Tuesday, December 01, 2009

In My Dreambook

Photo by Ann Privateer


all of my days and nights as I whiz by
some creature flayed
on the highway, I say a prayer for my family

for, before all of this sprawl, before they came
here to disintegrate, my
ancestors must have done the same.

They thought of us all, the unborn. Now I,
secure at home with time to spare, think
of them who toiled for me and those

who have yet to come,
their images
are etched on me.

—Ann Privateer, Davis


Thanks to Ann Privateer, Don Feliz and John Hasselbein (and Charles Simic) for today's proceedings. And Tuesday is Seed of the Week Day: write to us about In My Dreambook. Ann has started us off; here's another dream-poem, this one from Charles Simic:

—Charles Simic

On the first page of my dreambook
It's always evening
In an occupied country.
Hour before the curfew.
A small provincial city.
The houses all dark.
The store-fronts gutted.

I am on a street corner
Where I shouldn't be.
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.


Some Poetry Doings of Note:

•••The 84th Annual Poets’ Dinner/Contest will be held in Oakland on March 20, 2010. This is a long-standing (84 years!) event that some of our Sacramento/environs poets regularly attend—and our area poets usually win quite a few of the prizes. The deadline is January 10 to enter the contest, and then you must be present at the lunch on March 20 to claim your prize. Write to me or to Richard Angilly (1515 Poplar Av., Richmond, CA 94805) if you’d like a copy of the information sheet (and registration for the lunch).

Deadline: December 31, 2009
Winner to receive $1000 and two copies of the Poetry Prize Annual

Open to all poets who have not yet published a book of poetry, including small press, chapbook or trade book. Info: visit us online, or contact Kevin Bowen (joinercenter@umb.edu) at The William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences.

Animals, Creatures, Wild Beasts and Dwellings.

Wild Apples seeks submissions of visual arts, poetry, essays and creative nonfiction. We have a special interest in work that engages themes of nature, sustainability, spirituality, global interdependence, compassionate engagement, or sense of place.

Prose - Send us a letter with a brief description of your proposal. Articles run 600 - 2000 words. Prose queries may be submitted by email.
Poetry - Submit up to 5 poems by mail with a SASE with sufficient return postage. Include your name on each page. No email submissions.
Visual Art and Photographs - Submit on CD/DVD or email Low Resolution jpeg files no more than 72 dpi. Please send up to 8 images.
Please include a brief bio/artist statement with your name, email, and address.

Send email queries and art submissions to submissions@wildapples.org. Email any questions to editors@wildapples.org. Wild Apples Editors, P.O. Box 171, Harvard, MA 01451.


Led by Marilyn Kallet, this workshop takes place in Auvillar, one of the "most beautiful villages in France" from
May 17-24, 2010. In addition to a week of poetry workshops gourmet banquets and outings, we will have afternoon demonstrations on French cooking and photography for those writers and their partners who are interested. There is an early bird discount before February 1, and a discount for belonging to an arts organization. Info: mkallet@utk.edu or http://www.vcca.com/kallet.html/.

•••WRITE YOUR LIFE WORKSHOP with Ann Randolph at Esalen Institute
January 3-8, 2010
; Info: Esalen Institute in Big Sur at www.esalen.org/.

Through improvisation, writing exercises, and group discussion, you will discover your authentic voice, along with the confidence to express your best self. Ann Randolph creates a supportive, fun, and dynamic space to create. An inspiring workshop for those seeking to explore personal essay, memoir, solo performance, or the sacred art of journaling. All levels welcome.

Ann Randolph is considered one of the most gifted and innovative writer-performers in the country and has been hailed by critics as "revolutionary.” She is currently writing a screenplay for Lifetime Television. Ann's solo shows have garnered many awards, including the prestigious LA Weekly and Los Angeles Times Ovation for "Best Solo Show" and "Best Female Comic." Excerpts from her shows have aired on NPR's "All Things Considered", Public Radio Weekend, PBS, and the BBC. As a filmmaker and blogger, she has won numerous awards, and her most recent short film, Disaster Relief, was selected for the prestigious Venice Film Festival.


—Don Feliz, Sacramento

During the last set of the evening
the bass player hunches over,
struggles to keep standing.

He’s done it before on grueling tours,
on one-night stands.
His bass—his best friend—

supports him while he plucks at chords,
follows the beat of the young drummer,
born when he was playing bass

for big bands in Atlantic City.


—Don Feliz

She wears pale silk dresses,
hats with colored feathers.

Her wardrobe trunk holds her best gowns
for dining at the captain’s table.

Despite her aloof gaze, suitors pursue—
don’t know her heart has

lived for months in Kyoto
with her Japanese lover.


—John Hesselbein, Elk Grove

These are my people;
who labors in field
for the pride they left at home
or bends for scraps
on a roof hot with immediacy,
to make ends meet
at a forty-five-degree angle.
who wears dirt under fingernail
like brand new Levis
and sweats through denim skin
under journeyman sun.
who rises from asphalt, soil, sod, soot, coal,
to put pedacito de pan, carnitas,
cornbread, pancetta, pasties, potatoes,
pasta, pig’s feet,
neck bones,
ramen and bologna
on tables and in bellies that
feed eyes that look upward
and know not yet of pitch or tier.


—John Hesselbein

My edge dulled by beatings, repetitions.
My head rusted and marred, luster giving way to age.
With back bent, I claw at what remains of roof torn from frame.
My length will never be as straight as the cold day I was forged
when I would lay on the asphalt and in the sun, and
women and paychecks came on Friday, but now
I sit locked away in the shade, of use
to no one.

New and bright, and without soil
(Or character)
I am replaced
by a tool
with untouched edge and lacquered luster, who
knows not of gravity or impact
and hammers away bluntly
without question, or complaint.


—Ann Privateer

There is always the unexpected. Not all thieves come in the night to steal your life, or your rewards. Some come on a lovely day having lunch outside in the sun, relaxed and then, seeming from nowhere, up bubbles trouble and there's no masking it or pushing it down. It dredges up old grief, pours salt into places it does not belong, forgets to say thank you, only remembers sorrow. Suddenly, unexpected packed clouds burst open.


Today's LittleNip:

Hoping to be happier, he chose bread. Each night he dreams of cake.

—Stephen Dobyns



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, rattlesnakepress.com
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 fandrickfabpub@hotmail.com (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 rattlesnakepress.com/.)


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 kathykieth@hotmail.com (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 (rattlesnakepress.com). And be sure to sign up for Snakebytes, our monthly e-newsletter that will keep you up-to-date on all our ophidian chicanery.