Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California's First Poet Laureate is a new biography about a pioneer poet, Oakland's first public librarian, and the most popular literary ambassador in the early American West. George's deftly told and deeply researched book follows the struggles and triumphs of Coolbrith from her birth in 1841 as a niece of Mormon founder Joseph Smith to her death in 1928 as California's most beloved poet.
California crowned Ina Coolbrith its first poet laureate in 1915 during San Francisco's Panama-Pacific International Exposition, and 2015 marks the centennial of her being named California's beloved first lady of letters.
Aleta George writes about nature and culture in California. Her work has been featured in Smithsonian.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times. This is her first book.
"Telling Coolbrith's story, author Aleta George offers an intriguing glimpse of fin de siècle California and the rousing, sometimes rowdy adolescence of our nation."
-Gerald Haslam, award-winning author and professor emeritus, Sonoma State University
"In a book marked by literary grace and conviction, Aleta George presents a nuanced yet compelling portrait of a major California figure."
-Malcolm Margolin, Heyday Books
"Coolbrith's life is so captivating that it has been waiting not just for another biographer, but for a first-rate storyteller."
- David Alpaugh, Ina Coolbrith Circle