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.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Here comes September – a few poetry events you might want to consider

Sept 6, Monday
Monday at 7:30pm at SPC – 25th and R
Tim Hernandez and Maceo Montoya
Hosted by Tim Kahl

Sept 8, Wednesday
(note – this event is second Wednesday this month)
Sacramento Room Wednesday Reading – Poets featured in Sixteen Rivers Press Anthology
6 to 7:30 at Sacramento Room, Central Library, 828 I Street, Second floor

September 13
Monday at 7:30pm at SPC – 25th and R
J.P. Dancing Bear and CJ Sage, hosted by Dorine Jennette

September 16, Thursday
Bring a favorite poem to read to Brown Bag Poetry at the Central Library
828 I Street, 12 noon
Hosted by Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins

September 18, Saturday
Lawrence Dinkins and Ross Hammond celebrate the release of electropoetic coffee
Luna’s Café 1414 16th Street $10-general admission

September 20
Monday at 7:30pm at SPC – 25th and R
2010 Calaveras Station Literary Journal reading
Hosted by Trina Drotar

September 27
Monday at 7:30pm at SPC – 25th and R
Mark Statman and Kurt Brown
Hosted by Tim Kahl

for more details, or information on more events, go to

www.eskimopie.net or


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Londonberry Salon reads

The Londonberry Salon showed up at the Sacramento Poetry Center on August 23, 2010. The salon was responsible for putting out The Larkfield Review in 20o9 which was edited by husband and wife team Greg Randall and Toni Wilkes and featured four poets: Shawn Pittard, Mary Petrosky, Roy Mash, and Christina Hutchins. These four poets were the featured readers, introduced by Randall and Wilkes, on this night at SPC.

Why I Don't Write Confessional Poetry
So many laws argue so many sins — Milton, Paradise Lost

When I was nineteen, I confessed my sexual indiscretions to an eighty-year-old High Priest — a Latter-Day Apostle — who wrote them all down on a long, yellow pad. He meticulously transcribed each incident, by category, while asking clarifying questions. Was that you on her? Or her on you? His Mont Blanc scribbled furiously.

Below a painting of the blue-eyed Jesus, praying desperately for His own deliverance in Gethsemane, I could taste the contents of that bitter cup.

The old man pushed a box of Kleenex across the cluttered desktop. Sometimes, he said, people show sorrow for their sins. The second hand ticked on the wall clock. Basketballs bounced on the hardwood floor down the hallway — Church League. He nodded toward the white tissue with a thin smile of encouragement. It's a matter of excommunication.

Lot's wife was told do not look back or she would be turned into a pillar of salt. Some days, I can feel the heat of that burning city in the middle of my back — as I walk, and walk, and walk away.
— Shawn Pittard

Alberto's Love Song

When Lena turns,
rises slowly onto her toes

above the other young women,
Alberto is mesmerized

by the arc of her calves
through yellow cotton, by

her stillness, this cactus flower
barely open to the sun amid red

poppies whose flutter and nod
tantalizes the passing Sunday crowds.

Again and again, he watches Lena
glide from her canvas-covered soles

to point. Each time catches
the quiver of her jaw

just as she breaks
pose and slides down

into the bevy of skirts.
He know how small

is the gate to vulnerability.
Knows Lena is a thorn bird,

weaves her nest into a dome
of barbed twigs. He doesn't

mind getting his hand pricked
coaxing her

out, little camastero
he can make fly.
—Mary Petrosky


here's my pinkie finger
weakest of any
I use it
for entering small places
nose holes eye nooks ear mazes

incorrigible pansy
scrupulous peon
immaculate pal o' mine

always at the end of things
like an aisle seat
always coy always
the lilting one
junior partner of the firm
the one who attends to the details
itself a detail
daughter I must leave out
of the boy scout salute
who flirts with my thumb
when I'm nervous

definitive unit of etiquette
meticulous imp
ultimate runt

I've tried to teach it guitar
make it type
play golf
it's useless!
It wants to be insignificant or nothing
to know at the end no one
have no one
know it

unfamous as a thread
ninny of my care
stick without width.
—Roy Mash (first published in miller's pond)

A Way Back To Life

From Russians I learned never to shake hands
across a threshold, but a half-hour after
rising, I return to set my cool hand into the bed
where a river of a dreamheat lingers, the still-warm
flank of our horse's dark gallop.

To make sure it was me they got, my parents
put up all night with a mockingbird
perched aloud in one of three liquid birches
a handspan from their open window. Do you
I'd make that up? Ask me,

and I might tell you the joke that rolls
like a yellow marble from all that I have made.
A cloak of lightning around my shoulders,
I can slip like a drumbeat into the actual world.
If only making love did not

also make loss. If only a curtain call
and the dead lifted their bodies,
lithe. From the surprise taxi emerged a child
beautiful in her buttoned coat, but on the stones
even her small feet sang

the terrible clatter. You have suggested we
take the floating trip, meaning, perhaps, without
formal destination. Will you bury your head
in the softness of my belly where old
yearnings still sleep? Continent

to continent, homeless and without
fixed beliefs, perhaps a large part laughter,
there is nowhere loss will refuse
to take us. I have decided to trust
the late night horse and its riders.
—Christina Hutchins (first published in The Missouri Review)

All poems were published in The Larkfield Review 2009 and were read on August 23, 2010.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Londonberry Salon
Shawn Pittard, Christina Hutchins, Gregory Randall, Toni Wilkes, Roy Mash, and Mary Petrosky
Monday, August 23 at 7:30 PM
Sacramento Poetry Center — 1719 25th St.
Crossroads for the Arts at 25th and R Street

About the Larkfield Review:
from editors, Gregory W. Randall and Toni L Wilkes

In June of 2009, our desire to provide space for local or regional poets manifested itself in an inaugural volume of
The Larkfield Review. The anthology featured four poets who read for the spring Poets We Know Londonberry Salon. The criteria was simple: to bring together friends and acquaintances laboring away at the craft of poetry who had not yet had the opportunity to publish a full-length manuscript of poems.

In the end, we brought together Shawn Pittard’s luminous imagery springing from everyday experiences in the Sacramento Valley and foothills with Mary Petrosky’s re-imagined histories and lives of figures in old Argentine photographs with Roy Mash’s playful and humorous take on objects we so often take for granted–fingers, playground antics–with Christina Hutchins’ shimmering lyricism weaving together love and the realm of nature, a weave that “blooms and revises the world.”

Shawn Pittard is the author of These Rivers—a chapbook of poems from Rattlesnake Press. His poems have most-recently appeared on-line in Convergence and In Posse Review, and in print in the North American Review. He co-wrote a screenplay, Junk Sick, with his brother, Trent, and divides his time between his home in Sacramento, California and his family’s cabin outside Flagstaff, Arizona.

Christina Hutchins teaches poetry and Whitehead’s philosophy at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley. With degrees from UC Davis, Harvard, and Graduate Theological Union, she has worked as a biochemist and a Congregational (UCC) minister. Her poems have appeared in Antioch Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Denver Quarterly, The New Republic, Prairie Schooner, Salmagundi, The Southern Review, and The Missouri Review. She has won the 2010 Annie Finch Prize of The National Poetry Review, the 2010 Robin Becker chapbook prize of Seven Kitchens Press, the 2009 Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, the Villa Montalvo Poetry Prize, and she has received two Barbara Deming Awards for Women in Poetry and was selected by Robert Hass for a fellowship to the Summer Literary Seminars in St. Petersburg, Russia. Christina is the Poet Laureate of Albany, CA. The Stranger Dissolves was chosen by Sixteen Rivers Press for publication in early in 2011.

Gregory W. Randall majored in English and Latin at St. Olaf College and spent innumerable hours in the music library.

Mark Doty selected
Double Happiness for the 5th Annual Camber Press Chapbook Award for 2009. His chapbook A Room in the Country will be published by Pudding House Press in 2010 and Uncommon Refrains is forthcoming from The Lives You Touch Publications.
Greg also received a 2009 Pushcart Prize nomination, and his chapbook Blue Water Views was recently accepted by Finishing Line Press.

First published by
The Pedestal Magazine, his
poem “Confessions of an Apothecary” has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is a recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize for 2008

His recent work appears or is forthcoming in
The Bitter Oleander, CQ, Cream City, GW Review, Louisiana Literature, Louisville Review, Pedestal, Rosebud, Southern California Review, South Carolina Review, Sow’s Ear, Stand, and other noted journals.

Greg owns a financial planning practice with his wife Toni Wilkes in Santa Rosa, CA. []

Prior to relocating to Northern California, Toni L. Wilkes was a freelance screenwriter and fulltime story editor for feature film director Peter Hyams in Los Angeles. She is now a member of the California State Poetry Society and the Marin Poetry Center. Wilkes serves as a board member for the Sonoma County Library.

Wilkes is the author of
Stepping Through Moons (Finishing Line Press, 2009). Her work appears or is forthcoming in California Quarterly, Confrontation, Cream City Review, Folio, GW Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Healing Muse, In Posse Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Pinyon, Poetry East, Roanoke Review, Rosebud, Southern Humanities Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Touch: The Journal of Healing, The Texas Review and other noted journals. She lives with her husband, Gregory Randall, in Santa Rosa, California where they own a financial planning practice.

Roy Mash is an electronics technician living in San Rafael. He is currently co-chair and webmaster for Marin Poetry Center. His poetry has been published in Agni, Atlanta Review, Barrow Street, The Evansville Review, Nimrod, Poetry East, Rhino and Two Review among others.

Mary Petrosky received her MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a member of the Squaw Community of Writers. Her poems have appeared in literary magazines including Blackbird, Calyx, The Comstock Review, Tattoo Highway, Kalliope, and the Metronome of Aptekarsky Ostrov (published in St. Petersburg, Russia), as well as anthologies such as Above Us Only Sky: An Anthology of Atheist Poetry, The Larkfield Review, and Tweets from Arctos Press. A freelance technology writer, Petrosky lives in San Mateo, CA.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

SPC to feature Zimbabwean novelist/poet Chris Mlalazi and renowned US poet, Ron Slate

October 11 is a big hosting day for me and SPC, when I present the Mlalazi-Slate double feature. Chris Mlalazi, a Zimbabwean novelist, has written and published poetry and plays. He usually reads his short prose, but on this day he will also share some of his poetry. I have known Chris through the internet for a long time, and on July 31st, I had the priviledge to share the stage with him on Los Angeles, when Eso Won Bookstore co-featured us. We read our proetry and prose and launched the recently published short story collection, "African Roar", which I co-edited with South Africa-based Zimbabwean writer, Ivor W. Hartmann. I am very happy that Chris will be reading at SPC. Below are some details:

Villa Aurora’s 2010 Feuchtwanger Fellow, Zimbabwean writer Christopher Mlalazi’s two books, Dancing with Life (2008, amaBooks), a collection of short stories, Many Rivers (2009, Lion Press, Ltd., UK), a novel, and his latest play Election Day (2010), deal with the social and political disintegration of his native Zimbabwe. In 2008 he was co-awarded the OXFAM NOVIP PEN Freedom of Expression Award at the Hague, which he received with Raisedon Baya for their play The Crocodile of Zambezi. The Crocodile of Zambezi (2008), a satire of the Mugabe regime set in a fictional country along the Zambezi River, was officially banned and members of its cast and crew were harassed and beaten by state agents. Christopher Mlalazi’s work has received numerous honors and awards, including the ‘2009 Best First Published Creative Work, National Arts Merit Award in Zimbabwe’ for Dancing with Life: Tales from the Township, which also received the NOMA Award Honorable Mention(UK) in 2009; Many Rivers was shortlisted for the 2010 National Merit Award for Most Outstanding Book of Fiction. He has also published poetry in several international anthologies. Mr. Mlalazi has completed a new novel while in residence at Villa Aurora.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tule Review needs poems for next issue

Call for Submissions!

The Sacramento Poetry Center welcomes submissions for the winter Tule Review - now 50-60 pages and perfect bound - with an anticipated publication date for January 2011. We consider poetry of all styles and forms from both local and far-flung places as long as the poems are strong and well crafted.

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2010.
As of June 16, 2010, we have changed our submission guidelines.

For our new complete Submission Guidelines, please click on the link below:


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Michael Paul came down from the foothills to read some poems from his big black book. The following was one of them. This poem is one he wrote a long time ago for his current girlfriend (which Paul admitted she still doesn't like . . . but he does).


Lessons in bone.

Jazzman lifts brass, like knife riffing
Filigrees of sadness, sonic scrimshaw,
Upon tiny hammers, anvils, stirrups, all
The smallest ossicles of this
Benighted head
Bowed head
Bowed head. Eyes burn.

My love comes,
Bearing gifts. Four roses odorless
And still as newly killed mice.
Lays them out like my heart
At her feet
With the news of her leaving.

Alone now,
Taking all the wine dark lines
Of haunted face
Written by the blind luck draw
Of double helix,
Scribed by horn
(Not ax, but knife)
Now sharpened
On the castanet clatter
Of my loves knocking
My loves leaving. I raise
A toast,
A cup of gladness
Turned to vinegar and gall,
Put four roses in it:

The color of memory
The complexion of time
The shade of solitude
The hue and pattern of
The chiaroscuro coloratura
The jazzman scratches on my bones.

Listen: I will
Raise a toast to the woman
Whose tuition though bitter,
Costly as a mouthful of ants,
Is the unwilling dues
I pay to hear
All the way to my bones,
That hard bought beauty
Of the blues.

Then Taylor Graham read from Walking with Elihu: poems on Elihu Burritt, The Learned Blacksmith. The following is an excerpt from that book.


One of my motives . . . was to look at the country towns
and villages on the way in the face and eyes.
— Elihu Burritt, A Walk from London to John O'Groats

For two minutes and forty-five seconds
the Ron Horse stands waiting
in the harness at the station, trembling with impatience
of metal and steam; a snort,
a roar as he plunges into dark passages
under the city. Who could
catch his breath, as he's hurled through a tunnel
under paved streets and church vaults?
Then, re-emerging into daylight, those deranging
glimpses of tenements and black-throated
chimneys, children trying to
make-believe in backyards eight feet square;
and wicked boys flinging dead cats —

You won't travel that way.
Seven hundred miles by footpath —
you'll take your time
through pasture and yellow field,
see pied cows ruminating in noon shade,
and hear the song of bees.
You'll pass the time of day
with a hundred pleasant greeting:
a farmer at the stile,
reapers with scythe or sickle
across the hedge. It will be a good
long walk.

A healthy open mic followed afterwards with Lawrence Dinkins (NSAA), Moira Magneson, Hatch Graham, Wendy Williams and others.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Join us on Monday, August 16, as Taylor Graham reads from her new book and Michael Gregg Paul returns to the poetic stage. Reading starts at 7:30 p.m., 25th and R. Refreshments. Free. Please listen to capradio.org at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 13, to catch the interview with Taylor Graham.

Taylor Graham has been a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler for many years. Her book The Downstairs Dance Floor was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize, and her newest, Walking with Elihu: poems on Elihu Burritt, the Learned Blacksmith, is just out. For a recent article on Taylor in the Sacramento Bee, visit http://www.sacbee.com/2010/06/02/2791845/poets-fascination-with-elihu-burritt.html. She will be featured on capradio.org at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 13.

Michael Gregg Paul is author of 6 chapbooks; co-editor of two poetry anthologies in national distribution; sometime journalist; award winning visual artist in several media; and once-upon-a-time garage band drummer. Michael Paul's poems have appeared in a number of literary journals including Spillway, Pearl, Blue Satellite and The Valley Contemporary Poets Anthology. Michael's next volume of poetry, "Dog Whistle Politics," will be released in the fall from Lummox Press.

Two Poems by Taylor Graham from her new book:

A Ship Goes Aground off Nantucket

based on Elihu Burritt’s “A Child’s Question”

Fifty-four Forty or Fight! It looks like war,
United States against the Motherland.
And off the coast of Massachusetts, Mother
Nature brews a storm.

Against the wind, British sea-men
wrestle down their sails.
But still, their ship
wrecks on the shoals off Nantucket.

Merchants and whalers, good Nantucketeers
rope themselves in, throw themselves
into the waves to save foreign sailors
from a common foe and friend, the Sea.

Now observe this English mariner
shivering and drenched,
wrapped in Yankee
comforters and warmed with tea

as a small child asks
her father, isn’t this the enemy
we wish to go to war
to kill?


I felt somewhat astonished that my countryman, who was said to be master of fifty languages, had to get some one to read his speech in French.
- William Wells Brown at the Paris Peace Congress, 1949

It’s one thing to decipher Nous connaissons
la vérité so Pascal’s words make English sense.
Harder to compose your own thoughts
into French that a Parisian might grasp.
Beyond that, what genius, to turn correct grammar
into phrases that move intellect and heart?

But how ticklish, without language-labs,
to speak your lofty words out loud,
to master accent and emphasis; inflection
and the affective pauses.

Elihu, even with quick-and-easy travel tapes,
I can’t get my mouth around
the word for “no” in Greek.
My Spanish will not romance its “rr”s
with a trill of the tongue.
In French, my nasals sound like whining.

At the Peace Congress you gave up
your script to a Frenchman,
believing your sense and phrasing, in his
fluent mouth, might better fire
the world
to your passion.

The Sacramento Poetry Center welcomes all styles of strong, well-crafted poems for the winter Tule Review—now 50-60 pages and perfect bound with an anticipated completion in January 2011.

Seeking Submissions for the winter Tule Review

Submission Deadline: September 30, 2010

Please note: As of June 16, 2010, we have changed our submission guidelines.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Include no more than three poems, maximum 96 lines per poem.
  • Include three (3) copies of each poem
  • Include the following information at the right-hand, top of each page: your legal name, name used for publication (if applicable), e-mail address, phone number
  • Poems continuing onto a second page should be indicated as follows: "Title of poem, page 2"
  • Also, indicate if there is or is not a stanza break between the first and second page: (stanza break) or (no stanza break)
  • We do not accept simultaneous submissions, but sometimes consider previously published poems. If previously published, note the name and date of prior publication on the page below your poem.
  • Include a 12x9 SASE envelope with your submission (ensure sufficient postage for return of your work) which we will use to 1) notify you of decline and/or 2) return your poemsand/or 3) mail you your contributor copy of the finished publication (if your poem(s) are selected for inclusion).
  • Mail your submission to: Sacramento Poetry Center | c/o Tule Review | P.O. Box 160406 | Sacramento, CA 95816
  • If your poem(s) are accepted, you will be notified via email (or via US mail if you do not have an email address). We will, at that time, ask you to submit an electronic version of your poem(s) as well as a short, five line bio.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

VS Chochezi and Rob Anthony at Sacramento Poetry Center August 9, 2010

Rob Anthony started the evening off with an assortment of poems that skillfully bridged the gap between acting and the written word. His poem "I, Poet" and his seasonal cycle on "winter" and "the summer fling" produced the most audible gasps from the audience.
During a collaborative piece about no two bodies being able to occupy the same place which featured both poets standing back to back and alternating recitations, Anthony's and Chochezi's eyes lock
VS Chochezi performed her mix of political poems and personal statements of faith. She even let a love poem sneak in there (though she let everyone know that usually such poems are not meant for sharing). She left the stage with the audience considering the nature of the godhead from the tripartite God of the Christian faith to the orixas of the Yoruba tradition. As she left the stage, she let out a plea to "Free Mumia".

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salvatore Salerno and Tim Kahl at The Barkin' Dog Grill in Modesto, CA on August 10, 2010

The Poetry reading series in Modesto hosted by Gillian Wegener at The Barkin' Dog Grill featured Salvatore Salerno and Tim Kahl on August 10, 2010.

There was good turn-out and a pretty good-sized contingent participating in the open mic.

So the next time you pass through the Modesto area on a second Tuesday and travel beneath the beloved Arch with its motto — Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health — stop by the Barkin' Dog Grill for the Papa Burger, a milkshake, and some poetry.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Wednesday August 4th 6pm at the Sacramento Room: By Heart

Judith Tannenbaum will read from the dual memoir:
By Heart: Poetry, Prison and Two Lives.

Don't miss a chance to hear her work, as well as the work
of Spoon Jackson, her co-author, who is serving a life sentence in the
California prison system.

6pm at the beautiful Sacramento Room - 2nd floor Central Library
828 I Street!

Tule Review Reading

Thanks to all for a great event - over 70 attended the August 2 celebration of
the new Tule Review. Most of all thanks to Editors Linda Collins and Theresa McCourt!

Summer 2010 Tule Review Reading

The Summer 2010 Tule Review reading took place on Monday August 2, 2010. It was a packed house; over 70 people were in attendance. It featured 13 readers who came from Northern California and beyond to participate.
Editors: Theresa McCourt and Linda Collins
Gillian Wegener
William O' Daly
Lenore Myers
Allison Meraz
Kathleen McClung
Katie McCleary
Devi Sen Lasker
Penelope La Montagne
L.A. "Lisa" Jones
Taylor Graham
Susan Flynn
Margaret Duarte
Naomi Benaron