Calendar of Coming Features



11/20/2017 Phyllis Meshulam,  hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "Capture" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)




Phyllis Meshulam first went to Italy, where her father had been stationed during World War II, at not quite five. Threads of those journeys are woven into her newly-released book of poems, Land of My Father’s War, from Cherry Grove Collections. Joy Harjo, winner of the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, said of Meshulam’s book, an “urgency of spirit has emerged eloquently here in these poems of perception and even prophecy….” Meshulam is also the author of Doll, Moon (Finishing Line Press), Doors (War and Peace Press) and Valley of Moon (d-Press). She is a veteran teacher for California Poets in the Schools and coordinator for Poetry Out Loud, and has been a presenter at the nation-wide writing conferences, AWP and Split this Rock Her work has appeared in magazines from Earth’s Daughters and Phoebe to Teachers & Writers and Tikkun.  Meshulam has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. For CPitS’s 50th anniversary, she edited, Poetry Crossing, which Poetry Flash called “a truly joyful collection of lessons, inspirations, and children's poems.”

Southeast Asian Rain
The breathing space within the gallery
is sliced by fifty-eight thousand fine strands,
(not the usual chains). Each current
makes pendant metal tags glint,

ringing each other like a wind harp,
or sun-scattered rain on the roof
of a Quonset hut. What’s
in a dog tag? Name, blood type. A small mirror.

Each is labeled. B positive,
or be excluded or dead. O for negative,
or zero. O for other. Each belief

system reduced to one of a few
graced faiths. P for protestor. C,
 for catharsis. J for jungle. An identity –
forgotten tiger, lamb, or forest fire.



11/27/2017  Elizabeth Alford  hosted by J. D.
(Need a prompt? "The light in the basement" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)



A longtime fan of short poetry, Elizabeth Alford (Hayward, CA) usually writes on her laptop, but in its absence will settle for her cell phone. Her work has recently appeared in print in POETALK, and various online venues such as brass bell: a haiku journalhaikuniverse, and the cherita: your storybook journal. Please visit her author page @ Facebook.com/ElizabethAlfordPoetry



Heaven is My Mother’s Apple Pie
by Elizabeth Alford

Once a year 
(and only under the best 
possible circumstances) 
my mother makes 
her apple pie, and that first 
bite—oh! how buttery 
and crumbly the crust, how 
spicy the forbidden fruit 
filling still warm from the oven 
and swirls of cinnamon, 
sweet and tang waltzing to flavor 
on the ballroom floor 
of my tongue—is almost enough 
to make me sing praise 
to a god I don’t believe in, 
even though I know 
deep in my heart 
and in my stomach 
that if there is an afterlife, 
it is after Thanksgiving dinner 
and that my mother 
is a god of gods 
who can bake the whole 
of the universe 
into a pie.

12/4/2017 Clark Kent hosted by Jan 12/11/2017
(Need a prompt?Is Superman a Golem? A golem is an animated anthropomorphic being that is magically created entirely from inanimate matter (specifically clay or mud). -- you don't have to use those words.)




Clark Kent claims to have been forever maligned by the myth of Superman when in fact he has just been another bat in the belfry of life, seeking justice and peace in this troubled world. The comics who rule have long gotten Clark wrong, presuming Kryptonite to be his Achilles heel when in fact that radiant mineral is found within every person he meets.  That singular force travels the short divide from them to him, dispelling the dark forces of narcissism, rendering Clark human, vulnerable, and capable of poetic expression.

Longing For Kryptonite

Zarathustra hides in a polar ice castle,
flies to the moon, leers at women with his X-ray eyes.
He is stuck in a rut waiting for earthquakes, sinking ships,
meteors on course to destroy the woman he avoids.
Each wood-pulped, flattened day he is summoned,
pulls phone booths out of thin air,
strips to pectoral splendor.
His speedo modestly bulges
as he rescues Lois Lane yet again,
again, again, again.
Old pages yellow and crack
until he longs to be a real Clark Kent,
Kryptonated, unbound,
a nakedly human man.




12/11/2017 Mary Mackey hosted by Jim
(Need a prompt? "Fame" or for that matter, "defame"-- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)





Mary Mackey is a bestselling author who has written fourteen novels some of which have appeared on the New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller Lists. She is also the author of seven volumes of poetry including Sugar Zone winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence. Mackey’s novels have been translated into twelve languages including Japanese, Russian, Hebrew, Greek, and Finnish. Her poems have been praised by Wendell Berry, Jane Hirshfield, Marge Piercy, and Dennis Nurkse for their beauty, precision, originality, and extraordinary range. Garrison Keillor has featured her poetry four times on The Writer’s Almanac. Also a screenwriter, she has sold feature-length scripts to Warner Brothers as well as to independent film companies. Mackey sometimes writes comedy under her pen name “Kate Clemens.” She has a B.A. from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from The University of Michigan and is related through her father’s family to Mark Twain. At present, she lives in northern California with her husband Angus Wright. ” Lowenstein Associates recently published her novel The Village of Bones, a prequel to her bestselling Earthsong Series.



Kin

We were related to everybody in Crittenden County
literally everybody
judges and lawyers and county clerks
and barbers and druggists and soda jerks
and moonshiners and farmers and ferry boat captains
and the rich people in the big white houses
and the poor people down by the slough

Total strangers would come up
as soon as they saw you on the street
throw their arms around you and say
my great grandma is buried next to your great grandma
or I'm your cousin 17 times removed on your third uncle’s side

or
my   my   my   you look just like your daddy
has he ever got out of prison?


                  Mary Mackey

                  from The Jaguars That Prowl Our Dreams (coming in 2018 from Marsh Hawk Press)

12/18/2017 Michael Caylo-Baradi​ hosted by Bruce

(Need a prompt? "Outer" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)




Michael Caylo-Baradi's work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Galway Review, Blue Fifth ReviewBlue Print ReviewThe Common (online)Eclecticaelimae, Eunoia ReviewFORTHGalatea ResurrectsInk Sweat & TearsLocal NomadMiPOesiasOtolithsOur Own VoicepoeticdiversityPhilippines Free PressPoetry PacificPrick of the Spindle, and elsewhere.  An alumnus of The Writers’ Institute at The Graduate Center (CUNY), he has also written reviews and essays for New Pages, PopMatters, and The Latin American Review of Books. 


http://mcaylo.blogspot.com/p/poetry.html



How to purify the air

Re-align the universe in the direction of your gaze. This is
breathing unhinged from dysfunction, clawed with need,
panting for Narcissus.

A bedroom is an occlusion that sharpens visions drooling for its
prey crucified in surrender. The howling beyond the yard
intensifies the season,

feasting on rituals that clarifies the philosophy of fangs. Wings
fluttering by the window are prayers, searching for
maps away from the city,

now submerged in bodies of lights illuminating an aftermath,
of hands intertwined, gasping for morsels of God,
to resuscitate the air.


Poem URL at OTOLITHS 43: 

12/25/2017 NO PE H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !

01/01/2018  NO PE -- H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S !


01/8/18 
Julia Vinograd hosted by Jim





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. Her latest chapbook "Look Out"has just been published in October, 2016
01/15/18 Fred Dodsworth hosted by Bruce 
(Need a prompt? "The name I don't call myself" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)
01/22/2018 hosted by
01/29/2018
02/05/2018
02/12/2018 Alameda Students, details to follow.  hosted by Jim
02/19/2018 Andrena Zawinski hosted by Bruce 


Photo Credit: Don Dutra

Andrena Zawinski’s latest poetry collection, Landings, is from Kelsay Books (Hemet, CA). She has published two previous full collections of poetry: Something About (Blue Light Press, San Francisco, CA), a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award recipient, and Traveling in Reflected Light (Pig Iron Press, Youngstown, O), a Kenneth Patchen competition winner. She has also authored four chapbooks and is editor of Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry (Scarlet Tanager Books, Oakland, CA). Her poems have received accolades for free verse, form, lyricism, spirituality, and social concern. She founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and is Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com.



In Landings, Zawinski presents poems that embrace, in original ways and with deep-rooted emotional power, the worldwide condition of women, immigrants, and the working class alongside an abiding reverence for the natural world. Of this work, Jan Beatty says Zawinski is the necessary voice of the truth teller, speaking trouble among the beauty. Rebecca Foust lauds the collection as a book that offers wisdom and solace and one you will take comfort in reading again and again. Carolyne Wright goes on to say in these Landings, she embraces the richness of human experience and praises the courage of those who go on ‘living as if they could do anything.’
poem recited with images:  
http://www.poetrymagazine.com/movies/singing_bird_haibun_andrena_zawinski.mp4

Andrena Zawinski:

Rafts
Sun spills silver stars of light along rippling summer waves.
A string of pelicans wing the horizon, 
light in flight for all their heft.

Children squeal and squirm inside their plastic inflatable.
One slips over the side, feigns drowning, splashing and kicking, 
holding onto his crying sister, jumps back in to tickle her side–– 
all of them then swimming in giggles and smiles in frolic and fun, 
family picnicking at the shore, waving from bright beach towels.

Other children, roped onto rafts in flimsy life jackets, float in 
from Aleppo across the Aegean away from bombs and bullets 
to find a way out, forge a way in, whole families cattled 
by smugglers, squeezed in dozens deep. But those who slip 
into this dark sea cannot be rescued with innocent teasing and mirth.

A three-year-old washes up onto the beach face down on the sand,
limp body leaden in his father’s arms, 
water lapping the wounded shore.

Publication Credit: 
Reunion Dallas Review, Vol 6, 2017. Univ. of Texas, Dallas, TX 


02/26/2018

03/05/2018

03/12/2018 Cathy Dana hosted by Jim



Cathy Dana, President of Alameda Island Poets, just became Alameda's new Poet Laureate.  She founded and runs The Mighty Pens poetry club and high school poet laureate program at Alameda Community Learning Center.  2014 Dancing Poetry Grand Prize winner and first prize winner of the 2013 Benicia Love Poetry Contest, it's no surprise Cathy titled her first book of poems "My Dad Believed in Love." 

Empty Nest
Still Not Ready to Say Goodbye
The morning after her son left home for college far away
she noticed a crying baby had taken up residence
in her heart.
Everywhere she went in the house
she found remnants of him:
the sprouted-wheat bagels he’d introduced her to
the carton of eggs he scrambled for breakfast
the lonely hook where his egg-frying pan had hung
the heavy whipping cream he put in his coffee
the green-leaf houseplant from his room
now seated by her picture window.
Not to mention his disheveled but vacant room.
She already missed his deep bass voice, ordinarily so logical, so rational,
so full of facts and theories and techie tidbits,
but surprisingly soft and teasing when he would come up the stairs
in that certain mood, saying,
“Where’s that boy-o?  Where’s that kitty?  Where’s that boy-o?”
He would find Raffi, scoop him up,
cradle him upside down like a baby,
start rubbing his tummy
and bring him to her, holding Raffi so she could
stroke his head, ears, neck—all his favorite spots.
Her son would become the voice of Raffi feigning resistance.
“No.  Stop.  Don’t,” the voice protested in mock indignance,
even as the cat closed his eyes dreamily and purred.
Continuing to stroke Raffi’s tummy
her son would assume Raffi’s voice:
 “I’ll give you an hour to stop that and put me down.”
Trying to hold back giggles,
they would stand cuddling their kitty in the kitchen.
The morning after her son left home for college
she slipped into her bedroom to begin her morning ritual,
straightening the covers and pillows,
opening the curtains to let the light in.
Every day, she gathered up from her husband’s nightstand
the stuffed animals she placed together on the bed:
her son’s long-ago toy, a tall cloth doll Pinocchio
and, on either side of him, a mama and papa teddy bear
to watch over him.
But this day, as she looked toward the nightstand,
there, for the first time in Raffi’s three-year life--
the first time ever--
she saw their kitty lying on top of the nightstand
snuggled up with Pinocchio and the teddy bears.
She stood there looking, shaking her head,
leaving the stuffed animals where they were.
Then she leaned in close.
“Make sure he’s safe,” she whispered to Raffi.
“Make sure he’s okay.  He’s our boy-o.”
3/19/18 Naomi Quinonez hosted by Bruce
(Need a prompt? "If I were frozen" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)


03/26/2018

04/02/2018
04/09/2018


04/16/18 Michael Hoerman hosted by Bruce 
(Need a prompt? "Not of my class" -- as in any use or thought of it -- you don't have to use those words.)

Born and raised in the Ozarks and now residing in Fayetteville, Michael's award-winning poetry embodies the bone-deep passion he feels for our rural culture and his reverence for the power of imagination. Michael is listed in A Readers' Map of Arkansas for his groundbreaking cultivation of Fayetteville's literary landscape. In 1995 he co-founded Arkansas's first National Poetry Slam team. In 1997 he edited a Frank Stanford feature entitled "Death in the Cool Evening" that brought renewed critical attention to the legendary poet.

Michael is touring to share a selection of earlier and never-heard-before poems in his new chapbook, Disoriented Fascination, featuring three poems nominated and now under consideration for Pushcart Prizes.
A poet active since 1985, Michael's publication history and critical recognitions include a Massachusetts Artists Fellowship in the category of Poetry, Bad Rotten, his debut chapbook published by Pudding House Publications, inclusion in Lavender Ink's 2012 anthology entitled Fuck Poems and four other anthologies, journals including Arkansas Literary Forum and Eureka Literary Magazine, and residencies at Spiva Center for the Arts and Sedona Summer Colony among many others.



Born into rural poverty in the Ozarks, Michael is a survivor. Though living in poverty, disabled by PTSD, a formerly incarcerated person, with only a GED, Michael's poetry has broken through barriers that have too long kept the poor, the disabled, the uncredentialed and the formerly incarcerated out in the cold. His story will empower others like him, and challenge those who would keep them down and out in the communities where they are integral.


04/23/2018
04/30/2018 Maverick Night subject TBA

05/07/2018
05/14/2018
05/21/2018
05/21/18 MAYBE sUSAN KELLY-DEWITT hosted by Bruce 
(Need a prompt? "Fence?" -- you don't have to use those words.)
05/28/2018 Memorial Day

06/04/2018
06/11/2018
06/18/2018
06/25/2018

07/02/2018
07/9/2018
07/16/2018
07/23/2018
07/30/2018 Maverick Night subject TBA

08/06/2018
08/13/2018
08/20/2018
08/27/2018

09/03/2018 Labor Day, NO PE, BAPC Picnic instead
09/10/2018
09/17/2018
09/24/2018

10/01/2018
10/8/2018
10/15/2018
10/22/2018
10/29/2018 Maverick Night subject TBA

11/05/2018
11/12/2018
11/19/2018
11/26/2018

12/03/2018
12/10/2018
12/17/2018
12/24/2018 NO PE H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S hosted by Upta Yu

12/31/2018 NO PE H A P P Y    H O L I D A Y S hosted by Upta Yu




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