Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ZARA RAAB Featured Monday, March 3, 2014

3/3/14 Zara Raab  

Rumpelstiltskin, or What's in a Name? is an imaginative recasting of the age-old
folktale of Rumpelstiltskin into a modern comedy of lust and madness.  By going online and ordering a copy for yourself or a friend, you'll help bring to life this story of the Miller who boasts to the King that his daughter can spin straw into gold. To order now, go to Finishing Line Press and click on "Bookstore."

A finalist for the Dana Award and called "magic" by editor Kit Duane, Rumpelstiltskin follows my 2010 Book of Gretel, which Jean Nordhaus praised as "beautiful, unsettling poems proceed[ing] with dreamlike assurance through a landscape fully imagined and brilliantly described." Rumpelstiltskin takes a romp through a different landscape altogether, but with the verve--I hope you'll agree!--of my full-length collection Swimming the Eel, praised by Athena Kildegaard for its "delicious music." 
Like WordTech, my publisher for Swimming the Eel, Finishing Line Press offers a different model of publishing from the big New York houses by asking for the up front support of the author's community of readers and friends. Please join me in supporting this and other small presses endeavors.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Featuring Fruits&Veg Monday 2/24/14

Poetry Express Weekly Announcement for this coming Monday 2/24/2014

2/24/14 Theme Night: Fruits & Vegetables -- attending poets will read poems loosely associated with the theme (you need not cite both categories of plants if you wish) and again we are hoping that some unusual, disruptive, or off-the-wall work mashes these plants to a pulp.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Poetry Express features Jeanne Lupton Monday, Feb. 17th

Calendar of other coming events is below this information. 

2/17/14 Jeanne Lupton

 Jeanne Lupton is a poet and performer well known in the Bay Area, especially for her tanka. She hosts a Poetry and Prose reading serices at the Frank Bette Center in Alameda on 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month as well as being deeply involved in many other groups. Her reviews speak for themselves:

"The sensuous work of Jeanne Lupton deeply touches the secret center of things. From the mystic tradition we know that there are a thousand paths, yet but one destination. Love, and its consequences, reverberate in these brief, evocative lines. For those with whom they do not resound we can only shake our heads at life unlived. Standing on the shoulders of her sisters before her, Jeanne Lupton enriches the centuries old traditon of the tanka; in these illuminating pages, the Way of the Lover is revealed." (Don Wentworth of the Lilliput Review)

"Lupton's keenly observed details of her life serve as a lens focusing greater human truths; she is not just a woman, but Everywoman. She journeys through her life with the intensely emotional but never sentimental heart of a poet, faithfully recording her truths that speak to all women." (M. Kei)
Jeanne has won many awards and prizes and has a number of books.  See www.JeanneLupton.com   for more.
Poetry Express thanks Jeanne for stepping in quickly to substitute for Jeanie Shaterian, who unfortunately could not make it on this date.  We hope to hear her soon.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

2/10/14 Features Julia Vinograd

Calendar of other coming events is below this information.
2/10 Julia Vinograd

Julia Vinograd is a Berkeley street poet.  She has published over 59 books of poetry and won the American Book Award of the Before Columbus Foundation. She has a B.A. from UC Berkeley and a M.F.A. from the University of Iowa.  A Pushcart Prize winner for "The Young Men Who Died of AIDS," she has a Poetry Lifetime Achievement Award from the City of Berkeley and is one of the editors of the anthology New American Poetry Vol. I: The Babarians of San Francisco -- Poets from Hell.

This blog's intention is to allow for more extended postings of poetry than our poetryexpressberkeley facebook page accommodates,  and to allow for comment, etc. including a more extensive listing of coming events. We are also considering a website but for now we welcome you to the PE blog.  Starting after 11/26/13 instead of editing a single posting we will re-post each week so that the blog announces via google+ if you are enrolled on that.

You may email us at poetryexpress@gmail.com
Follow us @PoetryXpressB on Twitter
Find us on Facebook as Poetry Express Berkeley

Poetry Express meets every Monday at 7pm until 9pm (except major holidays) at Himalayan Flavors, 1585 University Ave, Berkeley.  Nearest cross street is California.  Free parking available in the lot adjacent to the restaurant. Street meters are free after 6pm.

Open Mic is available before and after the featured reader. Generally we start at 7:20 with 20 minutes of open mic and then the featured reader reads for about 20 -- 30 minutes followed by a short break and then open mic until 9pm.  An amplified mic is available and musical accompaniment is allowed in the private back room of the restaurant where we meet.

Open Mic is whomever stands up first with no second round until all who have desired to read have had one opportunity. Each open mic reading is limited to 3 to 5 minutes.

Please start by introducing yourself by name.

Special Announcements and a short listing of prior readings is below the calendar.


2/17/14 Jeanie Shaterian 

For Jeanie Shaterian the blood-and-breath rhythm and subversive soundplay of formal poetry communicate gut feelings and life's predictably unpredictable shifts of mood and mind more naturally than free verse. That said, her published poetic work consists of translations from the free-verse Norwegian poet Helge Torvund (b. 1951) in Great River Review (fall/winters 2004 and 2006), and in Ice Floe: New and Selected Poetry (2010).  Five of her translations from Torvund's 2012 collection Alabama? were chosen as Mid-American Review's 2013 translation chapbook.

What if? By Jeanie Shaterian

What if?

If you could walk a block within my skin,
if I could walk an equal span in yours,
our muffled pain would blind us with its din,
our hidden joy bring sight to us with purrs.
We walk along together. We're afraid
to touch each other's shifting pain and joy.
Inside us there are many layers laid,
old memories gurgling in a new alloy.
We are so irretrievably estranged,
and yet we've felt the same thing from the start:
our first scream told the world it's all deranged,
our first laugh stoked the fire that fuels its heart.
We know each other's languages and lands!

Our fingers twine. We run through wave-cooled sands.

2/24/14 Theme Night: we are looking to hear some creative and weird poetry based on the theme Fruits and Vegetables.

3/3/14 Zara Raab  

Rumpelstiltskin, or What's in a Name? is an imaginative recasting of the age-old
folktale of Rumpelstiltskin into a modern comedy of lust and madness.  By going online and ordering a copy for yourself or a friend, you'll help bring to life this story of the Miller who boasts to the King that his daughter can spin straw into gold. To order now, go to Finishing Line Press and click on "Bookstore."

A finalist for the Dana Award and called "magic" by editor Kit Duane, Rumpelstiltskin follows my 2010 Book of Gretel, which Jean Nordhaus praised as "beautiful, unsettling poems proceed[ing] with dreamlike assurance through a landscape fully imagined and brilliantly described." Rumpelstiltskin takes a romp through a different landscape altogether, but with the verve--I hope you'll agree!--of my full-length collection Swimming the Eel, praised by Athena Kildegaard for its "delicious music." 
Like WordTech, my publisher for Swimming the Eel, Finishing Line Press offers a different model of publishing from the big New York houses by asking for the up front support of the author's community of readers and friends. Please join me in supporting this and other small presses endeavors.

3/10/14  Hao Tran  

 pic to follow.
Hao (pronounced HOW) is writing passionately about post-war Vietnam
with his real experiences and those from friends and family.  He
travels often and mixes business with flyfishing, photography, and
creative writing.

3/17 Richard Silberg 

Richard Silberg was born in New York City in 1942. He received his BA from Harvard in 1963 and his MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University in 1973. He is associate editor of Poetry Flash and co-director of the Poetry Flash at Cody's Books in Berkeley. He also teaches "Writing and Appreciating Contemporary Poetry" and poetry workshops at UC Berkeley Extension. His first book was a volume of speculative social philosophy, The Devolution of the People, published by Harcourt, Brace and World in 1967. His newest book, Reading the Sphere: Essays on Contemporary Poetry (Berkeley Hills Books 2002) is a collection of essays that were originally published in Poetry Flash. His poetry collections include Doubleness (Heyday Books 2000),Totem Pole (3300 Review Press 1996), Translucent Gears (North Atlantic Books 1982), and The Fields (Pennywhistle 1990). His poetry has appeared or will soon appear in the American Poetry ReviewDenver QuarterlyVolt, and other journals. His current nonfiction manuscripts making the rounds at publishers are two book-length critical essays, "Symbol's Body" and "The Central Voice: Polarizing Nineties Writing between Derrida and Spoken Word."

3/24 Ambrose Mohler 

Ambrose Mohler lived in the Sunset district of San Francisco for seven years during which time he wandered the streets and various neighborhoods of the city. He spent a great deal of that time in the Tenderloin, the Mission and the Richmond districts drinking, fighting and whoring. For most of these seven years he was jobless, with the exception of a brief stint as a ticket seller and another as a bookseller at The Booksmith on Haight Street.  He tried to pursue a career as a street heckler but found he wasn't cut out for the work. He did, however,  make a career of getting thrown out of virtually every bar in the city.  Since moving to the East Bay in 2010, he has spent his time painting, writing poetry and teaching himself various aspects of world cuisine.

Morning still blue
and dark and damp and cool-
not yet begun.
food warms the belly first,
pork bun
from the bakery, brought home
and enjoyed,
just one,
a diollar feast...
and water for the thirst

and now the sun
peers over rooftops
in the window
facing east
glinting off the bottle,
as another one.


Drinking through to the other side
and sober after eight.
six was trouble
but by nine and ten
I was doing double duty,
drinking one here
and one across the street
at the same time.
I drank ten first
and I still don't understand
how I could have been
tipsy by five
and sober enough by thirteen
that when she yelled
'we're closing!'
directly into my face,
without a second's passing
I smiled, and responded well,
the well no longer responding.
I must have closed three bars
that night-
it's strange
how they set their clocks
like time goes backward.

3/31/14 Theme Night : subject to be announced

4/7/14 John B. Rowe 

Author of At My Wit's Beginning (Eventuality Press, 2003/2007) and Winsome Losesome(Eventuality Press, 2010)
Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review, Brevities,Carquinez Poetry ReviewThe Crazy Child ScribblerGRRRRR--A Collection of Poems About Bears (Arctos Press)Minotaur, Out of Our, Poetry Depth QuarterlyRemembering (anthology of Poets' Dinner contest winners), San Francisco Peace & Hope (online) and elsewhere. 
Frequent award-winner in Artists Embassy International's Annual Dancing Poetry Festival Contests, including a Grand Prize (2002) and a First Prize (2010). 
Grand Prize winner in the first Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review Contest 2010
In 2008, served on the selection committee for the first poet laureate of Albany, California: Christina Hutchins. 
Co-host of the monthly (2nd Fridays) Last Word Poetry Reading Series, held at Nefeli Caffe in Berkeley.
Long-time President of the Bay Area Poets Coalition and co-editor of Poetalk magazine.  

4/14/14  Adam Cornford 
Adam Cornford immigrated to the United States as a student in 1979. Since then he has lived almost entirely in the San Francisco Bay Area. From 1987 until the closure of that institution in 2008, Adam led the Poetics Program at New College of California in San Francisco. Today he once again works in the world’s second-oldest profession: writer for hire. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines in print and on the web, and he has published three full-length poetry collections—Shooting ScriptsAnimations, and Decision Forest—as well as several chapbooks. Adam lives in Oakland, where he is currently working on a science-fiction novel. He has just started a new e-zine, HELL: A Magazine of the Arts

4/21 Carl Kopman 

Treading on a rock path
I have not much to say.
That these children want
to hold my hand
is enough.

Letting words
age in cautious steps
is enough.

Carl Kopman is a cabdriver from Brooklyn, New York, a salmon fisherman from the Hippie Years in Mendocino, California,  a school teacher living in Berkeley, and a writer. He spends his time enjoying his family, playing pool, restoring a 600 year old monastery in Nepal, and, with his wife, making habitable a small house on a wild river in San Miguel, Panama. He is currently working on a collection of short stories and shorter poems.  He has been working on this collection most of his life.

4/28/14 Theme Night : subject to be announced

5/5/14 Simon Rogghe & Carol Hogan

Simon Rogghe is a poet, fiction writer and translator of French surrealism and contemporary fiction. His work has appeared and is forthcoming in 3:AM MagazineTree Killer InkRolling Thunder, Gone Lawn, The Undertow and other publications. He is currently earning his Ph.D. in French literature at UC Berkeley, specializing in poetry.
Carol Hogan's bio & picture to be posted shortly....

5/12/14 Tom Odegard:

Tom Odegard (aka Tom/Ms.G) arrived in the Bay Area from Portland when he was eight, in 1948.  When he was 12 he set about writing a science book but soon discovered that he only knew enough to write the introduction at
which point he switched to poetry.  Since then he’s lived in many places in multiple states of mind, and written too many pages of words some of which he’s read at venues around the Bay or put into chapbooks.  

He’s published two books: Friends Well Met – a collection of poems - and Past Lives Led – a poetic memoir both from Beatitude Press in Berkeley.

He shuttles back and forth between Friday Harbor Washington and Oakland spending four months in California where he reads and writes and polishes his nest eggs. His poems have been published in a number of collections
including, Spasso’s, Sacred Grounds, and Living in the Land of the Dead a production of Faithful Fools.
In 2005 he discovered he was intersex and came out as a “Two Spirit”, Tom/Ms.G. He takes great delight in sharing his double gendered points of view with anyone who’ll listen.  Mark States favorably compared his poetry to e.e. cummings, to which accolade he remarked, “Yikes!”

Herewith  three samples:

To Mel C.
We were mezmerized this evening by the Coronor's office
that turned down the air conditioning to save on power
that resulted in a bad smell issuing from the morgue
that gave the lie to Justice in it's greek geek form
where the homeless classic a**hole rates a burial at a dump
...and the cosmic lassie gets laid out on a pyroclastic slump
but it all fell down when we saw sirens at the door
and the fuzz came in and nailed the poet to the floor...
Muh, muh, muh, mel we love you...
you and that saucy little sweetums under your too cute hat.

Mind Quest  2013

we open our mind and find
a bearded horseman bending down
to talk to Ms. G – she grips his arm
and horse-leather-sweat fills the air
she says, “we have to take him – he’s the body”,
he barely nods his head
then turns impossibly far in his saddle
grabs my shoulder lifts me onto the grey mare,
saying,  “Mount up!”
So, we flow into vistas of circular star bales
in yellow fields outlined by dry stone fences.
Ms. G easily snugs up behind me whispering,
 “You’ll love it, we’re going on another quest.
There are valleys to explore
abandoned villages from childhood and
teenage angst demanding attention.”

Circus Song © tom odegard –

Don’t be kiddin’ me honey ain’t no Circus in the Real
the mind’s full of candy canes and money on the wheel
grandiloquent magnanimity makes Bozos of us all
so the Zoot Suit Leader like the rest of us will fall.

Soon the muzak squeaks Jimi’s Star Spangled tunes
while the horses jump arabesques upon poltroons
there’ll be mind slaughtered veterans waving the flag
as the carnies run the marks through a flat for a gag.

Yes you can’t beat illusions for entertainment’s sake
you can’t deny beliefs by reasonable restraints
you might take a flyer at tyranny and shame
but the odds say you’ll fail ‘cause everyone’s insane.

You can search this weird from stem to stern
you can be a patriot, a tea man, perhaps a turd
but you’ll never find the outside of this circus train
‘les you look inside your bias and trim your brain.

6/9/14 Jessie Bouchard

5/19/14 TBD  

5/26/14 TBD  

6/2/14 Dave and Chappell Holt  bio & picture to follow

6/9/14 TBD

6/16/14 Sally Elesby 

7/14/14 Nancy Gonzalez

Nancy Aidé González is a Chicana poet and educator. She graduated from California State
University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. She attended Las Dos Brujas Writer’s Workshop in 2012. Her work has appeared in Mujeres De Maiz Zine, Huizache The magazine of Latino literature, DoveTales, Tule Review, Seeds of Resistance Flor y Canto:Tortilla Warrior, La Bloga, and several other literary journals. Her work is featured in the Sacramento Voices: Foam at the Mouth Anthology (2013). She is a participating member of Escritores del Nuevo Sol, a writing group based in Sacramento, California which honors the literary traditions of Chicano, Latino, Indigenous and Spanish-language peoples. 

La Virgen de Las Calles
Pink Sentinels
Mujeres Del Maíz
La Pulga
Tapestry of Dawn
La Virgen de Las Calles

She stands on the
busy street corner
selling delicate red
and white roses
hugged by baby's -breath
and luminous cellophane
resting in a
once discarded
plastic bucket.

She understands the innate
beauty of roses,
their fragility
their fragrant hope
as they grow slowly
from bud to
embracing change,
as they flush into
full bloom.

She knows of
piercing thorns
and truth,
of crossing
barbed wire

She understands
the prickling sting,
the aculeus
of being an outsider.

She wears a large
sweatshirt with USA
emblazoned in block
print across her chest
but she misses
Mexico and the
small town she was
raised in .

A red and green
rebozo hangs down
upon her head shielding
her from the flugent sun,
a gift from her mother,
a reminder of home.
People stride past her
lost in their own thoughts
hustling to work,
on pressing errands,
wandering down the tangle
of the Los Angeles

She is La Virgen de las Calles,
waiting with a
heavy heart,
full of yearning,
dreaming of
new horizons,
a fountain of
humble tenderness
and abounding love.

La Virgen de las Calles
comprehends the
nature of roses,
their vulnerability
their need for nettle.

8/11/14  Avoicja 

Avotcja has been published in English & Spanish in the USA, Mexico & Europe, and in more Anthologies than she remembers. She is an award winning Poet & multi-instrumentalist who has opened for Betty Carter in New York City, Peru's Susana Baca at San Francisco’s Encuentro Popular & Cuba’s Gema y Pável, played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobi & Luis Cespedes, John Handy, Sonido Afro Latina, Dimensions Dance Theater, Black Poets With Attitudes, Bombarengue, Nikki Giovanni, Los Angeles' Build An Ark, Dwight Trible, Diamano Coura West African Dance Co., Terry Garthwaite, Big Black, The Bay Area Blues Society & Caribeana Etc. Shared stages with Sonia Sanchez, Piri Thomas, Janice Mirikitani, Diane DiPrima, Michael Franti, Jayne Cortez, & with Jose Montoya's Royal Chicano Air Force & is a Bay Area icon with her group Avotcja & Modúpue.  Avotcja was the opening act for the legendary Poet Pat Parker the last three years of her life. She both composed & performed the film score for the Danish documentary MuNu. Her Poetry &/or music has been recorded by Piri Thomas, Famoudou Don Moyé (of The Art Ensemble Of Chicago), Bobby Matos Latin Jazz Ensemble, & performed by The Purple Moon Dance Project, and was the 1st Poetry performed by New York's Dance Mobile. She's appeared at The Lorraine Hansberry Theater in S. F., The Asian-American Jazz Festival in Chicago, as well as The Asian-American Jazz Festival in San Francisco.  She's been featured 5 times at Afro-Solo, twice at San Francisco's Carnival, The Scottish Rite Temple & Yoshi's in Oakland & San Francisco, Jose Castellar's play "Man From San Juan", Club Le Monmartre in Copenhagen Denmark, Stanford University, at San Francisco’s Brava Theater For The Arts with Cine Acción, New York's Henry Street Settlement Theater and The Women On The Way Festival in San Francisco. Avotcja a is popular Bay Area DeeJay & Radio Personality, and the founder/Director of "The Clean Scene Theater Project (AKA) Proyecto Teatral De La Escena Sobria". She continues to teach Creative Writing, Storytelling & Drama in Public Schools & thanks to the California Arts Council she was also an Artist in Residence at the Milestones Project & San Francisco Penal System. Avotcja is a proud member of DAMO (Disability Advocates Of Minorities  Organization), PEN Oakland, California Poets In The Schools,  IWWG & is an  ASCAP recording artist.

11/10/14 Roy Mash

Additional Later Events will be posted soon.  Below picture is our venue at Himalayan Flavors.

Special Announcements and Prior readings listed below..

Announcing East Bay Writers' Drop-in (new)

An Open, Drop-In No Cost Peer-Review Workshop for Writers. (Poetry or Prose)
Meets every 2nd and 4th Wednesdays 1:30 to 3:30 pm, starting 2/12/14.
First meeting to be in Rockridge within walking distance from both the MacArthur and Rockridge BART stations. Address: 5228 Miles Avenue in Rockridge (behind the Claremont DMV) (Adele’s house)

Process: Bring a minimum of 8 copies of the pre-written work you plan to discuss. We will agree on time limits for longer work. If time permits we can do some free writing or writing from prompts.
Sign-up Sheet will determine order of reading -- 1st come, 1st served.
This group will be peer-led.
Publication: We will agree not to distribute or publish other's work in any form.
Bring some (non-messy) light snacks only if you like. Tea provided, no alcohol.
As a courtesy, email abmendels@gmail.com   or Bagnell.bruce.a@gmail.com  if you plan to come. (See http://eastbaywritersdropinworkshop.blogspot.com/  Please join us!

Bay Area Poets Coalition (BAPC) open reading, 3-5 minutes, first 
Saturday of the month, 3:00-5:00 p.m. Strawberry Creek Lodge,
1320 Addison Street, Berkeley. Park on the street, not in the SCL
parking lot. Check in at front desk for meeting location -- usually
4th Floor Movie Room. More info:
www.bayareapoetscoalition.org / (510) 527-9905

The Last Word Reading Series at Nefeli Caffe, 1854 Euclid Ave.
north of Hearst, Berkeley, every 2nd Friday of the month.
Featured poets followed by an open reading. Admission free, but
one-drink or one-plate minimum is suggested. Cafe phone is
(510) 841-6374. Co-hosts: Dale Jensen, Ralph Dranow, John
Rowe, Grace Grafton.

Frank Bette Center for the Arts has poetry readings on the 2nd and
4th Saturday of every month, 7-9 pm, features followed by open
mic, 1601 Paru at Lincoln in Alameda.  Hosted by Jeanne Lupton.

Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review article on local readings series now
available on line at 
Check out the rest of the fabulous issue while you're at it! 

First Wednesday Formal meets 1st Wed. each month.  Structured verse.
St Alban's Episcopal Church
1501 Washington Avenue, Albanyhttp://firstwednesdayformal.wordpress.com

Spanish, Spanglish y Lo Que Sea, 3:30–5:30PM. Casa Latina, 1805
San Pablo Ave. @ Delaware in Berkeley.  No cover (donations
for flyers accepted). Hosted by Avotcja. Features plus open mic, 2nd
and 4th Sundays.

Expressions Art Gallery reading, feature plus open mike. Refreshments
served. Expressions is located at 2035 Ashby Avenue near the Ashby
BART station in Berkeley. 7-9PM on the 3rd Friday of the month.

Poetry Unbound, feature poets and brief open mic, first Sunday of the
month, Art House Gallery, 2905 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.  $5. Also has cultural, musical & other events, check arthouse2905@gmail.com  (510) 472-3170

Other Events may be found at a variety of sites:
On UCB Campus: Lunch Readings: All readings are open to the public and free. More information regarding the Holloway readings can be found on-line at UC Berkeley English Holloway. More information regarding the Lunch Poems readings can be found on-line athttp://lunchpoems.berkeley.edu/

Prior Features

2/3/14 WAS: Bruce Fessenden

Bruce Fessenden is best known in the Bay Area community as the owner of Fessenden Firewood.  He has been skiing and climbing his whole life, and is best known for the first American ski descent (and 2nd overall) of Denali, highest peak in the North American continent, in 1977.  He is still actively climbing and skiing, as well as mountain biking.

He has struggled with depression much of his adult life, and his writing was born from that.  He is interested in the relationship between spirit and the earth.  He views woundedness more as an invitation or entryway into soul life than an obstacle to be overcome.

1/27/2013 WAS Theme Night: HOPE:  Attending poets read poems loosely based upon the theme -- it was a great evening with very enjoyable work.

1/20/14 WAS: William Landis 

William Landis  weaned at Oberlin College and St. Louis Univ.  By stretching the shoestring, has resided in Andalusia, Amsterdam, Mykonos, Puerto Vallarta, and rural France.  Has two chapbooks, Noguchi et al. & Takes and several prizes.  Published in Runes, Spillway, Pudding House, Poetalk, riverbabble.  Ekphrastic poetry and many-headed paintings.   willlandis.blogspot.com

Blogs:  William Landis writes a kind of dynamics of the soul. Everything here is in color and in motion. Many of these poems are about other art forms, paintings, sculptures,
Maria Callas, Baryshnikov.  Landis's words bridge these media, moving like wind through the world, spreading not just joy but wisdom too. As he asks in one of his
poems, "without shadow after all, how would longing make a living"   Richard Silberg

William Landis has a gift for writing about art, film, dance, and music in a way that is not merely ekphrastic
but probing and intimate. The poems in TAKES are unpunctuated free verse but they possess an elegance
of line, phrase, and vision. Whether Landis is writing of Marie Callas, Winslow Homer, or Baryshnikov, his poetic voice suprises, makes us feel something new. "you ask how to seize Monet," he writes, "then you back up fourteen feet and sing again".  In this book, William Landis is the singer.         --Susan Terris

1/13/14  WAS: Judy Wells and Dale Jensen 
This was the biggest draw so far with appx 50 people attending.

Judy Wells received her B.A .from Stanford and her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. She taught writing in Bay Area colleges before a career as an Academic Counselor for adults at St. Mary’s College of California and as a faculty member of St. Mary’s Graduate Liberal Studies Program.  She now teaches writing atUC Berkeley Extension in a special program for freshmen. She lives in Berkeley. Judy has published nine collections of poetry:  I Dream of Circus Characters:  A Berkeley Chronicle (2010),  Little Lulu Talks with Vincent Van Gogh (2007), Call Home (2005), Everything Irish (1999), The Calling:  Twentieth Century Women Artists (1994), The Part-time Teacher (1991),  Jane, Jane (1981), Albuquerque Winter (1980),   I Have Berkeley, (1979).  Her tenth, The Glass Ship is due to be published in early 2014.
Dale Jensen was born in Oakland, California, graduated from the University of California at Berkeley, and received a master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Toronto, with which he said goodbye to academia forever. In 1999, when he took early retirement from a twenty-five year career with Social Security. He lives in Berkeley. Dale’s poetry, which is heavily influenced by the Surrealists and such cut-up writers as William Burroughs and Brion Gysin,  has appeared in many magazines, journals, and anthologies. He published and edited the experimental poetry magazine Malthus from 1986 through 1989 and published several books through Malthus Press. He also has published five books and three chapbooks of poetry: Thebes (1991), Bar Room Ballads (1992), The Troubles (1993), Twisted History(1999), Purgatorial (2004), Cyclone Fence (2007), Oedipus’ First Lover (2009) and Auto Bio (2010). His tenth collection, Yew Nork, is due 

1/6/14 Was: Kathleen McClung

Kathleen McClung lives in San Francisco and teaches at Skyline College and the Writing Salon. Author of Almost the Rowboat (Finishing Line Press, 2013), she is the recipient of the 2012 Rita Dove Poetry Award and the 2012 National Poetry Prize from the Cultural Center of Cape Cod. Her work appears in Unsplendid, Bloodroot, The Healing Muse, PMS: poemmemoirstory, Ekphrasis, A Bird Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens, and elsewhere. She serves as the sponsor/judge of the sonnet category for the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition and reviewer for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, sponsored by the Stanford UniversityLibraries.www.kathleenmcclung.com

12/30/13 Was: The Eve of New Year's Eve and we took the night off.

12/23/13 Was: Theme Night: Truth & Beauty -- attending poets read work loosely associated with the theme.

12/16/13 WAS: Gail Peterson

Having put many years, many words into promoting the San Francisco Chronicle, technical publications, educational products, and children’s literature, Gail Peterson stepped gingerly into the field of poetry — territory she always deemed far beyond the practical output of “snappy patter” (advertising copy). Now, encouraged by first prize in two regional contests, some publication, poetry workshops she hosts and attends, she enjoys turning out a highly impractical poem.


Charlie’s beginning to smell like an old man —
he’s worn that flannel shirt one week too long.
            She doesn’t mind —
she likes the blue-green plaid,
how it serves his frame, the softness.
Anyway, she knows she needs her Listerine.

Charlie’s not a talker.
All these years, she’s mostly only had
the sight, the smell, the feel of him.
            She doesn’t mind, really.
A look, a pat, a grin set the meter of her moods,
provide the iambs, regular as heartbeats,
more reliable than poetry.

A silent man. Saint or simpleton?
She once put too much stock in talk
and walked a lie into a bramble.
            She knows she’s been forgiven
more than Charlie’s ever bothered to let on.

12/9/13 WAS: David Erdreich  
David Erdrich was a truck driver for 18 years, a psychiatric social worker for 10 years, a street vendor/airbrush artist for 14 years.  Add to those endeavors a singer, alto sax player, and, all the while, a poet.
Bad pix? Blame Bruce's cell phone!

12/2/13 WAS: Stephen Kopel & Nancy Wakeman 

Nancy grew up on the rocky coast of Massachusetts where she witnessed the power and beauty of earth, sky and sea. After graduating from college she left New England and traveled west -- eager to explore the world. Like so many dreamers and seakers she settled in San Francisco. Nancy writes to give form to thoughts, feelings, ideas. To connect her inner and outer worlds, to connect with something larger than herself. She writes poetry to give pleasure to herself and others, and is surprised, but pleased that her words sometimes inspire laughter. She hosts a monthly writing salon. She is the author of BABE DIDRIKSON ZAHARIAS:Driven to Win (a biography of the famous golfer -- written for young people), and SHOOTING ARROWS AT THE MOON, a book of poetry and prose poems. Her writing has appeared in Ambush Review, Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review, The Alembic and other journals.

 Stephen Kopel --  Think your head's attic can shakerattleroll?   If yes, then consider cramming Kopel's verses upstairs - they crackle. This punstateer holds dear the myriad possibilities tickling our lingua's taut tummy so listeners/readers might feast on helpings of FUN.  Kopel's "tender absurdities" - witty wordplay, double meanings, metaphoric mayhem - execute end-runs around the staid and stolid.  Check out  Picnic Poetry  (amazon.com) for a hands-on feast everyone can enjoy. This writer, performer, presenter, civic philanthropist invests in the  'I take stock'  market with assets divided between straight-talk, gratitude and kindness.

11/25/13 WAS:  Theme Night:  Any topic poem can be read. This evening is Helpful Feedback.
Poets distributed copies of the poems to be heard and then the listeners were invited to write comments on the work and return it to the poet later in the evening.  Poets brought about 20 copies of work to be read; include some extra poems for second round opportunities.  After reading helpful feedback of any nature was given and comments turned in to the poets before leaving.
Some of the discussion included:
         What was your intention when you started out to write this poem?
·         How did it change as your wrote it?
·         How did it change as you edited it?
·         Did it, in the end, provide the content, thought, and feelings you intended?
·         What is your usual method for writing?
·         What is your usual method for editing?
·         What do you look for in your own work?
·         Do you have threads of common themes in your work?
·         Do you have a poetry persona which differs from yourself in other circumstances?
·         What voice do you like to write in?
·         Do you like to use shifting metaphors or stay within narrower boundries?
·         What structures do you like to use?  Why?
·         How does this poem relate to you – what is the back story behind it?
·         Could you edit the poem to a shorter version and retain all the meaning?
11/18/13 was: Patricia Bulitt 
 Patricia  Bulitt is a dancer, poet, and interdisciplinary artist residing in Berkeley, CA.
Awarded numerous grants and awards from National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, City of Berkeley, Outstanding Woman Award, Alaska Humanities Forum, California Greenways, she has toured throughout US, Japan, Canada, and New Zealand as a solo artist.
Often a maker of site specific performances in landscape, she composes text that are sung by vocalists or as taped prose accompaniment. Also featured as the cover story in SFCHRONICLE  ( October 27, 2013, East Bay Section) for her paper dresses, original text floats amongst the collaged imagery on her wearable paper dresses. Patricia was also recently featured in the Watershed Poetry Festival in Berkeley In the reading in November, she plans to read and wear A Paper Dress of Apology for a Young Iraqi Girl to cello music by Gretchen Yanover.

Pictured :  A Paper Dress of Apology for a Young Iraqi Girl--Photo by Raymond Holdbert

“I sew the words,” she told her Mother, now gazing at the fire.
In her left hand was the bowl, wrapped from paper, layering words over 
words,  over words, over words.

Her daughter’s favorite time was when her Mother knew.
When knowing the place for the plot is what her Mother knew.
For what the plot carried.
That is when the paint brushes
Would be dipped into its right color.
“I hope its gold this time, Mother. I hope its gold, this time.”
Her mother’s stare kept the silence,
Her mother’s stare kept the listening in the house.

The nickel harp player lay by the stone in the garden.
The woman with the love in her eyes,
Carried the box to her child.
Soon, the circle of stones, all placed by she and her daughter,
Made an opening for the nickel harp player to be
Perched on a rock,  as if to be a dragonfly,
So lightly there, the nickel harp player began to hum.
So lightly, there.

11/11/2013 WAS: Chris Chandler 

Poet and storyteller Chris Chandler is as hilarious and entertaining as he is provocative and rabble-rousing, delivering vignettes about politics and modern culture with the fire of a Baptist Preacher. His appearances are insightful tales of a world gone slightly mad, accompanied by a wide variety of musical styles. He has performed on thousands of stages across North America, working with such legendary figures as Allen Ginsberg, Pete Seeger, Mojo Nixon and Ani DiFranco. The late great Utah Phillips called Chris "the best performance poet I have ever seen."  see more at chrischandler.org 

Nov 4  WAS: Kirston Koths 

Kirston began collecting subject material for his poems when he was four years old. After a brief hiatus to get a PhD and spend a few decades developing cancer pharmaceuticals in the biotech industry, he got
back to his life-long passion, the arts. His poems reflect on childhood, explore the perspective gained from world travel, and touch gently on social commentary.  In 2001, he co-founded Poets Across the Bay, a workshop of highly motivated poets who also help him present a popular, "Garden Poetry and Music" event at his home in El Cerrito. Kirston's poems have appeared recently in Plainsongs and Askew Poetry Journal, and he is featured in a section of a special anthology from Blue Light Press, "River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the 21st Century". Kirston knows that a given poem is finished when he can read it out loud and his golden retriever, Bella, does not leave the room.

10/28/13 WAS: Theme Night: Senseless

Attending poets had evening to read poems loosely related to the theme “Senseless;” surely everyone has been to that town….

10/21/13 WAS: Frank Dixon Graham  

Frank Dixon Graham founded the ongoing Literary Lecture series and the Fifth Mondays charity benefit reading series with the Sacramento Poetry Center, where he has been a board member since 2007. The poet worked as an editor for Poetry Now for thirty-six issues, and is currently an editor for Pitkin Review and Tule Review. His poems appear in Hawaii Pacific Review, Clackamas Review, Evansville Review, Harvard Scriptorium, and over twenty-five other publications. His chapbooks are titled, The Infinite In Between and Out On the Reach. Graham is organizing the California State Colloquium on Social Justice Poetry, while completing his MFA at Goddard College in Port Townsend, Washington.  

We will also had a guest from far away reading during open Mic:

In 2012, Tami Sussman threw herself into the Spoken Word scene and wrote and performed her first one-woman show “My Furry Heart”. The show was a tremendous success attracting hundreds of audience members across a series of 5 shows. Tami has since been invited on various radio programs and to MC and perform at a range of festivals and events around Australia and New Zealand. Now a very recognisable face within the Sydney poetry community, Tami is venturing to San Francisco and NYC (for the very first time!!!) to connect with her artistic roots.  http://sussmania.wordpress.com/tamis-work/

She was awesome!  Check her out on line as above.

10/14/13 was: Claude Convers

Claude Convers was born and raised in Switzerland. She is a poet, a visual artist and a Private French Teacher. French is her first language, German her second, and English her third; she primarily writes in the English language. Her work has been published in Adobe Walls, Chronogram, The Literary Gazette and WriterAdvice.com. She has appeared on radio shows and performed readings throughout the United States. Her website is www.frenchonthenet.com

10/7/13 was: Larry DiCostanzo 
Lawrence DiCostanzo has been writing poetry consistently and seriously since 2005.  Early training in Latin and Greek gave him a love of language.  He appreciates the discipline and assistance that
form and rhyme provide, but he also likes to write poems that have a "conversational ring".  He has won the Maggi H. Myer Memorial Prize of the Bay Area Poets Coalition, and his work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
9/30/13 was: Theme Night: FOG

Attending poets had the whole evening to read open mic on poems loosely related to the theme.  Each poet hS 3 to 5 min for each round and there was time for more than one round.

9/23/13 Terry McCarty 

Terry McCarty was born on July 31, 1959 in Electra, Texas.He moved to Southern California in 1988.
Terry began writing poetry in the summer of 1997.From 1998 to 1999, he was a member of the Midnight Special Bookstore poetry workshop in Santa Monica.He has been a featured poet in several Southern California venues. Terry has also featured at readings in Las Vegas, NV, San Francisco, CA, Santa Cruz, CA, Berkeley, CA, Oakland, CA and Seattle, WA. Terry has also appeared in Lynda and Lisa LaRose’s THE POETRY SPIRAL at Luna Sol Café (Los Angeles), Roni Walter’s BAKSTREEET COMETRI
at the Comedy Store (West Hollywood) and last July's SPARRING WITH BEATNIK GHOSTS reading at The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles) Published in these anthologies:
Other books include:
I SAW IT ON TV (Lummox Press)
20 GREATEST HITS: POEMS 1997-2004 (e-book available on iTunes and Amazon Kindle)
IMPERFECTIONIST (Meridien PressWorks)
HOLLYWOOD POETRY: 2001-2013 (Xlibris)

9/16/13 Jannie Dresser 

Jannie Dresser is a Bay Area poet with Central Valley roots, who disdains long lists of poetry publication credits and awards, believing that her poems should stand on their own feet and leaves it to Readers/listeners to judge whether or not they are any good.

9/9/13 Adam Cornford 

Adam Cornford immigrated to the United States as a student in 1979. Since then he has lived almost entirely in the San Francisco Bay Area. From 1987 until the closure of that institution in 2008, Adam led the Poetics Program at New College of California in San Francisco. Today he once again works in the world’s second-oldest profession: writer for hire. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines in print and on the web, and he has published three full-length poetry collections—Shooting ScriptsAnimations, and Decision Forest—as well as several chapbooks. Adam lives in Oakland, where he is currently working on a science-fiction novel. He has just started a new e-zine, HELL: A Magazine of the Arts.

And still older prior features:

8/26/13 Theme Night -- Childhood
7/22/13 Deborah Janke
7/15/13 David Rosenthal
7/8/13 Naomi Lowinsky
7/1/13 Robert Shelby
6/24/13 Theme Night - Spontaneous poems from themes suggested by the audience
6/17/13 Nancy Schimmel
6/10/13 Richard Lonranger
5/20/13 Alice Jones and Yoo-Chong Wong
5/13/13 Jeane Lupton
5/6/13 Claire J. Baker
4/29/13 Theme Night - Beauty
4/22/13 Marvin Spector
4/15/13 Gary Hicks
4/8/13 Glen Meisenheimer
4/1/13 Maggie Morley
3/25/13 Theme Night - Loyalty
3/18/13 Gary Turchin
3/11/13 Leah Steinberg
3/4/13 Casey Fitzsimmons
2/25/143 Theme Night - Flowers
2/15/13 Avotcja
2/8/13 Larry Chryspin
2/1/13 Sherry Sheehan
1/28/13 Milvia Street Literary Journal: Feature Poets — Hao Tran, Shanna Hullaby, G.S. Scott, Sharmini
Wijeyesekera, and Michael Noel
1/21/13 Susan Cohen
1/14/13 Barbara Atkinson
1/7/13 Nanette Deetz