Friday, October 16, 2009

The Moon's Night Out

Full Moon
Photo by Ann Privateer

—Ann Privateer, Davis

In October the moon has
two parties to celebrate
nights when holidays
palliate boredom, when
Tamarind trees drop pods,
when pickles spice up and
a tin roof sundae sweetens
desire. All this before wind
sweeps rain across mauve
fields changing them to green,
before dust can settle
between toes.


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Friday (10/16 and every third Friday, except summer), 7:30 PM: The Other Voice (sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis) presents Patricia Hickerson and Susan Wolbarst. 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis, in the church library. Pat Hickerson, who was born in New York City, was a Warner Brothers dancer and also a Barnard graduate. She worked as a teacher, copy editor and Penthouse fiction writer. Her poems have been published in Passager, Echoes, Choices, Medusa’s Kitchen, Rattlesnake Review, WTF, Convergence, Poetry Now, and Yolo Crow. A broadside, At Grail Castle Hotel, was published recently by Rattlesnake Review. Susan Wolbarst, who lives in Davis with her husband and teenage son, is a native of New Hampshire. Her writing background includes community journalism and advertising. She has also worked in video production, as well as published hundreds of articles and a cookbook. Though poetry writing is relatively new, she received an honorable mention in this year's annual Sacramento Poetry Center contest, and her poem, "Diagnosis", won First Prize in last year's contest. Open Mike and refreshments follow the reading, so bring along a poem to share.

•••Friday (10/16), 7-8:30 PM: Poetry at the Vox in a new midtown Sacramento location, 1931 H Street (at 20th), featuring the best and brightest SacTown poets in a diverse, intimate reading. Newbies and veterans, students and cowboys, slam poets and professors all share the stage in a fast-paced evening with no one person reading for more than 20 minutes at a time. Readers: Tim Kahl, Albert Garcia, Scott Evans, Stephanie Low, and Megan Eaton. Hosted by Cynthia Linville.

•••Saturday (10/17), 7-9 PM: Black Men Expressing Tour, Underground Books, 2814 35th St., Sacramento (off 35th and Broadway). Ladies, we heard you have grown tired of the club-dude machismo. That's why we've put together an event with some sensitive-guy melancholy-type gentlemen. Get ready for your ears to be intellectually and poetically massaged, ladies. You asked for it again and you deserve it again!!! Relationship, parenting, and cultural social happenings discussion. $3 General Admission. Info: (916) 208-POET.

•••Saturday (10/17), 7-10 PM: A poetry reading celebrating the release of AD WinansNo Room for Buddha and BL Kennedy’s The Neurosonnets from Polymer Grove Press. Refreshments provided. California Stage, 2509 R St., Sacramento.

•••Sat. (and every 3rd Sat.), 10 AM: Writers of the New Sun/Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol potluck meetings at La Raza Galeria Posada, 1024 22nd St., Sacramento. Members of all levels support each other via readings, exercises, critiques and info, plus open mic; writing in Spanish, English or both. Call ahead to confirm: 916-456-5323.

•••Sat. (and every 3rd Sat.), 7 PM: Celebration of Word, Sound and Paint at Carol’s Books, 1913 Del Paso, Sacramento.

•••Sun. (10/18), 11AM-3 PM: The Davis Cemetery, 820 Pole Line Road, Davis, is hosting a free art event, open to the public. Both visual and performance art will be featured. Info: 530-756-7807 or

•••Sun. (and every 3rd Sun.): 3rd Sunday Poetry Workshop. Info: Rebecca Morrison or Nancy W. at

•••Sun. (and every 3rd Sun.), 7 PM: Poetry Readings at Time Tested Books, 1114 21st St., $5 donation requested. Featuring Julia Connor and Joshua McKinney. Info:

•••Monday (10/19), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Brian Teare and Kate Greenstreet at HQ for the Arts, 1719 25th St., Sacramento. The recipient of Wallace E. Stegner, National Endowment for the Arts and MacDowell Colony fellowships, Brian Teare has published poetry in American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Ploughshares, Provincetown Arts, Seneca Review, Verse and VOLT, among other journals, and in the anthologies Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century and The Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry in English. His first book, The Room Where I Was Born, won the 2003 Brittingham Prize and the 2004 Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. His second book was Sight Map, University of California Press; Pleasure, his third, will be out from Ahsahta in 2010. He lives, teaches and makes books by hand in San Francisco. Kate Greenstreet’s second book, The Last 4 Things, will be out from Ahsahta Press in September. Her first, case sensitive, was published by Ahsahta in 2006. She is also the author of three chapbooks, most recently This is why I hurt you (Lame House Press, 2008). Her new work is in current or forthcoming issues of jubilat, Court Green, VOLT, Fence, and the Denver Quarterly. She is married and lives in New Jersey, no pets.


—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

Once when I was nearly young, and politics
were hung like outcomes on the vital hour,
I went where celebrators poured champagne
in paper cups. The work was done. The heroes
were not there. And it was raining in the streets.

I was in costume, a vinyl hat disguising
half my face. I drank champagne. The warlock
smiled. I am a priest, he said – though not with
words. I laughed. I followed him around to watch
him look at me. I am your mother, Priest, I smiled.

The streets that led us later, led us wild,
looking for a place that was not there.
The one we found was frowning at the door –
we were so loud – so full of night rain,
paper cup champagne, and mood of victory.

How late we came to endings,
to nothing we could share. It toned us down.
The highs were only moment-high
and must be fallen from. Night took us back –
to all its rain – not quite as happy as we came.


—Joyce Odam

Haunted night—a sad piano;
winter moon, a tarnished yellow;
lonesome song from some dark window

cold as love and sad as leaving,
ghost of music always grieving:

lonesome song from some dark window,
winter moon a tarnished yellow,
haunted night—a sad piano.

(first appeared in Poetry Now)


Today's LittleNip:

Along the cedar-lined path of an old shrine
I gather leaves
As the sun sets.




SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


RR23 is now available free at The Book Collector,
and contributor and subscription copies
will go into the mail in the next two weeks.
You may also order a copy through

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!


Now available at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento:
A new chapbook from Brad Buchanan (The War Groom)
and a new Rattlesnake LittleBook from
William S. Gainer: Joining the Demented.

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

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!


Join us on Wednesday, November 11
for a new chapbook from dawn di bartolo (Secrets of a Violet Sky);
Rattlesnake Reprint #2, this one from frank andrick (Triptych);
plus our 2010 calendar from Katy Brown (Wind in the Yarrow)!
That's 7:30 PM at The Book Collector. 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.