Friday, November 20, 2009

A Poet's Passing

Nothing is so welcome
As the rain that heals the cracks
Within the stream

—Ronald Edwin Lane

Thanks, Ron, for the poem and photo. Tonight (Friday, 11/20), at 7:30 PM, The Other Voice (sponsored by the UU Church of Davis) presents Deborah Thomas and Ron Lane, who will read their poems in the library of the church located at 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis. [See last Monday's post for bios.]

Passing of a Poet:

We are saddened to report that David Milnor, a fine formalist poet in the Sacramento area, passed away yesterday (Thursday, November 19). He will be missed by the Northern California poetry community for his contribution to formal poetry. David was particularly articulate with sonnets, ballades and villanelles, and he was a member in good standing of El Camino Chapter of CFCP, Inc., giving several poetic presentations there. David was also a member of the Wednesday Writing Workshop which meets at the Ethel Hart Senior Center, maintaining regular attendance even as his health was waning. His work appeared in the publication, Midweek Musings, an anthology of Sacramento poets, in 2009, as well as in Rattlesnake Review and on Medusa’s Kitchen, where he was featured on August 11, 2009. [For more about David, a photo and more of his work, go to the column on the right and click on August, 2009, then scroll down to August 8.]

A poem of David’s will be published in the upcoming issue of Rattlesnake Review, and here is another:

—David Milnor

Take up your lance against this grim twilight;
against the threat to dreams of what could be.
it’s cruel, unfair, the coming of the night.

The future with its dreams is now not bright;
to dream and plan we’re now not ever free—
take up your lance against this grim twilight.

Our castles crumble from their modest height
as death comes close, with all in jeopardy;
it’s cruel, unfair, the coming of the night.

It’s human to greet with hate the threatened blight
of dreams that we have treasured tenderly;
take up your lance against this grim twilight.

We cannot find the justice in our plight
and ask in bitterness, why is it me?
It’s cruel, unfair, the coming of the night.

Now must we carry on as best we might,
perhaps still buoyed by our angry plea?
It’s cruel, unfair, the coming of the night;
take up your lance against this grim twilight.


This weekend in NorCal poetry:

•••Fri. (11/20), 8-10:30 PM: TheBlackOutPoetrySeries inside The Upper Level VIP Lounge, 26 Massic Ct., Sacramento (located inside of Fitness Systems Healthclub, by Cal State Skating Rink; exit Mack Road East to Stockton Blvd and then make a left on Massie, right past Motel 6) features Singer Carla Fleming, musician group CARRiON and poet Anna Marie, plus open mic. $5.00. Info: 916-208-POET or Take advantage of 2-people-for-the-price-of-one this month; to get your 2-for-1 passes just call (916) 208-POET.

•••Sat. (11/21), 10 AM-4 PM: Rae Gourirand of Davis writes: Just a brief note to invite you to a craft show I’m participating in at the Village Homes Community Center (close to Osteria Fasulo and the Applegate Dance Studio, at 2661 Portage Bay East, in Davis) next Saturday. I’ll be selling hardback writing journals made of amazing Japanese chiyogami papers, silk/linen spinecloth, and cream Italian text block paper, and a smaller supply of Thai momi paper stab-bound notebooks. (Completely unrelated to these bound objects, I’ll also have a wall of handknit scarves that want to find their owners before it officially becomes winter!) All sales, as ever, fund the startup costs of One By One, my micro poetry press (which I anticipate will be up and running by the summer). I started the Open Books project last year as a way to join my passion for bookbinding and my vision for the press— which is dedicated to encouraging us all to savor stolen moments. I’ll be at the show until everything sells out, which might be quite fast (I am only offering about 40 books for sale this year) but would love to see you and talk with you all about how the vision of the press has evolved over the last year. Lots of other local artists will be showing ceramics, jewelry, knits, wreaths, prints, paintings, and more at this event, and I hear there will be live music and refreshments.

•••Saturday (11/21), 8 PM: Saturday Night @ Luna’s, a special event w/Beth Lisick, Michelle Tea, Tara Jepsen, Rachel Leibrock, Barbara Noble, Becca Costello, and The Women’s Collective from “Stop Being a Fucking Creep” aka “Take Back Midtown”, followed by sounds, text and vox by Ross Hammond, Ruben Reveles, Josh Fernandez, and frank andrick. And guest poets too! Only $10 at the door. Stories, prose, poetry, drama, skits, improvisation, music, sampling, songs, free chapbooks & broadsides. A Whole Lotta FUN ! (This event sponsored by Poets & Writers Inc. from a generous donation by the James Irvine Foundation.)

•••Sat. (11/21 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. (11/21 and every 3rd Sat.), 7 PM: Celebration of Word, Sound and Paint at Carol’s Books, 1913 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento.

•••Mon. (11/23), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Lee Herrick and Michael Medrano at HQ for the Arts at 1719 25th St., Sacramento. Lee Herrick is the author of This Many Miles from Desire (WordTech Editions, 2007). He was born in Daejeon, Korea and adopted at ten months. His poems have been published in ZYZZYVA, Berkeley Poetry Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, MiPoesias, and The Bloomsbury Review, among others, and in anthologies such as Seeds from a Silent Tree: An Anthology of Korean Adoptees; Hurricane Blues: Poems About Katrina and Rita; and Highway 99: A Literary Journey through California’s Great Central Valley, 2nd Edition. He has also recently served as Guest Editor for the Rio Grande Review, the literary magazine of the Bilingual MFA Program the University of Texas, El Paso, and for Asian American Poetry and Writing, based in Los Angeles. He is the founding editor of In the Grove and teaches at Fresno City College.

Michael Luis Medrano was born and raised in Fresno, California, the heart of the San Joaquin Valley. He holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and has performed his work at Stanford University, The Loft Literary Arts Center in Minneapolis, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in North American Review, Bombay Gin, and The Cortland Review among others. His debut collection of poetry, Born in the Cavity of Sunsets, will be published in September 2009 by Bilingual Review Press. Once again based in Fresno, Medrano is teaching, hosting a literary radio show, and working on completing a second collection of poems.

And some more fibs [see Tuesday's post for the fib, our Seed of the Week]:

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

feel the void—
the empty feeling.
Her muse is silent and listless—
not in the mood to inspirit—leaving her barren.


—Katy Brown, Davis

sneeze birds
on chilly mornings.
Showers of leaves fall as birds rise
into pale sky like pepper flung on the autumn wind.


—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Ground red
Maples blaze
Wind blows, cold weather
Comes to the mountainsides again
Winter sends its messenger to the trees and to us


—Mitz Sackman

So much
Of my time
To understand all
All things in this complex world of ours
But where is the time given to contemplate the truth


(Lauds, Sext, Vespers, Compline)
—Margaret Ellis Hill, Fair Oaks

(a fib sequence)

soon now
than yesterday’s hour,
long after roosters crow their songs,
crickets close their wings, and frogs settle to sleep at last.

beams of light
before noon so that
afternoons grace the hours, swinging
in hammocks of soft clouds sailing slowly by your eyes.

slipping into view
God’s daily painting of sunset
into the peaceful dreaminess of twilight’s last step.

her shawl—
a dark cloak—
set with bright silver sequins and
a round moonstone ring that she lifts high like a blessing.


Today's LittleNip:

—Claire J. Baker, Pinole

When we stand on a hilltop
and face a sunrise, we harbor

no concern over what or who else
we may become, or when, or if.

Every sunrise is a Great Now

that we, too, have risen
many times before—that

rising again and again is
what life is all about.



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.