A Vibrant Community

A Vibrant Community

Monday, February 23, 2015

Conversation and Poetry with Louise Nayer

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Louise Nayer, a native New Yorker, now San Franciscan, grew up among books, music, theater, art and dance. She attended the honors program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1967 and graduated with a B.A. in Comparative Literature. She also studied with the poet Ruth Stone. In 1971 Vehicule Press in Monreal, Canada published Louise's first broadside. In 1974 she attended SUNY at Buffalo for graduate school where she studied with poets Robert Creeley and John Logan. She received a Master of Arts in Humanities (MFA equivalent) and drove out West in 1974. Once in California, she began teaching writing workshops at UC Berkeley Extension Center and later in nursing homes and senior centers. She received California Arts Council grants for six years and was privileged to hear many stories of older people who had survived the Great Depression and the General Strike in San Francisco. She also worked with developmentally disabled seniors, a program her husband developed; she helped them write poems and stories. She collected their work in numerous collections. During the same time, she worked for Poets-in-the Schools, teaching writing workshops for children.

 She has published two books of poetry: Keeping Watch (with funding from the NEA) and The Houses Are Covered in Sound (Blue Light Press) . She co-authored a non-fiction book with Virginia Lang, How to Bury a Goldfish: Celebrations and Ceremonies for Everyday Life (Rodale). Her book Burned: A Memoir (Atlas and Co.) was published in 2010 and won the 2011 Wisconsin Library Association Award and was a finalist for the USA Book News Award. She has given readings all across the country, including on NPR. She has also traveled as a speaker, most recently to The Phoenix society. For over twenty years Louise was an English Professor at City College of San Francisco where she taught Creative Writing, English Composition and Literature while raising her daughters. She lives in Glen Park, a San Francisco neighborhood with her husband. She teaches, writes and still tries to work for a better world for all, particularly through her constant contact with young people, inspiring them to write about what matters. Louise is a member of the San Francisco Writer's Grotto where she spends time working on new writing projects.

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