Thursday, February 05, 2009

Days Beyond Embroider

Julia Connor

—Julia Connor, Sacramento

So, to the half-lives of January—

puff-angels, pale and languageless, that the orifices of chimneys
exhale and potholes swallow in the floodtide of a plate glass sky

a tule fog you step inside and pull closed behind you
stacks of the failed mattresses of trees

tawny drifts of spent hydrangea,
lamentations from a boxwood hedge.

This, what’s come of autumn’s clamor—
an inconsolable child cut loose from the other side.

Revelatory. Edgy. Ours.
Hiroshige’s Foxfires at the Changing Tree.


You may've heard—Rattlesnake Press is proud to present Julia Connor's new chapbook, Oar, at the February 11 reading at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, at 8 PM. Julia Connor, Sacramento Poet Laureate 2005-2008, has published books and chapbooks since 1985. She has received grants, awards and fellowships from numerous institutions including the California Arts Council, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Centrum Foundation, The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. She has taught poetry workshops in many U.S. cities, as well as in England. In the late '80’s she served as instructor and Assistant Director of The Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University, Boulder, CO. She teaches six-month writing workshops and master classes from the home in Sacramento she shares with actor James C. Anderson, and their four-legged familiar, “Shakespeare”.


—Julia Connor

those of us born to the haw

grew tall on its streets,

French kissing

behind its garages

ours the blossoms

born in anguish & ballyhoo

to be split by religion

shrunk tight to their sin

till you needed tweezers

to get at the gift of us

—small red berries

issued on thorny twigs

favored by birds


…but also a bed
—Julia Connor

What is it up from the watery depths, its
thrum in my ear, the suck and eddy, sudden
after-hear of fin slap! Departure’s shark, come
again? Or is it you my out-of-nowhere feverish death
troubling the waters? Fingers deep in a Kleenex
raw with listening to the drag on an unseen lure;
sturdy seamstress eyes narrowing. Look, a finch
at the window, beak gritty with black seed, eye
sidereal—even as the still Unicorn peers out
from its fair maiden’s penned tapestry.
These are the days beyond embroider.


Poetry Unplugged tonight!

Join the gang tonight at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8 PM. Featured poet for the evening is Justin Desmangles—wordsmith, writer, literary event organizer, radio disc jockey, documentarian, and lover of jazz from both the Bay Area and Sacramento. His words are truly music to the ears! Don't miss this feature. There will also be sign-ups for open mic poetry.

And mark your calendars for Poetry Unplugged two weeks from tonight, on Thurs., Feb. 19, when Editor Frank Andrick launches the new Poetry Unplugged quarterly journal, WTF! for Rattlesnake Press. Be there to pick up your free copy! WTF!!!


Announcing the Obama Millennium Award...

Because of the spontaneous outpouring of good will and good writing that flowed into their inboxes in response to the election and inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama as President, New Millenium Writings is now accepting online submissions for poetry and prose to mark this moment in our young millennium. They say: Wax lyrical, critical, inspirational, analytical, cynical, spritual or in any other way you please to shine a light on the significance of this moment in history. We're looking for the link between the personal and the public. What does Obama's election mean to you and to our world?

One winner and three runners-up or more will be published in the next issue of NMW, due out in November, and at The deadline for this contest is midnight Sunday, March 1, 2009 and will not be extended. $1,000 will go to the best single piece of writing—whether poetry, essay or fiction on the subject... you guessed it... Obama. Writers from all three categories will compete for the top prize. At least three $100 prizes also will be awarded to runners-up. Winners will be announced in May. All contestants will receive a copy of the 2009 Special Issue containing the winners, due out in November.

To enter, go to or visit and following the links.


B.L.'s Drive-Bys: A Micro-Review from B.L. Kennedy:

BARE FEET, BROKEN GLASS by Anita Wynn Little Red Book #53 Lummox Press P.O. Box 5301 San Pedro, CA 90733 36 pp (chapbook), $5.00 In Bare Feet, Broken Glass, poet Anita Wynn does not sugarcoat her words. With soft images, the poems in this small collection from Lummox Press come head-on with all the power of a runaway train. Anita Wynn simply tells her story in these poems; she tells it like it is and like it was in her life. I should note that some of the poems included in this chapbook are very raw and graphic in their depiction of the author’s experience as, first, an abused woman, then to her final transformation as a healed spirit. This book is strong in message and image and is not for the weak of heart.

—B.L. Kennedy, Reviewer-in-Residence


Today's LittleNip:

and what is the heart?
pine breeze voice in a forgotten painting




SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Rattlesnake Review: The latest issue (#20) is currently available at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one. Deadline for RR21 is February 15: send 3-5 poems, smallish art pieces and/or photos (no bio, no cover letter, no simultaneous submissions or previously-published poems) to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. E-mail attachments are preferred, but be sure to include all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of Medusa are always hungry; let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one.

Also available (free): littlesnake broadside #46: Snake Secrets: Getting Your Poetry Published in Rattlesnake Press (and lots of other places, besides!): A compendium of ideas for brushing up on your submissions process so as to make editors everywhere more happy, thereby increasing the likelihood of getting your poetry published. Pick up a copy at The Book Collector or write to me and I'll send you one. Free!

Coming in February: On Weds., February 11, Rattlesnake Press will be releasing a new rattlechap from Sacramento's Poet Laureate, Julia Connor (Oar); a littlesnake broadside from Josh Fernandez (In The End, It’s A Worthless Machine); and the premiere of our new Rattlesnake Reprints, featuring The Dimensions of the Morning by D.R. Wagner, which was first published by Black Rabbit Press in 1969. That’s February 11 at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else’s.

And on February 19, the premiere of our new, free Poetry Unplugged quarterly, WTF, edited by frank andrick, will be celebrated at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento, 8 PM. (For those of you just tuning in, Poetry Unplugged is the long-running reading series at Luna's Cafe.)

Medusa's Weekly Menu:

(Contributors are welcome to cook up something for any and all of these!)

Monday: Weekly NorCal poetry calendar

Seed of the Week: Tuesday is Medusa's day to post poetry triggers such as quotes, forms, photos, memories, jokes—whatever might tickle somebody's muse. Pick up the gauntlet and send in your poetic results; and don't be shy about sending in your own triggers, too! All poems will be posted and a few of them will go into Medusa's Corner of each Rattlesnake Review. Send your work to or P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. No deadline for SOWs; respond today, tomorrow, or whenever the muse arrives. (Print 'em out, maybe, save 'em for a dry spell?) When you send us work, though, just let us know which "seed" it was that inspired you.

Wednesday (sometimes, or any other day!): HandyStuff Quickies: Resources for the poet, including whatever helps ease the pain of writing and/or publishing: favorite journals to read and/or submit to; books, etc., about writing; organizational tools—you know—HandyStuff! Tell us about your favorite tools.

Thursday: B.L.'s Drive-Bys: Micro-reviews by our irreverent Reviewer-in-Residence, B.L. Kennedy.
Send books, CDs, DVDs, etc. to him for possible review (either as a Drive-By or in future issues of Rattlesnake Review) at P.O. Box 160664, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Friday: NorCal weekend poetry calendar

Daily (except Sunday): LittleNips: SnakeFood for the Poetic Soul: Daily munchables for poetic thought, including short paragraphs, quotes, wonky words, silliness, little-known poetry/poet facts, and other inspiration—yet another way to feed our ravenous poetic souls.

And poetry! Every day, poetry from writers near and far and in-between! The Snakes of Medusa are always hungry.......!


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 ( And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.