Celebrating over 30 years as an arts organization.


The Center hosts readings, workshops, lectures, and publishes a variety of poetry publications. SPC is located in the R25 Arts Complex located on the corner of R & 25th Streets in midtown Sacramento.



Sacramento Poetry Center memberships support a variety of local poetry programs, publications, readings, and events. Members receive a free subscription to Tule Review and Poetry Now. Please send your check for $30 or more to SPC, 1719 25th St., Sacramento, CA 95816. Fixed incomes are $15.


Sacramento Poetry Center Video Bar

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

BRANDON CESMAT—LIVE at HQ for the Arts



Brandon Cesmat sailed into town after a nice long hike with his cousin in the morning in the Sierras. He arrived, donning his Ovation guitar and gourd rattle, and he plugged his tape loop machine into the PA. We were set. All that was needed was an audience.

Apparently, only Susan and Joe Finkelman, Rebecca Morrison, Frank Graham, and Michele Kunnert have heard that the Sacramento Poetry Center NOW HAS AIR CONDITIONING!

But Brandon persevered and went on to give this small audience the ride of its life. He bounced from singing vocalese songs ( a poem entitled “So What” that usurped the melody of Miles Davis’s “So What” complete with harmonized backing vocals as provided by the tape loop machine) to more plaintive and soulful pieces like “the Long Pass” to political-historical romps like “Testosterone Poisoning: A Male Problem.” All from memory.



After “So What” Cesmat launched into a short poem entitled “God Song” whose lyrics were set to a John Coltrane tune. Between stanzas Cesmat improvised on vocal trumpet.

Cesmat then explained about the Santa Ana winds of southern California and read “Santa Ana.” He explained how the poem had become a song after the windswept Paradise Flats fires blew past his house. He jumped in his car, and began thinking about this poem a little more concertedly.

“Where Was Fidel When I Needed Him” ruminated on the story of Elian Gonzalez, and Cesmat took issue with Fidel Castro’s absence when his own father was less than present, his grandfather singing him to sleep instead. Listen to it here [2:22].

Turning to the issue of the night, a culture obsessed with violence, Cesmat endeavored to show the softer side of American football with “The Long Pass,” reaching near epiphanic heights on the gridiron. “Why aren’t there more football poems?” he asked. Why do baseball and boxing garner so much literary attention?

“Testosterone Poisoning: a Male Problem” asked whether it might be better for men to sacrifice one of their testicles in the humanity but worried that too many might sacrifice the wrong one and end up like Hitler.

A newer piece that is not featured in Cesmat’s Driven Into the Shade were next. One entitled “Night Classes” was about the struggles of students who try to balance difficult and busy lives alongside of personal habits that many might not find so admirable.

“Park” features a speaker projecting himself as a car and driving between the people he meets at his class reunion. Such a speaker muses about his place in the world without a garage in the outskirts to return to.

“The Conference” referred to advice given at a writing conference and what it might mean to a poet who puts as much emphasis on putting a poem out into the airwaves as on paper.

Cesmat turned political in “In the Memory Market,” where a shopper is choosing among various different atrocities and brutality that has been perpetrated in the name of maintaining power. Only at the end do we learn that the shop’s proprietor who is keeping his wares on the shelves is really ourselves.

“Lightning, All Directions” is the tale of love in an observatory. (Listen here [1:18])

“The Song of Enough” (Listen here [4:09]) and “Ice Drum” (Listen here [3:01]) rounded out the evening, followed by a form poem ,“The Compassionate Conservative Blues,” a snarky homage to good intentions gone awry.

After forty-five minutes of frivolity and sobriety, Cesmat headed back to his San Diego home, and Sacramento’s small but devoted audience, spirits lifted by a man with a vision of how music can be the tendril wrapped around poetry, was greeted by a very cool and comfortable evening.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

BEN HIATT [1942-2007]



Ben Hiatt
January 29, 1942-June 16, 2007

Ben died June 16 with his wife and sons at his side. There was no service.

To borrow from the bio on Rooting For the Rooster (Rattlesnake Press, 2005), Ben’s last chapbook :

He began publishing his original poetry in 1958 at the age of 16. He has now published poetry in six different decades, including somewhere around 30 books and chapbooks of poetry and one collection of stories and essays, The View From Mt. Aukum. He has received several literary awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Cash Award in 1970 as one of “America’s Most Promising Younger Poets”. In 1972, he was listed in Who’s Who in America.

During the early and mid-‘60’s, Ben Hiatt was an integral part of the “Mimeo Revolution” in small press publishing. In the late ‘60’s and early ‘70’s he was a pioneer in what was to later become known as “Typewriter Offset” publishing. He was also an influential editor/publisher who published several literary magazines, including The Grande Ronde Review, Seared Eye, Nimbus Basin, Sacramento Poetry Express, The Mt. Aukum Review, The Hangtown Fry, and The Mountain Trader, a general-interest regional monthly magazine.

Over the years, Ben has designed, printed and bound scores of books by other poets and writers under several imprints, including Grande Ronde Press, Island City Press, The Sacramento Poetry Exchange, and Mt. Aukum Press.

Ben Hiatt also worked with California Poets in the Schools for fifteen years, teaching poetry writing to students in all grades from kindergarten to high school.

Ben was a truly memorable man. In the words of Ben’s old friend, Annie Menebroker:

Ben was a loveable and difficult personality and upon hearing he was gone, a whole community did the wave of sorrow.

Poems by Ben Hiatt

Spring
Wise Child
Dealer's Choice

Friday, July 20, 2007

JULY 28 | The Poetry of Charles Baudelaire


Sacramento Literary Events for July/August

9 Monday
SPC Board of Directors meets at
Carmichael Library, 5605 Marconi
Avenue. 5:45-7:00pm.
Sacramento Poetry Center
presents Catherine French. 7:30
pm at Carmichael Library, 5605
Marconi Avenue. Bob Stanley
and Indigo Moor host.

10 Tuesday
SPC Poetry Workshop, 7:30pm,
Hart Senior Center, 27th & J.
Bring 15 - 20 copies of your one-
page poem. Info: Danyen, (530)
756-6228

Bistro 33 Poetry Series. 8:30 pm
Open Mic after. Bistro 33 in
Historic Davis City Hall, 226 “F”
Street, 3rd and “F” Streets in
Davis.

11 Wednesday
Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology
Hour, host Andy Jones, 5pm,
KDVS-90.3 FM or subscribe to
podcast at www.kdvs.org.

12 Thursday
Luna’s Poetry Unplugged
features TBA. Open mic before/
after. Hosted by Geoffrey Neill.
8pm at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th
Street. Info: 441-3931 or
www.lunascafe.com. Free.

15 Sunday
Third Sunday Writing Group.
Free creative writing workshop.
10th & U, Sacramento.
Contact Nancy Walker for more
information @
oolalaparee03@yahoo.com

16 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center
presents Cache Creek Nature
Preserve Writers. 7:30 pm at HQ
for the Arts, 1719 25th Street.
Rebecca Morrison hosts.

17 Tuesday
SPC Poetry Workshop, 7:30pm,
Hart Senior Center, 27th & J.
Bring 15 - 20 copies of your one-
page poem. Info: Danyen, (530)
756-6228.

The Moore Time for Poetry TV
series presents Pastor Alonzo
Morris and choir plus R & B artist
Willie Whitl. Cablecast on
channel 17, Comcast Cable @
5:00 am.

19 Thursday
Luna’s Poetry Unplugged
features TBA. Open mic before/
after. Hosted by frank andrick.
8pm at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th
Street. Info: 441-3931 or
www.lunascafe.com. Free.

21 Saturday
Underground Poetry Series.
Open mic. 7-9pm, $3.00.
Featuring TBA. Underground
Books, 2814 35th Street (35th
and Broadway. Hosted by Terry
Moore. www.terrymoore.info)

23 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center in
collaboration with Alliance
Francaise to help celebrate the
French Film Festival July 20-29.
Hors d’oevres and visual
entertainment. After the
freatured readers, please join the
open mic and read poems in
French, in translation or about
France. 7:30 pm at HQ for the
Arts, 1719 25th Street. Rebecca
Morrison hosts.

24 Tuesday
SPC Poetry Workshop, 7:30pm,
Hart Senior Center, 27th & J.
Bring 15 - 20 copies of your one-
page poem. Info: Danyen, (530)
756-6228

Bistro 33 Poetry Series. 8:30 pm
Open Mic after. Bistro 33 in
Historic Davis City Hall, 226 “F”
Street, 3rd and “F” Streets in
Davis.

25 Wednesday
Dr. Andy’s Poetry and Technology
Hour, host Andy Jones, 5pm,
KDVS-90.3 FM or subscribe to
podcast at www.kdvs.org.

27 Thursday
Luna’s Poetry Unplugged features
TBA. Open mic before/after.
Hosted by B.L. Kennedy. 8pm at
Luna’s Café, 1414 16th Street.
Info: 441-3931 or
www.lunascafe.com. Free.

28 Saturday
“The Show” Poetry Series. 9 pm
at Wo’se Community Center (Off
35th and Broadway), 2863 35th
Street, Sacramento. $5.00. Info:
T.Mo at (916) 455-POET.

August 2007
2 Thursday
Poetry Unplugged features TBA.
1414 16th Street. Info: 441-3931
or www.lunascafe.com. Free.
Festivities begin at 8pm and
there will be an open mic as well.
Hosted by Mario Ellis Hill.

5 Sunday
PoemSpirits featuring guest
reader TBA .Free and open to
the public; open mic, light
refreshments provided. Bring a
favorite poem to share, yours or
another’s. Location: UUSS, 2425
Sierra Blvd., Sacramento, CA
95825: www.uuss.org. Contact:
Tom Goff or Nora Staklis: 916-
481-3312, or JoAnn Anglin: 916-
451-1372.

6 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center
presents (tentative). 7:30 pm at
HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th Street.
Bob Stanley hosts.

7 Tuesday
SPC Poetry Workshop, 7:30pm,
Hart Senior Center, 27th & J.
Bring 15 - 20 copies of your one-
page poem. Info: Danyen, (530)
756-6228

The Moore Time for Poetry TV
series presents poet Nikki Skies
from Los Angeles. Cablecast on
channel 17, Comcast Cable @
5:00 am.

8 Wednesday
Dr. Andy’s Poetry and
Technology Hour, host Andy
Jones, 5pm, KDVS-90.3 FM or
subscribe to podcast at
www.kdvs.org.

9 Thursday
Luna’s Poetry Unplugged
features TBA. Open mic before/
after. Hosted by Geoffrey Neill.
8pm at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th
Street. Info: 441-3931 or
www.lunascafe.com. Free.

13 Monday
SPC Board of Directors meets at
Carmichael Library, 5605
Marconi Avenue. – 5:45-7:00pm.
Sacramento Poetry Center
presents Stan Zumbiel. 7:30 pm
at Carmichael Library, 5605
Marconi Avenue. Bob Stanley
and Indigo Moor host.

14 Tuesday
SPC Poetry Workshop, 7:30pm,
Hart Senior Center, 27th & J.
Bring 15 - 20 copies of your one-
page poem. Info: Danyen, (530)
756-6228

Bistro 33 Poetry Series. 8:30 pm
Open Mic after. Bistro 33 in
Historic Davis City Hall, 226 “F”
Street, 3rd and “F” Streets in
Davis.

16 Thursday
Luna’s Poetry Unplugged
features TBA. Open mic before/
after. Hosted by frank andrick.
8pm at Luna’s Café, 1414 16th
Street. Info: 441-3931 or
www.lunascafe.com. Free.

18 Saturday
Underground Poetry Series.
Open mic. 7-9pm, $3.00.
Featuring TBA. Underground
Books, 2814 35th Street

23 Thursday - 8 p.m. - Kelly Richardson and April Jenkins read plus open mic. Poetry Unplugged at Luna's, 1414 16th Street. Hosted by b. l. k. Free. http://www.lunascafe.com, 916-441-3931.

25 Saturday - 7-9 p.m. The Show presents poets Michael Guinn from Texas, Frank Andrick, Simoetry, Cleo Cartel and The Forgotten One, at the Wo'se Community Center, 2863 35th Street (off 35th and Broadway across from the parking lot). For vendor or event information please call T. Mo at (916) 208-POET. "The Show" is every last Saturday of the month. $5. This is a family event. "The BEST SHOW IN TOWN with an Open Mic, Top Notch Features and Live Band LSB." Sponsored by the FREEDOM EQUITY GROUP. Click here

27 Monday - 7:30 p.m. - Luke Warm Water reads at at SPC, 25th and R. Free. 916-979-9706. Open mic.

28 Tuesday - 8 p.m. TBA reads plus open mic at The Bistro, 3rd and F Streets in Davis, 2nd and 4th Tuesdays. Free. http://www.bistro33.com/bistro33_davis 530-756-4556 or aojones@ucdavis.edu

30 Thursday - 8 p.m. - Josh Fernandez reads plus open mic. Poetry Unplugged at Luna's, 1414 16th Street. Hosted by franc andrick. Free. http://www.lunascafe.com, 916-441-3931.