Village Poets Welcomes James Ragan and Amy Gerstler

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga invites poets and friends of poetry to its monthly reading held in person on the fourth Sunday of the month (Feb. 25) at 4:30 p.m. at Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Ave. in Tujunga.

In February Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga welcomes internationally celebrated poet James Ragan and widely acknowledged poet Amy Gerstler. Two segments of open mic will be available and refreshments will be served. Suggested donation of $5 per person covers the cost of refreshments and donates to the Little Landers Society that manages the Bolton Hall Museum, a Los Angeles Historical Landmark built in 1913.

James Ragan

Appearing in 36 anthologies and 15 languages, James Ragan is an internationally recognized author of 10 books of poetry, including “The Hunger Wall” and “The Chanter’s Reed,” and three plays staged in the U.S., Moscow, Beijing and Athens. With poems in Poetry, The Nation, World Lit Today, etc., he has read at the U.N. and Carnegie Hall, for CNN, NPR, PBS, BBC and seven heads of state including Vaclav Havel and Mikhail Gorbachev. Honors include two Doctor of Literature, two Fulbright professorships, an NEA Grant, Emerson Poetry Prize, nine Pushcart Prize nominations, Swan Foundation Humanitarian Award, a Poetry Society of America citation, finalist for the Walt Whitman Book Award, London’s Troubadour Int. Poetry Prize, among others. He’s the subject of the Arina Films documentary “Flowers and Roots,” which received 17 International Film Festival recognitions and platinum prize at Houston’s International Film Festival.

Ragan directed USC’s Professional Writing Program (25 years), served as poet-in-residence at Cal Tech (three years) and spent 26 summers as distinguished professor of poetry at Prague’s Charles University. Czech President Vaclav Havel honored him as Ambassador of the Arts at the 1994 World PEN Congress. Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney praised his poems for “sparing no passion in believing they sing,” and Nobel nominee Miroslav Holub lauded his “domination of the art of poetic narration with insight that marks major poets.”

Amy Gerstler

Amy Gerstler’s most recent book of poems is Index of Women (Penguin Random House, 2021). Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including the New Yorker and Paris Review. She is currently collaborating with composer, actor and arranger Steve Gunderson on a musical. Her previous books of poems include “Scattered at Sea,” “Dearest Creature,” “Ghost Girl,” “Medicine” and “Crown of Weeds” among others. In 2019, she received a Foundation for Contemporary Arts CD Wright Grant. In 2018, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her book “Dearest Creature” (Penguin, 2009) was named a New York Times notable book, and was short listed for the Los Angeles Times book prize in poetry. Her book of poems “Bitter Angel” won a National Book Critics Circle Award. In addition to poetry she also writes fiction, nonfiction, plays, journalism and art criticism.

Upcoming Village Poets features Crystal Fire Anthology on March 24l Mandy Kahn & William Archila on April 28.