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.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Hockey sticks propped against the wall and with the host trying to do impressions of both Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry and warble excerpts from a Stan Rogers tune, the SPC venue was set to explore and touch everyone in attendance’s inner Canadian.

Zaid Shlah started off the evening reading selections from his long poem entitled “Taqsim.” He then read two other poems from the book of the same name published by Frontenac House. One was “Leaving Iraq, Entering Alberta” and the other was “Occident to Orient.” [ Excerpt from Occident to Orient] Shlah read a few new pieces that emanated from a recent trip to Turkey, “An Ant climbs A Hill,” “A Rebuttal” (which can be found at Babylon Burning) and “Have You Seen Yourself?” Shlah ended the evening reading two contemporary Arab-American poets. One is Saadi Youssef. The other poet is Dunya Mikhail, and he read the poems of hers ”The War Works Hard” and “Pronouns.”

Brad Buchanan took to the microphone and explained why, though growing up in Ottawa, he was a Maple Leafs fan. Seguing from Zaid Shlah’s segment, Brad read ”Photograph from Northern Iraq”. By request he read “The Glue-Eater” from his book The Miracle Shirker. “The Emigrant Language” was next and then Buchanan moved into more frivolous hockey material, “Tending Goal,” where Buchanan unloaded his angst about playing goal in front of a bunch of voracious attackers. He read “Gretzky in Exile” about the loss of Canada’s best and brightest. “Selling Home” touched again on those who are expatriate Canadians. Summoning the notion that much of Canadian literature focuses on mdness while engaging the wilderness, often times unsuccessfully (see Farley Mowatt’s Lost in the Barrens) as opposed to the American conquering of the wilderness, Buchanan read “Snowblind.” Buchanan finished off his part of the reading with "Drowning by Letters” and “The Black and White Garden.”

The Black and White Garden

To my daughter’s mind, a forest in winter
is a black and white garden, where birds disappear
and dead leaves hang from branches like bats
set free from books where words have dried
and flattened them. In her eyes, things change
their colors, dimensions, names and origins--
they shine, starkly opposed, as if under
compulsion to form a pattern or purpose,
just like a classic photograph
or a Gothic wasteland, teeming with truths
that nobody else can see until
she points them out. For her, the snow
becomes undergrowth, blank space creeps into speech
and a poem is written with places to touch
built into the gently breathed-upon panes
of a lost, glaring wonder. We stare at her mind.

The open mic at the end of the evening was fueled by Jeff Norman, Rana Fong, and Whitney Knoll, who, in keeping with the Canadian theme for the evening, read Sally Ito’s “Sisters of the Modern Mind.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


The “very determined” Edythe Haendel Schwartz arrived in Sacramento on a lovely evening that saw a few of her cohorts in the Davis Aquatic Masters come to see her. The first piece she read was a new piece entitled “Olympics,” and it was an homage to the notion that “the prize goes to the last one alive.”

The next piece she read was from her chapbook put out by Finishing Line Press entitled Exposure. The piece was called “Chromatic” and it was dedicated a couple she had known some years ago, Jim and Marion.

Nest was “Body Project” and “Does it Hurt?” which focuses on a child’s lesson about pain, such a profound question to a 5-year-old child.

The title piece “Exposure” dealt with water themes and fear, fear that comes from the external environment and the fear of the bureaucratic machinery in the city. The poem was a composite of voices she heard and internalized growing up.

“Reprieve” involved Edythe’s husband, Sy, encountering a sparrow that had struck the window.

Edythe’s father was a civil engineer and “Suspension” was triggered by Edythe’s memory of her father stopping the family car at various suspension bridges and discussing the details of them, in particular the difference between stress and strain.

“Care” was about a former student of hers who became sick, and then came two ekphrastic pieces: “Still Water” (about the indiscriminate placement of a figure in a landscape painting) and “Francois Gilot Tells Picasso He Must Paint Peace” (about Picasso’s “War and Peace” at Stone Chapel in Vallauris, France).

In “Rafting” Schwartz explored the flow of the Limay River through the Patagonian Steppes and the current of intolerance leading to massacre through the centuries. The final line asks, “What’s to come?”

“Habanera” was written in remembrance of the time when her mother had died. the poem reflects on friendship and art, the two keepsakes from her that are objectified in the poem by a friend’s flowers, yellow jonquils, brought to the house and the presence of the music of Carmen.

Finally, “The Conchologist and the Shoemaker” was inspired by the conversation she overheard between a blind professor at UC Davis and a shoemaker. In the poem the conchologist makes the reader he is very aware of his world despite the loss of one of his major senses.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sacramento Literary Events for March


Note: Unless otherwise stated, events take place in Sacramento, CA.

March Literary Events for Sacramento

1 Saturday
All are invited to Escritores del Nuevo Sol’s writing workshop and
potluck. 11am. at La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd Street,
Sacramento. For info call Graciela Ramirez, 456-5323 or
joannpen@comcast.net. Website: www.escritoresdelnuevosol.com

2 Sunday
A reading by Joe Finkleman and Susan Finkleman plus musicians
Francesca Reitano and Mark Halverson at Congregation Bet
Haverim, 1715 Anderson Road, Davis. 3pm. $5 cover charge goes to
the synagogue.

3 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center.
Sacramento Poetry Center features Julia Levine and Rick Campbell.
Hosted by Tim Kahl. HQ for the Arts – 1719 25th Street. 7:30pm

4 Tuesday
(1) Washington DC author and teacher Rosemary Winslow
reads her poetry at Sacramento State – 12noon at the
University Bookstore Conference Room. Free.
(2) Cosumnes River College presents Frank Portman, author
of the critically acclaimed novel for young adults, King Dork.
1:30 to 3:00 pm in the CRC Main Building (Forum Room
L111) Free.
(3) SPC Poetry Workshop, 7:30pm, Hart Senior Center, 27th &
J. Bring 15 - 20 copies of your one-page poem. Info:
Danyen, (530) 756-6228

5 Wednesday
Another chance to hear Frank Portman, author of King Dork, this time
at Sacramento State. 6pm in the CSUS Library – 3rd floor, Room
3023. Free.

6 Thursday
Poetry Unplugged features TBA at Luna’s Café. Fuh Shang & The
Jalapeno Chocolates. Hosted by Mario Ellis Hill. Festivities begin at
8pm and there will be an open mic as well.

7 Friday
The Other Voice, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of
Davis presents Suzanne Roberts and Nancy Bodily. 7:30 to 9:00 in
the library of the Church at 27074 Patwin Road, Davis. Refreshments
and Open Mike follow - bring along a poem or two to share.

8 Saturday
Culture Collection features Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd, vocalist Carla
Fleming and ‘Fuh Shang & The Jalapeno Chocolates.’ Plus open mic.
6391 Riverside Blvd in Greenhaven. 2 – 4 pm. FREE! Call (916)
427-7715 for more info.

9 Sunday
The El Camino Chapter of Chaparral Poets will be meeting at the
Senior Center on 27th and J Streets between 11AM and 1PM for
poetry and tea. All are welcome to attend. Please bring 10 copies of
a poem to share and critique. RSVP: Carol Louise Moon

10 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center presents a reading by Edythe Haendel
Schwartz, in honor of her new collection, Exposure. HQ for the Arts –
1719 25th Street. 7:30 pm, FREE. Hosted by Bob Stanley

11 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

12 Wednesday
Rattlesnake Press presents a new chapbook by ANN PRIVATEER
(Attracted to Light) and a littlesnake broadside from JEANINE
STEVENS (Eclipse), a new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#17) and
Conversations Vol. 2 of B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview
Series—all at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30
PM. Info: kathykieth@hotmail.com or 916-442-9295.

13 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 Saturday
Underground Books features what may well be the final performance
of Black Men Expressing Tour. Plus Random Abilideaze and R and B
singer Carla Fleming. 2814 35th Street off 35th and Broadway.
7 – 9 p.m. $3.00

17 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center presents TBA. HQ for the Arts – 1719 25th
Street. 7:30 pm, FREE.

18 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

20 Thursday
Poetry Unplugged at Luna’s Café. 8pm. Hosted by Frank Andrick.

24 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center presents Zaid Shlah and Brad Buchanan
hosted by Tim Kahl. HQ for the Arts – 1719 25th Street. 7:30 pm,

25 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

26 Wednesday
River City Writers Series presents Robert Wrigley 7 pm in the Little
Theater, Sacramento City College

27 Thursday
River City Writers Series presents Kim Barnes. 12 noon. Little
Theater, Sacramento City College.

Poetry Unplugged features Jackie Schaffer, Marty, the Pirate, plus
Robert Grossklaus & Litany at Luna’s Café. 8pm. Hosted by B.L.
Kennedy. Free.

29 Saturday
The Show features Lady Kitty Griffin, Kevin Sandbloom and DeDe
Hunt. Wo'se Community Center 2863 35th Street off 35th and
Broadway. 7 – 9 pm. $5.00

31 Monday
Sacramento Poetry Center features a reading by the Zen Marxist
Launderettes: Laura Ann Walton, Emily Wright, Mira Kores, Sandra
Senne, Magaret Burns, Erin Doyle, Ellen Johnson, Carolyn
Schneider. Hosted by Frank Graham. HQ for the Arts – 1719 25th
Street. 7:30 pm, FREE.

April Literary Events (partial listing)

April 2, 3
Gathering of California Community Poets Laureate

April 3rd

Poetry Unplugged features TBA at Luna’s Café.
Susan & Joe Finkleman hosted by Mario Ellis Hill.
Festivities begin at 8pm and there will be an open
mic as well.

April 4, 5
SPC Poetry Conference at HQ for the Arts
CRC Writers’ Conference at Hart Senior Center

April 9
Rattlesnake Press’s annual birthday bash at The
Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30
PM. Featuring new chapbooks from Annie
Menebroker and Ted Finn, as well as #2 in our
HandyStuff series, this time a blank (well, not
really) journal from Katy Brown.

And Monday nights at SPC in April:

April 14
Winners of the 2nd
Annual SPC High School Poetry

April 21
!X – Sac City Ethnic Theater Workshop – returns
to HQ for the Arts

April 28
William O' Daly reads – hosted by Tim Kahl

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Julia Levine and Rick Campbell arrived at the Sacramento Poetry Center on a March night where, strangely enough, there was no rain. Still, many felt a sense of security in staying close to their coats in case they might need them as the night wore on.

Julia Levine started the evening off by reading an assortment of poems from her new collection Ditch-tender and some new poems. She began to describe how she came to the title of the book through laundry. Yes, that’s right, laundry. It seems she was going through her husband’s clothes before loading them into the washer and came across the Ditchtender’s Guidebook. A ditch tender is one of those people who assures that water flows smoothly to where it is needed throughout the Central Valley. She remarked how it also served as a metaphor for what she does as a clinical psychologist and how it reflected her interest in water as a metaphor for the subconscious. She was halfway into “Bat Ray” when the space heater’s alarm went off, prompting a do-over [Note to self: do not trust that space heater to behave anymore. Unplug before the reading starts.]. She then went on to read “Napa,” and “in his last year” from Ditch-tender. Then she read a piece for her father who is latter stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [Lou Gehrig’s disease], “First Duet” [1:43] was a remembrance of her father’s early piano playing days. She went on to read another new piece “Letter to My Father Written by Flashlight.” She read another poem from Ditch-tender for her father, “My Father’s Last Spring.” She rounded out the evening with “River Road,” “All Night You Ask the Children of the World to Forgive You,” “Mia, at Ten Years,” (dedicated to her youngest daughter) “After Rain” [1:48] and finally, for her husband, Steve, “In the Real Paradise.”

Rick Campbell began his set (which, by the way, was not interrupted by any alarms or car horns in the parking lot or even the light rail chiming in the background) reading a piece from his new book Dixmont entitled “History.” He went on to describe how Dixmont was the name of an insane asylum outside of Pittsburgh where his mother had stayed. But Campbell was reluctant to edge into that territory for the evening so he read “Santa Claus Saves Child at Pensacola Mall,” and “Clearing The Air” for which he told the story of his father (for whom the poem was written) who died after walking in the annual American Legion Labor Day parade. He then read “Meditation on Today’s Limit of Pleasure” “Imaginary Numbers,” [4:01] “Sitting in the Emergency Exit Row,” “Verbs for Armadillos,” [3:30] “The War on Many Fronts,” and finally, for his daughter, “1000 Miles From Della Rose.”