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.


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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Kate Moses on Sylvia Plath


Lisa Jones interviews the author of Wintering: a Novel of Sylvia Plath

This is a longer excerpt of an interview originally printed in SPC’s Poetry Now.  I interviewed Kate Moses in Stockton, California, just before she gave a lecture at a University of Pacific symposium on Sylvia Plath.  I came away hungry to read Moses’ novel and Plath’s poems and journals.  Should you feel the same, I've posted a list of readings, recommend by Moses, at the end of this interview.

Is the Sylvia Plath you know the one who put her head in the oven and left her children with two cups of milk?  Or was she a survivor writing poetry with a sense of hope--an artist, who’s work matured and became most inspired through the experience of mothering?  According to Kate Moses, both Plaths existed, but because her last and best volume of poetry, Ariel, was not released in accordance with her own editorial intentions, many readers never got to know the resilient side of Plath.  Instead, Ted Hughes and her publishers produced a version placing the poems in the chronological order that Plath wrote them in (not as she edited them), including darker poems that she had intended to leave for another book.  In 2004, Ariel was re-released as Plath intended, but when Kate Moses was first inspired to write about Plath, she had to take the original published version to Kinkos.  She couldn’t rest until she’d reassembled the poems in Plath’s intended order.  That night Moses knew her first novel would be about the Plath that wrote Ariel.

Though the novel, Wintering, is a fictional account, it is based on extensive research--Moses went to London to study Plath’s letters and notes in addition to studying the many journals and published volumes about Plath.  Anne Stevenson, poet and biographer of Plath, praises Wintering as “an admirably just and unexaggerated work” and the Boston Globe described it as “lush, luminous prose.”  Wintering has been published in thirteen languages and received the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for best novel by an American woman in 2003.  

Kate Moses has written a number of articles on Plath, she's authored fiction and non-fiction stories on other subjects, and is one of the founding editors of Salon.com’s Mothers Who Think website, which lead her to edit, with Camille Peri, the nationally bestselling, American Book Award-winning anthology Mothers Who Think: Real Life Tales of Parenting and Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves.  She lives in San Francisco with her husband and two children.

I interviewed Moses at a restaurant in Stockton on October 27, 2008, the 76th anniversary of Sylvia Plath's birth.

Jones:  How did you choose Sylvia Plath as the subject of your novel?

Moses:  When I was first introduced to her work in college I found it terrifying.  Also . . . . I couldn’t get beyond the image of her horrible death and see the work as separate from that.  

About ten years later, after I graduated from University of Pacific (Stockton, CA), I got a job at a small literary publishing company in Berkeley, called North Point West, editing fiction and poetry.  I was there for a number of years and I was eight months pregnant with my son.  One day sorting through the mail, there was a magazine and it had a stanza from Morning Song:

            All night your moth-breath
        
    Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
       
     A far sea moves in my ear.

I thought that was so beautifully strange, I had to read the rest of the poem.  So I found it and it was such a stunning shift in how I had seen her in my own head, but also the most eloquent evocation of the separateness and the connection of mothers and their children, the complexity.  I had never read anything like that, so I went out and bought the collected poems, a couple of biographies, I got the journals, and the Bell Jar.  People thought I was really strange because those were the books I took with me when I gave birth to my son.  
 
I was actually reading Sylvia Plath in the maternity ward and that was what I was reading while I had this tiny little baby, going through exactly the same experience of waking in the night hearing the baby crying.  She became so important in my personal pantheon of literary voices, but I never thought I’d write about her . . . .

[Years later, Moses returned to Plath to look up a quote from Plath’s journals on writer’s block which led her to reassemble Plath’s poems and reflect on Plath’s original intention that Ariel begin with the word “love” and end with the word “spring.”]  It was mind-blowing.  I realized that there was a narrative running through this book and it was a story she was telling about her own life.  It made so much sense to me.  I could picture her in the moment of putting this manuscript together, making the strategic editorial decisions of where to place the poems, so they would resonate with each other . . . . I had a sense of “I know what she was thinking.”  Which was probably incredibly arrogant of me (laughter), but I had a sense of the story!  

 . . . . At that time people had written much about the Ariel poems . . . . , but the only person who had written about Plath’s version of Ariel was Marjorie Perloff, who had written one very lengthy, detailed article . . . when I read it I realized that Perloff’s thinking was very much in line with my sense of what the story was doing, but for me it was more on an intuitive level . . . . Even though rationally I thought “the last thing you want to do is take on this iconic writer that so many people feel proprietary about . . . I had to do it, because I felt so moved by her courageous attempt to save herself . . . .

That is so interesting that [Ted Hughes] made the choice to go against [the narrative that Plath intended for Ariel].

There’s a convoluted, difficult story related to that, because . . . .  I think it was a little bit of everything.  Plath was so excessively efficient in sending out her work that  . . . . by the first week of February, she had already sent out almost all of those poems to journals or magazines.  So they were already in circulation--some of those from the last six weeks of her life, which she did not intend to put in Ariel, like “Edge” and “Words”--these came from a different kind of inspiration.  The Ariel poems were triumphant, a woman seizing her power, a phoenix risking from the ashes.  The poems from the last weeks of her life were really bleak and chilling, lacking in a sense of  hope and redemption.  Completely different in from the Ariel poems in tone, but she was sending those poems out.  

 . . . I think on the one hand [Hughes] was trying to make the best book he could and he wanted to make as much money as possible for his children--for her children--and do the best by her.  I honestly believe that he was trying to do the best by her that he could at the same time that he censored the manuscript by taking out poems that were particularly caustic towards her mother, or friends, or toward herself.

. . . . I saw a lot of the correspondence that he had with various editors when he was negotiating the sale of Ariel and there was a lot of back and forth.  It was clear that people really wanted those really scary poems in there and, by reordering, he created a very different narrative and that was the Sylvia Plath that we all ended up knowing.

. . .

Jones: Her ordering of Ariel--had she made these editorial decisions after writing the darker poems?

Not necessarily.  She was really meticulous about dating her work.  She and Ted Hughes wanted to make a living as writers and they were really good at figuring out how to make money and they realized sometime in the last years of their marriage they could sell--their “scraps,” as they thought of it--their archives for money.   So Plath thought  . . . . I’m gonna date everything I do because I am going to sell this stuff . . . . Now every draft is dated.  The latest poem she included in the manuscript was from early November of 1962.  She continued to work on pieces of poems that she’d written before until the beginning of December.  

She moved to London with her children around December 10 and didn’t write again until the very last few days of December.  Then  . . . through February 4th, she wrote another huge chunk of poems and those were the really, really dark ones.  "Daddy," "Medusa" and "Lady Lazarus" came from the Ariel stash--from the Fall of ’62, but Munich Mannequin and . . . maybe another dozen or so [came] from that last period, but in that period of December that she wasn’t actually writing--she was organizing the manuscript.  So none of those later poems ended up in the manuscript.  She decided that these earlier poems had this cohesiveness and these later poems would be something else.  She saw herself, that they weren’t part of the same book--they didn’t have the same inspiration.

. . .

One of the things I find really incredible about Plath . . . is that she had this unprecedented artistic breakthrough at the same time that she had two children under the age of two (one a nursing baby, they were both in diapers), her husband was gone, there was no childcare.  There was one point when I was writing this book when I actually calculated how many . . . diapers . . . she was washing her own diapers . . . . and waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning and writing these poems.  Sometimes writing two or three of them in a day.  It’s just staggering!  Try to think of some other poet that’s been through that same artistic trajectory . . . Its really incredible.

. . .

Jones:  What are some favorite lines and poems of Plath’s that you would recommend, especially those that might show a different side of her than many of us may have seen?

Again, Morning Song is a really interesting complex poem . . . . there’s another line:

        I'm no more your mother
        Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
        Effacement at the wind's hand.

Jones:  Yes, that's fascinating.  That really gets at what you were talking about earlier--that the mother is developing at the same time as the child.

Moses:  Exactly.

Jones:  It seems to convey this self-consciousness in the parent that one is seeing one’s self in the child and getting something from that, but that is limited.

Moses:  There’s also that breast milk image (in the “cloud that distills”).  I just love that sense that you are feeding something into a child, so that they will actually leave you.  They will become a whole person and not need you any more and then your effacement is really what you are facing from the day they are born.  I just love that passage.  

Oh, gosh, there’s just so much that I love in her work.  I love the declarative of the end of the poem “Wintering.”  Obviously I chose Wintering as the title for my book--the idea of being a poet at rest.  After the hard work of writing the poem--that then it was her time to figure out what to do with them, but it is also that time of hibernation, waiting for the regeneration of spring.  The last paragraph of “Wintering” is:
        
         Will the hive survive, will the gladiolas
         Succeed in banking their fires
         To enter another year?
         What will they taste of, the Christmas roses?
         The bees are flying. They taste the spring.

One of the things I love about that poem is that, in her bee sequence--which she wrote literally in the days when she told Ted Hughes “you have to leave” and he was packing up and leaving their home [Plath had found out he was having an affaire].  That poem, the last in the series of poems about bees--she had a really hard time writing the ending of that poem and you can see it in the drafts.  She wasn’t sure what was going to happen to her and she finally settled on this hopeful, sort of willed prophesy, that she was going to get through this hard period of her life and she was going to make it.  You know--”the bees are flying.  They taste the spring.”  And then she chose that poem as the final poem in her book--she wanted to get there . . . and I always see it as a sort of Hansel and Gretel laying out the bread crumbs--she was giving herself the path that she was going to follow in the dark forest.  So that really breaks me up just thinking about it--how hard she worked to come up with a way out for herself, a way to survive.

Her last poems are very bleak and chilling, but . . . there’s a line in [one of them, “Kindness,”]--the speaker is being tended by a kind woman [who] is bringing her tea and helping her take care of her children in this horrible moment of distress, as Plath was sinking deeper and deeper into depression.  There’s a line in it, “you hand me two children, two roses.”   Her visitor was literally handing her the babies and I just loved the connectedness between the roses as her children and the roses of spring, there was really a sense for her that the children were as essential to her survival as the poetry was  Even in the last days of her life, her doctor had talked to a friend of hers and said “make sure she keeps taking care of her children, that is what is keeping her going.  One of the reasons that she didn’t get hospitalized in the end was because her doctor was trying to find her a hospital bed where she could care for the children and not be separated from them.  Obviously he wasn’t able to find one for her, by the time she committed suicide.


Lisa Jones is a staff interviewer for Poetry Now.  A member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, she is currently editing their Annual Review.  She recently won first place for the Constance Topping Memorial Prize for poetry and received an honorable mention in the Sacramento Poetry Center contest.  She can be reached at lisajonespoet@gmail.com.

 

Excerpt from Wintering:

"Up the gravel-crusted footpaths of Primrose Hill she rises, pushing Nicholas in the pram. Past the traffic crossing and wrought-iron palisade at the undulant edge of Regent's Park Road, the last decaying sycamore leaves cartwheeling, hand-sized and yellow, over the flagstone footpath, slick black taxis and their soundless occupants flickering by like penny theater scenes at the edge of her sight. Across the green lawns spreading on all sides, she walks in the last granular light of afternoon. Frieda's mittened hand curls around the curving chrome chassis of the pram. Sylvia leads her, a docile calf, toward the playground at the foot of the hill. But the summit exerts its own pull, its cloud-marbled arc of changeable, potent sky drawing Sylvia's muted attention. ..."

For more info on Kate Moses: http://www.katemoses.com/

 

Reading Sylvia Plath

Kate Moses says “These are the books, among hundreds, that I found most valuable in developing a balanced view of Plath as a person and a poet:”


Plath's work

Collected Poems

 Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962, edited by Karen Kukil, the curator of the Plath archive at Smith College.

 Ariel, The Restored Edition, published in 2004

 

Biographies

Diane Middlebrook's Her Husband: Plath & Hughes, A Marriage

Anne Stevenson's Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath

Note:  Middlebrook's book is focused on the creative partnership of Plath & Hughes and further follows Hughes' career through the lens of the impact of Plath's suicide. Stevenson's is a more broad, complete bio of Plath but it's important for readers to know that Stevenson was heavily pressured by Hughes' sister, Olwyn Hughes, who at that time had administrative control of the Plath estate, to portray Plath from a particular (uncomplimentary) angle, and ultimately felt that her authorial control and objectivity was highly compromised by the estate, which Stevenson very carefully alludes to in her author's note.  Even so, the book has a wealth of information on Plath's life and poetic development.

 

Critical works

Judith Kroll, Chapters in a Mythology: The Poetry of Sylvia Plath is one of the earliest critical studies and still one of the finest, essential to an understanding of the underlying influences and archetypal tropes of Plath's poetry.

Susan K. Van Dyne, Revising Life: Sylvia Plath's Ariel Poems  and Lynda K. Bundtzen, The Other Ariel are both excellent, in-depth examinations of Plath's Ariel poems in particular.

 Tracy Brain, The Other Sylvia Plath, as well as Tim Kendall's Sylvia Plath: A Critical Study and Steven Gould Axelrod's Sylvia Plath: The Wound and the Cure of Words study Plath's poetics and artistic process, utilizing the authors' own insights and incorporating important critical responses from other sources as well.

 

 


Friday, December 05, 2008

spc fundraiser


ladies having fun at spc fundraiser


Mary Zeppa, JoAnn Anglin, Heather Hutcheson...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

JAMES DENBOER—DEC. 1, 2008


Art Mantecon introduces James DenBoer


James DenBoer reads "Were You There"


James DenBoer reads "Untitled [Kindling]"


James DenBoer on being a discourteous poet


James DenBoer reads "Autometer"

Monday, December 01, 2008

Literary Calendar
december 2008
Sacramento Area

Monday 1 1719 25th Street at HQ for the
Arts. Featuring James DenBoer and
Elyssa White (host: Art Mantecon)

Tuesday 2
7:30 pm and every Tuesday:
SPC Poets' Workshop @ the Hart Cntr,
27th/J sts. Danyen@ 530-756-6228
FREE bring 15 copies of your one page
poem to be read/critiqued.

7:00 pm and every Tuesday:
"Life Sentence" poetry reading and
open mic. The Coffee Garden, 2904
Franklin Blvd., Sac.
http://www.myspace.com/lifesentences
how

Wednesday 3

The Bistro, 3rd and F Streets in Davis,
1st and 3rd Wednesdays. Free.
530.756.4556 aojones@ucdavis.edu
http://www.bistro33.com/bistro33_davis
for schedule

8pm
Mahogany Poetry Series, and every Wed
night at Queen Sheba restaurant @
1704 Broadway, with Khiry Malik M.,
Slam, open.

Thursday 4

8:00 pm and every Thursday:
Open Mike and featured poet at Lunas
Café -- Feature TBA

Saturday 6

Every 1st Saturday
Rhythm N Rhymes: open mike,
webcast & filmed for public TV @ Butch
N Nellie's, near corner of 19th & I.
myspace.com/RNRshow

Monday 8

7:30 pm
1719 25th Street at HQ for the Arts.
Free & Family-Friendly. Featuring
David Iribarne and Gabrielle White
and Shevonna Blackshire

Wednesday 10

7:30 pm
Rattlesnake Press is proud to present
a new chapbook from Danyen Powell;
a littlesnake broadside from Kevin
Jones; and a brand-new issue of
Rattlesnake Review (#20)! Join us at
The Book Collector, 1008 24th St.,
Sacramento. Free. Refreshments and
a read-around will follow; bring your
own poems or somebody else’s.

Friday 12

7:00 - 9:00 pm
1719 25th Street at HQ for the
Arts.Free & Family-Friendly.
Featuring Neruda-translator William
O'Daly, Joyce Odam, Katy Brown,
and more. Hosted by Cynthia
Linville.

Saturday 13

10:00 am - 11:30 am

SPC 2nd and 4th Saturday workshop
facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke and
Frank Dixon Graham located at South
Natomas Community Center next
door to South Natomas Library 2921
Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA. Bring
10 copies of your one page poem.
contact or for info:
grahampoet@aol.com

Monday 15

7:30 pm

Winter Solstice Read Around SPC HQ
1719 25th St., Sac
Friday 25
7:30pm to 9:00pm
The OtherVoice, sponsored by the UU
Church of Davis presents an Open
Reading for all who have a poem(s)
of thanksgiving, hope, faith, humor,
or dreams of peace
on earth to celebrate this holiday
season...not by spending money but
spending time together to enrich our
spirits.

Saturday 27

10:00 am �11:30 am

2nd and 4th Saturday workshop
facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke and
Frank Dixon Graham located at South
Natomas Community Center next
door to South Natomas Library 2921
Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA. Bring
10 copies of your one page poem.
contact or for info:
grahampoet@aol.com

Monday 29

7:30 pm

Indigo Moor and
Jeanne Wagner will read at
TIME TESTED BOOKS for the SPC

Sunday, November 30, 2008

LUNA'S ANTHOLOGY READING—NOV. 8, 2008

The first Luna's Anthology reading was held inside the Sacramento News & Review building on 20th Street Saturday Nov.8. Josh Fernandez was banging out poems-by-request on an old Royal typewriter.



Josh Fernandez does "Josh Fernandez—Brookline, MA, Grade 2"



Tim Kahl reads/recites/sings "Ronnie Boy"



Frank Andrick reads "I Love You, But I've Chosen Darkness"



Frank Andrick reads "Sativa, A Rose By No Other Name"



Frank Andrick reads "Pensées"

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

JAN BEATTY at THE SACRAMENTO POETRY CENTER [11-3-08]

Jan Beatty braved the gales of a Sacramento November, driving up from Stockton with friend and the host for the evening, Camille Norton.


Jan Beatty reads "After Being Fired from the All-Night Greek Diner"


Jan Beatty reads "A Waitress's Instructions for Tipping"


Jan Beatty reads "The Phenomenology of Sex"


Jan Beatty reads "I Saw One of Blake's Angels"


Jan Beatty reads "Shooter"


Jan Beatty reads "Red Sugar"

Literary Calendar for November

November
Mon, 11/3 [Camille Norton hosts]: Jan Beatty @spc,
7:30 pm

Tues, 11/4, 7:30 pm and every Tuesday: SPC Poets’
Workshop @ the Hart Cntr, 27th/J sts.
Danyen@ 530-756-6228 FREE bring 15 copies
of your one page poem to be read/critiqued.
Tuesday, 11/4 and Every Tuesday 7 p.m. - “Life
Sentence” poetry reading and open mic. Th e
Coffee Garden, 2904 Franklin Blvd., Sac.
http://www.myspace.com/lifesentenceshow

Wed, 11/5, 8pm Mahogany Poetry Series, and every
Wed night at Queen Sheba restaurant @ 1704
Broadway, with Khiry Malik Moore, open mic
and feature.
Wed, 11/5, Th e Bistro, 3rd and F Streets in Davis,
1st and 3rd Wednesdays. Free. 530.756.4556
aojones@ucdavis.edu http://www.bistro33.
com/bistro33_davis for schedule

Thurs, 11/6 and every Thurs 8pm, Open Mike and
featured poet at Lunas Café -- Feature TBA

Friday, 11/7, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 1719 25th Street at HQ
for the Arts. Free & Family-Friendly. Featuring
Bob Stanley, Rebecca Morrison, Jenny Jiang,
& Jeff Knorr. Hosted by Cynthia Linville.

Sat, 11/8 and every 1st Sat- Rhythm N Rhymes: open
mike, webcast & fi lmed for public TV @ Butch
N Nellie’s, near corner of 19th & I. myspace.
com/RNRshow
Sat, 11/8 10-11:30, SPC 2nd and 4th Saturday
workshop facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke
and Frank Dixon Graham located at South
Natomas Community Center next door to
South Natomas Library
2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA. Bring 10 copies
of your one page poem. contact or for info:
grahampoet@aol.com

Mon, 11/10 [Emmanuel Sigauke hosts]: Edward
Mycue and Nancy Keane @spc, 7:30pm

Wed, 11/12, 7:30 PM: Rattlesnake Press releases a
new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground
Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New
Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from
South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley;a 2009
calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill:
A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations,
Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview
Series.@ Th e Book Collector, 1008 24th St.,
Sacramento. Free; refreshments and a readaround
will follow; bring your own poems or
somebody else’s. Info: kathykieth@hotmail.
com

Mon, 11/17, 730pm Ann Privateer and Edythe
Schwartz will read at the SPC HQ 1719 25th
St., Sac followed by an open mike.

Fri, 11/21, 7:30 to 9:00 Th e OtherVoice, sponsored
by the UU Church of Davis presents the
dynamic husband/wife team, Susan and
Joseph Finkleman. @ the church library
located at 27074 Patwin Road. Refreshments
and Open Mike follow so bring along a poem
to share.

Sat, 11/22, 10-11:30, SPC 2nd and 4th Saturday
workshop facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke
and Frank Dixon Graham located at South
Natomas Community Center next door to
South Natomas Library
2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA. Bring 10 copies
of your one page poem. contact or for info:
grahampoet@aol.com

Mon, 11/24 [Tim Kahl hosts]: Connie Post and Janet
Smith at SPC, 7:30 pm

Thursday, October 30, 2008

MEG WITHERS and TOM GOFF—Sacramento Poetry Center Oct. 27, 2008


Meg Withers reads from the first section [The Book of Denial] of her book The Communion of Saints


Tom Goff reads "Left Hand"


Tom Goff reads "What Scent"

Friday, October 24, 2008

2nd and 4th Saturday Poetry Workshops

Sat, 11/8 10-11:00
SPC 2nd and 4th Saturday Poetry Workshop

Facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke and Frank Dixon Graham
located at South Natomas Community Center
(next door to South Natomas Library)

2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA.
Bring 10 copies of your one page poem.

Contact or for info: grahampoet@aol.com

DAN BELLM, TERRY EHRET, and GILLIAN WEGENER [video footage]



Dan Bellm reads "Sacrifice: Birdland 1954"



Dan Bellm reads "The Portal"



Terry Ehret reads "Cupid and Psyche in the City of Light"



Terry Ehret reads "The World in Need of Braiding"



Gillian Wegener reads "In a Rapidly Expanding City"



Gillian Wegener reads "Funderwoods"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

KATY LEDERER and REBECCA MORRISON at SPC on Friday Oct. 24, 2008

Katy Lederer and Rebecca Morrison

Special Date — Friday, Oct. 24, 2008 — Special Date
Host: Tim Kahl
1719 25th Street at HQ for the Arts



Katy Lederer is the author of the poetry collection, Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002) and the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown, 2003), which Publishers Weekly included on its list of the Best Nonfiction Books of the Year and Esquire Magazine named one of its eight Best Books of the Year. Her second poetry book, The Heaven-Sent Leaf will be out with BOA Editions in the fall of 2008.

Katy Lederer's poems and prose have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Harvard Review, GQ, and elsewhere. She has been anthologized in Body Electric (Norton), From Poe to the Present: Great American Prose Poems (Scribner), and State of the Union (Wave Books), among other compilations.

Educated at the University of California at Berkeley and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she serves as a Poetry Editor of Fence Magazine. Her honors and awards include an Academy of American Poets Prize, fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a Discover Great New Writers citation from Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers Program.

Lederer currently works at the D.E. Shaw group, a proprietary trading firm based in New York City.

Me, a Brainworker

Me, a brainworker toiling in pristine white hallways.
Abnormal, aboriginal, endemic to this site.
Some people sell their wares outside.
In the pulsating light of Times Square they are singing.
In their noses and nipples, the glinting of rings.
Let us call them unoriginal.
Let us call them all these awful things.
The busy unoriginals are throwing out their trash,
But on this lovely parchment they are writing priceless poems.
They suppose that by such rendering they'll be remembered after death.
They suppose that by such influence their souls will sing eternally.
In the hallways, we are killing time,
Its blood now thick and lurid on the freshly painted walls.



Rebecca Morrison (aka Eskimo Pie Girl) graduated summa cum laude from UC Davis. She has published 5 chapbooks. She was the former VP of the Sacramento Poetry Center, was one of the founding editors of Poetry Now, and is currently one of the hosts for the SPC reading series. She has been the editor of eskimopie.net for 7 years. She has been running the 3rd Sunday Writer's Group with Nancy Wallace since 1995. She has given over a 100 readings and has read her poetry in Sacramento, Davis, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, Lodi, Stockton, Reno, Auburn, Nevada City, El Dorado Hills, New Hampshire, Fresno and elsewhere

Why I Could Never Be a Saint

My desire bounds through the daffodils
like a jackrabbit.
I hoard memories and moments like marbles,
never giving them to those less fortunate.
My ecstasy is not reserved for God,
I throw it away
carelessly in the afternoon
to an emerald hummingbird.
I gorge myself
on carnal sensations,
burning myself in the mid-day sun,
drunk on robin song.
I offer devotions
to the glorious morning,
already rich and brilliant.
I supplicate
in front of its opening golden petals.
I forsake the path
for the open fields and forest,
sacrificing all thoughts
of the promised land
for a temporary handful of lavender.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

November Calendar of Literary Events

Sacramento Area Literary Events; November, 2008

Mon, 11/3 [Camille Norton hosts]: Jan Beatty @spc, 7:30 pm

Tues, 11/4, 7:30 pm and every Tuesday: SPC Poets' Workshop @ the Hart Cntr, 27th/J sts. Danyen@ 530-756-6228 FREE bring 15 copies of your one page poem to be read/critiqued.

Tuesday, 11/4 and Every Tuesday 7 p.m. - "Life Sentence" poetry reading and open mic. The Coffee Garden, 2904 Franklin Blvd., Sac. http://www.myspace.com/lifesentenceshow

Wed, 11/5, 8:40 pm Mahogany Poetry Series, and every Wed night at Queen Sheba restaurant @ 1704 Broadway, with Khiry Malik Moore, open mic and feature.

Wed, 11/5, The Bistro, 3rd and F Streets in Davis, 1st and 3rd Wednesdays. Free. 530.756.4556 aojones@ucdavis.edu
http://www.bistro33.com/bistro33_davis for schedule

Thurs, 11/6 and every Thurs 8pm, Open Mike and featured poet at Lunas Café -- Feature TBA

Friday, 11/7, 7:00 - 9:00 pm, 1719 25th Street at HQ for the Arts. Free & Family-Friendly. Featuring Bob Stanley, Rebecca Morrison, Jenny Jiang, & Jeff Knorr. Hosted by Cynthia Linville.

Sat, 11/8 and every 1st Sat- Rhythm N Rhymes: open mike, webcast & filmed for public TV @ Butch N Nellie's, near corner of 19th & I. myspace.com/RNRshow

Sat, 11/8 10-11:30, SPC 2nd and 4th Saturday workshop facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke and Frank Dixon Graham located at South Natomas Community Centernext door to South Natomas Library, 2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA. Bring 10 copies of your one page poem. contact or for info: grahampoet@aol.com

Mon, 11/10 [Emmanuel Sigauke hosts]: Edward Mycue and Nancy Keane @spc, 7:30pm

Wed, 11/12, 7:30 PM: Rattlesnake Press releases a new rattlechap from Red Fox Underground Poet Wendy Patrice Williams (Some New Forgetting); a littlesnake broadside from South Lake Tahoe Poet Ray Hadley;a 2009 calendar from Katy Brown (Beyond the Hill: A Poet’s Calendar) as well as Conversations, Vol. 4 of B.L. Kennedy’s Rattlesnake Interview Series.@ The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Free; refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's. Info: kathykieth@hotmail.com

Mon, 11/17, 730pm Ann Privateer and Edythe Schwartz will read at the SPC HQ 1719 25th St., Sac followed by an open mike.

Fri, 11/21, 7:30 to 9:00 The OtherVoice, sponsored by the UU Church of Davis presents the dynamic husband/wife team, Susan and Joseph Finkleman. @ the church library located at 27074 Patwin Road. Refreshments and Open Mike follow so bring along a poem to share.

Sat, 11/22, 10-11:30, SPC 2nd and 4th Saturday workshop facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke and Frank Dixon Graham located at South Natomas Community Centernext door to South Natomas Library2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA. Bring 10 copies of your one page poem. contact or for info: grahampoet@aol.com

Mon, 11/24 [Tim Kahl hosts]: Connie Post and Janet Smith at SPC, 7:30 pm

Coming Soon:

Indigo Moor and
Jeanne Wagner
will read their poetry
in midtown Sacramento,
for the SPC, Location TBA,
Monday, December 29, 2008 @ 7:30pm

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DAN BELLM, TERRY EHRET, and GILLIAN WEGENER

Dan Bellm, Terry Ehret and Gillian Wegener
of Sixteen Rivers Press
Monday, Oct. 20, 2008 at 7:30 PM
1719 25th Street

Dan Bellm’s third book of poetry, Practice, came out from Sixteen Rivers Press in March 2008. His first, One Hand on the Wheel, launched the California Poetry Series from Roundhouse Press; his second, Buried Treasure, won the Poetry Society of America’s DiCastagnola Award and the Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prize. His work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, Best American Spiritual Writing, and Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry. He is also a widely published translator of poetry and fiction from Spanish. He lives in San Francisco.



Practice
Every seventh year you shall practice remission of debts.
Deuteronomy 15:1


How simple it ought to be, to practice compassion
on someone gone, even love him, long as he’s not
right there in front of me, for I turned to address him,
as I do, and saw that no one’s lived in that spot
for quite some time. O turner-away of prayer —
not much of a God, but he was never meant to be.
For the seventh time I light him a candle; an entire
evening and morning it burns; not a light to see
by, more a reminder of light, a remainder, in a glass
with a prayer on the label and a bar code from the store.
How can he go on? He can’t. Then let him pass
away; he gave what light he could. What more
will I claim, what debt of grace he doesn’t owe?
If I forgive him, he is free to go.


First evening prayer

It is possible
even in the darkness —

no, it is
more possible —

that is when your messenger
comes to me,

who has walked unappearing beside me
like starlight in the day,

angel that lives in the dust
of the earth, and knows

the distance of time, and the terrible
space between one human

and another,
that can hardly be crossed —

in the dark the messenger
cries, lift

your eyes up —
what I am dreaming I am seeing,

it is coming to be —
and climbs a coil, a rope,

a spinning ladder
that is the way

into day
in the night,

a place of God I didn’t know,
here at the foot of it,

the root of the tree,
not for me to ascend

but to pray to you in the dark,
that you have brought down

the infinite to me
when my head lay on a stone,

one earth wheeling
among the millions of your stars.


Terry Ehret is a poet and teacher, as well as one of the founders of Sixteen Rivers Press, a nonprofit, shared-work publishing collective representing poets of the San Francisco Bay Area watershed. She has published three collections: Lost Body (1993), Translations from the Human Language (2001), and most recently Lucky Break (2008). Literary awards include the National Poetry Series, the Commonwealth Club of California Book Award, and the Nimrod/ Hardman Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. In 1997, as the writer-on-site at the Oakland Museum of California, she created a poetry audio tour for the Gallery of California Art; and from 2004-2006, she served as Sonoma County Poet Laureate. She has taught writing at San Francisco State and Sonoma State Universities, California College of the Arts, Santa Rosa Junior College, and with the California Poets in the Schools Program. She currently leads private workshops in Sonoma County, California, where she lives with her family.



Sample Poems from Lucky Break

Lucky Break

A white marble wheel

has many uses: travel,

for example, or shaping clay;

a simple lathe but, like any tool,

needing balance. Else

the center, which is empty,

cannot hold, lets loose

its own purpose,

fragments flying untethered

from any force centripetal,

explodes its form, stone

wheeling, broken

into clavicle and pelvis,

petal and wing,

like disaster,

like the first creation:

joy and death spilling

from the cracked jar — ah!

the thing it isn’t and

ah! the thing it yet

might be.



What It’s About

with thanks to Allen Ginsberg

Spring is about standing in the dark under the darker eucalyptus

and feeling the future like an ache in the throat,

in the lungs like drowning,

like waiting in silence for the bombs to fall.

Bombs are about who’s lying and who’s counting, and counting

is about numbers we agree to. Agreeing

is about investing your money in the same things.

Money is about money and also about what you don’t have.

Not having is about pain and pain is about being broken each year,

being broken by promises by grace by the bursting

seed-pods of deceit

and telling ourselves we will heal or if we cannot

telling ourselves it’s our place to be stupid and broken.

Our place is about three cars in the driveway

and streetlights and sidewalks

and sidewalks are about what’s worth protecting.

Protection is about terror and destruction and inevitable suffering

and suffering is always

about birth, about stains and mystery

and mysteries are always about the silence

the aweful, chilling silence that fills the right now before

whatever is about to happen happens.
March 18, 2003



How Words Began

Crab: from Old German krabben, originally Greek graphein, “to write”

Some say it began with a crab

scuttling sideways and clickety across the rocks —

across glistening gray-black sand. And a man

standing on the rocks and following,

first with his eyes, then with his feet,

the marks indented and dimpling the wet

tongue of the shore. A man wanting much

to hold the sun still, to lock the

here and missing here and missing sea.

A man turned over and over by the ends

of feelings, the light fleeing and returning,

the deep-in-the-bones ache pulling the living

from the dead each spring. Just such a man, kneeling

in the black-gray graphite sand, traced

with his finger the memory

of crab, of ragged claws, of urgent

return to salt.

House and Universe

To mount too high or descend too low is allowed in the case of poets who bring earth and sky together.

The first walls are a great animal sleeping inside the sound of the heart. Sound of the rain. Breath.

The second walls are far, like what is near in a fever. So far away there is no sense of wall, only odors and voices, and the very smallness of the self.

The third walls take you back to the first. To sleep. To dreams. And these are the walls you eventually fall through. This is when you learn what your lungs are for and how alone you are inside your pain.

The fourth walls are everywhere, and you can move among them, listening to the talk of a green bird in a cage. Or you lie on your back and turn them upside down and spend the evening alone and calling. Inside these walls are the spaces that might be yours. One day you make a little version of the world on a scale you can lean above. You stand in the hall with the green bird in the cage beside you, opening and closing the gate you’ve made in this world, and this is when you begin to know who you are.

The fifth walls are full of ghosts. When you sleep inside these walls it is hard to know which world you are walking in. These walls are old, and they are where your dreams will come from for a long time. Inside these walls you carry an invisible thing you don’t yet know how to name, even when it greets you, resting its cold hand on your back as you climb the stairs. You don’t speak of it, but each time you come back inside these walls, it moves close to you.

Inside the sixth walls you take your books, turning over each page where the invisible thing you carried home from the ghosts takes on voices and shapes and tells you stories about yourself. These walls are old and high, and here you discover how small a woman is supposed to be, and how big your ghosts are. You begin to write back to them and all the empty space you find you can fill with what you want to say,

and saying makes around you the seventh walls. Words that pull the white peaks of the sky together, a roof the rain now beats down on, that the creek rises beside. House of wind. House of water. Sound of the heart. The rain.


Fears in Solitude

Coleridge, alone and afraid, wanted to

cry out. Instead he grew angry

at the way politicians juggled the name

of God. Instead he grew sick

of the owlet atheism hooting in the twilight.

Instead he took long walks in the country

with William and Dorothy, packed his books

and left England to take long walks in Germany

with Kant and Goethe. Everything hurt him.

Everything he loved turned away. In his sleep,

a wind was blowing, and it brushed the strings

of his fears. Waking, he moved among

the shadows of figures that shone bright

in those dreams. If there is a God, he thought,

we are His severed hands, playing

a brutal music He cannot stop,

and cannot help but hear.


Gillian Wegener is the author of The Opposite of Clairvoyance, published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2008. She’s had poems published in numerous journals, including Runes, English Journal, americas review, and In the Grove. A chapbook, Lifting One Foot, Lifting the Other was published by In the Grove Press in 2001, and she was awarded top prizes by the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation for 2006 and 2007. Wegener works as a junior high English teacher in California’s Central Valley. She lives with her husband and daughter in Modesto.



Reflection

So you have trouble shifting,
have trouble, are troubled,
you can’t quite manage how to make the leap,
even if it is not a leap really, but just a step,
or not even that, maybe a sitting up rather
than a lying down. Yes, if you have trouble
because you imagined her face so differently,
and now she is in front of you and her hair
is not even close to the fine perfection
you carried in your mind, not the auburn
you had pictured, and her eyes are misaligned
but so slightly it’s not worth mentioning. And
now she is in front of you, right here in front of you,
and you are married, and in the other room
of this house that you always thought would be
bigger and more rustic, in the other room, there is
a child whom you assumed would play the cello,
or at least the guitar, but mostly the kid
seems to stare out the window. The kid is a dreamer.
And that wasn’t the plan. And you go off to work
every day and stare at yourself staring back at yourself
in the train window and are surprised because,
boy-oh-boy, is it hard to make the shift between
all that you imagined (you were a dreamer) and
all that really is, and could that really be you...
the guy with the tie and the crow’s feet and the glasses
in which there is an even smaller reflection of you
staring back in disbelief.


Funderwoods

The woods are oaks and spread their woody fingers over us.
Paint peels on the aging signs, this one a toothy squirrel
holding up a paw: You must be this tall to ride alone.
The girl running the carousel is a madonna, that serene.
Tickets are 10 for 10 dollars and curl in the hand like a pet.
Music falls out of the smaller trees, splashes and evaporates.
You must be this tall to ride alone on the child-sized roller coaster,
the tilt-a-whirl, on mini airplanes, on dervishing tea cups hot to the touch.
The bumper cars are broken, heaped together in a junkyard pile, and
the painted eyes on the squirrel are the almost-blue of skim milk.
The boy running the roller coaster can’t stop looking at the carousel madonna
while her horses lift up and down, leather reins worn to brittle strips.
The airplanes have names like Thunderbird and Thundercloud and
there’s no waiting in line here. Two kids on that ride, one on this.
Under the roller coaster, weeds with feathery leaves bend and flower.
Music falls out of trees and into our laps, a little sticky, a little cool.
The rides click and whir, creak to stops, jolt to starts.
The oaks spread their woody fingers and pattern the pavement.
The roller coaster boy has left his post and whispers his plans
into the carousel girl’s benevolent ear. She smiles, still serene, and
takes the curled ticket of a child who runs to find the perfect horse,
who cannot imagine a more shining moment than this.

Friday, October 10, 2008

MAHMOUD DARWISH MEMORIAL READING—OCT. 5, 2008

In association with the worldwide effort organized by the Internationales Literaturfestival Berlin, a devoted crowd turned up at the Sacramento Poetry Center to celebrate the life and work of internationally-recognized Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Shining brightly on the wall via an LCD projector was this handbill designed by Richard Hansen who unfortunately could not attend the event.



Many of the readers commented on the issues of struggle with identity in Darwish's work. His identity as a Palestinian born in al-Birwa in Western Galilee had been stripped from him as a result of Israel's non-recognition of individuals who had fled the area during the 1948 siege (when Darwish was 7 years old). This oppression impacted him throughout his life, lived largely in exile after he graduated from high school. His unofficial status resonated with many Palestinians who experienced the same fate. His statement in a poem written in 1962 "Put this in your record: I exist" served as a battle cry and galvanized his reputation. He served as an example of Palestinian identity in his refusal to accept the non-status conferred upon him by the state of Israel.

In much of his work Darwish makes claims of identity only to have them be undermined later in the work. There is little denying that in these undermined assertions of identity his experience is similar to those whose lives go unnoticed, those who are impoverished, those who have been detained, those who continue to fight to have their interests be acknowledged.

In spirit and in word, readers at the Sacramento Poetry Center did their best to pay homage to Darwish's persistent struggle.



Frank Graham reads "Passport"



Soren Kahl reads "Psalm Three"



Zaid Shlah reads from Memory For Forgetfulness



William O' Daly reads "Drought"



Rosalie Amer reads "Two Olive Trees"



Carmela Ruby reads "Here the Birds' Journey Ends"

HERE THE BIRDS’ JOURNEY ENDS
by Mahmoud Darwish

Here the birds’ journey ends, our journey, the journey of words,
and after us there will be a horizon for the new birds.
We are the ones who forge the sky’s copper, the sky that will carve roads
after us and make amends with our names above the distant cloud slopes.
Soon we will descend the widow’s descent in the memory fields
and raise our tent to the final winds: blow, for the poem to live, and blow
on the poem’s road. After us, the plants will grow and grow
over roads only we have walked and our obstinate steps inaugurated.
And we will etch on the final rocks, “Long live life, long live life,”
and fall into ourselves. And after us there’ll be a horizon for the new birds.

(Translated, from the Arabic, by Fady Joudah.)


Poets read many of Darwish's works in English from Fady Joudah's translations from the Arabic in The Butterfly's Burden and Memory For Forgetfulness translated by Ibrahim Muhawi. Some even read some original pieces written for the event:

The Ringtones of Palestine

Is the dream then what forgetfulness chooses? — Mahmoud Darwish

The surplus births of Nablus yearn
to possess any kind of dawn,
yet they are told they threaten
the garden with their ringtones,
their rats’ instincts to chew through
cement walls. Just one rat in
the garden will kill the chickpeas’
peace. Then the aroma of cardamom
fails in the alleys; faces
the clouds cannot model
disappear into a lengthy silence . . .
a phone interrupts. It is The Star of
the East singing something she
promised to the Arab poor.
Another phone plays the song
a piano in Tel Aviv made
when it visited Ramallah.
It visits me here where I belong to
the land of the price of petroleum,
weighed down by my worries
about being able to consume . . .
Maybe I forget what I’m searching for
when I stop in front of the display
cases. Maybe I forget how to dream
in color. Maybe I will never find
the perfect shade of blue for this
room, but it is patient with me.
One dream attaches to another,
and they occupy my memory of
everything I’ve neglected.
One dream attaches to a distant music,
a ringtone in someone’s pocket
rehearsing its tune, the song of
everyone whose homeland
has been surgically removed.

by Tim Kahl


Snatches of audio (his recital of "The Mask Has Fallen") and video were played to lend Darwish's presence to the proceedings, and all who attended left heartened by the notion that one important dissident voice had been honored and that for one Sunday evening Sacramento did not feel so isolated.

Thanks to all who came and those who participated.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

SUSAN KELLY-DeWITT at SPC OCT. 6, 2008

Home-town favorite Susan Kelly-DeWitt read before a packed SRO house at the Sacramento Poetry Center. the reading was a long overdue "launch" reading for her book The Fortunate Islands.

She started the reading with Czeslaw Milosz's "In Music." She then read from her own body of work: "Inventing Anna," "Middle Mountains," "Credo," "Corporal Blood," "The Day Gandhi Died," "Whiskey Nights," "Migraine," "The Snail," "How Will My Soul Get Free?" "Country Ghost," "Amherst."

Then she fielded some questions and read some poems from some of her upcoming manuscripts: "Three Nights," "How the River Sleeps (inspired by Kathleen Lynch)," "Shadow Box Cross (for Maggie Jimenez)," "O Keefe's Jack-in-the-Pulpit #2," "Tabletop Zen Garden: Eight Stones," "Morro Bay Sketch," and "Gatherer's Alphabet."



Susan Kelly-Dewitt reads "Tabletop Zen Garden: Eight Stones"



Susan Kelly-Dewitt reads "Morro Bay Sketch"



Susan Kelly-Dewitt reads "Gatherer's Alphabet"

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Halloween Poetry Bash


a special reading produced by the
sacramento poetry center workshop
Halloween Poetry Bash
with Joe Wenderoth
and other funky poets

A Party and Poetry Reading
Hosted by Frank Graham
and the Sacramento Poetry Center
Friday -- October 31, 2008: 7pm – 9pm,
Acceptable for Most Children and the Weak of Heart -- After 9pm, this Reading Continues Until Hell Visits this Earth with a Burning Fury
1719 25th St. (between Q and R streets)
Free * Open to the Public * Refreshments
contact: grahampoet@aol.com for more info

Come in your Silly, Scary or Sexy Costume

Friday, October 03, 2008

Sacramento Poetry Center
Presents

Susan Kelly-DeWitt
A reading for The Fortunate Islands


Monday Oct. 6, 2008 at 7:30 PM
Host: Tim Kahl

Susan Kelly-DeWitt is the author of a full-length collection, THE FORTUNATE ISLANDS (Marick Press) and five previous chapbooks: A CAMELLIA FOR JUDY (Frith Press, 1998), FEATHER’S HAND (Swan Scythe Press, 2000), TO A SMALL MOTH (Poet’s Corner Press, 2001), Susan Kelly-DeWitt’s GREATEST HITS (Pudding House, 2003), THE LAND (Rattlesnake Press, 2005) and a letterpress collection, THE BOOK OF INSECTS (Spruce Street Press, 2003). Her most recent chapbook, CASSIOPEIA ABOVE THE BANYAN TREE appears online as Mudlark 33 and will be released in an expanded print version from Rattlesnake Press in September, 2007.

Her work has been included in national and regional anthologies such as CLAIMING THE SPIRIT WITHIN (Beacon Press), I’VE ALWAYS MEANT TO TELL YOU, LETTERS TO OUR MOTHERS (Pocket Books), TO FATHERS: WHAT I’VE NEVER SAID, AN ANTHOLOGY OF LETTERS TO FATHERS (Story Line Press), O TASTE AND SEE (Bottom Dog Press), HIGHWAY 99 (Heyday Books), and WORDS AND QUILTS (Quilt Digest Press, 1996); her poems have appeared in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, New Letters, North American Review, Rosebud, Cutbank, Nimrod, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Iris, Comstock Review, Oxymoron, Yankee, Runes, Poet Lore, Smartish Pace, Cimarron Review, Spoon River Quarterly, Hawaii Review and Passages North, among many others. Her short story “The Audience” is forthcoming as an illustrated chapbook (Spring 2007) from Uptown Books. She has been featured on Writer’s Almanac and Verse Daily; her other honors include a Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, The Chicago Literary Award from Another Chicago Magazine, the Bazzanella Award for Short Fiction and a number of Pushcart nominations. She is a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Northern California Book Reviewers Association; her essays, interviews, reviews and creative non-fiction have appeared in Poetry Now, Small Press Review, Perihelion and GARDENING AT A DEEPER LEVEL (Garden House Press, 2004); she also has reviews forthcoming in Poetry Flash.

Over the years she has worked as a freelance writer and poetry columnist for the Sacramento Bee and Sacramento Union, as the editor of the on-line journal Perihelion and the print journal Quercus; she has been a California Poet-in-the-Schools, the program director of an arts program for homeless women, an educator, and an artist in the prisons. She lives in Sacramento, California, where she is an editor of Swan Scythe Press, an exhibiting visual artist and an instructor for the University of California, Davis Extension.

Red Hills and Bone

In the Lotus Garden Restaurant,
a man overturns the cluttered table
for six where his family is gathered.
He grabs the lip

Of the table and flips it quickly, like
a child flips a bug, so the underbelly
of rough pine appears but the napkins
vanish, so the tablecloth’s

lilies clamp their petals and the scooped
China moons, heaped with noodles and exquisite
fish, swim to the floor, so the chopsticks
un-X themselves from the thick

dragon plates and the glassware shatters,
so the tea in its rice-seed cups spatters
jasmine over the stunned waiter’s shoes.
This is the precise moment —

as the man’s face pulses with sudden
rage; as the throng in the restaurant
swivels its many faces burning in unison
toward them, one blank questioning

sun; as the waiters in their spotless
white aprons begin to flutter and circle
like scavenging gulls — this is exactly
the moment when the family climbs

the blood red hills, determined
to disappear into them, to leave no trace —
erasing themselves like soft wood chips
into fire; leaving the fury of the man

far behind; leaving him alone
to inhabit his desert
skull’s wildness
like a vestigial bone.

October Calendar of Events!

Wed, 10/1, 8pm Mahogany Poetry Series, and
every Wed night at Queen Sheba restaurant
@ 1704 Broadway, with Khiry Malik M., Slam,
open.

Wed, 10/1, Th e Bistro, 3rd and F Streets in Davis,
1st and 3rd Wednesdays. Free. 530.756.4556
aojones@ucdavis.edu http://www.bistro33.
com/bistro33_davis for schedule

Thurs, 10/2 and every Th urs 8pm, Open Mike and
featured poet at Lunas Café -- Feature TBA

Sat, 10/4 and every 1st Sat- Rhythm N Rhymes:
open mike, webcast & fi lmed for public TV
@ Butch N Nellie’s, near corner of 19th & I.
myspace.com/RNRshow

Tues, 10/7, 7:30 pm and every Tuesday: SPC
Poets’ Workshop @ the Hart Cntr, 27th/J sts.
Danyen@ 530-756-6228 FREE bring 15 copies
of your one page poem to be read/critiqued.

Every Tuesday 7 p.m. - “Life Sentence” poetry reading
and open mic. Th e Coff ee Garden, 2904
Franklin Blvd., Sac. http://www.myspace.com/
lifesentenceshow

Wed, 10/8, 7:30 PM Rattlesnake Press will release
a new rattlechap from MOIRA MAGNESON
(He Drank Because) and a littlesnake
broadside from HATCH GRAHAM (Circling of
the Pack) Refreshments and a read-around will
follow; bring your own poems or somebody
else’s. Info: kathykieth@hotmail.com/. Th e
Book Collector, 1008 24th St.,Sacramento

Fri, 10/10, 7:00pm Second Friday Poetry Reading
at Th e Vox (gallery & cafe) 19th & X Street,
Sacramento. Free & Family-Friendly Featuring
Kathy Keith, James DenBoer, Andy Jones &
more. Hosted by Cynthia Linville.

Sat, 10/11 10-11:30, SPC 2nd and 4th Saturday
workshop facilitated by Emmanuel Sigauke
and Frank Dixon Graham located at South
Natomas Community Center next door to
South Natomas Library 2921 Truxel Road,
Sacramento, CA. Bring 10 copies of your one
page poem. contact or for info: grahampoet@
aol.com

Fri, 10/17, 7:30, Th e Other Voice presents Ray
Coppock and Deborah Thomas. Refreshments
and open mike follow. UU Church of Davis
library.

Wed. 10/22 4:10 PM FRANK DAVEY poet/critic/theorist
UC DAVIS Reading in Voorhies 126
Sponsored by: Departments of English, and Theatre and Dance

Monday 10/24 SPC Presents Katy Lederer and Rebecca Morrison. Host: Tim Kahl
7:30 PM 1719 25th Street

Sun, 10/26, 11am, El Camino Poets meet at the
Ethel Hart Senior Center @ 27th and J streets
for a poetry workshop. Bring 8 copies of your
poems for critique. All poets welcome

Monday., 10/27 SPC Presents Meg Withers and Tom Goff. Host: Tim Kahl
7:30 PM 1719 25th Street

Thursday, Oct. 30, 8 PM, Rattlesnake Press will
hold a reading at Luna’s Cafe to release two
SpiralChaps to honor and celebrate Luna’s,
including a new collection of art and poetry
from B.L. KENNEDY (Luna’s House of Words);
and an anthology of Luna’s poets, artists and
photographs (La Luna: Poetry Unplugged at
Luna’s Café) edited by FRANK ANDRICK.
Luna’s Café, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Info:
kathykieth@hotmail.com/.

Halloween Poetry Bash -- October 31,
2008, begins at 7pm at the SPC HQ 1719
25th St., Sacramento with Poet and UC Davis
Professor Joe Wenderoth

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Robert Grossklaus and Litany—Sept. 22, 2008

The Sacramento Poetry Center forged music and words together in its word foundry on Mon. Sept. 22. The principal smithies were Robert Grossklaus who started off the evening by reading

Prairie Creek

Poetry across the sky,
rippling softly over cement,
words meandering
their way east wind.
Afternoons melt into
hot breath, slight,
like the movement of water uphill,
more than a reflection.
waiting for the music . . .

Granite, rivers of milk
snaking their way between buildings
of imagination and institution,
towering above mortality,
crushing magnitude,
sun caking concrete
against thought, erecting walls
of spoiled earthways—
eat these meanings
and regurgitate them
into the mouths of children.

The words eschewing from still lips, breathless;
foreboding softly somewhat fierce,
focused on the becoming.
You become the target.

This is not a lament, it’s a battlecry!

Our hearts beat their way through bony prisons,
bursting outward into the dead;
the chains our restitution
for moments unbridled.
We dance toward the sun across the blood of others.
In this dream we are awake and we are unafraid.

Persist through glaciers of encumbered thought,
chip away or crash through,
the cracks and fissures are hope.
through weariness, through stagnant waters,
through the myriad of sorrow, through
the black sunsets of cold habituation—
create the catharsis, a sacred chalice filled
the blood and spit of those who’ve failed,
fallen in your wake,
swallowed up by mirrors and ephemera.

Sing those songs you never thought you could!




Grossklaus was joined by Litany [Chéne Watson on percussion, Bob Wilson on guitars (and King Crimson t-shirt) and Miles Miniaci on keyboards and vocals]. While overseen by the paintings of Dan Samborski, Litany started into their set which included “Inamorata” and “Fever Ride” (inspired by Moroccan tune). Then they played an oldie but a goodie “A Million Years” when I noticed a curious patch of tar-like residue on bob Wilson’s shoes that vaguely resembled the outline of Greenland. Next up for Litany was Mirangula which featured Chéne Watson on hammer dulcimer, improvising his way through the bridge and a groovy little quena voicing on Miniaci’s Roland. They played “One Thing” which was heavy on the keyboards and in my mind had a little bit of a Ray Manzarek feel with Miniaci’s Roland synthesizer doing double time as a Farfisa. The surfing sound dominated the “Love Hypocrites,” which featured a kind of Surfaris meets Duane Eddy sound from The guitar. They finished off with a cover of Patti Smith’s “Shooting Shark.”



Then Grossklaus joined Litany for a set of poems conjoined to Litany’s atmospherics. I guess this is what they meant by art rock, folks. It was gloriously out of style, but what can I say, I liked it. Heady stuff in an age where it simply does not pay to use one’s head or even pay homage to using it. The ensemble played “When the Sun Rose Over,” “Stranger in the Photograph,” and “The Book of Dreams" (which featured Watson on hammer dulcimer again). “Phantom Limb” reminded me a little of “Jail” by Was (Not Was) with its edgy speaker wondering who had stolen his limb. Finally, there was “Limerince” (posited by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, an involuntary cognitive and emotional state in which a person feels an intense romantic desire for another person. The concept is an attempt at a scientific study into the nature of romantic love.) with Miniaci cooking up a little bit of an Irish jig in the background. In the piece Grossklaus offered up the line “The feeling that nothing gets better than this, and you wouldn’t want it to.” This seemed to capture the moment fairly well.



The open mic was inhabited by a fairly lengthy list of a few people who are beginning to form a fairly regular list of readers: David Iribarne, David Purdy, Adam Burrell, Jeff Norman, B. L. Kennedy, Lawrence D., and Frank Graham.

Litany came back for one last tune at the end while (what the hell) they still had everything set up. They did “The Final Reel” as an encore. Then everyone busily set about to tear down the set and look for the half-drunk beers that B.L. Kennedy had mysteriously strewn throughout the compound. Let’s call it the Fall Equinox version of an Easter Egg hunt.