Diane di Prima reading for DivaFest

Diane di Prima does one long solo reading per year in San Francisco and for the last 7 years that’s been at DivaFest at the Exit Theater. The little theater was packed with wistful and wild-eyed poets and hardcore di Prima fans as Diane led off just talking about stuff and asking us all for any spare kleenexes before she started out reading. She talked a bit about being the poet laureate of San Francisco saying that she loves the poetry folks of this town and it honors them and it honors poetry. But the parts that are political or B.S. and that it doesn’t have very much money to support her going in to teach poetry writing to kids and so on, that part isn’t so great. It’s nice but the greatest honor she has ever received was knowing someone typed out her first book on carbon paper to pass it around Leavenworth prison.

Diane then said that she is thinking of what’s new, poems as news, poets as antennae and is reading a bunch of unpublished work and the new things that may go into Loba or the next Revolutionary Letters. “A lot of things that are news are very old. They’re new and old at the same time.” I really love poet talk and Diane can’t even help doing it and at the same time is just plain not full of shit. (Reminding me of my friend Greg who died… should be on his grave stone, “He wasn’t full of shit.”) I respect the ability some people have to just talk and then to read their writing in a way that isn’t bullshitty or different than their usual self. Just write it! And then when you’re talking, saying something! That’s so good.

I kept imagining wishfully that Diane would come to WisCon where she would be strangely happy among fantastic strong writer matriarchs in lavender quilted vests and iron grey hair and wild imaginations that range through all time and space!

Diane di Prima reading at DIVAfest.jpg

Notes on the poems!

The first poem was “My Andalusia” which was written as an exploration of writing about things as you imagined them when you were younger. What you thought about Egypt or New York when you were 6. Diane’s Anadalusia was an alternate history coming up to the present and future where sufi and kabalah and christian and scientific communities flourished uninterrupted by war. “to make light brighter, distance more vast.” Maybe it was “vastness more vast.” “And About Obama” “and if you were living in the enemy’s house wife and kids there too guarded by assassins … for what *were* after all dreams …” I slipped in and out of knowing what she was talking about and then felt quite unsure that other people in the room knew either though they “Hmmmmmmmm!”ed as if they did. “At least the Bay Bridge snapped… somebody had to say something”. And then some old news – “a deer and her young hesitate” which I think then had some radioactive waste. It worked even past my reservations. LOTS of hmmmm-ing on that one which reaction made me wince. (Though, I love people who love poetry so should not criticize. )

“Don’t turn away” (with brief explanation of Kurosawa biography and earthquake story and his brother saying, “Don’t turn away – You want to make films, don’t look away – LOOK!” If you are working on something, don’t turn away. Hyena -vulture – guardians – the race of forbidden – where we keep the dead – warm mud – Look, tears magnify what you can see – Don’t look it up don’t study it’s all before your eyes. (Well and yes I suppose Earth is a mass grave, really. ) Diane read this long prose poem so well and powerfully, forceful, the words building up and poem tumbling over itself. Well done and never maudlin / self righteous / guilt ridden-yet-self-absolving which is the trap so many middle class poets fall into automatically.

“The daughter” – couldn’t wait till she died, pulling weeds, “didn’t I think it looked a whole lot better.” Oh my.

Poem for Sheppard, healer & beloved. Treebark rule (an herb tea he makes her) Touch the crown of their heads as they have not been touched since newborn / they are worth all care / they are gold of gold ” Now here I cried at the poem a bit not knowing Shep but knowing he is sick and that she is not perhaps in the pink of health either and knowing what it means to be in pain and cared for (vs. not cared for) and the other way round And that it is one of the best things. Mia Mingus said it very well in Access Intimacy

Access intimacy is also the intimacy I feel with many other disabled and sick people who have an automatic understanding of access needs out of our shared similar lived experience of the many different ways ableism manifests in our lives. Together, we share a kind of access intimacy that is ground-level, with no need for explanations. Instantly, we can hold the weight, emotion, logistics, isolation, trauma, fear, anxiety and pain of access. I don’t have to justify and we are able to start from a place of steel vulnerability.

Interdependence is worth fighting for and certainly good to write about. I liked the poem.

Then a long poem for a benefit for Haiti for which the organizers kept adding on new countries so it is called Haiti Chile Tibet. I cheered mightily at the bit at the end with the list of Just a Few Suggestions. 1) All hands on deck means just that. It’s a really small boat. 2. Anyone bringing help is welcome – OBVIOUSLY. Don’t ask where they’re from. (HHAHAAH so true – thinking bitterly of the red cross during katrina! lord!) 3) All borders disappear in catastrophe. They are stupid and irrelevant anyway. 4) There is no such thing as looting in a disaster. 5 on the police 6) on guests 7) Give up confusing your property with your life. This will save a lot of problems! I like a poem that describes the world with a little lyrical perspective and humility and then ends with practical wisdom!

“Homeland Security to T’ang Dynasty Princess” – short & sweet. take off your dew covered slippers, step away from the window. Funny then not then funny again, indeed

Lot’s wife doesn’t have a name Who was she how did he greet her when she came in from the field?

“Why money makes me feel bad.” I feel bad when I get some . Then feeling bad when not having any. Yup.

War haiku – July 2006. Lebanon. Even an hour of this / would be too long /White phosophorus. Great lords of the sea /it is Tyre they are burning. Don’t ask if I have bad dreams…

Millenium poem. Revolutionary letters # 83. In the wink of an eye. If Iliad Odyssey… harmony.. and Blake says Fuck all this! & Baudelaire & Rimbaud comes back from outer space he’d rather die a sleazebutt human! American cats et in on it (Melville) They don’t know from order! (laughter uncontrollable there!) Brightness fell from the air. magical will…

I like that poem and want to read it on the page! It was tremendous!

June 3 1966 To the unnamed Buddhist Nun who burned herself to death (she called the NY Times and then called the reporter who told her that buddhist nuns don’t have names.) (not) O monk is it hot in there? (koan about it being a stupid question)

Diane noted that part of her wants to apologize for being so dark. She has this bit of Loba *(unpublished) about the painter who painted Mary out of elephant dung (Chris Ofili) (Turmoil!) And thinking all the other things people might not realize are also sacred. Litany – Our lady of the elephants. Our lady of the armadillos. Our lady of subways… Lady of largest heart. (Yes- Inanna reference!!!!! Right on)

Freaking awesome poem called Fire sale – everything must go. I long to publish this one.
Well, we can’t build the new society from the shell of the old” “I love those old Wobbly songs” Let’s stop looking over our shoulders! Let’s stop copying Scandinavian socialism, it’s too sad! You all talk too much!” Oh, man, I love it.

We then had some questions and conversation. Conversation hard though in Authority/Audience format (alas) I asked what Diane is reading and she said lots of Ursula Le Guin (YEAH…. instantly I go back to my WisCon imaginings and pictured them both at the Mad Scientist Otaku Tea Party Cafe laughing over tea with robots and mad scientists serving little cakes) And all of Shakespeare in little Arden editions because you can hold one at a time and they don’t hurt your hands to hold them up. someone asked about plays and Diane said she has some plays one called Whale Hunting about the death of Shelley just before he drowns with Mary Byron and Shelley. Oh man! I’d like to see that play. And another one which I did’t hear about because I was imagining the Shelley one. A very dear woman stood up in the back and said her name is Grace HArwood and she has been witness to Diane’s aweseomness since 1970 and is so happy she is poet laureate and it’s about fucking time! (cheers and applause) Another question , what do you think is possible? Are you writing more memoir? (Yes but slowly and don’t tell anyone, she does not want her agent to know so there is no pressure) It has a lot about the shape of life and the demands of old age and is around 200 pages now. Diane asked us what we are writing and doing and where we published and after what was perhaps not a long enough pause I said I am making tiny books and held up my Burn This Press stuff. (Then wished I hadn’t and that i had explained my whole earth catalogue poem and my difficulties with it ) Another guy talked about a small press cooperative he is in up near Yosemite with 35 authors, Poetic Matric Press and he named a poet who does something interesting with Damascus I think (then I was remembering the excellent Damashq story from the Lesbian Steampunk book.) Someone up in the back asked about Denise Levertov and whether they knew each other. Diane said they were at readings together and she was very proper and without meaning to or knowing it she often upset Denise just by having some 4 letter words in a poem. also “she could have gone further”. I got excited and wondered what she meant there b/c I am fond of Levertov but get very frustrated by her and want to give her a shove and go “okay… now go further”. She wraps it up too fast and doesn’t get out of a certain comfort zone (though that is arrogant of me to say) What poetry would she recommend for kids? What poetry would be NOT for kids? (maybe Kaddish… i dunno…. lol) They’re just people! Just give them poetry! They come with all the equipment. (I agree) She said when she was little people read her shakespeare quite young and she read all the robert louis stevenson and poe things that kids usually read.

Best question from audience especially since asked by very young dude, or best response I guess, Do you ever get embarrassed by things you wrote when you were younger, you wrote it 40 years ago? “No. That’s who I was. I love those who-I-wases. (swoooon) I worked on it till I was pleased with it. It still stands. (reads a poem). I liked that person. She thought she was a lot tougher than she was, but she got along somehow. Take your own side. That’s the hardest job of a writer. ”

“Things are different because, I’m not sure about the because. There were very few of us writing. in 61… the newsletter me and Leroi Jones put out had 114 names across the country, poets, painters, dancers, choreographers. Lots of indie bookstores and they all wanted 5 copies. Libraries doing special collections of American Lit. Now it’s harder. Why? I don’t understand the use of cyberspace as a publishing medium. I don’t get the shape of it and how the poem is with it. You have a book, that’s the poem in space. You have a reading, that’s the poem in time. I don’t understand what shape I am working with when I’m in there and in what shape things are cut. ”

Afterwards I gave some books away and Diane was so mobbed it was hard to talk with her but I will write her a letter. I did hang about to say thank you and to give her a tiny blank book (made from scraps of Burn This Press books). A guy came up and told me about Exit Press and someone else told me about the Brown U. bookstore and who to write to to send books for their small press section. Someone else invited me to the Lunada readings at Galeria de la Raza, which sound great… All the Divafest plays and shows look fantastic – it is a celebration of women writers. There is a pirate play and one about Eleanor of Acquitaine and it’s going on all this month – take a look. Also Diane runs weekend workshops periodically – I went to one in around 2002 and heartily recommend it – “hanging out and writing” was exactly what we did.

I unfolded my bike and rode the 5 blocks back to my car which was down 6th across Market – legs shaking and my right foot unable to really do its thing correctly and my hip aching fit to bust – But feeling very free and scared in the good way & as if I were cloaked in secrets.Taking my overcaffeinated self and sinus infection back to bed now for utter collapse as the sudafed wears off.

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Dawn I heard a rag rip

Greg Hall died. He was a good friend and a great poet. It drove me crazy to see him just throw away garbage bags full of his own fantastic poetry. He could shed it as easy as he could shed another “residential hotel” style apartment or an old self. Greg understood ephemera. We’re always losing things. leaving the world behind with everything we do. I keep crying to think he’s not still seeing and writing and losing – losing so intensely – and leaving things behind. Now he’s left for good.

Sometimes he’d send me a pile of poems instead of throwing them away. I know Robert Pesich must have some, and Walter Martin, and F.A. Nettelbeck and certainly Bea Garth has got to have a ton.

Bitter, funny, sweet, profound, never boring or pretentious, slouching around chain smoking in his cowboy boots. He could swoop into cliche or pop culture or insanity and come out of that nosedive firing anti-bullshit bullets to blow your head off. Weird staccato heartfelt delivery full of line “breaks and “quote” “marks”. I will miss his strange late night drunken phone calls. The man could drunk dial you a poem or just ramble endlessly about Genet or Merle Haggard. Whatever it was would make me feel like I was flying, and could say anything, as a poet and madwoman, and it would be heard & understood. You know that feeling sometimes, with a person, when the things you might write in your most private soul broken-languagely, becoming text, just connected right in; talking to him opened that up direct to conversation. There wasn’t even any leaping to it, Greg was on that rocketship to fucking mars.

Greg reading Van Gogh Ambulance at a Barbershop late night living room Non-Salon, 2004.

Greg reading Chicken Little Shark Sky maybe around 2005?

Greg reading Pirate Ship 2005

some poems from Eos

CHICKEN LITTLE SHARK SKY
One by one
the parts of a body
arrive & attach
themselves
& flight
becomes more difficult
barely escaping
collision with chimneys
I sweep
through the air
with great effort
they are sharks
the left leg
the left foot
the wrists the hands
the neck the head
“I felt a great heaviness
in the water & everything
became silent”
then I was lifted
only to be
swept down
all the while
caught in a vise
“I felt no pain”
all I saw
was the eye
it seemed flat
& dead
& then the
water
turned
red
this is
getting
old
now the doctors
with aspirins like frisbees
& tubes & wires
& admonishments
every time
I light a smoke
I felt better
when I had
no body
& all I did
was fly
blind
& ecstatic
into
the
present
without
regret
or remorse
I recommend
to the young
not to age
& to fly fast
because
the sky
is
falling

Greg’s “Explanatory Notes to Poems” doodle of his attitude towards literary criticism. Funny!!!
Explanatory Notes to Poems

Just about 2 poems a year…

So here, by the grace of Liz Henry, arrives an
unobtrusive collection of 23 poems by the
troublesome trouble man, that restless and sleepy
man, the elusive Greg Hall.

These poems, spanning 12 years, intruded
themselves as others faded, the stack was about a
foot high and these fugitives from the
crumpling fist somehow charmed, each in their
own way, the madman, who, although having
written them, longed to find no value in them,
or to find them fatally marred – Anything to
allow an exit “towards oblivion”, as Genet once told
an interviewer, when asked, “Where do you think
you’re headed?”

Oblivion will take care of everyone – Though
perhaps that is better left unsaid. I’m only here
because this place, this planet, this hour, is
beautiful.

“Only in it for the poetry.”

I sincerely hope you find something to like in
these pages.

and if you don’t, or can’t, or won’t,
at least I died
with a sword in my hand.

Greg Hall
March 20, 2002

Self portrait doodle by Greg. You can see the shark from Chicken Little Shark sky (and other poems) and “The Man With the Hoe” (from the poem by Markham) in the background.
Greg's self portrait with shark and hoe

NO CHARGE

In my chubby
checker
existence
I go around
with pliers
in one hand
and a hammer
in the other
looking
for yr mother
so I can help
you out
I will twist
her thoughts so
you can find
a woman
who is not
crazy
with no screws
loose
then you
can
celebrate
the
birthday
of
yr
balls

(This poem especially hilarious out loud. It was in Cuts from the Barbershop)

I have Flame People as many people do & treasure; the poems from Inamorata, which I printed up into a sea-like little book with foam colored inside leaves; the manuscript of Whoregasm which I was going to publish with yellow legal pad paper marked up by cigarette burns and coffee mug rings and poem scribblings; Diary of a Desert Fox, and some other packets around here somewhere. Plus some recordings some of poems and some of Robert and me and Janel and mostly Greg, just rambling. But how much is out there? I wish I could read it. But more than that I’ll miss his out loud readings and his beautiful conversation and his bad ass, innocent, bad attitude.

THE MAGIC OF FOREVER

In the white morning light

everything was waiting.

Even the trees

in vibrant state of tension

seemed to be holding

a breath inside.

An implied cry

such as a crow’s

concealed itself

among the green leaves.

And though it is

late in the year

later in the year

than I have ever been

I too was waiting.

And now the Moon

faded in the sky

appearing as a Goddess.

And now the wind

orchestrating the trees.

And now the cries

the crows in the leaves.

And now the flood

the remembrances of you.

And now everything is moving

and now nothing is waiting.

And because I myself am lost

nothing can be lost

because everything

is lost.

(from Inamorata, dedicated to Abby Niebaur)

That little book, so amazing, what other great books of his, one-offs, or the product of the culling out process of several years, are out there?

I’d send him poems and he’d be all like WHERE DID THAT COME FROM and I’d be like WTF MAN, out of my BRAIN what do you think? and he’d be like WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THAT and I’d be like well what about you man, what are you doing, can you just like, send that shit to people to keep for you instead of throwing it away?!

We lost touch the last few years. I’ve missed him. Now I really miss him. He meant so much to me. It’s fucking unfair. I know how he’d be about it but it’s not fucking fair.

Greg Hall

A player piano
on slack key strings
called to tell me

“I can’t rest or sleep
until I know
you’ve found your place.”

Toothache – telephone –

“I used to have
this pain. My tongue
feels for it in the empty space.”

Oldwood sounding box
sweet
on the hollowphone

“Even as we speak
people we could have loved
die in their beds.”

Halt sway & slur worn-down cylinders
the turned up shirtsleeves of the player-mad ghost,
his lost gloves & blind fingers
lost generation

and

Rocinante

disconnected

like him
you clutched your wrecked folder of printouts
like a derelict with a bottle of fire in brown paper
lurched about the room shy and a bit vacant,
your lifeline –

I can follow you a little ways now into the dark.

Rambling to the bus station with my bag of books.
Goodbye arthritic knees, goodbye neurotic carousel,

my mind freed to lightspeed floating in your words
your halting voice
I hear another voice

Struck, stunned, to follow your lightning words up into the dark
your soul in the stars
flying
lost the sense
the stammering gaps,
the truth in the joke,
the little squares below waiting for my patient hand –

An artist

in

the family –

like

like

immortality.

Did you stop there underwater, waiting for a tug on the line?
The slow bubbles in the blood, clots in the brain, shocks near to death.
The anguished rope of vision
the damage done to us

Faithless Rocinante how could you leave your master here like this?

like

my father, my father’s father,
I fall from you like a plane in a tailspin, forgive me –
driving too fast down the highway with poetry in my lap
damaged
elementary particle I have seen photos of your tracks in cloud chambers

like

a crazy prince,
how cruel the world is!
How cruel the world’s beauty.
Old loon,
crying, haunted cracked vessel,

I follow your lightning words up into the dark beyond the thunderclouds
that cotton wool, that thick white, up to the clear night sky and the electric stars

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Translation: María Luisa Milanés (1893-1919)

María Luisa Milanés was an ardent feminist and Cuban nationalist who killed herself in part because of an unhappy marriage (Davies 58). She wrote poems that were deep critiques of patriarchal culture and that were expressions of solidarity with other women and all oppressed people.

Her poems were sometimes published under the pseudonym Liana de Lux. Her passions were philosophy, music, and literature. Her works include Autobiografía, published though unfinished. She destroyed many of her own poems and essays before her death. Amado Nervo was said to be her favorite poet and a great influence on her work.
She read French, English, and Latin, writing in and translating from French, Spanish, and English, publishing in the journal Orto (Fajardo). A 1920 volume of Orto gathered a selection of her verses and was dedicated to her memory (Lizaso and Fernández de Castro 299).


Hago como Spártaco


Ya decidí, me voy, rompo los lazos
que me unen a la vida y a sus penas.
Hago como Spártaco;
me yergo destrozando las cadenas
que mi exisitir tenían entristecido,
miro al mañana y al ayer y clamo:
¡Para mayores cosas he nacido
que para ser esclava y tener amo!

El mundo es amo vil; enloda, ultraja,
apresa, embota, empequeñece, baja
todo nivel moral; su hipocresía
hace rastrera el alma más bravia.
¡Y ante el cieno y la baba, ante las penas
rompo, como Spártaco, mis cadenas!I’ll do what Spartacus did


I've decided: I'll go, breaking the ties
that bind me to life and its sorrows.
I'll do what Spartacus did;
I'll stand tall to destroy the chains
that have saddened my being,
I'll look towards morning and the past and declaim:
I was born for greater things
than being a slave and having a master!

The world is a vile master; filth, insult,
snare, mind-numbing, soul-narrowing, below
all moral standards; its hypocrisy
makes the bravest soul despicable.
And considering the mud and slime, considering sorrow,
I break, like Spartacus, my chains!


No puedo comprender . . .


Me abisma no entender, bello Narciso,
la ingenua admiración que te arrebata
y te fascina en la onda azul y plata . . .
Claro, que para ti es un paraíso
mirar tus ojos bellos y tu boca,
tu sonrisa, tu frente y tu figura
llena de majestad y de dulzura . . .
Pero ¿no piensas que haya algo de bueno
que distraiga tus ojos y tu mente,
fije más alto tu mirar sereno
y entretenga tus horas dulcemente?
¡Quisiera comprender mi alma sencilla
la perfecta hermosura de tu frente,
donde jamás el pensamiento brilla!


I just don’t get it . . .


Lovely Narcissus, I'm afraid I don't understand
the naive admiration that grips
you bewitched in the blue and silver wave . . .
Sure, for you it's Paradise
to look into your own beautiful eyes and your mouth,
your smile, your brow and your figure
full of majesty and sweetness . . .
But don't you think there's something better
that might amuse your eyes and mind,
might direct your calm gaze to something higher
and fill the hours with sweetness?
My simple soul longs to understand
the perfect beauty of your brow,
where no thought ever sparks!
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Flora & Fauna & poems, oh my


04-21-06_1618.jpg
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

I help to organize the Art21 series of poetry readings in Palo Alto, and am going to miss tonight’s reading. But I had to drop by in the afternoon to drop off the amp and microphone, and so got to meet Becca Goldman, the artist whose work is up in the gallery right now. I really enjoyed her graceful paintings… and it was nice to meet another sort of punky GenX-y person (she has a tattoo inside her ear) who is seriously into beauty in this complicated but gentle way. I sometimes write about punk rock lesbians smoking crack in the gutter while smashing guitars, and sometimes about lilies and egrets bending gracefully in the moonlight, so I’m down with the multiple facial piercings next to bunny rabbits and camellias.

I also love her for watching M. for a minute while I ran back to the car for the amplifier! She showed him a book about elephants who paint – he was charmed – and I tried to make him have an Educational Experience by pointing out that Becca was an Artist and look at all her paints and palette and stuff… “She is an Artist, just like your Auntie.” M. acted nonchalant. I think he does not like to be observed in the act of learning something – he likes to know everything already when you tell him, but that’s difficult when you’re only 6 years old.

Tonight’s reading features Sharon Olson and Murray Silverstein – both with books from Sixteen Rivers Press. I haven’t yet read Sharon’s book, “The Long Night of Flying,” but I’ve heard her read for years at Waverley Writers, at Jeff Grinnell’s Tuesday nights at the cafe on California Avenue, at the old San Jose Arts League, and at Art21. So I’m extra sorry not to get to hear her read a lot of her work all at once – it’s good!

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A quick attempt at Salome

I’m really digging Salomé Ureña de Henríquez, and though this is a rough draft of about the first third of a long poem, I thought I’d share it with you. When I come to a more final version I’ll post the whole thing. My translation is very rough. I’d like to polish it up to reflect Ureña’s rhythmic invocations, which are very beautiful in Spanish! Very fancy-languaged and high-toned. This poem is like Krishna’s call to action when he’s talking to Arjuna… a little bit… I remember someone, maybe my friend Humberto, telling me I’d like Urena’s work a nd now I see why. She praises tumult, destruction, and hubris! Cool.

Urena (1850-1897) was a fiercely political writer and a feminist.

In defense of Society (1)

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people. (Isaiah 62:10)

Creator spirit, fertile genius
you who with inexhaustible activity widen the making
of miracles from your sublime power,
you who perennially shine
in your good works, you who grasp
regions without end in your thoughts
and you who, with your love, extend from world to world
the laws of eternal movement:

Can it be be that the ultimate reward
offered by your august hand
would be condemnation to the repose of nothingness?
Would you have us be lethargic
before your show of active power,
indolent idleness spent in
admiring you – oh Lord – to pass one’s life?

No: wake up, all you who from pleasant fields
in the flowery cushions
only hope for a serene spirit
for hours of peace in ignorant shade.
Rise up, all you who follow
the current of agreeable fashion,
be anathema to the popular uproar,
let out a shout, break the dreams of the most happy.

It’s not pride – all you who raise up to heaven
a grand pyramid
and who exalt yourselves, aspiring to infinite flight:
it’s the immortal spark, that huge and powerful
immense great work,
and in constant travail and internal labor
you create, so that man in his delirium will follow
something of greatness, to stand forever.

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Waverley report, January reading

I’m behind in my notes on readings that I go to. Here’s some notes from the January meeting of Waverley Writers, a large, friendly open mike that happens in a Quaker church. The MC, Jean Chacona, introduces people in groups of three.

Willy – “remember standing… wearing sheepskin vest, wanting nothing…” Streetcorner poem. “Before there was a before.” A bit of messing with rhyme and meter. I think for a moment of the Tom Lehrer song, “The Folk Song Army.”

Ron Lang – “Middle East Politics”

Ella Rae Locke – as always, her odd use of language stands out. She will always use a 50 cent word where you’d expect sparseness of a nickel one. It’s jarring, I’m not sure it works, it struck me at first as if she took every noun and adjective, looked them up in the thesaurus, and replaced them with the longest most multi-syllabic word; and yet it charms me as part of her attempt at baroque style. “mouth to mouth resuscitation, loaded beyond recognition, and accrue malignant momentum, evolutionary editing as involuntary as wet clothes, consenting mandatory neutralizing meaningless significants awareness nuisances lay their libellousness immunity testimony reality….” That is not a direct quote but as I listened I was jotting down the Big Words. I like the effect, in fact, the more it grates on me.

*

Muriel – “Short Stories”. “She is afraid of him. He was afraid of her. He likes his own friends more.”

Anita Holz – “Paper making”. Competently descriptive prose paragraphs. I wonder why it’s a poem. In fact, it’s not. Would be fine as a short magazine article or memoir about an experience.

Steven Riddle – “Notes of the bird.” “My lost ghost tracks me… The egret stalks; beauty eats beauty.”

*

Tom Digby – Quality vs. Quality. Dammit, I can’t read my notes and I’ve forgotten the poem. Does this say “wheelmaker”?

Dude whose name I forgot. This poem was so long and simple in concept that I began to write down bits of it. “I was a bad boy. They didn’t beat the others, only me. The cycle must end. Let it end with me. No abuse from me for my boys. So I left them. I was bad. I was not a bad man. I am a good man. I have done good things. I have done bad things. Fear into strength. Pain into enlightenment. ” Okay, it was heartfelt and sincere. But it made me think of the children’s book, “Pickles the Fire Cat”. “Pickles was not a good cat. Pickles was not a bad cat. He was good and bad. He was a mixed-up cat.” I recognize the value of such therapy poems. This one was very sweet and very clear. Just not my cup of tea.

Christine Holland – “so lightly out, brief candles… Fatima at 16… he murdered her to clean their name.” Christine has been reading more political poems lately. Much more raw and painful than what she was reading a year ago.

*
Brucey Slama – “Merlot merlot/ low to the ground/ coy as a boy/ joy for all/ tall not small.” and an ice cream poem. “Flavors with nuts/Best, I assert/ Don’t like sorbet or sherbert.” Okay. Let’s move on.

Peter Chow – Guy who wrote that one really good, long, 100-poem, with the line I liked about bones and snow. This poem is one he wrote when he mom (recently) died, and it’s a burial poem, an acrostic on “gratitude”. He read a second poem about her in the morgue. “a quilt with eight swans over us / Plato says the swan sings… /the Sanskrit for swan/ you have a good heart, mama…”

Greg Kimura – Oh, now here’s a poet. Huzzah! “The thousand and first kiss; or, how men love”. So excellent and such a relief, I did not take any notes. I’d like to hear him feature somewhere.

*

David Cummings – “The last of the leaves”. Hearing David’s poems is one of the main reasons to go to Waverley. always excellent.

John Hutton – “July 4 1998”. “You are celery and I am tomato/ and somehow we embrace/as your mother / cruises by on a Harley…” Excellent! Everyone liked it, too. Hutton’s nerdy quirkiness worked well, here.

Aline S. – “in the hospital, 45 breaths per minute from the respirator/ to keep your organs pink and healthy/ later I counted/ the people at your funeral…. your urn… we can measure that too, you get smaller all the time/day by day by measured day.” Good! Very quintessentially Waverleyish.
/>*
Rob Parry announce a meeting of Bay Area Book Arts.
(Announcement deleted at poet’s request)
Someone recommends we take a look at the paintings in Books, Inc. in Mountain View.

*

Steve Arntson – “Helicopter dust”. Another main reason to come to Waverley. One of the best poets in the Bay Area, but almost no one seems to know it.

Me – two poems, “queen of swords” which is just 2 lines, and “this is the first morning”, a hard poem for me to read. It’s like it’s in the voice of me 15 years ago. “where is the surface of my body? organ sonorous,/ when in the wave-cold blast i shrink from touch/ the present mixes with the past and I tune out…”

Bruce Jewett – “I never get screwed by car salesman/ I never play video poker/ But I bought a war, once.” So good! Another poem on paper-making; “paper a paper-maker just made…. long after I forget my own name…” I dig Bruce’s work and his aesthetic.

*

(Deleted at poet’s request)

Kit bliss Jones – “girlfriend” “Life is uncertainty, so eat dessert first.” Rhyming poem.

Len Anderson – Flamenco poem. “The deeper his grief/ the … consolation… / he too was… by the turning of the earth…” Damn. I can’t read my notes, but it was a very good poem. I always enjoy Len’s poems, usually explorations of a form, and he also has a keen pen for style. I love his marvellous parody of Howl – the silicon valley version, “Beep”.
“I am always grateful for the repetition of notes; /it tells me the music will go on / after I leave the room.” Aw yeah! Tell it, Len!

*
Judith Bishop – Ants. “I spray hot water over the crawling dishes… ” Ants on the dishes. Suburban goddess of destruction.
Then a long story. Solstice – Native american ceremony – spirals – recovery from alcoholism. This, also, very quintessentially Waverleyish. But must it be a poem? Why not foray into memoir or “spoken word”? There’s some necessary fermentation missing, a bit frustrating to hear because it’s so close, and Judith is a good writer.

Jayne Kos – Temple… stairs… I’m sorry to Jayne but at this point I spaced out and lost the thread of attention.

Jean Chacona – “Infiltration” – love – entrails – black box – a lock, but also leaks – knowing there is no cure. Another good poem from Jean. Also, I admired her black, grey, and pink argyle sweater…

*
Mary Petroski – what trick of light/makes today/ different from other days?

Nelly Capra – “Job Interview in Alameda”. Scene. wait and pray. breezes. butterfly. birds. truck. workers. sun. write and wait. Oct. 31. No clouds. Here is a diary entry or blog post…

Esther Kamkar – I’m a huge fan of her work. Esther, main reason #3 to come to Waverley and if you come and she’s not there it’s a disappointment. “Simple Words”. 1. Bones A baker bakes bread/ A shoemaker makes shoes….”

*
Robert Parry – “Devil and the Deep Blue Sea”

Carol Hankemeyer – “Red” “Red is…..” etc.

JC Watson – Excellent as always. Reason #4 to come to Waverley. I always scribble like mad when she reads. “Art is made in Death’s kitchen… the war is made up. The leaves fell again this year. ..” “Where is the tunnel? You may choose / darkness, / It’s a good friend. Doesn’t make promises, doesn’t lick at your heart…”

*
At some point I began thinking hard about modernismo. The private aesthetic appreciation, and retreat into self and perception. Trying to make the moment glorious. Encapsulating a moment and its depth. How many connections can it handle?

me the moment has to have infinite connections and is a nexus of possibility. You can’t wrap it up too neatly.

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East Coast bilingual poets

“In Two Tongues/En Dos Lenguas: Bilingual Spoken Word.” Emerging poets (or student poets) living in the Mid-Atlantic region sought for a new reading series to begin this Spring in Arlington. Each emerging poet will be paired with a “master” poet. Poems will be presented in both English and Spanish. Submit 4 typed copies of up to 3 poems in English or Spanish.

Deadline: Feb. 24. Mail to:

Arlington Arts Center, 3550 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201. For more info
and entry forms, see: http://www.arlingtonartscenter.org.

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status report, Art 21, Waverley readings

I’ve been sandblasted by the “holidays”, with not much leisure! Writing continues, but what critical thinking still is possible has been directed towards the SF book award I’m helping to judge.

Still… poetry! I’ve found some wonderful poets to translate, including Olga Acevedo, Marí Luisa Milanés, and María Antoneta La-Quesne. I came across a really inspiring book by Catherine Davies,A Place in the Sun? Women Writers in Twentieth-Century Cuba, and ordered it for mulling-over outside of the library halls. Here it is on my kitchen table, thanks to online used-book ordering! I’m totally drooling to read the whole thing instead of just a few chapters – and want to nerve myself to write to Davies.

It’s hard to do that! But it helps so much. I want to be like all the women who have helped me immensely, writing me long detailed emails and directing my attention… who will never be paid for it. One thing I can do is to resolve to pass it on, and try to behave that way myself to others – to be helpful and respectful, and never obstructionist, competitive, or dismissive. (Because I’ve run into that attitude too, of course!) Also, I want to make my work the best it can be…

But onwards! Tomorrow, Friday at 7pm, is the Waverly Writers open mike at Friends Meeting House, Colorado, Palo Alto. It’s usually 25-30+ poets, each reading one poem, to a group of perhaps 50 people. It’s a good slice of poetry in the peninsula, but I would say it leans heavily towards the white page-poet… I have yet to untangle who is in whose factions or has been in the same workshop for decades or who shared a poetry mentor 15 years ago, etc. All of which is interesting politics that seethes below the surface. I take notes on the poetry, and have great interest in following the poets’ development over the last few years. And don’t let my comment on “politics” scare you, because it’s a warm and welcoming group, very accepting of personal difference and of varying poetic styles.

Next Friday, Jan. 13th, is the reading at the Art21 gallery in Palo Alto. Its crowd intersects with Waverley’s but is not identical. This reading tends to be 30-ish people; the gallery is spacious and pleasant; there’s often jazz musicians who participate; they’re a fun, friendly crowd who buy books and bring wine and cheese to share (both of those things, the book-buying and the food, make one feel so loved! Not to be sneezed at!) I like to read translations there. Well, this month I’m the MC and organizer. Our featured poet is Serene, who I met at the Nomad Cafe in Oakland; I liked her rapid-reading approach and the books she quoted (I mean, who reads the feminist poet Alta, these days! I do! Me, me! and her too, huzzah!) I felt that her poetry would appeal to the peninsula poets and might shake them up a little bit. I also asked a few others… but it’s hard to compete with events on Friday nights in SF. So I think Serene will be the sole featured poet and then a break, then a lively open mike, and I look forward to doing fun introductions for everyone.

At both readings, there’s always some people from the Poetry Center San José, some from the Saturday Poets, and some from the Not Yet Dead crowd. Sometimes people come from over the hill, from Santa Cruz, including Len Anderson, whose brilliant parody of “Howl” — “Beep”, a history of Silicon Valley and personal computing, I gave to many people for Christmas this year — and we also get a spattering of people from Stanford, though I’m always surprised who doesn’t come… *cough*Stegnerfellows*cough*. Heh! More fool them, because they could sell their books, promote their work, and be in touch with the local poets, their natural base… and as I said, the friendliest people in the world…

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A few notes from Arntson’s reading and the NYDPS

I had been looking forward to this reading of Not Dead Yet Poets’ Society, and had planned for it, but my childcare options suddenly fell through on two levels. John was late, my neighbor had a complication, and so I had to stuff Milo into his raincoat, boots, whisk him off unwelcome and harried and late to the reading at the Main Street Gallery in the dimly awakening nightlife of Redwood City. Instead of composing my mind to think of my poem or even having a moment to practice I was answering questions from him about the night, the city, the gallery, Main Street, What Is an Art Gallery. Then questions about him, some from well-meaning people, some NOT. Oh, the little disapprovals and snideries! Out late, isn’t he? Is he going to be a Good Boy? You do understand that a child can be Distracting? I hope you can keep him Quiet. He knows not to touch anything, right? Rather than focus on the people I would like to talk to, I have to keep my mind focused on my son and his experience. Yes, people, I do understand that a child can be distracting. What do you think?

The temptation to answer everyone with flippant rudeness… running a spectrum from “oh, fuck off already” to “Actually, as you have correctly discerned, I am the sort of unwed teenage mother who feeds my child on diet pepsi, goldfish crackers, twinkies, and crack cocaine, and I encourage him to scream as loud as possible during poetry readings in fancy art galleries with delicate breakable Art made of glass, to express my punk rock disrespect for you and all your ilk. By the way, he has double pneumonia.” Well, I held my tongue, Milo quietly read Asterix in the corner, and John showed up just before the reading was about to start, since the rain and lack of chairs and large crowd delayed the reading for 20 minutes or so. Thank god!

Now that that’s off my chest! Whew! It’s a blog, so I get to say whatever I want!

The room was packed. Way more so than usual for the NYDPS. Really the cream of the peninsula poets came to hear and be heard. Forgive me for saying that… (Or don’t.)

Jayne Kos hosted the reading, and we kicked off with some tributes to Anatole Lubovich. Kathy St. Claire wrote in talking about Anatole’s attempt to write the shortest poem possible that would express the essence of cats: “Cat sits.” James Lee or James Li wrote in from Sacramento with a poem about stars. “Stars are maps to the soul” …that sort of thing. Bruce Jewett – who sometimes sends me poetry postcards and who used to publish small books and magazines in the.. 70s? 80s? I think the Fat Frog… talked about how Anatole was vibrant with verve but how they were oil and water.

Jayne then read parts of Arntson’s introduction. It was funny and sort of touching when in her inimitable kindergarten-teacher style she said that many things were important influence on him, including “The Burning Man” said with a strangely wrong emphasis as people normally say it with no “the” and the “ing” elided so that it’s trocheed, equal stress, BURN(uh) MAN. (Like saying “house boat” or “tow truck”. The lights went off. There were xmas lights, and EL wire in a long coiling tangle on the floor, and some zappy globes making you think of the beauty of neon in the rain. All cheesy and half-assed, but in a good way that gave us beauty and atmosphere… dislocation. Arntson in his fez and pakistani-looking tunic thing. (Salwar kameez? I can’t remember the name of it. ) A little tinsel and vaudeville. Two radios, one with swing music and one with a crackly broadcast of the Day that will live in Infamy… Fellow Americans… Pearl Harbor.. the pearl that fell into the ocean. Remarks from Arntson.

First – “She saw a ghost” which was brilliant and lovely… a somewhat halting start until he got into the swing of it. You have to rememeber he recites it all from memory and he recited for probably 40 minutes nonstop. An ode to saltines, clouds, ghosts, journeys, exhaustion physical and spiritual. His poems just keept going. You realize, “Oh. There is no reason to stop here,” and keep writing. This was one of the main head-opening lessons for me when I first started hearing Steve read at Waverley and San Jose Arts League at the minor street house. I wrote the essay “On Stopping” and began to push myself beyond – a push also helped by Diane Di Prima.

This little bit of the poem is not formatted properly. It should be rambling all over the page with a lot of white space, staggered and open-handed. Maybe I will come back later and try to do it correctly. (It’s time consuming with HTML.)

tired of all that waking state
she started to dream before she slept
And her dream was our own on the way to the lake
qualified by crackers
nourished by those same saltines
of sodium and chlorine
packed for just this occasion of reconnaissance and homelessness
So the scenery is haunted
in spite of better knowing
the night as eclipse
collapsing the sun on a diet of corn starch
seeing all the way to the stars
the last she saw before they saw HER
like rock n roll psychedelia staring back
she thought a city to have receded with all of the sun
east to westside gone
she is of the cult of the newcomer to all this terrain
including clouds
as beautiful
as the right idea at the very right time
the sky is royally appointed
therefore she things of her angels throughout the evening
and angels there may be, convening
allowed just enough substance
to startle the mortal
traveller gone crackers-giddy in the twilight

Saltines, clouds, journeys, dream and waking come together. Whiteness in want of water.

and the answer: “Pai-ute” : “water-there”
And thus a people are named
for a direction you take to slake a thirst
And now t his witching for water in the dark
Waterboarding to blue tremolo of trembling shore
so that you shudder with the cheddar
collide with nabisco, the cracker too delicate
to last the length of jolting
She studies the ghhost and ourselves
competing tangibilities
the relative corporeal
it is as if the wind had determined to be visible
beyond its agitations of botany

The deal is, you stay with it, and sometimes you can’t and you spin off into your own thoughts sparked by listening. That spacing out is okay. It takes practice to absorb and stay with a long poem. But you are reeled back in by some strand coming back. The cracker comes back and combines with cloud, or the Paiutes with water and its lack and the ghost and your attention is caught. The point of the long poem is that it is not a painting; it is a journey and you not only end up somewhere, you have travelled somewhere. Arntson’s poems are road trips of the mind. You can sit next to him in the car and enjoy the journey. You can pull off the road or space out – that’s the beauty of the trip.

He read “Wadsworth” – a long poem about an abandoned school. Beautiful!

Shark Car, which me and Rob Pesich published in the “Cuts from the Barbershop” anthology.

Synaptic Mandala – which I give a sample of here:
last bit of Synaptic Mandala: 1.6MB

And Mousetrap, to which I wondered what percent of the room got what it was about.

Well, I could go on praising his poetry and giving examples but I’d like to give that more time and energy than I have available this moment.

He passed out (free) a CD with three poems on it. Good quality recordings, but the music is intrusive and cheesy. Alas! How can this be? He’s a good musician… but must have had a blind moment or just loves his friend the cheesy-keyboard player.

To the open mike. April, Palmer Pinney with a sort of holiday poem, a couple of other people read, but I was not fully there. I read the first bit of “The Dead Girlfriend of Novalis” not really at my best. Later Jayne pointed out that I said “amApolas” instead of “amaPOlas” … er! whoops! I think because it sounds greek. But of course she is right! Bruce read a poem. Judith B. read a long poem about acorn woodpeckers, who live communally. Mary-Marcia Casoly read a poem “stay wild” about the sky and ocean.

Then the Saturday Poets crowd, all together:
Amy McLennan … ghost ships. Lisa Ortiz read an astonishingly good poem about cookies, desire, and martinis. I have written before that she is the ultimate celebrator of profundity in the suburban mundane, distilling it beautifully… dark in your bitter parts, bitter in your dark. The fierce YES of the crinkling insomniac cookie bag. More people should listen carefully to what she is doing. Robert H. “People said he had crazy eyes…” Amy Miller – In the century where nothing happened – another brilliant poem. I have trouble reading my own handwriting but I exploded into note taking with a lot of exclamation points and little stars on the page. “They washed the murals off the walls…” Quite good. A science-fiction poet and I expect to see more of her stuff out there… I wish I had a copy of this poem.

JC Watson – “for family”. “old friendship an ancient car/something always coming loose.” As always, good. Once at a readaround we took turns reading her poems in our varying reading styles. Because sometimes her delivery style blinds you a little. It’s very powerful. But the poems can be VERY different read aloud by someone else. It was instructive. It was also cool to hear her do one of my poems HER way.

Christine Holland – a poem about a painting of native americans – history – painting – colonialism – solid. I started thinking of John McPhee. She is the John McPhee of poetry? Hmmm. I’m not sure if that would please or insult her but it’s what I was thinking and I meant it as a compliment. She paints and extends vision. David Cummings in faultless flowing rhythm – “and I think of Blake’s other law,” – really a technical master and a builder of complex thought.

Charlotte talked about Anatole, a heartfelt cascade of feelings about how he was quite amazing, cosmopolitan, cultured, bizarre and fantastic, somewhat unappreciated because he was difficult and prickly as well. A story about having dinner with him and fearing death by food poisoning because the food was in the fridge but the fridge didn’t actually function as a fridge… And he is quite stubborn and of course no way to convey to him that maybe chicken should be kept particularly cold. Charlotte really is grasping over saying something between a (self and other) reproach and a confession of love for us all as a community, that… she didn’t realize until he was gone how much she would miss him, this person almost a stranger whose work she has known for so many years, seen once, twice a month at Events… And that maybe we all are that important to each other and that is as it should be – but how to recognize it? What does it mean? That’s what I felt she was saying.

Patrick Daly – read a poem of Anatole’s. I riffled through a couple of magazines but he chose the best poem of Anatole’s from that selection ‘ “Grey Hereafter Ever After” and I did not want to read one that was an order of magnitude less interesting (all the others.) A poem castigating the “grey breath” of hedonophobes. Anatole at his best when formal and technical and exquisitely clever. I like his sonnets. I am not a neoformalist or any kind of formalist, but I enjoy formality when other people do it well, and I don’t give a rat’s ass what’s in fashion. As if we are limited by time! Bah humbug!

Steve Arntson stood up again to recite (from almost-memory) a sonnet of Substance by Anatole. “When I consider the things that swirl through space…’ …”I am amazed that I can reach this far…” Alas, I cannot memorize a poem or even write fast enough to keep up. I could have typed fast enough to capture most of it, but was not quick on the draw with the laptop.
Arntston passed out a packet of poems, some typed, some xeroxed from his manuscripts. This made me so happy! I begged him and begged him to do it! And he did, huzzah! I want everyone to appreciate his genius.

Everyone cleaned up, and left quickly… and Arntson was off to take the train to his night watchman job at a huge downtown building, a granite palace where he makes Tchaikovsky echo off the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple.

A great, memorable reading!

I always take brief notes and looking back on them can rememeber and reconstruct most of an evening. I feel self-conscious to type it up with everyone’s names… but I hope they enjoy coming across it if they do some vanity googling.

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Some notes from Waverley

From last Friday. I can’t transcribe all my notes, but I thought it might be fun to mention the people who read.

Intro by Karen Grosman.

Willy
Kit – her first time reading here. We all applaud and give her The Love. “Shepherded”.
Tony – poem about the Mekong river
Anita Holzburg – “Chances”
Jayne Kos – “Road Trip”
Charlotte Muse – I don’t have a title but it was something memoir-ish. I often really enjoy Charlotte’s pensive musings.
Karen Grosman
Brucey Slama – poem about the Holocaust.
Jackie Marderossian – Abomb, steamer trunk, small girl named Yoko, Magritte’s attitude towards objects. I follow Jackie’s work with interest. She experiments quite hardworkingly with form and subject material and I always think she is on the edge of finding a solid voice. Sometimes she catches the bus and sometimes not. More and more often, yes.
Steven Riddle – a quirky poem and I am not sure if he said “K9 Down” or “Canine Down” or something else, but I thought of that William Burroughs poem where he starts rambling about “Pilot K9, you are cut off.” A really wonderful last line in this poem that I wish I had written down or retained but it had something to do with marigolds and calendula.
Mel – the guy I think of as “The Anchorman”. A poem, rhyming & hilarious, to Anatole Lubovich.
Lu Pettus – grandchild in front of the mirror. Good. blank verse. Or, dips in and out of blank verse. Lu usually writes long narrative fantasy poems that seem to be set in some kind of consistent mythical world of her own invention. This mirror poem is a departure from that and it is quite good.
Rob N. – A villanelle. Kachina’s keep.
Tom Digby – Christmas on Terra. I always enjoy Digby’s flights of fancy. They are not “good” poems by literary snootypants standards and are often prosy, a thing which normally bugs me. But in his case it doesn’t bug me. They are vignettes and explorations of a wacky idea – in a way that entertains. (Therefore they ARE good.) Often people quietly roll their eyes or don’t know what to make of his stuff.
Sharon Olson – she reads “Blood Soup”. (Which was in Composite#2). I think last year Sharon joined the Sixteen Rivers collective. Her work is meditative, page-poety, naturey. I think of Sharon, Charlotte, Jean Chacona, Christine Holland, Patrick Daly, David Cummings, and some others as representative of the core of Waverley’s thing. Thing. But it’s a tight, odd community and in so many ways I’m an outsider in it. I think there are people who have been poeting and workshoping together for 20 years and I never understand those nuances. And for god’s sake, their work is so good, but it seems like it never gets published anywhere, which makes me crazy when so much inferior work gets published. Anyway – Sharon also is a founder and organizer for the Art21 reading series.
Marie Solis – a sonnet.
*** BREAK ***
Thanks to everyone who bought my little magazines! Yay, lunch money. I put some right back into Jackie M.’s fund for gas money etc.

Steve Arntson – Portal of Bones poem. I prompt. Actually during some of the above readings I was puzzling out Steve’s splotchy handwriting in his tiny notebook. I love this poem. He left out a lot of bits. I could feel its layered rush.
Me – a translation of nestor Perlongher’s poem “Para Camila O’Gorman”. It is weird and nonlinear. I can’t remember if I’ve read it before, here. I kind of garbled it. Oh well. All my recent work is way too long to read here so it’s translations away!
Person whose name I just can’t remember. OMG. I should. I have only known her for 4 years. Judith? Oh hell. I’m senile. She read 2 poems. Prophecies and healings. Katrina. Streetcar.
Mary Marcia Casoly – Pomo poem written at/about Asilomar. about objects and stuff. I often like her poems’ odd jumping around, very ethereal. They come at you sideways. This one did not grab me… a couple of lines did but I can’t remember thm.
Kathy Abelson – family poem. a memoir about moving to Los Altos or Sunnyvale back when it was all orchards. Actually, this is another very typical thread of what I think of as typical Waverley poems. It’s a thing they have going on. Exploration of memoir and family memories, especially connections with the dead and time. Everyone quick go read “Remembrance of Things Past.”
Jean Chacona – “Unity” . Jean has a very strong particular individual voice, quiet and definite. She works in an orchid greenhouse, I think. Or used to. She’s right in there with the meditative nature poem and Zen bonding with flowers or one particular leaf. She should team up with a painter for a poem/painting series.

At this reading I missed hearing Robert Pesich, David Cummings, Christine Holland, and Patrick Daly. I haven’t been able to come to Waverley very often this year because of my school schedule in the spring, and then doing hurricane relief work and getting really sick this fall. So I felt like I didn’t get my fix! They had better all read next time or there will be hell to pay.

Oh yeah I have one more slightly catty thing to say. It doesn’t make it poetry just ’cause you leave out the “the”s. Remember that now. If you’re doing that to make your poetry seem less prosy – a noble goal – you need more radical surgery. Leaving out pronouns is just as bad. I’m not sure exactly what to tell people. Go read some super tight good poetry and diagram its sentences? Or its lack of sentences? Rewrite two of your lines 10 different ways? Maybe take that good poem and mess it up by rewriting two of its lines to be as bad as possible? I should come up with an exercise for it.

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