Saturday, November 28, 2009

We Dance And Sail On

Book Page in Fall
Photo by D.R. Wagner

—D.R. Wagner, Elk Grove

From the edge of the boat
We could see the stars
Reflected in the water. We knew the
Many names of the moon and sang
To the fishes there below, the ones
Who swallowed stars and dreamed
The night sky beneath the sea.
The fish beieve we are their rapture
As we sing. We believe the fish
To be gems of priceless value,
Wandering through the mind,
Bearing the names of the seas.
That night we slept on deck
Listening to the wind and waves
Tell stories of fire on
Islands so far away that one
Can but learn their names;
To visit these places is simply
Not possible in a single lifetime.

When dawn came we could no longer
Tell if we were male or female.
Deer gather at our feet. We
Feed them from bowls. We see
Death with its flocks of birds
Wheel and circle overhead.
We decide to make music forever.
We dance and sail on.


Two book-making classes in our area—no, not making bets, making books! Great for holiday gifting, yes?

Matrix Book-Making Workshops:

Thursdays and Fridays, starting next week through December 18th: Take the mystery out of writing, editing, illustrating, designing, producing, publishing, marketing, distributing and promoting your books and other creative work, Thursdays and Fridays at R25, the arts and cultural center in Midtown Sacramento at 1719 25th St. Workshops cost $15/session, $10 for MatrixArts and SPC members and students. To assure a spot, email or call 916-454-4988. Drop-ins are welcome.

Class schedules:

Dec. 3-4: Improvisation: Books can be made from almost any materials: index cards, handmade papers, papyrus, paper bags, fabric, and even Popsicle sticks. Learn a little about the history of books and create your own using a grab bag of materials and a little imagination.

Dec. 10-11: One-Page Wonders: Create a one-of-a-kind book, using only one piece of paper, then making a special illustrated cover for it.

Dec. 17-18: Hallmark Moment: Celebrate the life of someone you love. Begin with a greeting card size sentiment and collage with images, words, envelopes, stamps, and copies of photos, symbols, and paint.

For more information go to our blogs:


Book-Making in Grass Valley:

Stephanie Sauer will be conducting book-making workshops in the Grass Valley area during December. She writes: With the holiday season quickly approaching, and spending a concern, now is a great time to learn to make unique (and affordable!) books using a variety of hand-rendered binding techniques.

Ideal for gifts and independent publishing.
All classes are $20 (+$5 for materials).
RSVP required: 916.580.4227 or via Stephanie’s email (

Workshop Schedule:

Saturday, Dec. 5th / 10am-12pm
This Stitch: This one simple stitch can turn any project into a unique—even elegant—piece of work. Learn to create pamphlets, chapbooks, journals and more in a variety of forms all based on this one simple stitch. Perfect for creating affordable multiples or one-of-a-kind books.

Saturday, Dec. 12th / 10am-12:30pm
Reclaimed. Recycled. Remade.
Part 1: The Travel Journal
Bring old or unwanted books, travel guides, maps, magazines or other materials to rework into innovative and sturdy travel companions. And learn two easy binding techniques to boot!

Saturday, Dec. 12th / 1-3pm
Reclaimed. Recycled. Remade.
Part 2: The Box Book: Search the cupboards, scan store isles and grab any small printed box you want to turn into a book. Anything goes (pretty much). Just don't forget to empty contents beforehand.

Saturday, Dec. 19th / 10am-12pm
Long and Lanky: Let me introduce you to The Long Stitch, an often overlooked technique with endless possibilities. This book will showcase your talents even when closed, making it a great gift idea. Hint hint.

Receive a $5 discount when you bring a friend.
Receive a $10 discount when you sign up for two or more workshops.

Directions from downtown Grass Valley:
Take Colfax HWY 174 toward Colfax
Turn Left on Gold Hill Drive (just past Memorial Park & Summer Thyme’s Bakery)
Turn Left down the hill on Footwall Drive
Workshop is on the right at 10815 Footwall Drive (lower level)

Workshop leader Stephanie Sauer is a freelance book artist and the owner of Copilot Press:
Publishing books in forms organic to their content ( She holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Art Institute of Chicago. Private tutorials also available upon request.

Upcoming classes include:
Indie Publishing 101
Something Borrowed. Something New.
Y = Form + Content
The Found Codex
Four Holes and a Pouch



—D.R. Wagner

When we lived along the edge
Of the sea we used to heat our homes
With a certain oil that burned
With a particular clear green flame.

As children we thought this oil
Came from the fish that were
Our livelihood. Allejandro said
That the green was caused by the
Fact that a type of fish caught here
Shared a common dreaming.

They dreamed they did not live in the seas but
Instead swam through the oaks and
Firs that surrounded our village and
Because the entire fish was pressed
For this oil, their brains gave
Up the green that was the color
Of the dremt leaves. Maria Xavier said, no,
It was only the food they fed upon
That graced the oil this way.

As we grew we found out that
The oil did not come from fish
At all, but rather from a sacred
Well on the cliffs above the sea.

This well had a peculiar
Property to it. It was impossible
To pump the oil out. It had
To be withdrawn by placing one’s
Mouth to the ground of the well and sucking
The fluid from the
Earth. We were the fish,
Our mouths pressed to the breast
Of the earth, our life breath
Drawing up this oil with fish
Mouth and exhaling emerald
Flames that warmed all the
Winters of our youth.


—D.R. Wagner

If there is nowhere for the spirit
To move, it builds its house in that
Place. We find wonder in the way
Distance reveals objects on the edge
Of disappearing. We find names for the way
A hand opens.
We give special attention
To the gestures trees make. “They are
Caressing the air,” we say.
There is a story, seldom told, of seeing
And not seeing, more than opening and
Closing the eyes.
We say dreaming is a way
Of seeing. We call from our sleep to
The waking world. It is a place
Where sound neglects language and
Spills from the lips, unhinged. It
Is unseen, a particle of the night.
What is seen: a body writhing beneath
Sheets—an avalanche of form.


—D.R. Wagner

We thought then, when we were traveling,
The children knew something
Special, the way the light moved in their eyes,
The kinds of sounds they chose to become
Words. We would watch the owls
Bearing gifts of curious silver on silent
Wings. Not one of us said a thing.

I supposed that all things were
Like this. The rising of the moon
Was on everyone's lips. How wonderful.
How pale. We had never seen a moon
Such as this one. Each time it was new.

Now, standing on the high places near
The edge of the water, we think the wind
Has something important to say. It does
Not. It speaks but it has no words. It is
Tongue for the trees who tell us of
Bees, the names of the seasons,
The kind and number of the breezes,
How light makes sound through the cambium.

We have been so often wrong that for a
Moment we doubt the children.

We discover a red color we have
Never seen before. Language
Abandons us just before dusk.
We question each other with gestures,
Frantic to recall how it was
We made fire, how we knew to use
These roads, where we had been.

Star Jasmine in Fall
Photo by D.R. Wagner


Today's LittleNip:

—D.R. Wagner

The moon rose, thick,
Orange and damaged.
It was the horizon for a few
Moments, then, bleeding its
Refection into the river,
Lifted itself into the delta
And became the Autumn night.


(Thanks, D.R., for today's photos and poetry!)

SnakeWatch: What's New from Rattlesnake Press:


Deadline was November 15 for RR24; join us
for its unveiling and get your free copy at
The Book Collector on
Wednesday, December 9.
After this issue, Rattlesnake Review will be taking
a few months off for remodeling—
watch this spot for further developments!

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!


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 newest 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 fourth 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.

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.