Tuesday, August 10, 2010

About the Web

Photo by Carl Bernard Schwartz, Sacramento

—Janet Pantoja, Woodinville, WA

If you were at the very top of a Ferris wheel in my city,
you would see nothing but extremely tall evergreen trees . . .
and if it were a fine summer day cloudless and clear,
you might catch a glimpse of majestic Mt. Rainier.

If you were at the very top of a Ferris wheel at Cal Expo,
you would see a vast canopy of variegated green trees . . .
and if it were a fair summer day with blue skies, cloud-free
you would sizzle in the triple-digit August sunshine of Sacramento!


Our Seed of the Week last week was Trees, and serendipitously The Sacramento Bee had an article yesterday about the trees of Sacramento. There will be an exhibit of tree photos (“Living With Trees”) at the Robert T. Matsui Gallery on City Hall’s first floor at 915 I St., Sacramento, until January 15. This week’s Seed of the Week is Cobwebs.

Another interesting Bee article yesterday was one called “Self-Publishing Gets Easier With Online Tools”. Check it out at www.sacbee.com/2010/08/09/2945533/self-publishing-gets-easier-with.html/.

I think my beloved grosbeaks have headed south; remember when they arrived last Spring? Only one is left—however will he find the flock?? Anyway, schools are starting, poetry workshops and readings are escalating, and it’s all a sign that Autumn is peeking around the corner at us.

On our b-board, Calliope has some new items in her Closet, too, including a plug for my favorite thesaurus, as well as a suggestion that you get yourself a “presence” on the Internet—blogs are the easiest to set up, are generally free, and you can change them to your heart’s content. Hey—you’re a writer! Publicity is important! Scroll down past Calliope (and Theresa McCourt) to the Poet-to-Poet section and check out some of the many variations of Webness our poets have come up with. (With which our poets have come up?)

And thanks to today's contributors, still riffing about trees and, in Janet's case, porches—which actually was a SOW several years ago. Seeds of the Week are deeply sown...

Announcements from Rae Gouirand:

ONE BY ONE PRESS is officially off the ground, and its new poetry journal, One by One, is reading submissions now through September 30. Go to www.onebyonepress.com or “friend” them on Facebook: search One by One Press.


•••Sunday nights (9/12-12/9), 7-9pm or 4-6pm: A weekly, year-round workshop that Rae has been running for the past six years, and which has provided area writers the chance to build and sustain readerships attuned to longer-term conversations about new work at any stage. Many in this workshop joined years ago and have used its structure to develop book-length projects, but the group is also open to writers who’d like to find support for exploring their possibilities as writers one piece at a time. This workshop meets joyously and comfortably in private homes where we spread out and gather snacks and camaraderie into our weave. (Please note: those who register for this workshop will have the opportunity to register for a private dinner-and-conversation with groundbreaking essayist John D’Agata on October 31.) Course fee: $225 before 8/22; then $850, plus books to buy. To register, email Rae at rgouirand@gmail.com and request the official registration form for Creative Nonfiction in Davis.

CREATIVE NONFICTION (new: in Sacramento at SPC)

•••Weds. nights (10/20-12/22), 7-9pm: Rae will be offering her private creative nonfiction workshop in Sacramento, at the Sacramento Poetry Center. The workshop will operate in exactly the same fashion as her Davis group, reading works designed to inspire a sense of possibility, workshop new pieces produced by members of the group, and use writing exercises to stretch approaches to the page. This group is open to those already writing creative nonfiction as well as those who have different or little writing experience. Those who register for this workshop will also have an opportunity to register for the event with John D’Agata on October 31. Course fee: #175 before 9/20; $200 after, plus books. To register, reply to Rae at rgouirand@gmail.com and request the official registration form for Creative Nonfiction in Sacramento.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

(Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford, undertaketh
to defend the honor of Queen Elizabeth in a tournament
of January 22, 1581)

The tree rests beside a tawny tourney tent,
and that tree’s leaves the slender shape of laurel.
All other trees found fruitless, the knight faints: spent,
haggard and thirsty. But, gleaming on his sorrel,

that same tree, its leaves the shape of laurel,
shows by the light of dawn as purest gold.
Haggard, and thirsty, but caught like his chestnut sorrel
in the tree’s great gleam, the knight turns bold,

revealed by the light of dawn as dressed in gold…
matching the tree he’s marked out for his tree
in that bright gleam, the knight again turns bold,
and thinks of recovery, thinks of poetry.

Matching the tree he’s marked out as his tree,
the gold knight applies himself to virtuous thought
and thinks of recovery, speaks of poetry,
and, the word Poetry spoken, words come hot:

the knight applies himself to virtuous thought.
He senses the tree’s a symbol, gold as his lady.
Then, her name spoken, the utterance comes hot
with love; & now he staggers; he needs things shady.

He senses the tree symbolic, a golden lady;
under its boughs he staggers, overcome
with love; & now he shelters, he needs things shady.
Enforced to rest, he might be drunk with rum.

Under those golden boughs, quite overcome,
he hugs the trunk, and comes away all gold dust,
already gilt-armored: as if numbed by rum,
he gathers his strength, all his gold so much rust.

He hugs the trunk, and comes away all gold dust,
as if the bark were coated in gold leaf.
Yet, gathering strength, fresh gold replacing rust,
he feels the ache erased, a lifting of grief.

As if the bark should coat him in gold leaf…
he infers this tree provides new life and health;
feeling the ache erased, a lifting of grief,
he spots one flaw in the great tree’s golden wealth.

Inferring the tree provides new life and health,
he sees a wound run through the mighty trunk,
one flaw in the golden tree, and yet still wealth.
Blue-green chrysocolla, under gold bark!

He sees a wound run through the mighty trunk,
the tree hurt not at all by that one wound.
Medicinal chrysocolla stone, under bark!
He tastes of the sap—and grows again sane and sound.

The tree’s hurt not one jot despite its wound.
And its branches (daylight reveals) sprout buds of pearl.
He’s touched and tasted the sap. He feels quite sound.
He readies himself to learn what fate unfurls.

He readies himself to test what fate unfurls,
for bad men lurk to undermine what’s won.
He vows to defend the fair branches hung with pearl:
he knows his name is The Knight of the Tree of the Sun.

(*See Edward de Vere’s original "Knight of the Tree of the Sun" speech via the link marked www.oxford-shakespeare.com/documents.html, at Nina Green’s "The Oxford Authorship Site".)


—Janet Pantoja

A Porch for All Seasons

A porch is a wonderful thing.
Everyone should have a porch.
Some people call a porch a veranda.
It makes no difference. It's still a porch.

A covered porch protects you from the heat or the rain.
A porch is a gathering place for family, friends and lovers.
A porch is a place for solitude, meditation or writing poetry.
A porch is a wonderful thing.

You can observe nature, passersby or neighbors,
as you sit on the porch on a warm summer 's day,
while wrapping your hands around an ice cold exotic drink . . .
swirling the ice in the glass and listening to it clink.
Everyone should have a porch.

Summer seems so far away . . .

You can enjoy the out-of-doors in cool fall/winter/spring air,
when you sit on the porch on a freshly crisped day
while wrapping your hands around a mug of something deliciously hot . . .
smelling its aroma and observing steam curls rise up from your cup.
Everyone should have a porch.

What would people do without a porch?
Sit in their houses—confined to a gi-normous claustrophobic box.
A porch is a wonderful thing.
Everyone really ought to have a porch.


Summer's Eve on the Porch

Let's sit together on the porch tonight.
The heat of the day has passed—
dissolved itself into warm twilight
on this lovely summer's eve.
Let's snuggle on the swing.

Come swing with me on the porch.
We'll chat of times past, present, future—or not.
We can just be quiet, snuggle and swing in silence . . .
Listen, the evening birds twitter.
Come, my love. Come with me now.

Let's sit together on the porch.
See the light is waning . . . shadows deepen,
the stars have begun to shine. Moonlight glides
through the tree branches, making eerie patterns.
Come now, my love. Come sit with me on the porch.


On a Porch

Pleasure comes to those who sit relaxing
On the porch, inhaling fresh air—who
Remain indoors: who stagnate
Cooped up: who are
House bound.


Today's LittleNip:

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

Towering black walnut tree
hostel for squirrels
jade-embroidered canopy
ancient growth snuffed out
elbowed by lofty stucco—
limbs severed, trunk hacked
vagrant tree rodents scamper
stockpiling kernels.



About the Web