Friday, March 12, 2010

A Potpourri of Daffodils & Madness

Daffodils, Skagit Valley
Photo by Janet Pantoja

—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

Heralds of spring splendor
sprout on slender green stems
from humble underground
beginnings to glorious radiance—

Prophets of resurrection.

Vibrant yellow daffodils
burst through winter gloom into a
brilliant Trumpet Voluntary, then
bow in drenching April showers.



Find Bob Stanley’s pic on the B-Board at the right; underneath are some deadlines to pay attention to. While you’re looking at the B-Board, be sure to check out the kaleidoscope of changes that come and go: new items appear several times a week, including more and more links (now we’re past 70!), challenges, poet websites, deadlines, and photos. The B-Board is organic, constantly changing. And send us stuff! Right now I’m particularly looking for helpful resources (books, websites, etc.) and online journals that you like.

Coming up this weekend in NorCal poetry:

(for a more complete listing of events and workshops, go to

•••Sat. (3/13), 2pm: Citrus Heights Area Poets present a poetry event at Barnes & Noble bookstore on Sunrise Blvd. in Citrus Heights.

•••Sunday (3/14), 3-5pm: Dozens of poets from across the state will gather at the Sacramento Poetry Center (1719 25th St., Sacramento) for a celebration of the 45th anniversary of California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). It's a great opportunity to learn about poetry happening in town and throughout California among people of all ages. The year Bruce Springsteen released "Born to Run," color TV began transmitting in Australia, "Saturday Night Live" debuted, and the Vietnam War ended, a group of San Francisco poets who believed in children's creativity started California Poets in the Schools (CPITS), which is still going strong.

Please join 20 CPITS poets and a Poetry Out Loud 2010 winner for an afternoon of innovative poetry from the 45th anniversary anthology, What the World Hears. Free! All ages welcome.

•••Sunday (3/14), 3-5pm: The Poets Club of Lincoln proudly presents member Margaret Bell as guest poet in the Willow Room of the Twelve Bridges Library in Lincoln, sponsored by Friends of the Lincoln Library and Poets Club of Lincoln. Her poetry has appeared on several websites, including the Ghazal Page, Placer County Arts and Medusa’s Kitchen. She has also been published by Brevities, Sacramento Bee, Rattlesnake Review and Poetsespresso. Margaret has had winning poetry entries in the 2008 Voices of Lincoln Poetry Contest, California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. and Bylines Magazine. She hosts a monthly open mic event at the Citrus Heights Barnes & Noble bookstore each 2nd Saturday from 2-3pm (including this Saturday). Open mic to follow; all poets are welcome to read up to three poems. Free.

•••Monday (3/15), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center celebrates Women’s History Month with a reading featuring JoAnn Anglin, Lytton Bell, Shevonna Blackshire, Jane Blue, Felicia Martinez, Yang Her at HQ for the Arts, 25th and R Sts., Sacramento.

JoAnn Anglin grew up in South Sacramento, attended local schools, then worked for the State of California, writing copy for exhibits, newsletters and brochures. JoAnn has written poetry her whole life, and she has also written numerous articles on the arts and poetry. She coaches students in the national Poetry Out Loud program, and when she works with students, she encourages poetry writing as an accessible art and a tool for personal expression. Rattlesnake Press published her chapbook, Words Like Knives, Like Feathers. She has been a featured poet in many venues. For 6 years, along with Tom Goff and Nora Staklis, she co-hosted the PoemSpirits series at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento.

Lytton Bell’s work has appeared in over two dozen journals, web sites and e-zines. Lytton earned a poetry scholarship to the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts in 1988, where she studied with Deb Burnham and poet Len Roberts. She lives in Sacramento with Simon (her cat), David (her husband), and Sam and Charlotte (her über-children).

Shevonna Blackshire has been a creative writer/poet since the age of 8. She watched the 1990's movie about spoken word poetry called Love Jones and was inspired to start her own open mic at Touch a' Class nightclub in Sacramento in the late 1990's. Shevonna is currently one of the editors of Munyori Literary Journal.

Jane Blue was born and raised in Berkeley, California. Her poems have been published in many print and on-line magazines. Her most recent books are Turf Daisies and Dandelions (Rattlesnake Press, Sacramento) and The Persistence of Vision (Poet’s Corner Press, Stockton). She has taught creative writing at women's centers, colleges and prisons, and privately. She lives near the Sacramento River with her husband, Peter Rodman.

Felicia Martinez is a writer with radical politics, a twisted sense of humor, and a head full of complicated dreams. She was born in San Diego, raised in Sacramento, with her heart in Santa Paula, and now lives in Oakland. She has been these things in her life: poet, tutor, Aztec dancer, violinist in a mariachi, GED prep & English teacher, immigrant rights organizer, and a full time Tia. Now she is a mom. She has an MFA from Mill’s College in Creative Writing and a Bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley in English and Ethnic Studies.

Yang Her is a Hmong poet who is active with the group, My Sister’s House, a program that helps victims and survivors of domestic violence. MSH is a non-profit organization and its program called "Women to Work" helps survivors of domestic violence. Info:

Suisun Valley Review needs submissions:

SVR is now accepting submissions in poetry, prose, short fiction and visual media for their 27th (Spg. 2010) issue. Deadline is April 1. SVR was a second-place winner for best community college literary magazine in the Pacific Western Division by the CCHA. Go to for info.


—James M. Moose, Sacramento

Abate the curse of cholera. Bring home
all secret Swiss accounts. Confound the
mischief of Republican politicos!
Disclose the Colonel’s secret recipe.
Eradicate the kudzu vine. Foment an
insurrection in Iran. Get cracking with
that everlasting bridge! Hands off my SSA
and Medicare! Investigate the sinking
of the Maine! Juice up the Crocker and
the Sutter Club. Keel haul the guy who
started rap. Log on to
Mop-up the milk you spill. Negotiate a
deal with John L. Sullivan. Obliterate
the crabgrass in your lawn. Placate your
neighbor’s barking dog. Quadruple your
investment in insurance stocks. Rein in
the greed of Goldman Sachs! Submit your
claim for damages on time. Take off and
land your plane with care. Unleash the
force of reason – let it flow! Vociferate
complaints about the noise! Win back
the clients you have lost. X-ray that broken
clavicle. Yank hard to ring the bell for chow.
Zip-up your lip before you spill the beans!


(Poetry drove him crazy)
—Richard Zimmer, Sacramento

The lunatic, the lover and the poet
are of imagination all compact.

Mais oui, mais oui! Pipes the small bird
outside of my cell window. Ahh! French
sounds—unlike whining English verse.

Living in this shadowy world, I look for
light in the gloom, avoiding those who’d
seek to share their darkness with me.

Poets have heavenly wisdom, not the use-
less worldly kind. There’s a dozen angels
housed in my head singing rhymes to me.

When young I walked about sad and be-
wildered—the world seemed strange and
complicated as I searched for answers.

Now, older, I remember what Wordsworth
said, We poets in our youth begin in glad-
ness, but thereof comes in the end madness.

And as Pope said, Such were the notes
thy once-loved poet sung, till death had
untimely stopped his tuneful tongue.


—Joyce Odam, Sacramento

they always bring her death
these children who discover it
in all their games

she is so old of it
they know she will take death
in accustomed hands

and make a soft moan over it
they know she understands about
their broken birds — limp animals

cold lizards — dented turtles —
oh — and they bring it all to her
and she gives them a wise word

so they can go away again
trusting her to put death
where it belongs

she is always home
for they never knock
but what she answers

her stern face
making a strong tenderness
at the door

it is as though she waits for them
knowing they will come to her
with new death every day

they leave it with her
after certain promises
and hushing of tears

they never come back for it
it is hers

(first appeared in Acorn, 1999)


—Joyce Odam

(After "Gentlemen of Leisure"—Pattiann Rogers)

After they have left, Felicia wonders
which one of the Gentlemen of Leisure
loves her truly for her coy ways

and her delicate pretensions;
how they abide by whatever game
she is playing and taking up that game;

how their eyes follow her to the mirror
where she goes to preen for a moment
before turning back to them with

a little laugh before suggesting another
flirtation they can cleverly enter—using
their wits against one another like subtle

weapons; how—when tiring of it all—
she can send them off at the prompt hour
and ponder this again in the pretty mirror.


Today's LittleNip:

—Joyce Odam

In your sister’s brand new
coloring book you color the horse blue
and ruin the book forever.

Photo by Katy Brown, Davis