Friday, September 11, 2009

We Are In The Stars

This image shows the planetary nebula, catalogued as NGC 6302,
but more popularly called the Bug Nebula or the Butterfly Nebula.
NGC 6302 lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3,800 light-years away
in the constellation Scorpius. The glowing gas is the star's outer layers,
expelled over about 2,200 years. The "butterfly" stretches for more than
two light-years, which is about half the distance from the Sun to
the nearest star, Alpha Centauri.
Image released by NASA on Wednesday, Sept. 9.


—William Bronk

Sometimes, I could go in anywhere, not
to see the stars, not to be as we
are always, not only under them
but in them.
The outer spaces push against
us, all their vastnesses apart, they crowd
us. They become our world. I could go hide
like Adam in his garden. How
would it matter? No, we are in the stars. Not
for us ever any familiar and definite world.


—William Bronk

There are no near galaxies: this
as far as any, if not in terms of miles,
we know how meaningless miles are
in terms of miles. How far from me to you?

Everything is, almost in the utterance,
metaphor—as we measure miles, and miles
are meaninglesss, but we know what distance is:
unmeasurable. But there are distances.


—William Bronk

The biological life is not the life
of the universe. Is the large splendor of stars
only to ornament or illuminate
us? No, their life is the main show.

Our eyes and minds participate. Where abstract
is concrete at last our desire feels the stars.
Watch, be aware. Time is the distances
of space. Look, look! It is all there.


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Sat. (9/12), 2:30-4:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center and Sinag-tala Filipino Theater and Performing Arts Association (SFTPAA) presents Poetry Kapihan (Poetry Over Coffee) in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the Sinag-Tala Theatrical Revue. The SPC and SFTPAA invite you to hear remarkable poetry from the Sinag-tala library and from friends. HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento. Free admission, merienda, drinks, parking. Invited guests: Sacramento Poet Laureate Bob Stanley (Special Guest), Rob Lozano, Mario Ellis Hill, Conrad Panganiban, Krystle Jong, Bria-Marie Darling. Also: Proxy Readings of Filipino works by Al Robles, Mark Fabionar, Angela-Dee Alforque, Nick Carbo, Aurelio Alvero, Robert Kikuchi. Guest readers: B. Matthew Rivera and Gladys Imperio-Acosta. Hosted by Sonny Alforque.

•••Sat. (9/12 and every 2nd and 4th Sat.), 10-11:30 AM: Sacramento Poetry Center 2nd and 4th Sat. workshop with Emmanuel Sigauke and Frank Dixon Graham. South Natomas Community Center (next door to S. Natomas Library), 2921 Truxel Rd., Sacramento. Bring ten copies of your one-page poem to read/critique. Info:

•••Sat. (9/12), 2 PM: The Chat Line: A Citrus Heights Art Talk, sponsored by Citrus Heights Area Poets. Barnes & Noble, Sunrise Av., Citrus Heights. Open mic. Lines forming now for readers and writers; which one will you be in?—Life Line, Laugh Line, Love Line, Liberty Line, Listening Line?

•••Sat. (9/12), 9 AM-noon: Capitol City Young Writers "Meet the Author" workshop takes place at CSU, Sacramento, Mendocino Hall, Rm. 1003. Free parking available in Lot 2. Writers and readers in grades 6-12 will meet established adult writers and attend workshops, including a poetry workshop led by Bob Stanley. Other poetry guest speakers will include Andy Jones, Indigo Moor, and Jeff Knorr. Attendance at any of the five "Meet the Author" workshops each year requires an annual $25 membership, or maximum $50 per family. Parents and educators are welcome to attend. Joining can be done via the website or at the door. Capitol City Young Writers is a non-profit organization dedicated to the education and inspiration of aspiring writers in grades 6-12. Info: 877-816-7659, 916-804-5016 or

•••Sunday (9/13), 4-6 PM: Valona Deli 2nd Sun. Poetry Series in Crockett (1327 Pomona St., Crockett) features Kim Addonizio, the author of four poetry collections including Tell Me, A National Book Award Finalist. Her fifth collection, Lucifer at the Starlite, will be published by W.W. Norton in October 2009. Addonizio has also authored two instructional books on writing poetry: The Poet's Companion (with Dorianne Laux), and Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within, both from W.W. Norton. Ordinary Genius will be available at the reading on September 13th. Her awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship,a Pushcart Prize, a Commonwealth Club Poetry Medal, and the John Ciardi Lifetime Achievement Award. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared widely in anthologies, literary journals, and textbooks, including Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, Bad Girls, Chick-Lit, Gettysburg Review, Paris Review, Poetry, and Threepenny Review. She teaches private workshops in Oakland and online. For open mic, please always bring a "back up" short poem (20 lines or less)—In case of a very large crowd, everyone can be heard with the "lightning round" open mic if necessary! Otherwise, bring a poem of 40 lines or less for open mic. And remember to stay for the wonderful Jazz at 6 PM. Info: Connie Post at

2009 Confluence of Poets Tour:

Sacramento Poetry Center, in conjunction with Sacramento City College, American River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College, Solano City College, and CSU, Sacramento, presents the 2009 Confluence of Poets Tour, in which five acclaimed California poets read at six colleges Sept 14-17. All events are free to the public. Featured poets include James BlueWolf, Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Maya Khosla, Indigo Moor and Dennis Hock. Readings hosted by Bob Stanley and Tim Kahl.

This series of readings, workshops, and class visits grew out of a meeting of Sacramento-area poets and poetry teachers in the fall of 2008. Thanks to a grant that SPC received late that year, this event has become a reality.

Schedule of Events:

•••Monday (9/14), 12 noon: Reading at Folsom Lake College (Room FL1-008): Maya Khosla and Susan Kelly-DeWitt.
7:30 PM: Reading at Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th St., Sacramento: James BlueWolf, Maya Khosla, Dennis Hock, Susan Kelly-DeWitt and Indigo Moor

•••Tuesday (9/15), 12:15 PM: Reading at American River College: Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Maya Khosla, Indigo Moor.
12 noon: Reading at Sacramento City College: James BlueWolf and Dennis Hock

•••Wednesday (9/16), 12 noon: Reading at California State University, Sacramento: Maya Khosla, Indigo Moor.
11 AM: Reading at Solano College, Fairfield: James BlueWolf, Dennis Hock

•••Thursday (9/17), 12 Noon: Reading at Cosumnes River College: Maya Khosla, Indigo Moor


—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

We live in a spiral arm of a spinning
Field of stars, we whirl around, a carnival
Ride, full of birds, loves, emotions, endless
Varieties of things unfolding in seasons;
Full of bells and an endless weaving of hearts.

These connections ride upon our consciousness,
Demanding constant performance from us.
Each of us, most royal and majestic as night,
Vile, vindictive and spoiled even before we speak;
Sorrow and joy, the way we sound our name.

We endure all of this, our lips kissing each moment,
Crushed, elated, misunderstood, praised for things
We do as part of ourselves, damned for these same things.

There is no road, there is no plan. Only love

Everything is forgiven, finally.
Understanding limps behind the parade,
Always late, always burdened with qualifications,
Always abandoning every opinion and argument,
Leaving each of us our place only, describing
This place, the swirling arms, the myriad ways
We twist ourselves to achieve
This weaving, this carnival of love.

(Originally published in Where the Stars Are Kept
by D.R. Wagner, Rattlesnake Press)


Today's LittleNip:

Three of the galaxies have distorted shapes, elongated spiral arms, and long, gaseous tidal tails containing star clusters. These interactions have sparked a frenzy of star birth in the central pair of galaxies… [emphasis mine]

Sacramento Bee, 9/10/09



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Rattlesnake Press is proud to announce the release of a new chapbook by
Susan Finkleman
(Mirror, Mirror: Poems Of The Mother-Daughter Relationship, illustrated by Joseph Finkleman),
plus a new HandyStuff blank journal from Katy Brown (A Capital Idea),
and a littlesnake broadside from Marie Reynolds (Late Harvest). All are now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento.


Issue #22 is now available (free) at The Book Collector,
or send me four bux and I'll mail you one. Or you can order
copies of current or past issues through

The release of Rattlesnake Review #23 was, as you know,
delayed, and will be available at The Book Collector
and other venues as of Thursday, Sept. 17.

Deadline is November 15 for RR24: 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 add all contact info, including snail address. Meanwhile, the snakes of the on-going Medusa are always hungry; keep that poetry comin', rain or shine!
Just let us know if your submission is for the Review or for Medusa, or for either one, and please—only one submission packet per issue of the quarterly Review.
(More info at

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 (include snail address) and I'll send you one. Free!


WTF!!: The third issue of WTF, the free quarterly journal from
Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe that is edited by frank andrick,
is now available at The Book Collector,
or send me two bux and I'll mail you one.

Deadline for Issue #4 will be Oct. 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 (clearly marked for WTF).

And be forewarned: this publication is for adults only, so you must be
over 18 years of age to submit. (More info at

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, Rattlesnake Press will release
a new chapbook from Brad Buchanan (The War Groom)
and a new Rattlesnake LittleBook from
William S. Gainer: Joining the Demented.
That 7:30 PM at The Book Collector.

Then gear up the flivver for a ROAD TRIP on Monday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 PM
as we all travel over to HQ for the Arts, 25th & R Sts., Sacramento
for Rattlesnake Press's release of the new SPC anthology,
Keepers of the Flame: The First 30 Years of the Sacramento Poetry Center.
Editor-in-Chief Mary Zeppa and her helpers have put together
many, many documents and photos
from SPC's history, and the resulting anthology (and SPC's 30th anniversary!)
will be celebrated that night. Be there!


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.