Jin and I were honored to be asked to produce the official broadside for the 19th Annual Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival, held in downtown Berkeley, California on September 27, 2014. The 2014 festival, which is organized by the amazing folks at Poetry Flash magazine, was dedicated to the memory of the late, great Denise Levertov. The poem selected for the broadside this year was Levertov's "The Breathing" - originally published in "Poems: 1960-1967", © New Directions Publishing, 1983. It's such a delicate, luminous poem and it was a great honor for our young press to have been given permission to print it. Big thanks to Alastair Johnston at Poltroon Press for recommending us for the job!
As usual, the festival kicked off with a walk from Strawberry Creek on the UC Berkeley campus to the Watershed festival, led by poet Chris Olander (who recently gave us permission to print one of his terrific poems). The day included readings from a slew of other fantastic poets and environmental authors including Pulitzer Prize-winner Kay Ryan, the great Anne Waldman, California Poet Laureate Al Young, and many more.
One of the highlights of the day was a reading of Denise Levertov's work by all of the major poets in attendance. It was a beautiful experience to hear her work read by so many wonderful voices. Levertov, a British-American poet whose career spanned the period from WWII to the late '90s, was a prolific and sensitive writer and teacher. He work ranged widely in both style and subject matter, touching on relationships, the environment, and anti-war activism. Joyce Jenkins of Poetry Flash told us stories of Denise's earlier participation at Watershed and made us wish that we had been there to hear her ourselves. In lieu of that, however, check out this great sound recording of the poet on the Poetry Foundation website.