Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Whales (& Poets) Getting Away

Noel Kroeplin

—Noel Kroeplin, Grass Valley

Waiting in line
for the woman
with 200 frozen dinners
each on sale
at a different price
gives me the quiet time
I desperately need
to find out
who’s banging who
in Hollywood.


Thanks, Noel! Noel Kroeplin is a recent Wisconsin–California transplant. Some think she’s an environmentalist but she’s really an existentialist in disguise. She often disputes the existence of time and uses it as a justification for her extensive tardiness in the world. Her day jobs with local environmental non-profit groups in the Nevada City and Grass Valley areas allow her the flexibility necessary in order for her to function properly. She is an avid reader and fan of Carl Jung, Hermann Hesse and Charles Bukowski. She says she has won no awards and is basically unknown.

Noel was only recently published in the Six Ft. Swells chapbook, Cocktails and Confessionals. This is not due to a lack a talent, but rather the public university system she attended for seven long years stole her creative brain and only recently has she been able to retrieve it. And hallelujah for that, she says. When she’s not saving the world through her words and environmental maneuvers, Noel enjoys beer in the afternoon, getting caught in the rain and long romantic walks (often by herself) along the Yuba River.

Be sure to watch for another Six Ft. Swells release party, this one in Sacramento in June at Luna's. More about that later. And watch for another of Noel's poems in Rattlesnake Review #14, due out in mid-June. More from Noel:

—Noel Kroeplin

the sun burned
two horizons
into the sky
and onto my brain
light and dark
a storm is on the way


—Noel Kroeplin

I feel
your eyes
searing my skin
every time
we are together
until I am nothing
but a pile of ashes
that you feel the need
to repeatedly
blow away


Need to get away? Lots coming up in June and beyond:

•••Mendocino College presents Mendocino LitFest on June 1-2. Following an evening presentation by author Gary Soto on Friday, June 1, two dozen authors will gather on Saturday, June 2 to share their latest work and discuss ideas. Independent booksellers, regional publishers, and self-published authors will sell books. Activities for children will be offered. Admission to LitFest is free. Saturday workshops will be offered for a modest fee. Call 707-468-3051 or see www.mendolitfest.org. for information.

•••Fee deadline is June 1 for Manzanita camp! Mark your calendar and sign up soon for the Manzanita Summer Writers Retreat Camp-out up at gorgeous Calaveras Big Trees State Park near Arnold, CA. Daily hiking, journaling, workshops, Sierra lectures, evening campfire storytelling and poetry, and camaraderie with other writers in your group with a trained writer leader. Lots of free time to explore and write. Limited to 40 writers for the week camping/hiking experience, so tell your writer friends and organize a group to come up together and reserve your spot by June 1. See below for details. If you only want to come for a day workshop, then that can be arranged for Friday or Saturday, or a quiet day in the park during the week. Contact:

Monika Rose
Retreat Director
(209) 754-0577

When: June 25 to July 1, 2007: Share a campsite with other writers. Bring your own equipment and food. Tents only; no RVs. Quiet time to walk, reflect, write, and share daily live journals. Where: Calaveras Big Trees State Park Campground. Arnold, CA. Activities: Daily walks with writer teachers/leaders and journaling on the North Grove and SouthGrove trails, joined by park docents. Guided workshops for daily writing, craft talks, and group campfire/sharing in the evening. Lots of time to write and reflect. Resources available: field guides, Sierra texts, pamphlets and park material, and other guides. Invited speakers include representatives from the Park Service, Big Trees Association, and those involved with the Sierra habitat. Friday and Saturday craft workshops presented by writers from different genres. Reserve your place now. Limited to 40 participants. First reserved, first served. $180 for the entire week, Monday-Sunday. Friday and Saturday workshops: $50 per day. Friday or Saturday fees do not include park entrance fees per day, an additional $6 per carload, per day. Fee Deadline: June 1. Send check made out to Writers Unlimited for $180 for the retreat or $50 per day fee to: Writers Unlimited PO Box 632, San Andreas, CA 95249.

Friday and Saturday Workshops (June 29 and June 30) will feature Molly Fisk, Poet; Antoinette May, Novelist, nonfiction and travel writer; Lucy Sanna, Nonfiction, marketing; Sally Ashton, Poet, ed. DMQ Review; Kevin Arnold, Poet; David Alpaugh, Poet, Editor; Jeff Knorr, Poet and nonfiction; Ron Pickup, Poet, Photographer, Essayist (Photography/poetry); Conrad Levasseur, Poet (Creative Sensory Journaling); Beau Blue, electronic publisher, online editor (Digital writers seminar). Plus a Small Press Panel, the Manzanita writers and editors, and Digital workshops (Discovery Education). Sponsored by Writers Unlimited, An Affiliate of the Calaveras County Arts Council, and other sponsors: Ironstone Vineyards, Sierra Seasons, and Poets & Writers.

•••Workshop in Paradise June 2! Bille Park in Paradise, CA will provide the place to reconnect with the earth for healing, and rediscovery of the self in poem-making, including a nature walk, a guided meditation, word-play, poem making, a reading, the work of nature writers such as Wendell Berry and the fellowship of other poets. This workshop, open to the beginning as well as the advanced poet, will be held at Bille Park; meet at the Council Circle on Saturday, June 2 from 9 AM to 1 PM. Bring a bag lunch and a lawn chair. Cost: $30. Sign-up at the Paradise Recreation Center, or contact Lara Gularte at 873-4275.

Instructor Lara Gularte is the editor of the online journal, Convergence. She has an MFA degree in creative writing and received the 2005 Anne Lillis Award for writing and Phelan Awards for several of her poems. Her poetry has appeared in such journals as the Santa Clara Review, Watershed, Kaleidoscope, and Art/Life. Gularte’s work was presented at an international conference on storytelling and cultural identity in June of 2005.

•••The deadline for applying to the Surprise Valley Writers Conference (see www.modocforum.org) has been extended from June 1 to June 15 at the request of writers needing a little more time to polish their manuscripts. Workshops will be held for poetry, fiction and literary nonfiction writers. William Kittredge is the keynote speaker. The dates for the conference are Sept. 20-23. Michael Croft is the Conference Director. To reserve your space, call Modoc Forum, 530-279-2099. Check out their Website at www.modocforum.org.

•••There may still be space available at The Writing Life: June 8-10 at Esalen in Big Sur with Ellen Bass, who says, This weekend will allow you to leave the rush of your busy lives and be still enough to hear the stories and poems that gestate within. You'll write, share our writing, and hear what our work touches in others. We'll help each other to become clearer, go deeper, take new risks. With the safety, support, and inspiration of this gathering, you will have the opportunity to create writing that is more vivid, more true, more complex and powerful than you've been able to do before. Esalen fees cover tuition, food and lodging and vary according to accommodations—ranging from $320 to $605. The sleeping bag space is an incredible bargain. Some work-scholarship assistance is available, as well as small prepayment discounts and senior discounts. All arrangements and registration must be made directly with Esalen, but if you have questions about the content of the workshop, feel free to email me or call me at 831-426-8006. Please register directly with Esalen at 831-667-3005 or at www.esalen.org

•••Grant Pound, Executive Director of Colorado Art Ranch, writes: I am getting the word out about the Durango (Colorado) residency. The applications are being accepted and there is a deadline of July 1, 2007. We had a dearth of poets apply last time. All the information is online at http://www.coloradoartranch.org/residences.htm/ or call 303-279-5198, or e-mail grant.pound@coloradoartranch.org.

Tonight in Davis:

•••Tuesday (5/22), 8:30 PM: The Bistro 33 Literature Night Series presents Francisco Alarcón and open mic. 226 F St. (3rd and F Streets), Davis. Francisco X. Alarcón, Chicano poet and educator, is the author of ten volumes of poetry, including From the Other Side of Night / Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002). His most recent book of bilingual poetry for children, titled Poems to Dream Together, was published by Lee & Low Books, New York in Spring 2005, and was awarded the 2006 Jane Addams Honor Book Award. He currently teaches at the University of California, Davis, where he directs the Spanish for Native Speakers Program. [See an Alarcón poem that was posted on Medusa’s Kitchen, Feb. 28, 2007.]


—Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

Sacramentans gawked over their Delta
at a swimming Humpback and her calf
perhaps a single mother
driven from a herd
like given a scarlet letter
from her sickness from ship hits
as her battered body showed,
and searching for a home here,
maybe some human kindness.
But sea-water is their salvation
and they face starvation
without their meals of krill.
But the sea is also hungry
depleted in modern ecology
straining to feed great beasts
that it once easily provided for.
The U.S Coast Guard came,
banged on metal tubes
playing whale screeches
stopping short of
using rap or rock music
to drive them back
in spite of being homeless
in the coastline vastness.
Delta and Dawn
they were named
couldn't see the governor
about protection of their species
or maybe about Sea World in Vallejo—
how they should also free Shamo
and all captured sea creatures too!


Thanks, Michelle! Michelle Kunert was the first to respond to the current Medusa give-away. Send me a poem about whales by midnight this Friday, May 25 (e-mailed or postmarked) and I'll send you a copy of Ron Tranquilla's new chapbook, Playing Favorites (or any other rattlechap of your choosing). That's kathykieth@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. And think good thoughts about our recent visitors and their travels. [See Medusa's Thursday, May 3 post for a picture of Michelle and more of her poems.]



Medusa encourages poets of all ilk and ages to send their POETRY, PHOTOS and ART, as well as announcements of Northern California poetry events to kathykieth@hotmail.com (or snail ‘em to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726) for posting on this daily Snake blog. Rights remain with the poets. Previously-published poems are okay for Medusa’s Kitchen, as long as you own the rights. (Please cite publication.)

SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:

Journals (free publications): Rattlesnake Review #13 is available at The Book Collector; RR #14 will be out in mid-June. (Next deadline, for RR #15, is August 15.) The new VYPER #6 (for youth 13-19) is in The Book Collector; next deadline is Nov. 1. Snakelets #9 (for kids 0-12) is available; Snakelets #10 will be out this month. Next deadline is 10/1.

Books/broadsides: May's releases are Grass Valley Poet Ron Tranquilla’s Playing Favorites: Selected Poems, 1971-2006, plus a littlesnake broadside by Julie Valin (Still Life With Sun) and a Rattlesnake Interview Broadside (#2) featuring Khiry Malik Moore and B.L. Kennedy. All are now available at The Book Collector. Rattlechaps are $5; broadsides are free. Or contact kathykieth@hotmail.com or rattlesnakepress.com for ordering information.

Next rattle-read: Rattlesnake Press will present Sacramento Poet Tom Miner at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, on Wednesday, June 20 from 7:30-9 PM to celebrate the release of his new chapbook, North of Everything. Also featured that night will be a new littlesnake broadside (Cominciare Adagio) from Stockton Poet/Publisher David Humphreys, plus #3 in the Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy, this one featuring Sacramento Poet Jane Blue. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's. More info: kathykieth@hotmail.com/ NOTE: For June, and for June only, our monthly Rattlesnake reading will be on the THIRD Weds. instead of the second one. There will be no Snake readings/releases in July or August.