Literary Southwest Series

Featuring readings and workshops by the Southwest's most prominent authors from diverse backgrounds who work in multiple genres.


Featured readings for Spring 2016 semester:

Friday, February 5 An evening with author and memoirist Bernard Cooper 

Friday, April 8 Readings by celebrated poets Jane Hirshfield and Susan Terris

Thursday, April 14 A reading by Yavapai College Creative Writing Students


Time & Location

  • 7:00 p.m.
  • Yavapai College Library
  • Susan N. Webb Community Room
  • Building 19, Room 147
  • All readings are free and open to the public

Meet Our Featured Authors for Spring 2016


Friday, February 5, 2016, 7 p.m.

Author Bernard Cooper

Bernard Cooper

With his razor-sharp wit and unsparing honesty, Bernard Cooper peels back layers of the familiar, exposing the surprising truths that shape our lives. Cooper’s prose is resonant and exquisitely crafted. Often described as a “writer’s writer,” his disarming memoirs and fiction and his open-hearted, humorous readings and lectures have won him a loyal audience. In his writing he expresses his deepest concerns: how the writer explores identity and human nature by traveling the terrain of memory. Recalling details with delicacy and inventiveness, Cooper’s sensibility ultimately transforms the way we examine our own lives.

Cooper has written two collections of memoirs, Maps to Anywhere and Truth Serum, as well as a novel, A Year of Rhymes, and a collection of short stories, Guess Again. His work has appeared in Granta, Story, Ploughshares, Harper’s, The Paris Review, and The New York Times Magazine. His work has been included in five volumes of The Best American Essays, and in anthologies such as The Oxford Book of Literature on Aging, and the Library of America’s Writing Los Angeles. He is the author of The Bill From My Father: A Memoir and a new collection of essays, My Avant-Garde Education: A Memoir, published in Winter 2015. In February 2015, Miami-Dade College Museum of Art and Design presented an exhibit of Bernard Cooper’s digital montages.

Cooper has won numerous awards and prizes, among them the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Award, an O. Henry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work has been read on This American Life and Selected Shorts from Symphonyspace. For many years, Cooper was the art critic for Los Angeles Magazine. He has taught at Antioch/Los Angeles, for the Masters of Professional Writing program at USC, and at the UCLA Writer’s Program. He has been a core faculty member in the MFA Writing Program at Bennington College. In 2014 he was appointed the Distinguished Visiting Writer at The University of Iowa.

Friday, April 8, 2016, 7 p.m.

Poet Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield 

Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight collections of poetry, including the recently published The Beauty (longlisted for the National Book Award); Come, Thief; After (shortlisted for England’s T.S. Eliot Prize and named a “best book of 2006” by the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the London Financial Times); Given Sugar, Given Salt (finalist for the 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award); The Lives of the Heart; and The October Palace, as well as two books of essays, the recently published Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Knopf, 2015) and Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. She has also edited and co-translated four books containing the work of poets from the past: The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Komachi & Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Japanese Court; Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women; Mirabai: Ecstatic Poems; and The Heart of Haiku, on Matsuo Basho, named an Amazon Best Book of 2011.

Hirshfield’s other honors include The Poetry Center Book Award; fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets; Columbia University’s Translation Center Award; and (both twice) The California Book Award and the Northern California Book Reviewers Award. In 2012 she was received the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry.

Hirshfield’s work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, Harper’s, The Nation, Orion, The American Poetry Review, Poetry, eight editions of The Best American Poetry, five Pushcart Prize Anthologies, and many other publications. Her work frequently appears on Garrison Keillor’s “Writers Almanac” program and she has been featured in two Bill Moyers PBS television specials. In fall 2004, Jane Hirshfield was awarded the 70th Academy Fellowship for distinguished poetic achievement by The Academy of American Poets, an honor formerly held by such poets as Robert Frost, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Elizabeth Bishop. In 2012, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. An intimate, profound, and generous master of her art, Hirshfield has taught at UC Berkeley, Duke University, Bennington College, and elsewhere, and her many appearances at writers’ conferences and literary festivals in this country and abroad have been highly acclaimed.

Susan Terris 

Poet Susan Terris

Susan Terris’ most recent books are Ghost of Yesterday: New & Selected Poems (Marsh Hawk Press) and Memos (Omnidawn). She is the author of six poetry collections, fifteen chapbooks, and three artist's books. She has also written 21 books for children and young adults published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Macmillan, Scholastic, and Doubleday.

Journal publications include The Southern Review, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, and Ploughshares. In recent years, she has won both the George Bogin Award and the Louis Hammer Award from the Poetry Society of America. A poem of hers from FIELD appeared in Pushcart Prize XXXI and a poem from Memos appears in Best American Poetry 2015. Her next book, Take Two: Film Studies, will be published by Omnidawn in 2017. Terris also serves as the editor of Spillway Magazine . In addition to writing and acting as a journal editor, Terris does private editing of poetry and poetry manuscripts. Also, with CB Follett, she runs a yearly series of workshops taught by poet David St. John, Chair of the English Department at the University of Southern California. She lives in San Francisco.

SPECIAL EVENT: Thursday, April 14 at 5:00 pm
Peregrine Book Company hosts

A Reading by Yavapai College Creative Writing Students
Location: 219 N. Cortez St., Prescott.

About the Director - Jim Natal

Jim NatalJim Natal helped found the Hassayampa Institute’s The Literary Southwest series at Yavapai College in 2008 and has served as series director since then. Prior to that he curated and co-hosted literary series and events in Los Angeles for more than 10 years.

Natal is the author of four poetry collections, 52 Views: The Haibun Variations, Memory and Rain, Talking Back to the Rocks, and In the Bee Trees, which was a finalist for the Pen Center USA and Publisher's Marketing Association Ben Franklin Awards. A multiple-year Pushcart Prize nominee, his poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies.

A former executive for the National Football League’s Creative Services Group in Los Angeles for 25 years, Natal received his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles in 2005. With his wife, graphic designer and book artist Tania Baban, he founded Conflux Press in 2003, which specializes in custom trade books

THE LITERARY SOUTHWEST: FEATURED WRITERS 2008-2015

Kim Addonizio Ralph Angel Jimmy Santiago Baca
Dorothy Barresi Beau Beausoleil Marvin Bell
Sherwin Bitsui C.J. Box Gayle Brandeis
Ron Carlson K. L. Cook Ann Cummins
Alison Hawthorne Deming Natalie Diaz Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Mark Doty B. H. Fairchild Alan Dean Foster
Richard Garcia Eloise Klein Healy Steve Heller
Naomi Hirahara Linda Hogan T. R. Hummer
Sean Huze Tara Ison Craig Johnson
Jim Krusoe Ilyse Kusnetz Laila Lalami
Susan Lang Demetria Martinez Gerald McDermott
Dunya Mikhail Jane Miller Manuel Muñoz
Sean Nevin Naomi Shihab Nye Susan Orlean
Jewell Parker Rhodes Alberto Rios Sharman Apt Russell
Benjamin Alire Saenz David St. John James Sallis
Lisa See Rebecca Seiferle Arthur Sze
Laura Tohe Peter Turchi Brian Turner
Charles Harper Webb Al Young Ofelia Zepeda