Home town poets Alicia Mountain and Kenneth Hart, both alumni of Columbia High School, are the featured readers this fall at Watershed Literary Events, a spoken word series sponsored by Cultural Affairs in South Orange.
ALICIA MOUNTAIN was raised in South Orange, NJ, and graduated from Columbia High School in 2006. Her poems have been published widely, in The Nation, Shenandoah, Poetry Daily, Sixth Finch, Poetry Northwest, Guernica, Puerto del Sol, The Southampton Review, and elsewhere. Mountain’s debut collection of poems, High Ground Coward, was selected by Brenda Shaughnessy for the 2018 Iowa Poetry Prize. She is also the author of Thin Fire, selected by Natalie Diaz for the BOAAT Chapbook Prize. A lesbian poet and activist, she is a Clemens Doctoral Fellow at the University of Denver. Mountain earned her MFA at the University of Montana in Missoula. She lives in New York City.
KENNETH HART grew up in Maplewood, NJ, and graduated from Columbia High School in 1983. A graduate of Warren Wilson College’s MFA program, he teaches writing at New York University and is Poetry Editor of The Florida Review. His poems have appeared in Arts & Letters, North American Review, Mississippi Review, Barrow Street, and Poet Lore, among other publications, and have been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. He is the 2007 co-winner of the Allen Ginsberg Award and the recipient of the 2008 editor’s prize for New Ohio Review. Hart’s poetry collection, Uh Oh Time, was selected by Mark Jarman for the 2007 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. He lives in Long Valley, works for Hart Roofing of Maplewood, and spends his summers in Alaska.
“These two award-winning writers embody the courage and originality we are looking to feature in our Watershed series,” says Sandy Martiny, Director of Cultural Affairs for the Village.
Watershed Literary Events will host four readings a year, and feature both established and emerging New Jersey writers working in a variety of mediums. A watershed describes an area of land made up of small streams and rivers that all flow into the same larger body of water; it also suggests a turning point.
“Our name reflects South Orange's desire to tap into the rich, diverse sources of literary talent in our communities to create something bigger than ourselves,” says Theresa Burns, a local poet who curates the readings for the Village. “We hope residents, young and old, will come out to welcome Alicia and Ken, listen to their work, and be inspired by what they’ve achieved.”
The September 27 event will begin at 7 pm and be followed by audience Q&A, light refreshments, and a book signing. Copies of both authors’ titles will be available for purchase.