena. Gioia is the 2018 winner of the Poets’ Prize for “99 Poems: New & Selected”, published by Graywolf Press in hardcover in 2016 and released in paperback in 2017. The Poets’ Prize is awarded annually by a committee of 20 poets to the “best book of verse published by an American during the preceding year.”

Koertge, also a South Pasadena resident, will read his original poems and present a short film based on an adaptation of his 2014 poem “Negative Space.” Koertge is the author of many celebrated novels, including “Stoner & Spaz,” “Strays,” and “The Brimstone Journals,” all American Library Association (ALA) Best Books for Young Adults; “Shakespeare Bats Cleanup,” an ALA Top Ten Sports Books for Youth Selection; and “The Arizona Kid,” an ALA pick for “one of the ten funniest books of the year.” He’s also a two-time winner of the PEN Literary Award for Children’s Literature and will be named the South Pasadena Poet Laureate on Friday.

The Poetic Doubleheader is presented by the South Pasadena Public Library and the Friends of the South Pasadena Public Library. Free parking is available in the South Pasadena Unified School District lot at 1020 El Centro Street (entrance from Fairview Avenue between El Centro and Mission) and after noon at the Mission Meridian Parking Garage located at 805 Meridian Avenue adjacent to the Metro Gold Line Station, only one block from the library.

The event is from 7 to 10 p.m. The South Pasadena Public Library Community Room is located at 1115 El Centro Street. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and no tickets or reservations are necessary.  Refreshments will be served and autographed books will be available for purchase.


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