Poetry collection features voices of 95 poets from Clark County

Updated June 24, 2017 - 3:49 pm

Consider it Bruce Isaacson’s going-away present — even though he’s not actually going anywhere — and maybe even a promise fulfilled.

Two years ago, when Isaacson began his term as Clark County’s first poet laureate, he made it a priority to publish an anthology featuring Clark County poets before his term ended.

Fast forward: Isaacson’s term as poet laureate expired May 31, and that promised anthology, “Clark: Poetry from Clark County, Nevada” (Zeitgeist Press, $18) was introduced last weekend during a reading and book release party at Winchester Cultural Center. (Four additional readings/signings are scheduled in July and August.)

Isaacson has been publishing books of poetry since the mid-’80s. But he says “Clark” is the most ambitious work his press has published.

“This one took me about a year longer than was expected,” he says. “But the thing is done. That’s what matters: 280 pages, 95 poets, 12 Clark County artists. We’re really proud of it.

“We’ve given (readers) a quality medium that befits the quality in our local community. This was the apotheosis of my time as poet laureate for Clark County. For me, it’s a gift to the community, a gift back to the community.”

Isaacson also is pleased that his successor as poet laureate, Vogue Robinson, played a large part in making the privately funded anthology come together.

“It just worked out that she succeeded me,” Isaacson says. “I wasn’t on the (selection) committee, but I couldn’t be more pleased. She’s done a lot of work on the anthology.”

Finding candidates for the anthology began with “a general call to the community,” Isaacson says, as well as taking recommendations from other poets.

“I took a lot of input from Vogue,” Isaacson says. “I always say her taste is excellent.”

He laughs. “It’s similar to mine, which means I think it’s excellent.”

Poet candidates also were recruited by Robinson and Isaacson at readings they’d attend. For example, Isaacson heard poet Andy Kenyon read “Hope for the Flowers (Thai Food)” and was floored by the piece.

“I went to her and said, ‘Give me that one. I love that one,’ ” Isaacson says. “It’s such a great plea for diversity … of being able to love somebody.

“So there was a lot of that, where I would go out and hear a work at a reading and go tap someone on the shoulder and say, ‘Hey, can I get a copy of that?’ And Vogue was doing the same thing.”

Isaacson met Charlene Stegman Moskal — three of her pieces appear in the collection — in a poetry workshop he has run for the past two years.

“She started writing at the workshop and went” — Isaacson makes a steep upward arc with his hand — “whoosh, just like this.”

“It’s pretty amazing,” Moskal says. “I came to the workshop one day and haven’t left since.”

Isaacson enlisted Bakeem Lloyd for the anthology after hearing him read his piece “What They Will Find When They Exhume Pablo Neruda’s Body” at a reading. Lloyd’s poems have been published elsewhere, but he says “Clark” is a way to honor the valley’s poetic vitality.

“The thing I always tell people is how good the poetry scene is,” says Lloyd, although “until Bruce created a hub for everyone to focus around, it felt more scattered to the winds than other places did. But we’ve got talent.”

Rodney Lee, who has been reading his poetry here since the mid-1980s, says the anthology “validates what’s already been going on here. It’s really proved Las Vegas, Clark County, we have a voice.”

Isaacson hopes “Clark: Poetry from Clark County, Nevada” will inspire Southern Nevadans to define Clark County and Las Vegas on their own terms.

“Our city has historically been defined by outsiders, by ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ and Michael Ventura, all fine writers who have had huge national impact,” he says.

“But we are starting to get a voice out from the people who live in the community itself, and that voice is quite different than that other one that is either advertising for hotels and tourism and gaming, and also different from the kind of frenetic, gonzo thing.”

Readings

Several poetry readings have been scheduled to celebrate the release of “Clark: Poetry from Clark County, Nevada.” All are free and open to the public.

■ 5:30 p.m. July 1 at Barnes & Noble Book Fair, 567 N. Stephanie Street, Henderson.

■ 5 p.m. July 15 at The Writer’s Block, 1020 Fremont St., in downtown Las Vegas.

■ 2 p.m. July 29 at West Charleston Library, 6301 W. Charleston Blvd.

■ 7 p.m. Aug. 23 at Sharing Reality at E-String Bar, 2031 W. Sunset Road, Henderson.

Contact John Przybys at reviewjournal.com. or 702-383-0280. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Life
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Camp Broadway teaches kids how to sing and dance
The Smith Center's seventh annual Camp Broadway musical theater program gives 150 kids ages 6-17 an opportunity to learn musical theater skills from industry professionals over a five-day period. Marcus Villagran/ Las Vegas Review-Journal @brokejournalist
Las Vegas police officer on being PETA's Sexiest Vegan Next Door
Las Vegas police officer David Anthony talks vegan lifestyle and how he feels about being voted PETA's sexiest Vegan next door from his home on Monday, July 9, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
'NO H8' Campaign comes to Las Vegas
Hundreds of locals participate in the NO H8 campaign founded by Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley as a response to Proposition 8, a California ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign has since evolved to represent equal treatment for all. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas
Over 40,000 People Attend The 4th Of July Parade In Summerlin In Las Vegas. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Star Wars and Golden Knights mashup at downtown art shop
Star Wars and Vegas Golden Knights fans attend the Boba Fett Golden Knight Paint Class at The Bubblegum Gallery in Las Vegas, Friday, June 29, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like