Thursday, April 30, 2009

Water & Poetry: What Else Do You Need?

Lazy cat on a hot afternoon
photo by Michelle Kunert, Sacramento

Out from the darkness
back into the darkness—
affairs of the cat



—Donald R. Anderson, Stockton

A leg to stand on,
too short to be level, so
chapbook goes under.


Thanks to today's poets (we're still talking about haiku—plural is haiku, not haikus), to Shawn Aveningo for what she calls "pseudo-haiku", and to Michelle Kunert for the photo.

Donald Anderson
writes: Here's the update on who's taking on editing the Moon Mist Valley poetry and art anthology instead of me:

Come today for a POETRY QUENCH!

Today, the community is invited to share this new idea to mark the last day of Poetry Month, Thursday, April 30. Stop on your way home (from 4-7 PM) or on your way into town for the First Ever POETRY QUENCH. All passersby are invited to have a small cup of water and accept a free poem—two necessary elements of life. In front of La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St. in midtown Sacramento. Poets and poetry lovers will be there to help QUENCH the public thirst for these necessities. Initiated by Graciela Ramirez and the Writers of the New Sun / Escritores del Nuevo Sol, we have invited members of the Sacramento Poetry Center, the Book Collector, ZICA writers, and other local poetry writers and teachers to join us. The general public is welcome. We strongly encourage everyone to recite—one poet at a time, one poem at a time. Any reader can present his/her own poem, or one by anyone else, just so credit is given. A podium, but no microphone—friendly and informal. Then what? People stopping on their way home for their POETRY QUENCH can stay for La Raza Galeria’s 7 PM movie, City of Men, or visit Luna’s Café (1414 16th St.) for the Poetry Unplugged reading by Joe Montoya, which starts at 8 PM.

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

The Essential Ellison: A 50-Year Retrospective Revised and Expanded
by Harlan Ellison
Edited by Terry Dowling, Richard DeLap, Gil Lamont
Morpheus Press
1247 pp, $24.95
ISBN: 1-883398-46-0

When you talk about examples of Magical Realism in the United States of America, the one person who comes to mind is the country’s greatest composer of short stories: Harlan Ellison. The Essential Ellison: A 50 Year Retrospective Revised and Expanded is a collection of the author’s work that, in my opinion, will go down as one of the most historic collections of literature by an American writer. For those of you unfamiliar with Harlan Ellison’s work, I have one question: Where the fuck have you been? Enclosed in this collection are such classic stories as “A Boy and His Dog”, “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”, “Jefty is Five”, “Deathbird”, and the ever-radical “Repent, Harlequin, said the Tick-Tock Man”.

I cannot express enough how essential it is to any writer to have a copy of this 50-year retrospective on his or her bookshelves, for not only are you discovering the words, images, and narratives of a great American author, but, as you read these stories, you will learn your craft. I have nothing but praise for Mr. Ellison and his large body of work. Often, people ask me who my favorite short story writer is; they expect me to say Raymond Carver, but I always look them straight in the eye and tell them, “The greatest living writer of short stories in America is Harlan Ellison, enough said.” Now do your part. Get off your ass, go outside to some Big Box bookstore, some used bookstore in your neighborhood, or go online, but purchase a copy of The Essential Harlan Ellison TODAY.


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Dojo robin
Attacks his reflection
Futile human game

Tulips follow spring
Heart arises with bright color
Spring brings life alive

Green grass, winter rains
Hillsides bloom with redbud flowers
Bright spring lifts the soul

Cedar scent fills air
Brings warmth, fresh forest spirit
Calls us to nature

Small red maple leaves
Open in the crisp spring air
Hearts echo maple tree


—Shawn Aveningo, Rescue

I lay unfolded,
secrets escaping hidden
creases of my skin.

Truth softly whispered
through hush of stillness. Hearts
beating. Unison.

Love’s river rushing,
stirring synapses of pleasure,
eruptions within.

Ignorant of time,
hours filled with years of moments,
clocks lose relevance.

Passion’s Haiku all
I have to sustain me ‘til
we meet once again.


Today's LittleNip:

Your thousand limbs rend my body.
This is the way to die:
Beauty keeps laying
Its sharp knife


(translated by Daniel Landinsky)



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:

Rattlesnake Review: The latest Snake (RR21) is now available (free) at The Book Collector, or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Next deadline is May 15 for RR22: 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, and please—only one submission per issue.

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!

NEW FOR APRIL: A SpiralChap of poetry and photos from Laverne Frith (Celebrations: Images and Texts); a (free!) littlesnake broadside from Taylor Graham (Edge of Wildwood); and Musings3: An English Affair, a new blank journal of photos and writing prompts from Katy Brown. Now available from the authors, or The Book Collector, or (soon)

WTF!: Join us on Thursday, May 21 at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sacramento for the unveiling of the second issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick.
Next deadline, for issue #3, is July 15. Submission guidelines are the same as for the Snake, but send your poems, photos, smallish art or prose pieces (500 words or less) to (attachments preferred) or, if you’re snailing, to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be over 18 years of age to submit. Copies of the first issue are at The Book Collector, or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.

ALSO COMING IN MAY: Join us Weds., May 13 for a new rattlechap, Sinfonietta, from Tom Goff; Vol. 5 of Conversations, the Rattlesnake Interview Series by B.L. Kennedy; and the inauguration of a new series, Rattlesnake LittleBooks, with Shorts: Quatrains and Epigrams by Iven Lourie. That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30 PM. Free!

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.