Francisco Reinking and Phoebe Wayne collaborated to provide an evening that was both fun and cerebral, marked by a special high—the moment when those chocolate covered ginger slices from Trader Joe’s were rolled out. For me, the whole evening was an exercise in staving off the dilemma of whether to have the chocolate covered ginger or to have the chocolate covered espresso beans. I’m afraid I lapsed into a few irrational choices.
Francisco Reinking started off the evening by reading a good number of his ethereal short lyrics that juxtaposed juxtaposed gargoyles with call numbers. He read quite a few poems while sitting down, after Mississippi John Hurt, one of his idols. He read “King’s Version of a Camcorder,” “From a Gargoyle’s Marriage to a Wall,” “The Drunk Gargoyle Explains Her Job,” “Gargoyle’s Eyes Thaw,” “Agreement Spurned,” “Esse,” “Code Autumn,” and “Call Number”
Eel to the loan company
I walked the mouth
where the swamp fed the sea,
cradled a dolphin
pup I found in the tide.
Crossing the bridge,
some authorities told me,
“Let him swim again,”
and put him on my wrist.
He stung thru my shirtsleeve.
At the bank I wrested
and threw the whole bundle—
the dolphin, which is an eel now,
the shirt, and a wrench he’d stolen—
all clanging downstream
where they go about
between more than two banks.
Phoebe Wayne arrived with her entourage and had a picnic with her family outside of the venue in the HQ for the Arts parking lot where I mistook the whole lot of them for actors on a cigarette break from a rehearsal for a play at California Stage.
Phoebe proceeded to read a poem for two voices entitled “Negotiations for the Mother lode,” “Pink Palace,” “Sequence 12,” and “So,”. Then she reached the animal portion of her reading: “The Kamchatka Bear,” “Why Why Why,” “Various Horses,” and “Spider Season.” She continued with “Sea/Ice,” “Glass and Sash,” “Sequence” and “Ceres.” Then with husband Peter Musselman accompanying her on computer, she read “30 Days Beginning with X,” which was read while a short movie was projected overhead of a driver’s perspective of a car speeding down the road. This was superimposed over a road map with Lost Gulch, among other towns, peeking through the driving action in the foreground.
The open mic featured Adam Burrell whom I had picked out in front of SPC loitering and collared for duty setting up chairs before the reading. He read two poems: one to the promise of youth and the other a reflection on the Virginia Tech shootings. Joshua Clover graciously appeared after taking the train in from Berkeley and read the work of George Stanley, former San Francisco Renaissance poet who moved to Vancouver in the 1970s. He read Stanley’s “Vera Cruz”. The irrepressible Michele Kunnert read two poems. Frank Graham, the editor of Poetry Now, read poems dedicated to the Iraqi children, to the people who made Little League, to night birds, and finally to cognitive therapy. Joe Atkins, arriving without even a poem in his pocket (how sad!), picked up a copy of Cole Swensen’s It’s Like You Never Left published by Ibis Press in 1983 off of the SPC shelf and resourcefully read a short piece from that book.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Weekend goal: To bring participants into the literary world (Proust’s world) of time, symbol, dream, memory and personal myth -- an author-guided tour to your own best and most authentic writing.
Lawrence Spann will facilitate a weekend writing intensive sponsored by the UC Davis Cancer Center’s Outreach Research and Education Program as part of its “Writing as Healing” project, Friday November 16 evening through Sunday November 18, 2007 in the Facilities Support Services Building, 4800 2nd Ave, on the UC Davis Health System campus in Sacramento.
Dr. Spann founded the Literature, Arts and Medicine Program in Sacramento. Group members write to a prompt, but are not limited to it, and read what they write to the group on a voluntary basis.
All writing is treated as fiction and is confidential. All comments are positive and uplifting. Dr. Spann writes and reads with the group and comments from a literary perspective. Literary figures will be integrated throughout the weekend with handouts and explanations.
Register by calling or sending an email to
Patti Robinson, 916-734-0823 or
For more information, call Patti (916-734-
0823) or Marlene von Friederichs-Fitzwater,
Ph.D., Director, Outreach Research &
Education Program, UC Davis Cancer
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Chad Sweeney read a number of pieces from his forthcoming book from Anhinga Press out of Tallahassee entitled Arranging the Blaze set to appear in 2009. His ghost armed itself with an incantatory style that put a hex on my camera. Or perhaps it was the flurry of his word stylings that were too fast to capture in The Space’s dark room. Nevertheless, the visage of Mr. Sweeney appeared and read fhis ine poems where in one piece the words of great texts were thrown at a bear. He read a poem where he tried to reinvent the word “is” in English so that it would not appear so static. Miraculously, he seemed to apply this word to himself as slowly, his outline transformed into smoke and then a man wearing a red flannel shirt and then into the vapor of cough spray. Or was it a shy perfume?
Viola Weinberg read from her new collection entitled Letters to Pablo Neruda. The book was comprised of selected epistolary poems (letters as poems) that Weinberg has written to the imagined spectre of Pablo Neruda, who has been looming over her darkest and brightest days for 25 years. The book is a search for the old great poet as muse, as sounding board for what has transpired in Weinberg’s life. Neruda has been accompanying Weinberg to her most private spaces and out on the open road in New Mexico among the burros in a burro sanctuary, even to beautiful Raley Field here in Sacramento. The results speak for themselves. Weinberg speaks frankly to Neruda as muse, bouncing her reflections off of him as she places Neruda between herself and the world. Neruda takes on the role of shadow presence and confessor for Weinberg as she yearns for Neruda frequently enough to forge her fantasy into a physical presence. He could almost serve as tour guide for her bed. Neruda has served as a guide for Weinberg through her writing life as she has seen many of her writer friends succumb to the pressures of "real" life. For her, Neruda has been the guide to the straight and narrow of her life as a writer. neruda is the companion that haunts her when she strays from her endeavor to write (imagine that!—a muse as a disciplinarian). Yet perhaps the word haunt is not quite the right word for how Neruda has invited himself into Weinberg's life, but it is a crude approximation for a houseguest who stays for 25 years and won't go away.