Calendar of Coming Features

7/1/19 D.L Lange hosted by Elaine
We are back at Himalayan Flavors back room, 1585 University Ave.

D.L. Lang is Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California. She has authored eleven books, one spoken word album, and is the editor of Verses, Voices & Visions of Vallejo. 

Lang has been a featured act at numerous events in Vallejo and poetry shows around the bay area. Her writings are a blend of memory, history, imagination, reality, politics, and spirituality. Her poems have been transformed into songs, liturgy, and used as a means to advocate for causes. Her website is:

7/8/19 Barbara Atkinson hosted by Jim

Barbara Atkinson identifies as a  bicoastal writer and performer, transplanted a few times between Bucks County PA and Berkeley CA. She is also a scientist, social organizer, and dance enthusiast. After teaching herself to read, she earned a Bachelor of Rhymes degree from kindergarten, her most prized diploma. In the many intervening years, she has written numerous poems (rhyming, metered, both, and neither), short stories, cartoons, songs & song lyrics, tributes in verse, and paraphrases of popular classics. Sometimes this erupts into spoken word, with venues ranging from summer camps to PTA benefits to soccer team family picnics to holiday parties at her workplace and more. 

Barbara's poetry has been occasionally published, beginning with the Nutshell literary magazine of Moorestown Senior High School in New Jersey, then the Penn Women's Literary Magazine in Philadelphia, and a chapbook entitled "Poets in the Pews" by the First Unitarian Church of Oakland, and most recently in Turning Point Journal, Elders Action Network Spring Issue on Earth Relations. Ms. Atkinson volunteered in Nicaragua from the 1980s through 2000s on solar energy projects, traveled and worked in Central and South America, and composed a few of her poems in Spanish. Her current labor of love is being full-time mom of a teenage daughter, some of whose multiple talents are writing and drama. "Poetry is when the family reunion in your head stops and it's just you talking..."

Solar Benediction

            we are           
                        gasping for comfort
                                                             of warmth and motion
                        we have burned our ancestors
                                     spilled poisons in the waters
                                     cracked earthquakes underground
                                     squeezed the last drops from the sands

As the majestic icebergs melt
    and tempests violently toss the air
           roaring louder

We look upward to the sun
            burning out more slowly than any
            generating winds
                        and tides
                                     and green food

Lunches are never free           still
            humble            desperate
                        we raise our arms
                                     trying to catch
                                                 the loaves and the fishes

7/15/19 Robert Coats  hosted by Bruce

Robert Coats has been writing poetry for 40 years.  His work as an environmental scientist takes him outdoors and sometimes provides inspiration and material.  He is drawn to poetry rooted in the West and reflecting a strong sense of place. A native Californian by birth (his great-grandparents having come by covered wagon in 1859), he spent part of his youth in the deciduous forests of Maryland, and the mountains of northeastern Nevada. His poems have appeared in OrionWindfallCanarySong of the San Joaquin, the Pudding House anthology Fresh Water and a full-length book—The Harsh Green World—published in 2015 by Sugartown Publishing.  Awards include first and third prizes in Menlo College’s “Wallace Stevens Where Are You” contest (1998), first prize in the 1994 contest of the American Society on Aging, and first prize in Word Worth’s 2010 poetry contest.  Details of his professional work can be found at


Go to Rock Lake, Plumas country.
Before sunrise, stand
on the slate ledge that juts the lake.
Look to the western shore,
watch sunlight creep down
the red bank of schist.

Now turn east, look up
to the canyon rim
where Jacob’s ladders converge
at a dark hemlock
against the bright sky.

In the moment before
the sun crests the wall
the entire tree--bole,
branches, foliage--
will flash
into silver filigree.

Then the orb’s leading edge
will clear the jagged ridge, shooting
gold deep into liquid indigo
warming your face
flooding you
with light.

                                    --Robert Coats


7/22/19 John Argue hosted by Gary

John Argue taught acting for many years, and in the ‘80s started doing drama therapy with children and with hospitalized adults. He shifted over completely to working with Parkinson’s people in 1985 and continued for 32 years. He retired two years ago and returned to his first love, poetry.

Foregiveness is not
some words you say
to the one who wronged you
Forgiveness is
giving up
your revenge.

7/29/19 Avotcja Birthday Celebration   host tba

8/5/19 Lee Lee Aint Misbehaving  host Elaine

8/12/19 Lori Lynne Armstrong hosted by Jim

Lori Lynne Armstrong has been a scientist, a counselor, a mental health patient, and a painkiller addict. Her poetry spans these and many other realms with a style sometimes psychological, sometimes irreverent, but always searingly authentic. Her passions include promoting creative treatment options for the mental health and substance abuse recovery communities and promoting poetry availability for all communities. Her work appears in Poetry Expressed, The Abrams Claghorn exhibit "Have You Heard Us Yet?" and her first chapbook, Queen of Cups. She writes about her life and ongoing projects at
She is not what centuries of men expected to find, when they looked, if they looked, beyond softness, curve, survival smile
lines and planes, unrepentant, edged boundaries mark where she begins and ends. Colors of bruised plums, old blood, rich and dark
spots and patterns tell a story in a language no one but her can read— why these markings? why here? why this slanting angle, not one degree more, not one less, what does it mean, the men
wonder as they stand, lamps uplifted, and she does not speak to tell them, nothing, everything, I am not your puzzle to solve

these opaque walls will never lighten to clear quartz crystal  (never again)
8/19/19 Laura Schulkind  hosted by Bruce

8/26/19 Jerry Ratch hosted by Gary

Jerry Ratch published 18 books of poetry, and 7 books of prose including the novel: Wild Dreams of Reality, and the Memoir: A Body Divided, the story of a one-armed boy growing up in a two-fisted world. His work can be purchased through the author’s website: . and as kindle books on 

The Fly on Our Pickle

I think I know that fly
That fly followed us from our apartment
On W. 11th St
When I opened the door he flew right in
And when we left, he flew right out again

Followed us on the subway to Times Square
Took the Shuttle apparently
Followed us all the way through the tunnels
Up the escalator and into Grand Central Station

Then down to Juniors in the food court below
Where he joined us for lunch
The best Chicken Caesar Salad on the planet
So famous, even the flies know about it
We asked the waitress for an additional chair
But he took a seat on our pickle instead

“Oh, don’t worry,” we told her
“We know him. He normally lives
“Down in the Village”

The waitress eyed us suspiciously
“East Village or West?” she asked

“Come on!” we said.
“As if that really matters!”

 host Elaine
9/2/19 NO PE, BAPC Picnic.

9/9/19 hosted by Jim

9/16/2019 Dennis J. Bernstein hosted by Bruce

9/23/19 Sandra Anfang  hosted by Gary

9/30/19 Maverick Night host tba

10/7/19 host Elaine

10/14/19 hosted by Jim

10/21/2019 Georgette Howington hosted by Bruce

10/28/19 Grace Graftin hosted by Gary

11/4/19  host Elaine

11/11/19 hosted by Jim

11/19/2019 Joyce Young hosted by Bruce

11/25/19 Dave Holt hosted by Gary

12/2/19  host Elaine

12/9/19 hosted by Jim

12/16/19  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

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: 

Andrena Zawinski:

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

12/23/19 hosted by Gary

12/30/19 No PE, Happy Holidays host tba: S Clause 

1/20/2020 Caroline Goodwin host Bruce

3/16/2020 Lynne Barnes host Bruce

and this feature below will be rescheduled soon: 

XX/??/XX Fire & Rain book reading by Lucille Lang Day & Diane Frank . Feature to be rescheduled hosted by Bruce


Lucille Lang Day’s latest book is Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, an anthology she coedited. She is also the author of ten poetry collections and chapbooks, most recentlyBecoming an Ancestor and Dreaming of Sunflowers: Museum Poems; the coeditor of Red Indian Road West: Native American Poetry from California; and the author of two children’s books, Chain Letter and The Rainbow Zoo, and a memoir, Married at Fourteen: A True Story. Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, and her many honors include the Joseph Henry Jackson Award in Literature, the Blue Light Poetry Prize, two PEN Oakland – Josephine Miles Literary Awards, and nine Pushcart nominations. She is the founder and director of Scarlet Tanager Books.


Rust-colored ladybugs, clustered like grapes,
mate on horsetails that wave by a creek,
where silvery salmon spawn and leap
when the sandbar breaks at the gate to the sea.

The ladybugs have come hundreds of miles,
from valley to coast, for this singles bash.
The females are choosy:  they twiddle the males,
seeking appendages padded with fat.

And all around—high in redwood burls,
on elk-clover leaves, and in the rich soil—
the meaning of life is to stroke and prod
under a humpbacked moon, dissolving in fog.

From Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California (Scarlet Tanager Books, 2018)

Diane Frank is author of seven books of poems, two novels, and a photo memoir of her 400 mile trek in the Nepal Himalayas, Letters from a Sacred Mountain Place (Nirala Publishing, 2018). Her new book of poems, Canon for Bears and Ponderosa Pines, was published by Glass Lyre Press in 2018.Blackberries in the Dream House, her first novel, won the Chelson Award for Fiction and was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  Diane lives in SanFrancisco, where she dances, plays cello in the Golden Gate Symphony, and creates her life as an art form. She teaches at San Francisco State University and Dominican University. 

A poem from Fire and Rain:

            In the Mendocino Woodlands

He walks into the forest
where trees are burning
finding his path in the silence.

Woodpecker, memory, larkspur
in the night of burning.

His eyes ask me to wait,
to keep the connection inside
the silent place where I find
pebbles of intuition, rose quartz.

In the morning, lupines on the trail
to the cliff where the giant trillium blooms,
kelp and seals swimming beyond
the tide pools below.

I run through Indian paintbrush,
milk maids, cinquefoil,
climbing the path where he finds me.

And what is love?
A fire walk initiation
from the ocean through a cathedral of trees,
fuchsia, wild grape, sudden
blue streaks on the wing of a moth
stellar jay wanting to fly free.

                        Diane Frank

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