Monday, February 04, 2008

Thinking Out of the Heart

Icicles at the Kieth house
Photo by Kathy Kieth
Pollock Pines, Groundhog Day, 2008
(And no, he wouldn't have seen his shadow up here!)

—Robert Creeley

Think out
of the heart—

it's up,
it's down...

It's that time
of day light

echoes the sun
setting west

over mountains.
I want to come home.


This week in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (Monday, 2/4), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Francisco X. Alarcón and Eve West Bessier at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., (916) 442-9295 or PLEASE NOTE THE TEMPORARY LOCATION CHANGE. SPC events typically happen at their location at 25th & R Sts., inside HQ: Headquarters for the Arts.

Francisco X. Alarcón is an acclaimed poet and educator and author of ten volumes of poetry. Alarcón is the recipient of 1993 American Book Award, the 1993 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and the 1984 Chicano Literary Prize. In April 2002, he received the Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association (BABRA). He was one of the three finalists nominated for the State Poet Laureate of California. Alarcón was also awarded the 1997 Pura Belpré Honor Award by the American Library Association and the National Parenting Publications Gold Medal. He also received 2002 Pura Belpré Honor Award, Danforth and Fulbright fellowships and the 1998 Carlos Pellicer-Robert Frost Poetry Honor Award by the Third Binational Border Poetry Contest, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Alarcón's most recent books are Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes / Sonetos a la locura y otras penas (Berkeley: Creative Arts Book Company 2001) and From the Other Side of Night / Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002). He currently teaches at the University of California, Davis.

Eve West Bessier is an author of poetry, fiction and non-fiction. She was born in the Netherlands and has lived in Davis, California for the past two decades. She currently works as a Certified Life Coach and Vocal Coach, and teaches writing workshops and residencies. She worked for The University of California, Davis for eighteen years in educational research, program development and evaluation. She holds a Master's of Education from UC Davis and has done graduate course work in English and creative writing at California State University, Sacramento. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Eve is a performing jazz vocalist, a visual artist and a promoter of community arts programs. She has received several literary awards, including The Kathryn Hohlwein (2000), First Place for Poetry in The California Focus on Writers Contest (2000), and Second Place in Sacramento News & Review's Short Story Contest (2001). Her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2003. She has two chapbooks, Roots Music and Splash, published by dPress, Sebastopol, 2002 and 2003.

Next Monday's readers (Feb. 11) will be Pat Grizzell and Alice Armstrong.

•••Interested in slam poetry? Check out Sol Collective on Del Paso Blvd. in Sacramento every Weds. night, 8 PM, $5.00. Hosted by Khiry Malik Moore.

•••Thursday (2/7), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. Open mic before and after. Info: 916-441-3931.

•••Friday (2/8), 7 PM: Alex Escalante: Poet-Traits. Poet Portraits of Jose Montoya, Phil Goldvarg, Felicia McGee and others. Readings by selected poets. Complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served. Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento. 916-441-3931.

•••Friday (2/8), 7-9:30 PM: Super Love Poem Competition at Underground Books, 2814 35th St. (off 35th & Broadway), Sacramento. $5 admission to watch and hear some of the best love poems ever! Competition rules are the same as regular slam rules. Winner gets $75, Runner-up gets $25, everybody else gets a kick in the pants! After the competition, hear some great love poetry by other poets not in the competition (open mic). Email Nate Lewis at to sign up to compete.

•••Saturday (2/9), 2-4 PM: Culture Collection present Candy, vocalist Carla Fleming, Bene’ Bailey, Alicia Pratt and Supanova. 6391 Riverside Blvd., Sacramento. Free!

•••Interested in events from others areas of NorCal? Get your name on the mailing list of Pleasanton's poet laureate ( This is a replacement for Poet's Lane, which was closed down when Cynthia Bryant moved away from our area.


—Robert Creeley

This is an empty landscape,
in spite of its light,
air, water—
the people walking the streets.

I feel faint here,
too far off, too
enclosed in myself,
can't make love a way out.

I need the old-time density,
the dirt, the cold,
the noise through the floor—
my love in company.


—Robert Creeley

There are words voluptuous
as the flesh
in its moisture,
its warmth.

Tangible, they tell
the reassurances,
the comforts,
of being human.

Not to speak them
makes abstract
all desire
and its death at last.


—Robert Creeley

End of page,
end of this

notebook kept

my mind in hand,
let the world stay

open to me
day after day,

words to say,
things to be.



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.) Medusa cannot vouch for the moral fiber of other publications, contests, etc. that she lists, however, so submit to them at your own risk. 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:

Rattlesnake Review: The latest issue of Rattlesnake Review (Sweet 16) is available for free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send $2 to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726 and I'll mail you one. Next deadline (for Issue #17, due out in mid-March) is February 15—sooner than you think!

Also coming in February: On February 13, Rattlesnake Press will present a new SnakeRings SpiralChap from Don and Elsie Feliz (To Berlin With Love), plus a new littlesnake broadside from Carlena Wike (Going the Distance), as well as Volume Two of Conversations, B.L. Kennedy's Rattlesnake Interview Series. Come help us launch all of this on Weds., Feb. 13 at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM.