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Poetry World Series
Posted Date: 3/28/2013 2:30 PM

Poetry World Series | Sunday, April 14th, 7:00pmafter hours

Mill Valley, Calif.—Think home runs, pinch-hitting and batting averages are only for baseball? That you can't wear a thinking cap and a batting helmet at the same time? That poetry lacks the "oomph" of professional sports? Well, the "Poetry World Series" at the Mill Valley Library proves that when it comes to high-stakes competition, the pen is indeed mightier than the baseball bat.

To commence baseball season and celebrate National Poetry Month, the Mill Valley Public Library will host its second annual Poetry World Series on the evening of April 14, 2013. The stadium? The Library's Main Reading Room, where two teams of Bay Area poets will take turns “batting up” to a poem topic “pitched” to them by hosts: author Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) and his sister, Rebecca Handler. A panel of judges, including Brian Murphy of KNBR’s Murph & Mac show; Jewelle Gomez, activist and author of (among other books) two-time Lambda Award-winning novel, The Gilda Stories; and ZYZZYVA editor and KQED book critic, Oscar Villalón, will score each “batter’s” reading. The two competing teams have great lineups: Julie Bruck, Robin Ekiss, CJ Evans, Rebecca Foust, Dean Rader, and Melissa Stein. The poets' experience "in the field" (see bios below) is proof that each contestant has what it takes to knock a few poems out of the park.

The Poetry World Series is the brainchild of Marin poet Rebecca Foust. She says that the event captures “the energy of a poetry slam but at the same time preserves the quality of poetry that has been worked on, revised, and committed to the page.” It is an event that serious fans of literature, serious fans of baseball, and serious fans of whimsy and excitement in any form will all enjoy. As poet Marianne Moore writes, “Writing is exciting / and baseball is like writing. / You can never tell with either / how it will go.”

This after-hours event will take place from 7 to 9pm on Sunday, April 14th in the Mill Valley Public Library's Main Reading Room. Entry is free and open to the public.  Free wine reception for pre-registered guests at 6:30.  Adults and high school students only.  No one else will be admitted.   

For more information about this or any other library program, call 415-389-4292, x203 or go online to

More about the participants:


Daniel Handler is the author of four novels, most recently Why We Broke Up. As Lemony Snicket, he is the author of far too many books for children, most recently a picture book illustrated by Jon Klassen entitled The Dark.


Professionally, Rebecca Handler tells people how to raise money and how to give money away. Personally, she spends too much money at Andronico's and gives lots of money away to her children's public elementary school. She bears a slight resemblance to Janeane Garafalo, and enjoys a gin & tonic every day at approximately 5:30pm.


JEWELLE GOMEZ is the author if seven books including three collections of poetry and the cult classic vampire novel, The Gilda Stories, which has been in print for twenty years. Her play about James Baldwin, "Waiting for Giovanni," premiered at New Conservatory Theatre. She's the President of the San Francisco Library Commission.

BRIAN MURPHY is a golf columnist for Yahoo! Sports and the host of the popular "Murph and Mac" morning radio show in San Francisco. From 2001 to 2004 he was the national golf writer at the San Francisco Chronicle.

Oscar VillalÓn is the managing editor of ZYZZYVA. He's a former San Francisco Chronicle book editor, and a book critic for KQED's "The California Report." His work has been published in the Los Angeles Times, VQR, The Believer, and, among other places.


Julie Bruck has published three collections with Brick Books, including Monkey Ranch, which won Canada's 2012 Governor General's Award for poetry. Her poems have appeared in many Canadian and U.S. magazines, including The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Ms. Since 2005, Julie has taught at The Writing Salon in San Francisco.

Keith Ekiss is a Jones Lecturer in Creative Writing at Stanford University and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow. He is the author of Pima Road Notebook (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2010) and translator of The Fire’s Journey by the Costa Rican poet Eunice Odio (Tavern Books, 2013).

CJ Evans is the author of A Penance (New Issues, 2012) and The Category of Outcast (PSA, 2009). His work has appeared in the Boston Review, Little Star, Massachusetts Review, VQR, and elsewhere. He received the 2013/14 Amy Lowell Traveling Scholarship, and is an editor at Two Lines Press and Tin House.

Rebecca Foust’s books include God, Seed (Foreword Book of the Year Award) and All That Gorgeous Pitiless Song (Many Mountains Moving Book Prize). Recent poems are forthcoming in The Hudson Review, Narrative, North American Review, Sewanee Review, Zyzzyva, and elsewhere.

Dean Rader’s debut collection of poems Works & Days won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in dozens of publications including TriQuarterly, Boston Review, New American Writing, Zyzzyva, and the 2012 Best American Poetry. He chairs the English Department at the University of San Francisco.

Melissa Stein is the author of Rough Honey, winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize. Her work has appeared in Southern Review, Harvard Review, Best New Poets 2009, New England Review, and others, and she has received fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference.

Register here.

Thank you to the Mill Valley Library Foundation and the Friends for their generous support of Library programs and services.
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