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Book Talk: D. A. Powell and the Northern California Book Awards

The Northern California Book Reviewers have shortlisted the books for the 32nd Annual Northern California Book Awards, and D.A. Powell, a Sacramento area favorite, is on the list.

Why does that matter?

Well, he’s also going to be featured in this year’s Festival of the Arts at California State University, Sacramento. On Friday, April 12, from 3 to 4 p.m., Powell will read and hold a book signing at the University Library Gallery.

Powell’s newest book, the one being considered for the poetry award, is “Useless Landscape: A Guide for Boys,” and was published by Graywolf Press in early 2012.

With poems like “Head Out on the Highway,” “The Price of Funk in Funkytown” and “Riverfront Park, Marysville, CA,” Powell presents the between. His ear and attention to language is always careful and appropriate to the poem. There’s also always a little twist.

About Powell, Dr. Joshua McKinney, the event’s host, said:

“To my mind, D.A. Powell has with his last two books assumed his rightful place in the pantheon of California poets—I mean those poets for whom the California landscape (in Powell’s case the Central Valley) and the landscapes of the poet’s psyche, blood, and bone become one and the same. No one captures this terrain—its beauty, futility, and sadness—better than D.A. Powell. He’s a poet whose work draws me back to it often, and I am always humbled and instructed and amazed.”

Other Sacramento area favorites being considered include Lucille Lang Day and her book, “Married at Fourteen: A True Story,” published by Heyday; Art Beck and his translation from the Latin of “Opera Omnia” by Luxorious, published by Otis Books, Seismicity Editions; and Robert Hass and his book, “What Light Can Do: Essays on Art, Imagination, and the Natural World.”

Lang Day’s reading at The Avid Reader a few months ago is still being talked about. If you see her, be sure to ask about the hair. Beck has read several times at the Sacramento Poetry Center, and Hass is the director of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and will return to Sacramento in June to read at a benefit to be held at the Crocker Art Museum.

In the meantime, mark your calendar and make your way out to the University Library Gallery Friday, April 12 at 3 p.m. to hear Powell read from his new, and perhaps older, works.

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