history
of THE ANNUAL poetry reading

The Morton Marcus Poetry Reading began one year after Mort's passing, on November 6, 2010.  Since that time many renowned poets have come to Santa Cruz to honor Marcus's spirit at the annual event.

 

THE inaugural reading

November 6, 2010, featuring Robert Hass

The first Memorial Reading was held at Cabrillo College and featured Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner and U.S. Poet Laureate (1995-1997) Robert Hass. Also featured was the launch of Marcus’s final book, The Dark Figure in the Doorway, with readings by poets Joseph Stroud, Gary Young and Stephen Kessler.

 

Below is the video of the inaugural reading, filmed by Community TV of Santa Cruz, as well as press articles.

THE 2nd annual reading

November 20, 2011, featuring Kay Ryan

The second reading was held at UC Santa Cruz, featuring Pulitzer Prize winner, MacArthur Fellow and U.S. Poet Laureate (2008-2010) Kay Ryan. Hosted by Gary Young, the event also featured poets Shirley Ancheta and Jeff Tagami, who reminisced about Marcus and read his poetry.

 

 

THE 3rd annual reading

November 10, 2012, featuring Arthur Sze

The third reading was held at Cabrillo College and featured American Book Award winner Arthur Sze. Hosted by Gary Young.

 

Phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the first Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, David Allen Sullivan, who read his winning work, "Take Wing." Al Young Judged the 2012 submissions.

THE 4th annual reading

November 14, 2013, featuring Naomi Shihab Nye

The fourth reading was held at UC Santa Cruz and featured award-winning Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye. Hosted by Gary Young,  phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the 2nd Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, Danusha Laméris, who read her winning work, "Riding Bareback.".  Gary Young judged the 2013 submissions.

THE 5th annual reading

November 13, 2014, featuring Peter Everine and Chuck Hanzlicek

The fifth reading was held at the Erica Schilling Forum at Cabrillo College and featured poets Peter Everwine and Chuck Hanzlicek. Hosted by Gary Young, Santa Cruz Writes and phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the 3rd Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, Marsha De La O, who read her winning work, "The Beautiful World." Christopher Buckley judged the 2014 submissions.

THE 6th annual reading

November 12, 2015, featuring Al Young

The sixth reading was held at UC Santa Cruz and featured California Poet Laureate Emeritus Al Young. Hosted by Gary Young,  phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the 4th Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, Alexandra Barylski, who read her winning work, "A Letter." Stephen Kessler judged the 2015 submissions.

THE 7th annual reading

November 3, 2016, featuring Joe Stroud

The seventh reading was held at Cabrillo College and featured Pushcart Prize and Lannan Lifetiime Achievement Award winner Joe Stroud. Hosted by Gary Young,  phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the 5th Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, Nicholas Tolkien, whose winning poem was "The Taxidermist's Daughter."

THE 8th annual reading

November 16, 2017, featuring Dorianne Laux. The eighth reading was held at UC Santa Cruz and featured Paterson Prize and Oregon Book Award winner Dorianne Laux. Hosted by Gary Young,  Phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the 6th Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, Elizabeth Dutton, who read her winning poem "Native Daughter of the Golden West.."  Ellen Bass judged the 2017 submissions. The evening was a huge success with over 400 in attendance, many of whom were students.

THE 9th annual reading

November 15, 2018, featuring Gary Snyder. The ninth reading was held at UC Santa Cruz and featured Gary Snyder, best known as a poet (often associated with the Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance). Snyder is a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the American Book Award.

Phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the 7th Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, Veronica Kornberg, for her poem "Stealing Mulberries." The 2018 submissions were judged by Danusha Laméris, and the $1,000 prize was sponsored by George Ow, Jr. and Ow Family Properties.

Watch the Video of this reading HERE

THE 10th annual reading

November 7, 2019, featuring Gary Soto. The anniversary reading was held at UC Santa Cruz and featured Gary Soto. The author of over over twenty books of poetry and prose for adults and over thirty books for younger readers, he focuses on the daily trials and tribulations of Spanish-speaking Americans. But, through crisp, clear imagery and his true-to-life characters, Soto connects with readers of all ages and backgrounds. He is an American Book Award winner and Guggenheim Fellow.


Phren-Z online literary magazine announced the winner of the 8th Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, Paola Bruni, for her poem "Limoncini" The 2019 submissions were judged by Patrice Vecchione, and the $1,000 prize was sponsored by George Ow, Jr. and Ow Family Properties.

Watch the video of this reading HERE

THE 11th annual reading

November 12, 2020, featuring Morgan Parker.