Al Young title

A TRIBUTE TO NILS PETERSON | San José State University, Friday, March 18, 2011, 7 pm




The beautiful woman gone
leaving the shop to young men making
their way in the January world
with cell phones and computers –

and me.

Outside, a sunny day.
too warm for the season.

A phone rings – a barista calls out
“Tall vanilla soy latte.”
Strange talk to one who grew up
with a nickel cup of joe.

There are fewer and fewer
native speakers of one’s born language.

You learn to live with translations.

Nils Peterson


The SJSU Department of English and Comparative Literature, the Creative Writing Program, and the Poets and Writers Coalition will sponsor a special program, “A Tribute to Nils Peterson,” Santa Clara County poet laureate, at 7 p.m. March 18 in the Student Union Barrett Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

“The program, organized in affiliation with the Arts Council Silicon Valley and co-sponsored by Poetry Center San Jose, will feature readings and tributes to Nils Peterson by former California Poet Laureate Al Young and by a group of Peterson’s former students and literary colleagues, many of whom are distinguished writers and poets and teachers active in the Bay Area,” said SJSU Professor and Creative Writing Program Director Alan Soldofsky.

Peterson’s two-year term as Santa Clara County’s first poet laureate will come to a close in April 2011. He is professor emeritus at SJSU where he taught from 1963 to 1999.  He was coordinator of the creative writing emphasis for more than 20 years, and served as coordinator of the creative arts and chair of the Humanities Department.

AL YOUNG  |  Photo © Rafael Alvarado

Click here for additional information about this upcoming SJSU event


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