Monday, December 03, 2007


Danyen Powell

—Danyen Powell, Davis

the encapsulated-self
a beginning an end
a population of plagues
how we long to be

more than dust—holes
in a plank

of a measuring stick
a lost harmonic
brittle wind...
we ate and ate—wormwood

like recorded history
layer upon layer crisscross
and overlap—
the earth compresses

and compresses—
our very molecules become

our manmade lives—some
like cathedrals
graves clawed by hand


Thanks, Danyen! Danyen Powell, author of Anvil (the very first rattlechap EVER) will be reading with fellow Snake-pal Katy Brown (The Quality of Light and our new perpetual calendar, A Poet's Book of Days) this coming Friday, Dec. 7 at The Other Voice, held at the Davis Unitarian Church, 27074 Patwin Road, Davis, 7:30 PM. Open mic will follow.

Danyen Powell was born and raised in Sacramento, California. His work has been published in Brevities, The Poets’ Guild, Poetry Depth Quarterly (PDQ), Chrysanthemum, Rattlesnake Review, and other publications, including The Sacramento Anthology: One Hundred Poems (Sacramento Poet Laureate Program, 2001); Poets’ Dinner Contest Anthology, 1998 (after he won a First Place at the Poets’ Dinner Contest); and Remembering (Poets’ Dinner Contest Anthology, 2001, after his "Pantoum of the Oncology Ward" won the Grand Prize). In addition, he was Featured Poet in Pudding Magazine #38 (1998). Danyen has also been the facilitator for the Sacramento Poetry Center’s weekly Hart Center poetry workshop for the past nine years. His chapbook, Anvil, was published by Rattlesnake Press in 2004. Danyen currently lives with his wife, Betsy, in Davis, California.

Katy Brown of Davis, California, is Social Work Supervisor with Adult Protective Services in Sacramento. She is a columnist-in-residence for Rattlesnake Review and a frequent contributor to both the Review and Medusa’s Kitchen. Her poems have also appeared in Song of the San Joaquin, Harp Strings Review, and Brevities. She has won awards in the Ina Coolbrith, Berkeley Poets’ Dinner and California Federation of Chaparral Poets, Inc. contests. Her workbook for children, Poetry Potions, is being re-issued in digital format. She is a member of the New Helvetia chapter of the California Federation of Chaparral Poets, the Sacramento Poetry Center’s Hart Center Workshop, and the VERY long-running Elk Grove Writers Group. [See Medusa's March 24, 2006 post for more info on Katy, or click on her name (or Danyen's) on]

Also this week in NorCal poetry:

•••Tonight (Monday, 12/3), 7:30 PM: Sacramento Poetry Center presents Lorna Dee Cervantes and Alfred Arteaga as part of SPC’s weekly series of readings to be held at The Space Theater, 2509 R St., Sacramento. [See last Friday's post for biographies of the poets.]

•••Weds. (12/5), 9-10 PM: Bistro 33 in Davis presents Sandra McPherson (with open mic afterwards), 226 F St., Davis. Info: (530) 756-4556 or “Poetry in Davis” page on Facebook.Com/. Sandra McPherson is the author of ten books and seven chapbooks, she is the founder and director of Swan Scythe Press (publisher of 28 poetry chapbooks), and she has taught creative writing and poetry-as-literature classes at UC Davis for more than 30 years. Her honors and awards include three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, a Guggenheim fellowship, two Ingram Merrill grants, an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and letters, and a nomination for the National Book Award. She was featured on the Bill Moyers television series, The Language of Life. McPherson’s poetry has appeared in all the major American markets for poetry. She has edited one issue of Poetry Northwest, two years of Antioch Review (poetry only), several issues of The Iowa Review (poetry only), and California Quarterly. Her book, Expectation Days, was published this fall by University of Illinois Press.

•••Thursday (12/6), 8 PM: Poetry Unplugged at Luna's Cafe, 1414 16th St., Sac. Featured readers, with open mic before and after. Info: 916-441-3931.

•••Saturday (12/8), 8 PM: A special reading at Luna's Cafe in Sacramento to commemorate the Birthday of Kenneth Patchen. Readers presenting Patchen's work will include D.R. Wagner, Kathy Kieth, frank andrick, Linda Thorell, Pat Grizzell, Lisa Rezza, Robert Grossklaus, Terryl Wheat and B.L. Kennedy. Luna's is located at 1414 16th St. in Sacramento, 916-441-3931.

December 7 Escritores reading cancelled:

JoAnn Anglin,
Coordinator of Escritores del Nuevo Sol, writes: I am sorry to report that the December 7 presentation by Las Manas, the women’s spoken word group from the SF Bay area, has been cancelled. At this time, our writing group (Writers of the New Sun/Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol) is working on our 2008 event schedule and will keep you posted. You can find current information on our activities on our website: We plan to continue holding most of our readings and workshops at La Raza Galeria Posada, 1022 – 22nd St. in midtown Sacramento ( We urge you to check out the Galeria as you do your holiday gift shopping.


—Danyen Powell

I forage in a flame
capricious: plums and thorns

light’s epiphanies
in both my eyes’ deceptions

I work in night’s muscle and sweat
sleep in my jogging shoes

taste dawn’s white lie
death’s bulldozer-logic

I hold the water of love in my arms
rage at its torrent

I dig for song of root
the tree inward-grown from my throat


—Danyen Powell

a smile
on the husk
resting, almost sleeping

but slowly

and two pennies
with song

the mouth’s

the last

("Anvil" and "Finally" are from Danyen's chapbook, Anvil, Rattlesnake Press, 2004)



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 (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 (

SnakeWatch: Up-to-the-minute Snake news:

Rattlesnake Review: The latest issue of Rattlesnake Review (#15) is available for free at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento, or send $2 to P.O. Box 762, Pollock Pines, CA 95726. Issue #16 will be out in mid-December; its deadline of Nov. 15 has passed. Next deadline (for Issue #17, due out in mid-March) is February 15. (Sooner than you think!)

Coming December 12! The Snake is proud to announce the release of Metamorphic Intervals From The Insanity Of Time, a SnakeRings SpiralChap from Patricia D'Alessandro; Notes From An Ivory Tower, a littlesnake broadside from Sacramento's Ann Wehrman; and a brand new issue of Rattlesnake Review (#16). Come celebrate all of these on Wednesday, December 12, 7:30 PM at The Book Collector, 1008 24th St., Sacramento. Refreshments and a read-around will follow; bring your own poems or somebody else's. And use the opportunity to pick up a few poetic Christmas presents there, including any of a number of wonderful books and chapbooks—not to mention
A Poet's Book of Days, Rattlesnake Press's perpetual calendar featuring the poetry and photography of Katy Brown.