Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture
Tahoe Arts and Mountain Culture

2011 Winner of Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize: Lexa Hillyer at LTCC Nov 2

Posted on October 5, 2012
Filed Under Lake Tahoe Truckee Writers

How fitting. Melissa was born in New York…

On November 2nd at 7 pm, Bona Fide Books will launch Brooklyn poet Lexa Hillyer’s award-winning collection “Acquainted with the Cold” at a reading at the Lake Tahoe Community College’s Writers’ Series. The event is free and open to the public.

“Acquainted with the Cold” is Hillyer’s first collection, and it won Bona Fide’s 2011 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize, offered annually in honor of the local artist who died in 2009. The book is concerned with the intersection of nature and city, and takes the reader on an invigorating ode to the seasons.

“I kept returning to the sounds of the seasons in these poems,” says Kim Wyatt, publisher of Bona Fide Books, which awards the prizewinner publication, $500 and a reading at Lake Tahoe. “Acquainted with the Cold” is available online through Bona Fide Books and Amazon, and after November 2 in select stores in the Tahoe region; go to for more details.

Hillyer received her MFA in Poetry from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. She was the recipient of the Inaugural Poetry Prize from Tusculum Review and the First Prize in Poetry from Brick & Mortar Review, and was named one of the “Best New Poets of 2012” by Matthew Dickman. Hillyer worked as an editor at both Harper Collins and Penguin, and is co-founder of boutique literary incubator Paper Lantern Lit.

Laura Kasischke, National Book Critics Circle winner for “Space, in Chains” calls Hillyer “an important new voice in poetry.” Don’t miss this opportunity to see one of the brightest emerging poets in America read from her mesmerizing collection. Books will be available for signing and purchase. Sacramento Poet Laureate Jeff Knorr will also read at this event.

Lake Tahoe Community College is located at 1 College Drive in South Lake Tahoe. For more information on this or other Bona Fide events, contact Kim Wyatt at or visit the website at

Bona Fide Books, a small indie press in South Lake Tahoe, aims to promote bold, unsung writers and connect them with readers. In an alleged age of declining readership, Bona Fide wants to give everyone a reason to read.  Owner and publisher Kim Wyatt created Bona Fide Books to revitalize our passion for reading and to build a sense of community.  In addition to an online community, Bona Fide also has a bricks and mortar office, the Center for Wayward Writers, located in South Lake Tahoe.

Kim created The Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize in August 2010 in honor of her dear friend who passed away in February 2009. Melissa and Kim formed a deep friendship based upon their shared passion for community, art and literature. Along the way, through late night discussions of art, work, life and the Tahoe community they bonded and supported each others creative process to be “brave and unapologetic” while they followed their dreams.

Shown above is one of Melissa’s recycled paper-mâché art helmets she called the Sonnet Bonnet. A lover of English poet and playwright William Shakespeare, Melissa used some of the tattered pages of her favorite Shakespeare sonnets or poems that dealt with love, beauty and mutability to create this lovely visual allegory of her life.

Melissa’s creativity and enthusiasm has left an indelible impression on everyone she met. Through her efforts to help shape the North and South Tahoe art scene, she has inspired several artists and entrepreneurs around Lake Tahoe and Truckee to boldly follow our dreams.

We live in a special place. A place so beautiful it nurtures the soul and creative spirit. A place so breathtaking it inspires conservation. A mountain culture that masters the fine art of living. Welcome to this place we call home. Welcome to Lake Tahoe. Meet the local artists, individuals, businesses and events that define our unique mountain culture and embody Tahoe's creative and entrepreneurial spirit.
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