Why to These Rocks

Why to These Rocks
Hardcover, 6 x 9, 304 pages.
ISBN: 9781597145305.

By Lisa Alvarez

The Community of Writers (formerly Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference) celebrates fifty years of its annual summer poetry workshop in Olympic Valley, California, with this collection of one hundred and forty poems first composed there. Edited by writers workshop codirector Lisa Alvarez and introduced by longtime poetry director Robert Hass, the book is divided into three sections: poems that evoke the Valley’s physical setting, with its granite-and-pine mountain beauty; poems that peer into the poetic process, filled with inspiration and idiosyncrasy; and poems of all shapes and kinds that owe their origins to the workshop and its productive morning review sessions. Contributors include both workshop staff and participants, among them Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, Al Young, Matthew Zapruder, Harryette Mullen, Galway Kinnell, Rita Dove, Cornelius Eady, Robert Hass, and Forrest Gander.

The title of the collection comes from a question posed by original poetry director Galway Kinnell: “Then why to these rocks / Do I keep coming back why.” It speaks to the special community nurtured in this stunning setting, one that has inspired poets worldwide–many of whom developed significant bodies of award-winning work in its creative and generative atmosphere.


"The literary legacy of the Community of Writers spreads far and wide in contemporary American poetry. It makes change, meaningfully, in the lives and careers of writers.” —Evie Shockley
+ Show all reviews

About the Author

Lisa Alvarez

Lisa Alvarez

Lisa Alvarez is a professor of English at Irvine Valley College. Her poetry and prose has appeared in numerous literary journals. Alvarez coedited Writer’s Workshop in a Book: The Community of Writers on the Art of Fiction with Alan Cheuse and Orange County: A Literary Field Guide with Andrew Tonkovich. She codirects the annual Community of Writers summer conference in Olympic Valley, California, and lives in Modjeska Canyon.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the page above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


P.O. Box 9145Berkeley, CA 94709(510) 549-3564

vertical logo for Heyday Books

Newsletter Sign Up

Privacy Preference Center