Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Photo by D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Dear golden-haired, self-hurtful lone young poet,
branded a “suicide” or “poetess”
in sniping news, you grew to shape exquisite
shapes you could burst from, nautilus or chrysalis.
Each abalone-wrack you fled bestowed what
wrenched-open rainbows, glancings in excess!
Fine water, sifting the cyanide in your glass…
O major Californian, never to know it!

Sly self-developer, charmer self-withholding,
you fretfully hid in wit, soft conversation;
skimmed partners, hummingbird astride canna flower.
All inward shiver-drum and skin sensation,
you ached for love’s rain-hammer in constant shower;
left kindness, and a most Keatsian unfolding.

(with gratitude to the compilers of The Outer Gate:
Collected Poems of Nora May French, Hippocampus Press, 2009)


Thanks to D.R. Wagner for the photo and to Tom Goff for the poem about Nora May French. You'll remember a recent article about her work that Tom wrote for Rattlesnake Review—now Tom has many good things to say about the new French collection that was put together by Donald Sidney-Fryer. So watch for a review of that book in the future.

Our Seed of the Week is the fib, a form invented by Gregory K. Pincus of L.A. which uses the Fibonacci sequence of numbers to govern the number of syllables in a line: 1,1,2,3,5,8,13 and that is about as far as you can go because of line length. Below find some true fibs from Taylor Graham and Richard Zimmer; get to work. (I guess one could say, in fact, that Richard has given us a double-fib.)

Coupla notes:

•••Tonight, Weds. (11/18), 9 PM: Poetry Night at Bistro 33 is proud to welcome Pamela Houston, the author of the short story collections Cowboys Are My Weakness and Waltzing the Cat; a collection of essays titled A Little More About Me; and the novel Sighthound. Her work has been honored with the Pushcart Prize, the O. Henry Award, the Western States Book Award, the WILLA Award for Contemporary Fiction, and inclusion in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Short Stories of the Century. Houston has also completed a stage play entitled Tracking the Pleiades, produced by the Creede Repertory Theater, and she has edited Women on Hunting, a collection of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. An occasional contributor to CBS Sunday Morning, Pam Houston currently writes for O magazine. In addition to her many publishing credits, Houston is a popular faculty member teaching for and often coordinating the Creative Writing Program at UC Davis.

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to secure a table, and to sign up for a spot on the Open Mic list. Poetry Night at Bistro 33, hosted by Andy Jones and produced by Brad Henderson, occurs on the first and third Wednesday of every month at 9 P.M., with an open microphone segment at 10 P.M.

•••Greenpoint Press announces that, “the web-zine of personal stories”, is accepting entries from January through August in a variety of categories, including essays, fiction, humor, profiles, reviews and poetry. Check it out; Issue 23 is currently online.


—Taylor Graham, Placerville

the one who
all last April launched
himself against our window-glass,
searching his own image for a mate. What has he found?


—Taylor Graham

after days
of hospital food—
nothing like the zing of radish
to startle your tongue, a taste of waking back to life.


—Taylor Graham

as long as
(she says) you don’t mean
to harm anybody, which is
a little hard to determine in this world of ours.


—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

to take
a little
and give a little…
then throw lots of your stuff away...
address your mess, keep less and less that don’t need to stay.

built his ark,
He knew what to do….
he took the creatures two by two…
there was a flood coming, but no need to start a zoo.


Today's LittleNip:

—A.R. Ammons

Tears for the long-gone times
and for the little time left to go

are the buoyancy whereby
the butterfly ship

gets wings to the wind and
flies, all energies exhilarations.



SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


RR23 is now available free at The Book Collector,
and contributor and subscription copies
have gone into the mail—you should've received yours;
let me know if you haven't.
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 likelihoodof 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!


A new chapbook from Dawn DiBartolo
(Secrets of a Violet Sky)
Rattlesnake Reprint #2 from frank andrick
(PariScope: A Triptyche)
plus our 2010 calendar from Katy Brown
(Wind in the Yarrow)!

Now available from SPC or at The Book Collector:
Our new 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 30-year history.

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 was Oct. 15;
it'll be released at Luna's on Thursday, Nov. 19.
Next deadline (for Issue #5) is Jan. 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


The Thread of Dreams,
a new chapbook from
Carol Frith,
will be premiered at
The Book Collector on
December 9, 7:30 PM,
along with the new issue of
Rattlesnake Review.
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.