Monday, August 20, 2007

Who Among Us is Stamp-Worthy?

—Ogden Nash

If some confectioner were willing
To let the shape announce the filling,
We'd encounter fewer assorted chocs,
Bitten into and returned to the box.


Yesterday, Odgen Nash would've been 105 years old. Don't you wish you had your own postage stamp? Tell me; who among all the great (and lesser) poets in the world do you consider stamp-worthy?

—Ogden Nash

The wasp and all his numerous family
I look upon as a major calamity.
He throws open his nest with prodigality,
But I distrust his waspitality.


—Ogden Nash

I give you now Professor Twist,
A conscientious scientist,
Trustees exclaimed, "He never bungles!"
And sent him off to distant jungles.
Camped on a tropic riverside,
One day he missed his loving bride.
She had, the guide informed him later,
Been eaten by an alligator.
Professor Twist could not but smile.
"You mean," he said, "a crocodile."


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (Monday, 8/20), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Michael Cluff and Devin Davis at Headquarters for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Open mic afterwards. Michael Cluff is a full-time English and Creative Writing Instructor, as well as being the Assistant Chair of the Communications Department at Riverside Community College, Norco Campus in Southern California. He has been published in Epicenter, Dissident Editions, Pudding, Mosaic, Interpoetry, Muse, Rattlesnake Review, ZamBomba and Poetry Superhighway. He has published several chapbooks: Bones to Pick, Treacherous Pauses, Duck 'N' Cover, Moraines and Political Prisms. He also acts and directs in the Inland Empire area of So Cal, as well as co-teaching an adult improv class for the Rancho Cucamonga Parks and Recreation Department.

Devin Davis, once called "ink (or inc.)" in a seaside vision, has written over 2,000 poems. He likes concise verse. His work is printed in the Sacramento Anthology: 100 Poems, Sanskrit, Dawn, Poetry Depth Quarterly, Dandelion, Coe Review, Rattlesnake Review, numerous on-line journals and 35 chapbooks. Devin has read as a feature poet at bookstores, the steps of the California State Capitol, and at annual poetry events at the Crocker Art Museum. He has reviewed movies for a best-selling paperback guide and has written for Sacramento, Ca. arts & entertainment weeklies, and has worked for UPS and the State. Devin served in the U.S. Army. He visited Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, and was last assigned to Ft. Bragg, N.C. as a photojournalist. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and history. He has hiked Mt. Whitney 3x, has three daughters, and is a testicular cancer survivor. Devin is a Leo.

•••Tuesday (8/21), 6:30-8:30 PM: Come join writers and artists for a free journaling workshop to open your creative channels at the Calaveras County Library in San Andreas, off of Mountain Ranch Rd. Presenter: Conrad Levasseur, poet and writer. The event is open to anyone, all ages. The workshop will focus on opening channels of creativity, using art and the written word to stimulate personal ways to express artistic desire. Keeping a multimedia journal can be used to record emotions, memories, creative ideas—as well as trigger hidden images and language repressed by our busy lifestyle and workaday world. Conrad Levasseur has developed a method that will pique interest in one’s own artistic talents and may assist the writer, artist, or anyone interested in expanding their artistic desires, to experiment with images and language.

Conrad Levasseur has conducted groups through over a hundred and twenty countries in Africa, Asia, Central and South America, the South Pacific, Indian Ocean and Europe. For sixteen years, he was West Coast Regional Sales Manager for Travcoa (Travel Corporation of America), designing and implementing global travel presentations around the United States. He directed Lodestar International Student Center’s summer program in Calaveras County for UC Berkeley’s International House. In the 1970s, Conrad was a Wild River Rafting and Wilderness Guide for ARTA (American River Touring Association) in California, Oregon, Idaho, and Utah. He directed an Environmental Speakers Program for the San Francisco Ecology Center and conducted walking tours of the city. Journal writing, poetry and art have been important mediums for him in helping to balance his outer explorations with his more inner ones. He has taught workshops in multi-dimensional journal writing, using these elements and others as a therapeutic way to put one’s business, or academic life, into a greater creative perspective. He has published seven books of poetry, and is currently working on several manuscripts. He and his wife, Margaret, moved with their three children from San Francisco to Calaveras County in 1981. The event is sponsored by the Calaveras County Library and Writers Unlimited. Info: 530-754-0577 or the library.
Light refreshments will be available.

•••Weds. (8/22), 6-7 PM: Hidden Passage poetry reading, 352 Main St. in Placerville. It's an open-mic read-around, so bring your own poems or those of a favorite poet to share, or just come to listen.

•••Thursday (8/23), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Featured Poets: Kelly Richardson and April Jenkins. Another Poetic Luna’s double feature of intensive interactions! Hosted by B.L. Kennedy.

•••Saturday (8/25), 7 PM: “The Show” presents Michael Guinn, frank andrick, Simoetry, Cleo Cartel, The Forgotten One and Five Stunners reading their poems while house band LSB provides live music. Wo’se Community Center, 2863 35th St., Sacramento. $5. Info: 916-455-7638.

•••Sunday (8/26), 11 AM-3 PM: Poets with Trees reading at The Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, 45 Shelly Dr., John McLaren Park, San Francisco. Bring a picnic lunch and something to share. Read poems of your own or those by favorite poets. Donations for use of the park will be accepted. For more info, go to web page: or contact Dan Brady

•••Sunday (8/26), 6 PM: Borders presents another book-release party for Sun Shadow Mountain, a book celebrating an extraordinary spectrum of poets and artists! Sun Shadow Mountain is a paperback book of 38 poets, artists, and photographers: talent from Stockton and elsewhere—rising and established stars who will enthrall and quench. The book is available through orders at Borders, Barnes & Noble, and, or in person at Borders in Stockton. Be stunned by the voices of rising and established stars! Come and enjoy an evening of fun & entertainment at Borders Cafe, 10776 Trinity Pkway, Stockton (just off 8-Mile Road). Free.


—Ogden Nash

People expect old men to die,
They do not really mourn old men.
Old men are different. People look
At them with eyes that wonder when...
People watch with unshocked eyes;
But the old men know when an old man dies.


—Ogden Nash

I'd ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross
For giblet gravy and cranberry sauce,
Two treats which are held in reserve by the waiter
Till you've finished your turkey and mashed potater.


The Lord in His wisdom made the fly
And then forgot to tell us why...

—Ogden Nash


—Ogden Nash

A Glossina morsitans bit rich Aunt Betsy.
Tsk tsk, tsetse.


Enough with the bad puns already. Tune in tomorrow, though, for more about flies...

And don't forget that there are poets reading out at the State Fair, too. I've been lax about posting these; check the schedule for the Fair.


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 (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.) For more info about the Snake Empire, including guidelines for submitting to or obtaining our publications, click on the link to the right of this column: Rattlesnake Press (

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

ZZZZZZZ: Shh! The Snake is still sleeping! There will be no readings/releases in August, then we return with a bang on September 12, presenting Susan Kelly-DeWitt's new chapbook, Cassiopeia Above the Banyan Tree. (See the online journal, Mudlark, for a hefty sample of poems from her book; that’s

Also coming in mid-September: The new issue of Rattlesnake Review (15), plus a littlesnake broadsides from dawn dibartolo ("Blush"), and a continuation of B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series—including #4 (frank andrick) and an anthology of interviews to be released for Sacramento Poetry Month (October). Next deadline for Rattlesnake Review is November 15.