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"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

"The understanding of a culture comes from hearing the language, tasting the food, seeing personal interactions, experiencing the traditions, and so much more when it is in context."

— Elizabeth Laval & Candice Pendergrass, Sikh Youth Public History Project

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CALAVERAS COUNTY–Poetry and Journaling Day at Calaveras County State Park

July 15, 2023 @ 9:00 am6:00 pm

Free – $45
Photograph of a forest showing the trunks of big redwood trees.

Workshops and Poetry readings

Poetry and Journaling Day at Calaveras County State Park

Saturday, July 15, 2023 | 9 am – 6 pm PT 

Address: 1170 CA-4, Arnold, CA 95223

Visit Calaveras Big Trees State Park at Jack Knight Hall for a day of poetry and journaling on Saturday, July 15, from 9 am – 6 pm, with California poets Dana Gioia, Lee Herrick, and Susan Kelly-Dewitt, Calaveras Poet Laureate Linda Toren, and Monika Rose of Manzanita Writers Press.

The day will include paid and free activities: $45 for the day includes two workshops, writing on the spot, a walk with the poets and docents in the North Grove, journaling and live writing, then sharing your work in the Jack Knight Hall with the public invited in a participant reading at 3 pm. After 3 pm, there will be free readings by the featured poets, participants, and Poetry Out Loud recitations by regional young poets in Jack Knight Hall.


9-3 pm ($45): Workshops, Walk with the poets, journaling and writing beneath the giant Sequoia3-6 pm (open for free to the general public): Free public program with Dana Gioia, poets, Poetry Out Loud students, participants, and open mic for the public.

Register for the workshop ($45, space is limited to 75 people)

*Participants are asked to bring their food & beverages for the day since this is not provided, and no restaurants or food venues are available at the park. Bring your folding chair or stool if needed for the trail. Seating areas are limited. Journals and writing implements are not provided. Entrance to the park is also not covered by the event fee. Cost for that: $10 per carload. Handicapped access is available in parts of the park.

Contact Manzanita Writers Press for event schedule information, and reservation updates. manzanitawp@gmail.com 

About the poets:

Dana Gioia is an internationally acclaimed poet and writer. Former California Poet laureate and Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, Gioia was born in Los Angeles of Italian and Mexican descent. The first person in his family to attend college, he received a B.A. and M.B.A. from Stanford and an M.A. from Harvard in Comparative Literature. For fifteen years, he worked as a businessman before quitting at forty-one to become a full-time writer. His surname is pronounced Joy-a.

Lee Herrick is the current California Poet Laureate. He is the author of three books of poems: Scar and Flower, finalist for the Northern California Book Award; Gardening Secrets of the Dead; and This Many Miles from Desire. He is co-editor of The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit. His writing appears widely in literary magazines, textbooks, and anthologies such as HERE: Poems for the Planet, with an introduction by the Dalai Lama; Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, with an introduction by Common; and Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy, among others. He served as Fresno Poet Laureate from 2015-2017. Born in Daejeon, Korea and adopted to the United States at ten months, he teaches at Fresno City College and the MFA program at the University of Nevada, Reno at Lake Tahoe.

Poet and visual artist Susan Kelly-DeWitt is the author of the full-length poetry collections Gatherer’s Alphabet (CA Poets Prize, Gunpowder Press, 2022), Gravitational Tug (Main Street Rag, 2020), Spider Season (Cold River Press, 2016), and The Fortunate Islands (Marick Press, 2008), as well as numerous chapbooks. Her honors include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University and the Chicago Literary Award from Another Chicago Magazine. Her work has been included in many anthologies, including The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (2011), In Whatever Houses We May Visit: An Anthology of Poems That Have Inspired Physicians (2008), Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California’s Great Central Valley (1996) and Claiming the Spirit Within: A Sourcebook of Women’s Poetry (2001).

Current Calaveras County Poet Laureate, Linda Toren lives in the foothills of Calaveras County with her husband Theo, dogs, a cat, two pigs and many chickens. Linda is a retired teacher and currently director of Voices of Wisdom through Manzanita Writer’s Press (MWP). She has presented poetry workshops for children and adults—publishing schoolwide collections of poetry and art at local elementary schools for more than 15 years. Her poetry appears in the following collections Manzanita: Poetry and Prose of the Mother Lode & Sierra (MWP 1995 – 2008), Wild Edges (MWP 2013) Wine, Cheese & Chocolate (MWP 2014), Voices of Wisdom (MWP 2018, 2019), Out of the Fire (MWP 2017), Teaching with Fire (Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach) by Sam M. Intrator & Megan Scribner, editors (2003), CollisionV: an Intersection of Poetry and Photography (2018).

Monika Rose, at home in the foothills of Calaveras County since the early 1980s, living the rural good life with her husband on a small cattle ranch, founded Manzanita Writers Press, a nonprofit literary publisher in San Andreas. She has been published in many anthologies and literary magazines. Busy editing and publishing California authors’ books, leading workshops, directing programs, and promoting the literary arts in the region, with nine new books coming out by the press in 2023, she has also focused on her writing projects. Her book of poems, River by the Glass, by GlenHill Publications, and her children’s book for early readers, Bed Bumps, will have company soon with a novel, a collection of short fiction, a poetry collection, and three more children’s books. The Call – A Moth Journey, a children’s book for grades 4-7, will be released in August of 2023. As an Adjunct Associate Professor of English at San Joaquin Delta College for over two decades and retired from full-time high school teaching, she continues to encourage her students to write their stories.

This project is supported by a Humanities for All Project Grant


July 15, 2023
9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Free – $45
Grant Line:


Calaveras Big Trees State Park
1170 CA-4
Arnold, CA 95223 United States
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