Thursday, April 07, 2011

Dodgy, These Moving Mountains...

Mt. Shasta
—Photo by Chris Piper, Napa

—C. Piper

Covering clouds part
at the sacred peak’s whim,
the ghost mountain emerges
lit from within at dawning,
revealing the vastness
of my insignificance.
I become sacrament—
my flesh: stale bread,
my blood: weak wine–
inadequate offering
for the white spirit.
With ghostly suddenness,
Shasta regathers her veil of mists
and disappears.


Thanks to today's contributors! As to my query in the title of yesterday’s post, Taylor Graham writes: Just another place I've been able to visit vicariously thanks to Elihu Burritt’s travelogs through Britain. It's in Cornwall between Land's End and Tintagel—the stuff of poetry! TG will be reading in Folsom at the Folsom Lake College “Literature of the Wild” reading next Tuesday at 1pm to celebrate their Earth Week, and Jennifer O’Neill Pickering will be reading there on Thursday. Watch for details.

Our clicker on the lower part of the b-board is tantalizingly close to 100,000—watch for the big flip! While you’re watching, sit back and rest up, drink some tea, because wait’ll you see the line-up of readings for next week! (Oy—why do they all come at once?) You’ll need your strength just to get to them all.

Plenty of workshops going on this season, too, starting with the Sac. Poetry Center Conference this weekend. We also have a special MK page devoted to workshops; click on “Workshops/Retreats” under the Snake on a Rod over there in the skinny green box to the right of this. Here’s a sampling of workshop fare coming up:

•••Sat. (4/23), 1-3:30pm: Making a Poem: The Best Words in the Best Order with Salvatore Salerno at the Modesto Library. Free! Bring eight copies of two original, unsigned poems. Reserve your seat at 209-558-7814.

•••Apr. 29-30: Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words Poetry Concert and Workshop with Kim Rosen in Davis at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, 27074 Patwin Rd. $95/person, $75 for students/srs. 62 and older. Space is limited; must register by 4/22 w/Kirk Ridgeway, 530-231-5679. Info: (click on Programs) or

•••April 29-May 1: Gold Rush Writers Conference in the Leger Hotel, Mokelumne Hill. Sixteen workshops that run the gamut from futuristic fiction to memoirs to poetry, including marketing trends and self-publishing. $175 includes a picnic supper/dinner and brunch, panels, workshops:

•••Sat., May 14, 10am-4pm: No Ideas But In Things: Working w/Images in Poetry, a Generative Workshop for Women with poets Erica Goss and Mari L’Esperance at Edwin Markham House, History Park, San Jose. For women only, limited to ten participants. $100/person includes beverages, bagels, fruit, wine and cheese, plus handouts, paper, pens, some art supplies. Contact Mari L’Esperance at to find out if space is available and to reg. (check due by 4/30).

•••June 16-19: Poetic Spirit Conference sponsored by Modoc Forum, Surprise Valley, CA:

Or, for more informal, online fare:

•••Ellen Bass's colleague and fellow writing teacher, Laura Davis, is offering a new free service: a weekly inspirational quote and writing prompt via email. It's called “The Writer's Journey Roadmap” and, once you subscribe, it will arrive in your inbox every Tuesday. If you like, you can even post your responses to the prompt on The Roadmap Blog that Laura has created. Here's the link to sign up:

•••Anyone interested in writing Pleiades (the 7-line, 7-syllable/line, same-cap-letter-starting-each-line form) can join a new circle forming with Olga Blu Browne, Carol Louise Moon, Janet Pantoja and others, called The Moon and Stars Pleiades Circle. They'll write Pleiades and send them through the mail to each other for critique, advancing the cause of Pleiades through-out the world. E-mail Carol Louise at if you want to join.


Pat Pashby writes: Here is a Coin Poem: two couplets, 7,5-7,5 rhyme scheme: ab,cb: opposite thoughts. Thought it would carry out the Dr.Jekyll/Mr. Hyde theme in a small way:

—Patricia A. Pashby, Sacramento

Some bring out the best in her.
She feels free—at ease.

Others bring out her worst side.
Her choice—not to please.


—Tom Goff, Carmichael

Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote lots of sonnets,
wrote them when she was a flapper, bold;
though brazen in Roaring Twenties mode, they unfold
Italianly, kin to the conical bonnets
Juliets wear in ancient Shakespeare productions.
You can tell it’s ESVM right away,
addressing her latest poet-layabout laid,
Romantic veneer brushed over caustic reduction,
anonymizing tactfully the One kissed off,
yet jazzily hypnotic in the breakup
as cocktail shakers in the background shake up
whichever libation-potion will soon lift off
her newest rocketing, plummeting toy boy…

so what fills these musty kissoffs with such joy?


—Tom Goff

Dodgy, these moving mountains…whenever we
aim for one, it ducks like a sidewinder, mimics
cloud, drapes itself over, under, in back of,
dives into coverts and groves of pines…

Sierra, how I hate that, on long trips, when you
seem eeliest, wiliest, you catch us mid-lurch,
wrong-footing us. We nearly steer into
you, snowbanked, all one glaze of sunbeam
on snowdrift, darker than Bristol Cream
where shadows blue you. You loom sudden

and thrusting, gigantic, tree-beetled, dripping
runoff in purest contempt for us little
drivers and climbers. I’d rather you followed
us everywhere like the moon (but you do!)…

and there you go again, spying on me
as I spy on you from my window. If you want
me to stop looking, stay in one place!


Today's LittleNip: 

—A.R. Ammons

Art's the
fruit of

the trees
of pain

that grow
in the

fields of
unspent life.



To each its own
Shape, its own season to bloom
Its time

—Ronald Edwin Lane, Colfax