Monday, April 12, 2010

Bring Your Own Hangers

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

—Carol Frith, Sacramento

(after two canvasses and a rosebush)

Half a sun, a circle, an arrow—
the background a hazy yellow dazzle.

I sacrifice background, the pigment always
more frightened than I am, a mix of purples:

sad botany of antique roses, sepia canes,
old bushes that will not leaf this spring,
blues and reds that collect against the
garden wall.

This is how to handle space—with
a kind of rapid alternation.

The sycamore’s in early bud, each
little leaf still upside down—some residue
of winter rain with space enough
for what persists,

the whole spring-colored canvas
filled with assonant ghosts: message
of the slow casement and gate.

I consider separately each fence-wall
brick in the irregular and failing air.


Be sure to join us this Weds. for a reading from Carol Frith’s new collection of poetry from David Robert Books (two for a journey), and to celebrate six years of Rattlesnake Press! We shall also celebrate Earth Week (a bit previously) with an Open Mic: bring 1-3 poems to talk about Mother Earth with us! That’s at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, 7:30pm. Be there!

I made a wee error last Saturday, saying that both Katy Brown and Tom Goff will be reading this week. Katy will indeed be reading in Davis at The Other Voice this Friday, but Tom’s reading (with others) in Folsom at Folsom Lake College's Celebration of Earth Week isn’t until next week, on April 20 and 22.

Paul Lojeski writes: I have a poem up at Other medusaites might want to submit there. Thanks, Paul, for the tip!

And thanks to Carl Schwartz for today’s pix; he says, “Here are some cliffs. Bring your own hangers.”


1000 Poems on Main Street, Placerville: El Dorado Arts Council

“Poetry is alive. Don't be afraid. Poetry is alive. Be very afraid.”

•••Sat. (4/17), 5-9pm: "1000 Poems on Main Street" will kick-off the 2010 3rd Saturday Artwalk season in Placerville. Poetry will come alive at "POETSpaces"—cubbies, doorways, and alcoves, sponsored by Downtown Placerville merchants, with recitations, posts, and readings. El Dorado County Poetry Out Loud finalist Rebecca Shields is the 2010 Artwalk Youth Liaison. Twitter your way into the world of poetry with "POETweets" ( at 1000PoemsMainSt). All are welcome to participate in 1000 Poems on Main Street. Send poetry for inclusion to Or better yet, drop by Artspace (459 Main St., Placerville) and write out either your favorite poem or an original poem of your own for posting on the walls of the gallery. Red Fox Underground Poets (Brigit Truex, Irene Lipshin, Kate Wells, Moira Magneson, Taylor Graham, and Wendy Patrice Williams) will give a reading from 6-7 p.m. at Artspace.

"Poetry is here. Don't be afraid. Poetry is here. Be very afraid."


Also this week in NorCal Poetry (fasten your seatbelts!):

(for a more complete listing, go to

•••Monday (4/12), 7:30pm: Sacramento Poetry Center features Catherine Daly, Nicole Griffin and Margaret Hoehn at R25, 25th and R Sts., Sacramento. [See last Friday’s post for bios.]

•••Tues. (4/13), 6pm: The Second Tuesday Poetry Reading will feature Margaret Kaufman reading from her new book, Inheritance, and Stella Beratlis, Quinton Duval, Lee Herrick, Jeff Knorr and others reading from the new Sixteen Rivers anthology, The Place That Inhabits Us. Join us at 6pm at the Barkin' Dog in downtown Modesto at 940 11th St. Open mic will follow. Contact for more info. If you would like to preview either book, please check out the Sixteen Rivers website pages for each book: for Inheritance, and for The Place That Inhabits Us.

•••Friday (4/16) and Sat. (4/17): Sacramento Poetry Center's FREE 2010 SPC Annual Writing Conference at R25, 1719 25th St., Sacramento, with presenters Joseph Lease, Toni Mirosevich, Donna de la Perrière, Flatman Crooked, Tim Kahl, Indigo Moor, Peter Grandbois and Foshang (with Lawrence Dinkins and Mario Ellis Hill). Info:, Registration: Tim Kahl at

•••Fri. (4/16 and every last Friday of the month), 8-10:30 PM: TheBlackOutPoetrySeries inside The Upper Level VIP Lounge, 26 Massie 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 R & B sensation J Ali, Sac's favorite lady poet Anna Marie and Kelly Freeman Richardson and open mic. $10.00. J Ali's performance experiences include opening for Boys 2 Men, Ginuwine, and legendary acts such as Lakeside, Alexander O'neal, and Cherelle. J Ali recently has turned his attention towards television. Working as the Head Music Writer for various sitcoms out of Los Angeles, J Ali has featured over 25 songs on "The EVE Show". He has also landed songs on Will Smith's show, "All Of Us", as well as "Cuts" starring Marques Houston. Info: 916-208-POET or

•••Friday (4/16), 7:30pm: The Other Voice, sponsored by the UU Church of Davis, features two widely published poets: Katy Brown and Joyce Odam in the library of the church located at 27074 Patwin Rd., Davis. Open Mike and refreshments follow the reading, so bring along a poem or two to share. Katy Brown is a Supervisor of Social Workers in Adult Protective Services in Sacramento. She has won awards in The International Dancing Poetry Contest, The Ina Coolbrith Circle, Berkeley Poets, and California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. competitions. She has had poems in Brevities, Song of the San Joaquin, Harpstrings, and Rattlesnake Review and is a frequent contributor of poetry and photographs to Medusa's Kitchen. Her workbook, Poetry Potions, was used in schools for nearly twenty years and is being re-introduced in a digital format. Her other writing credits include automobile humor, greeting cards, a multiple-ending book, and a series of short mysteries for young readers.

Joyce Odam
was born in Canada but has lived in the U.S. since the age of three and in Sacramento since 1952. She has a passion for the relevance of art in one's life. Her poetry has been published in Christian Science Monitor, Rattle, Seattle Review, The Lyric, Rattlesnake Review, Poetry Now, Ekphrasis and many other publications. She has eleven chapbooks. Her many awards include: Grand Prize winner of Artists Embassy International's Dancing Poetry Contest in 1999, two-time winner of California Federation of Chaparral Poet's Golden Pegasus Award. She is the editor of Brevities: A Mini-Mag of Minimalist Poems and co-edits Poet's Corner for Senior Magazine.

•••Sat. (4/17), 12 noon: Central Valley Haiku Club meets at Eastern Empire restaurant, 460 Howe Av., Sacramento. Info/map:

•••Sat. (4/17): Lassen County Arts Council (807 Cottage St. in Susanville) presents a celebration of National Poetry Month. This promises to be an exciting event with two exceptional writers, Lassen County’s Joelle Fraser and UNR’s poet and professor Ann Keniston. Both writers will conduct a morning workshop at 10am entitled “From Mini-Memoir to Poem: How to Get a Handle on a Significant Memory,” and there will be an evening reading at 7pm with refreshments, both events at The Lassen County Arts Council on Cottage St. This opportunity is provided to the public through the Lassen County Arts Council, Poet’s & Writers and The James Irvine Foundation. Joelle Fraser is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, The Territory of Men, published by Random House. A MacDowell Fellow and MFA recipient from the University of Iowa, Fraser's award-winning essays have been published or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Crazyhorse, Fourth Genre, Michigan Quarterly Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, High Desert Journal, and others. Joelle teaches writing at Lassen Community College, and she has been on the faculty of several writing conferences. She is at work on a second book, The Swedish Sisters, an epic family history.

Ann Keniston
is the author of a poetry collection, The Caution of Human Gestures (David Robert Books, 2005), and a critical study, Overheard Voices: Address and Subjectivity in Postmodern American Poetry (Routledge 2006). Her poems have been published in Antioch Review, Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pequod, Shade, and many other journals; her essays have appeared in Gettysburg Review, Threepenny Review, and elsewhere. Twice a recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize, she has been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Ucross Foundation and has received artist’s grants from the Somerville (MA) Arts Council and the Sierra Arts Foundation (NV). She teaches English and creative writing at the University of Nevada-Reno and lives in Reno with her husband and two sons.
Contact the arts council ( to register. The workshop fee is $25.00 which includes the evening reading. It is free to students and seniors.

“Poetry is the music of the soul, and, above all, of great and feeling souls.” —Voltaire

Lassen also has facilities for a writer’s retreat: go to

•••Saturday (4/17), 7pm: Terry Moore will be celebrating the release of his new book, Born To Love You, at Underground Books, 2814 35th St. (off 35th and Broadway), Sacramento—plus a special Black Men Expressing Poetry Tour, and guest author Kristine Smith. $3 at the door. Terry's poetry often talks about relationships, the kind of work that we have to do to make relationships work, but he works in plenty of tenderness, humor, devotion, and of course rhythm and rhyme along the way. Enjoy the words of Terry Moore, and check out a few links below that give you an idea of what's coming up next from this remarkable writer and performer. You can contact Terry at, or 916-208-POET, but best of all, go hear him perform his poetry in person!

•••Sunday (4/18), 11am: El Camino Poets Chapter of
California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. will be meeting at the Hart Senior Center, 27th & J Sts., Sacramento. Bring 8 copies of a poem of your own to workshop.

•••Sunday (4/18), 1-3pm: Modesto Poets Laureate Celebrate National Poetry Month at the McHenry Museum, 1402 I St., Modesto. Ed Bearden, Modesto’s PL, and the Poets of the San Joaquin will host past Modesto PLs Arlene Mattos and debee loyd, followed by refreshments and open mic. Info: Ed Bearden at 209-522-9600 or Cleo Griffith, 209-543-1776 or



bangs out a beat

bodies get greed, so close
but never close enough

flecks from her pancake
makeup fall on his chest

afterwards, he sooths her
eyelids with cold cream

leaving the experts
to wonder but not concur.

—Ann Privateer, Davis



in Boulougne, near Paris
so we cross it twice

winter whips through
the perforated steel bridge

as the baby carriage vibrates
up my coat sleeves. I am

nearly numb midway when
we stop to watch a dog

exercise the length
of a houseboat barge

drifting down stream.
I think about last summer

remember a note in August
taped to this lamppost

and wonder what became
of that person, what became

of August?

—Ann Privateer


—Ann Privateer

lanky Billy
in the candy

store, dreamy eyed
pony boy only

a photograph
from the slippery edge

baggy pants
without a gun

steals money
from the beggar’s cup

buries his treasure
for a rainy day

when horses
and heat don’t rise.


Today's LittleNip:

—Mitz Sackman, Murphys

Write what you know
Grow where you are planted
We want you to be safe
Whatever That means

How do you know
If you never try
What lies beyond that next ridge
What is at the bottom of the cliff

To get anywhere in life
Beyond the known safe zone
You have to throw yourself off that cliff
Into a new life

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz