Monday, February 09, 2009

Great Events Are About To Happen

Photo by Patricia Wellingham-Jones

—Patricia Wellingham-Jones, Tehama

Light shifts into crimson bars
across indigo sky,
fades as the moon rises.

If you still
your twitching thoughts,
you may hear the quiet pad
of prowling feet.

In full dark the rush of wings
ruffles your hair
and one small scream
signals the owl's dinner.

Even after you've gone to bed
feet pad and prowl
under your window.


Whatta Week in NorCal Poetry!!

•••Tonight (Monday, 2/9), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Hannah Stein and Katherine Hastings at HQ for the Arts,1719 25th St., Sacramento. Open mic after. Hannah Stein was born in Brooklyn, grew up in rural upstate New York, and lives in Davis with her husband, Sherman. Her poetry collection, Earthlight, is published with La Questa Press, and her chapbooks include Schools of Flying Fish and Greatest Hits of Hannah Stein, 1981-2004. Recent and forthcoming poems, and essays on contemporary poetry, appear widely in journals that include Poetry Flash, Nimrod, Hunger Mountain, Ekphrasis, The Antioch Review, and the American Literary Review. Her work has been featured on line in Poetry Daily,, Perihelion, and Verse Daily. She teaches poetry workshops at the Davis Art Center.

Katherine Hastings is the host of WordTemple on Santa Rosa's NPR affiliate KRCB 91.1 FM and founder of the WordTemple Poetry Series in Santa Rosa, where she brings well-established poets together with poets who have not yet published a book ( Her own poems have been published widely in anthologies, literary journals (Comstock Review, Rattle, Parthenon West Review, Diner, Drum Voices Revue, Golden Handcuffs Review and many others), and chapbooks including Sidhe (pronounced she), an epic poem with ancestral Irish voices that mingle with voices of the street, and Bird.Song.Knife.Heart., a poem Sharon Doubiago calls "beautiful, lyrical, mysterious." Hastings received her MFA in Writing from Vermont College.

Special Note:

SPC members now receive a special 10% discount on all UC Davis Extension writing courses! Note: This is an unadvertised discount and SPC members must self-identify for it to be applied. At this time, discounts are not available when enrolling "and paying" online; we recommend that SPC members enroll by phone at (800) 752-0881. In addition, discounts must be applied when enrolling and cannot be combined or applied retroactively.

•••Weds. (2/11), 7:30 PM: Rattlesnake Press proudly presents Oar, a new rattlechap from Sacramento's Poet Laureate, Julia Connor;
In The End, It’s A Worthless Machine, a littlesnake broadside from Josh Fernandez; 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. Join us at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else’s.

•••Thurs. (2/12), 8 PM: Julie Valin and Todd Cirillo will represent Six Ft. Swells Press at the Copper Top Lounge in Grass Valley (the old Silver Dollar Saloon) by reading poetry/prose of the Beat Generation poets/writers: Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Lenore Kandel, Diane DiPrima, Lew Welch, Gregory Corso, Ferlinghetti, etc. The evening will also feature Will Staple, Doreen Domb, Iven Lourie, Bill Lee, John Slocum, Jean Varda. All readers will be backed by jazz musician Bill Douglass. Show begins at 8pm, drinks much earlier than that.

•••Friday (2/13), 7-8:30 PM: A Marathon of Love Poems: Twenty local poets read poems of Love, Lust and Heartbreak at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento, hosted by Cynthia Linville. Readers include frank andrick, Joyce Odam, James DenBoer, Josh Fernandez, Patricia Hickerson, Katy Brown, Allegra Silberstein, Carol Louise Moon, and many more! Free.

•••Friday (2/13), 7:30-9 PM: What Is This Thing Called Love? An Evening of Love Poems presented by Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol, featuring Alejandro Murguia, Winner of the American Book Award; Poet, Writer, and Publisher; Curator, 2008 S.F. International Poetry Festival and Founding editor, Tin Tan Magazine, plus Milta Ortiz, Slam Poet/ Performer and Playwright Member, "Las Manas Tres" Spoken Word Troupe; Finalist, San Jose Slam Finals; Semi-Finalist, San Francisco Slam Finals; plus The Poets of Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol. La Raza Galeria Posada Gallery & Bookstore, 1022 22nd St. (Between J & K), Sacramento. $5 donation.

•••Sat. (2/14), 6-9 PM: Opening Exhibition Reception for "What Is This Thing Called Love?" An Exhibition of art and words from the heart, featuring 22 artists, curated by Juan M. Carrillo. Come enjoy art, music, and spirits at the opening of the new exhibit at La Raza Galeria Posada, 1022 22nd St., Sacramento.

•••Sat. (2/14), 2 PM: Open mic: A Poetic Love Fest sponsored by CHAPS (Citrus Heights Area Poets) at Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Citrus Heights (on Sunrise Blvd. across from Macy’s). They will discuss the stories/myths surrounding the observation of Valentine's Day and will feature readings of love poems, and will also provide some printed copies of poems to be picked up by people who visit the store that day. CHAPS is a cooperative venture providing an open mic venue for poets as well as active support for other creative artists. Open Mic meetings have been scheduled for the second Saturday of every month in 2009. They expect, also, to be working cooperatively with teachers and students in the San Juan School District as well as the local Commission on History and Arts; students interested in creative arts are encouraged to attend.

•••Sat. (2/14), 7-9 PM: Final poetry night at the Culture Collection Poetry Series: Valentine’s Day/Black History Month Reading featuring Rob Anthony, Jasmine Culp and Claudia Epperson. 6391 Riverside Blvd, Sacramento. Free.

•••Sat. (2/14), 1:30-3:30 PM: Reading of Song of the San Joaquin Winter Issue, 2008-2009 at the McHenry Museum, 1402 “I” St., Modesto. There will be an open mike following the program. Info: Cleo Griffith, or (209) 543-1776.

•••Sat. (2/14), 10 AM-Noon: Davis Town & Gown Sonnet Walk around downtown Davis. UC Davis Dept. of Theatre & Dance, along with UC Davis Arboretum and the Mondavi Center, presents a walking celebration of Wm. Shakespeare’s most beloved love poems. For all ages. Free, but reservations required. Info: 866-754-2787, (enter promo code “Sonnet”).

•••Sunday (2/15), 7 PM: No-holds-barred Open Mic and art show hosted by Jim Ricks at the Blackwater Cafe in Stockton on Yosemite Avenue near Acacia St.

•••Sun. (2/15): Deadline for Rattlesnake Review 21 (the Snake turns 21!!) 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.

And if that isn't enough...

Monika Rose, Manzanita Editor and member of Writers Unlimited writes: Looking for love in all the write places? Looking for a romantic weekend? Something different to fire up your love life? Or do you know friends who could use a jump start in their love life by writing sensual poetry and prose? Sign up for "Between the Sheets," a Romantic Prose and Poetry Writing Workshop Sat., Feb. 14, Valentine's Day, at the Leger Hotel in Mokelumne Hill, with workshop leaders Lucy Sanna, fiction, and Monika Rose with Ed Cline, poetry. Celebrate romance with your significant other, or come as a single, or with friends, looking for love in all the write places—in writing either romantic poetry or hot flash fiction on the spot. Workshop leaders will guide you through some poetry and flash fiction moves and will provide resources and techniques to bring out or hone your raw talent in the morning.

The Workshop, Luncheon and Public Reading begins at 9 AM, with lunch at noon, and culminating in the reading at 2 PM. The event will be held at the Leger Hotel, Mokelumne Hill, Calaveras County, CA (45 miles east of Stockton in the Mother Lode foothills of Northern California). Last year's event was such a great success, we decided to add this new twist: a morning hands-on workshop, in which you can get in the mood for a romantic day and write love poems or romantic prose on the spot. If you want to just come for the luncheon and public romantic reading in the afternoon, then you can do that, too. You can read your own or your favorite love poems and prose by writers. As an added treat, Antoinette May will be joining us for the luncheon and reading, teasing us with a reading of steamy passages from either Pilate's Wife, and/or her new novel, due out in March.

For workshop reservations:; for hotel reservations: Cost: $50.00 per person, includes morning workshop, luncheon and reading, as well as specialty prizes awarded for best works created in the workshops. The prizes include items from the Clements Chocolate Factory! You will come away with an amazing poem or two, or a flash fiction work, at the end of the session. Sign up today for either the romantic poetry or flash fiction workshop, and reserve your spot. Mail $50.00 to Writers Unlimited, PO Box 632, San Andreas, CA 95242. If you just want to come for the luncheon and reading open to the public, from noon to four, then it's $25.00. Reservations required!

There will be a Leger Hotel Discount (15%) for workshop participants for overnight stays at the Leger Hotel. This is a wonderful Romantic getaway weekend in the Mother Lode for writers and their significant others, or for singles looking for literary adventure and connections in the wild, sexy West. Reserve your room directly with the hotel and mention this workshop for the discount.

Sponsor: Writers Unlimited, an affiliate of the Calaveras County Arts Council, (209) 754-1774 or 754-0577. E-mail:


—Stanley Kunitz

I've tried to seal it in,
that cross-grained knot
on the opposite wall,
scored in the lintel of my door,
but it keeps bleeding through
into the world we share.
Mornings when I wake,
curled in my web,
I hear it come
with a rush of resin
out of the trauma
of its lopping-off.
Obstinate bud,
sticky with life,
mad for the rain again,
it racks itself with shoots
that crackle overhead,
dividing as they grow.
Let be! Let be!
I shake my wings
and fly into its boughs.


—Stanley Kunitz

Great events are about to happen.
I have seen migratory birds
in unprecedented numbers
descend on the coastal plain,
picking the margins clean.
My bones are a family in their tent
huddled over a small fire
waiting for the uncertain signal
to resume the long march.


—Stanley Kunitz

When his boat snapped loose
from its moorings, under
the screaking of the gulls,
he tried at first to wave
to his dear ones on shore,
but in the rolling fog
they had already lost their faces.
Too tired even to choose
between jumping and calling,
somehow he felt absolved and free
of his burdens, those mottoes
stamped on his name-tag:
conscience, ambition, and all
that caring.
He was content to lie down
with the family ghosts
in the slop of his cradle,
buffeted by the storm,
endlessly drifting.
Peace! Peace!
To be rocked by the Infinite!
As if it didn't matter
which way was home;
as if he didn't know
he loved the earth so much
he wanted to stay forever.


Today's LittleNip:

Young, he thought the answers lay ahead; older now, he thinks they must lie behind.

—Stephen Dobyns



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.