VC Earth & Poetry Month Speakers & Special Events

Happy Earth Month and National Poetry Month!

Over at Ventura College, we have lots of great events planned!

Guest speakers include
> California State Poet Laureate Al Young,
> Channel Islands NP Sup’t Russell Galipeau,
> Ventura City Council Member Carl Morehouse, and > CSUCI Prof Brad Monsma, author of Sepse Wild.

Ventura College’s Planet Preservation Club invites you to join us at the following events sponsored in part by a Staff Innovation Grant from the Ventura College Foundation, Ventura College Associated Students, Elzbet Diaz De Leon’s Environmental Issues Class, CSUCI American Democracy Project, and more. Many of these activities are connected to student service learning projects.

Continue reading

Life Lines

A reporter for our local paper is doing an article on poetry “Lifelines”–lines of poems which have served us in meaningful ways. The Academy of American Poets is encouraging people to think about this; for more information about the project go to their website.This is a slightly expanded response to her query: Maybe 8 or so years ago, I received a copy of the Lannon Foundation’s annual report. In it, I found this quote:

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

They cited Mary Oliver, “The Summer Day,” from House of Light.

I knew nothing of Mary Oliver, really, had heard of her and a few of her poems, and liked them all right; that was about it. But this fragment of a poem really spoke to me: What is it I plan to do with my one wild and precious life? wow!

As a college teacher, I have an opportunity to share–or impose–on my students words and ideas I find important. I put this quote at the top of the syllabus every semester–to get my students to think about this too–to think about they will do with their one wild and precious life–and to let them know too, that I want them to know I care what it is they plan to do, that I see their lives as precious.

Last year, when Mary Oliver spoke at UCSB, I finally bought her New and Selected Poems V 1 which won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize and which includes that poem, “The Summer Day.” The poem as a whole reminds me of the importance of paying attention, of giving myself the time to be blessed and idle in order to smell, and feel, and see the beauty and energy of life on this earth, and to be grateful to be alive in this and every moment.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean–
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down–
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I ahve done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Every time I prepare for class, and even while I am teaching, I stumble on the last two lines, these words, this reminder, this lesson not to waste a single moment. What is it I plan to do?

But the poem that I turn to when I feel defeated, when I need solace, when I feel lost about what to do, is Wendell Berry’s “The Peace of Wild Things” which I found in Robert Bly’s News of the Universe:

When peace for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The last four lines are the most powerful for me–speaking as they do to the patience of waiting for the time to shine, and to a sense of peace and joy and calm that comes from resting–nesting– in grace. When I read this poem, I feel the embrace of the world, and release a deep breath of freedom.

What are your lifelines?? Please post them below–if you discuss it more on your blog, please leave the link!

Ventura/Santa Barbara Upcoming Poetry Events

Phil Taggart’s compilation of
Ventura / Santa Barbara Poetry Events April 2008
(There’s a LOT here so I highlighted a few that I’m trying to attend!)

Oxnard College
4000 S. Rose Oxnard
April 2: Shirley Geok-lin Lim
12:45 – 1:45 at The Clocktower Auditorium
Host: Shelley Savren

This Just In–Original Poetry
First Monday of the month 8pm
The Village Jester Restaurant & Pub
139 Ojai Ave.—Next to the Ojai Playhouse
April 7: Geoff Farr
Host: Tree Bernstein
open-mic 640-8001

Artists’ Union Gallery
Every Tuesday at 7:30 pm
Artists’ Union Gallery
330 South California Street, Ventura
Host: Roe Estep, (805)320-3524
April 1: Dorothea Grossman & Michael Vlatkavich
April 8: Diana Raab
April 15: Lois Klein
April 22: Sojourner Kincaid Rolle
also at the Artists’ Union Gallery:
April 5: Phil Taggart and Deepakalypse
April 10: Ending Homelessnes in 10 Years panel discussion
April 12: From the Margins poetry reading

Arcade Poetry Series
Oxnard Carnegie Art Museum
424 South C Street, Oxnard
Host: Jackson Wheeler
all reading start at 7pm
April 19: Adrianne Marcus and Carol V. Davis
May 17: Kathleen Lynch and Christina Pages
June 21: David Starkey and friday lubina

Bell Arts Factory (friday on Saturday)
432 N. Ventura Avenue – Ventura
last Saturday of the month 7:30pm
host: friday
canceled for April
The Poetry Zone
Second Saturday, 2–4 pm

Karpeles Manuscript Museum
21 W. Anapamu, Santa Barbara
Host: Suzanne Frost
April 12: Amalio Madueno and Jeanette Clough
May 10: Perie Longo
June 14: Kathy Roxby

Train of Thought at the ArtBarn
every Thursday at 6:30pm
856 East Thompson Blvd. Ventura
(between Ash and Kalorama, behind Kids and Families Together)
Open Mic

Favorite Poems Project
Third Monday from 5:15 – 6:30
The Blue Agave
20 E. Cota, Santa Barbara
Host: Lois Klein Open Mic:
All poets and non-poets invited to read a favorite poem (not their own) or two
Soap Box Poets
First Sunday of the month at 3pm
Borders in the Camino Real Shopping Center
(across from Home Depot/Staples), Goleta
Host: Kathleen Roxby
Ventura College Special Earth Day / Poetry Month readings
Host: Gwendolyn Alley
April 9 Amalio Madueno
12-12:45pm Poetry & discussion of poetics
2—3pm Poetry workshop

April 14 Laynie Browne
12-12:45pm Poetry & discussion of contemporary sonnets
1:30-230pm Poetry workshop
April 21 Al Young, CA Poet Laureate
12-12:45pm Poetry & discussion of poetics for change
130-230pm Poetry & Prose plus writing workshop
April 23 Earth Action Day
10-1:30pm poets & singer/songwriters
1:30-2:30pm Brad Monsma
Santa Barbara Special Poetry Month readings

April 2 “Meditations in Silver” Photography & Poetry
at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 3:30-5:00 pm.
Von Romberg Gallery.
Host: Enid Osborn

April 2 Barry Spacks reading in the College of Creative Studies Poetry Series, Old Little Theatre, CCS, UCSB

April 3 “They Keep It All Going: Celebrating Essential Workers in Photographs and Poems.” 6:30-7:30 pm. County Administration Bldg. Channing Peake Gallery 105 E. Anapamu.
Host: Barry Spacks

April 5 SB Poetry Series “Poetry, Print & Jazz” 7-9 pm
Santa Barbara Public Library Faulkner Gallery, 40 E. Anapamu.
Lois Klein, A.J.Ford, Jackson Wheeler, and Paul Portugé;
Sophia Astr calligraphy table, Fiona Spring of LettreSauvage
Colter Frazier on jazz sax.
Host, Carol DeCanio
April 9 David Starkey, host of “The Creative Community,” will do a live interview
of local politicians and some poets reading their favorite poems, Channel 21,
8-9 pm.

April 17 Winners of Teen Poetry Contest Santa Barbara Public Library; Faulkner Gallery. 7-8:30 pm.

April 20 A bilingual reading of Poems Inspired by or From Latin America.
Santa Barbara Museum of Art Davidson Gallery 1:30-3 pm.
Host: Kelly Peinado.
April 25 Marti­n Espada. 8 p.m.
SBCC Bland Forum on the West Campus.
Host: David Starkey.

Kava Dume
Every Wednesday except the 1st at 7:30 pm
5653 Kana Road, Agoura
Host: Miss Marissa “Con Gusto”
(818) 865-8602
Open mic

Poetry Workshops, Classes and Panels

Contemporary Poets Class
3 Fridays, Mar. 28 – Apr. 11 10:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Ventura College, 71 Day Rd.
Instructor: Loren Haar
Fee: $59
Learn about three significant poets writing today—their style, their signature poems, the recurring themes in their work.
Week 1: Carolyn Forché, activist and human rights advocate, brings politics and poetry together in what she calls “poetry of witness.” Should poetry be political? We’ll consider this question as we explore her most explosive work.
Week 2: Yusef Komunyakaa, often incorporating jazz rhythms into his poetry, combines musical style with cultural commentary. We’ll look at how jazz and his experiences in Vietnam have influenced his work.
Week 3: Sharon Olds, with her characteristic “confessional” style and startling imagery will not disappoint. We will approach her work with a focus on theme and poetics. OPTIONAL $5.00 material is fee payable to instructor

Barnes and Noble
Second and fourth Wednesdays, 7–9 pm
Barnes and Noble, Ventura

Ventura County Writers Club
Third Wednesday
For information, email: Cathryn Andresen,
Poemcrafters Guild
For more information send bio and sample of work to:
807 Camino Concordia – Camarillo 93010
(805) 491-3242

Veterans Writing Group
For veterans of all wars and their family members
April 13, May 4, June 8
all sessions are from 2:30 – 5:30
Unitarian Universalist Church
5654 Ralston Street Ventura
to reserve a space call 805/644-3898
or e-mail or
co-facilitators: Elijah Imlay and Jan Christian
workshop is free

In Print

Lois Klein’s new book of poetry, A Soldier’s Daughter, published by Turning Point Press

Bear Flag Republic, Prose Poems and Poetics from California
Editors: Christopher Buckley and Gary Young
Featuring 89 poets including Robert Bly, Maxine Chernoff, Richard Garcia,
Robert Hass, Philip Levine, Morton Marcus, Czelaw Milosoz, Diane Wakowski,
Jackson Wheeler, Marsha de la O, Perie Longo, Polly Bee,
Laurel Ann Bogen, Christopher Buckley, Gary Young, Glenna Luschei,
Bill Mohr, Scotty Creeley, Phil Taggart…
INCARNATE MUSE Press is seeking poems for its second atheist poetry anthology. Confront, question, or deny the god of your youth, the sacred text of your culture. Express your disbelief, disapproval, doubt, or dismay. Looking for honest, thought-provoking poetry daring to speak against the social norm of
belief and/or attempting to take the stigma from non-belief. Interested in nontheism expressed positively rather than solely in opposition to theism. Avoid gratuitous vulgarity and unfocused anger. We feel that atheism is often defined too narrowly and inaccurately.
Deadline: July 30. Up to 6 poems
INCARNATE MUSE Press is also seeking poems from adult survivors of childhood emotional and/or psychological abuse. We are looking for poems of high literary quality rather than poems that are simply cathartic. We are not wanting to see poems about physical or sexual abuse, but about the other abuse, the one that can be much harder to recognize. Parental bullying, neglect, disinterest, mental illness, personality disorders, etc., interest us. Possible topics: loneliness, self-blame, confusion, deep feelings of worthlessness, anger, recognition, acceptance, healing, forgiveness, distance, the impact on your adult relationships, etc. Deadline June 15. Up to 6 poems, SASE. Incarnate Muse, c/o Michelle Rhea, P.O. Box 5756, Santa Barbara, CA 93150 or e-mail
is a new poetry magazine launching itself monthly from Albuquerque,
New Mexico and Santa Barbara, California. We are looking for poets to submit their work.
Submissions of any quantity or inquiries about the magazine may be sent year-round to or 241A Willow Road NW, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 87107. Copyrights revert to authors upon publication. Previously published work other than work already published in “Willow Street” and “Central Avenue” shall be considered. To be added to our mailing list, send an e-mail to
The present staff of the magazine includes the Editor, Suzanne Frost and the Advisory Editor, Cathryn McCracken. Subscriptions help to cover our printing costs. Please send your $10 yearly subscription to Sage Trail, 661 Del Parque Dr., Unit D, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. Subscribers to the poetry journal, “Central Avenue,” will automatically receive the first issue of “Sage Trail” free in late January. Online access to “Sage Trail” shall be forthcoming.
Solo Café 3: “central coast poets say what needs to be said”
is out and available
with poems by: Dan Gerber, Perie Longo, Glenna Luschei, Marsha de la O,
David Starkey, Kevin Patrick Sullivan, Phil Taggart and Jackson Wheeler
with an introduction by Barry Spacks
ASKeW Poetry Journal
just out: the fourth issue features:
Laurel Ann Bogen, Hélène Cardona, José Manuel Cardona,
Louisa Castrodale, Carol V. Davis, John Gentry, Jeff Green,
Loren Haar, Michael Haight, Timothy Houghton,
Charlotte Innes, Douglas Kearney, Christine Kitano,
Mercedes Lawry, Lou Lipsitz, Gerald Locklin,
Adrian C. Louis, Maia, Virginia Mariposa, Jeffrey McDaniel,
Bill Mohr, Ruth Nolan, Margaret Rabb, Carlos Reyes,
Mary Kay Rummel, Patty Seyburn, Barry Spacks,
G. Murray Thomas, Tim Tipton, Doris C. Vernon, Gary Young
Editors: Marsha de la O and Phil Taggart
P.O. Box 559 Ventura 93002
Beyond Baroque in Venice is now carrying Askew #s 2, 3 & 4
631 Venice Boulevard Venice
Askew is also available at:
Bank of Books 748 Main Street – Ventura
Presses and Journals
Lettre Sauvage
Signed and numbered limited editions
Fourth Chorale Ode from Euripides’ Hippolytus translated by Anne Carson
In the Open Field by Steven Dunn
Chapbook forthcoming
Long Portrait by Mark Irwin
Community Studio
Learn about letterpress and book arts in a creative, fine art publishing center; lessons, workshops and studio rental available beneath the oaks in Santa Paula.
TreeHouse Press
limited edition books of poetry
home of the Rowsby Woof Memorial Broadside Award
Womb Poetry
Editor: Michelle Detorie
More Poetry Information
Poetry Matters in Santa Barbara Poetry
Language of the Soul &

Words to Change Our World: Earth & Poetry Month readings


Join us as we celebrate National Earth Month & National Poetry Month
Garden Patio by the Library & Student Services
FREE * Refreshments * Book Signing * ALL WELCOME

12-12:45pm Poetry & discussion of poetics
<1:15-2pm Earth Action Day organizing meeting J-1; also 4/16>
2—3pm Poetry plus writing workshop

12-12:45pm Poetry & discussion of contemporary sonnets
130-230pm Poetry plus writing workshop

12-12:45pm Poetry & discussion of poetics for change
130-230pm Poetry & Prose plus writing workshop

poets * singer/songwriters * open mic
10-1:30pm EARTH ACTION DAY poets & singer/songwriters/open mic
1:30-2:30pm Brad Monsma, non-fiction prose reading & discussion

These events are supported in part by grants from
The Ventura College Foundation and CSUCI’s American Democracy Project.
For more info go to
or email

Poetry Club Service Learning Project

Alley’s English 1B: Ventura College Spring 2008
POETRY CLUB & SERVICE LEARNING ASSIGNMENT: work due dates listed below

By Weds. April 2, choose one of the following to read in the coming weeks:

Laynie Browne, Daily Sonnets (2007) AND/OR The Scented Fox (2006) VISIT 4/14

Danika Dinsmore and Gwendolyn Alley, editors, Between Sleeps (2006)

Amalio Madueno Lost in the Chamiso (2006) VISIT 4/9

Maria Melendez, How Long She’ll Last in the World (2006)

nila northSun, love at gunpoint (2007)

Al Young The Sound of Dreams Remembered: Poems 1990-2000 (2002) VISIT 4/23

If you decide to change books, email me ASAP

Working alone, in pairs, or in groups of 3, prepare the following presentations:
1.    SHARE: Prepare to share copies and discuss one or two poems by your Poetry Club poet; consider choosing a poem related also to our environmental theme. Inc work cited

2.    INTRO: Prepare to share a 1-3 minute introduction of the poet. Inc sources.

3.    BROADSIDE: Prepare and distribute at least 10 copies on campus of a poem (preferably eco-themed) by “your” poet as a “broadside.” Include info about when the poet will be on campus if relevant and/or about Earth Action Day 4/23. Include a brief bio.  Include where the work came from. Seek the poet’s permission (by email).  Sample broadsides:

4.    POCKET POEM: Prepare and distribute at least 12 copies of a poem by any poet for “National Poem in Your Pocket;” consider choosing a poem with an eco-theme. More:

WK 14    Mon    4/7

Read/respond to the following readings:; bring typed response to class
Hirsch “A Made Thing” (handout), Poetry Club book
Making of a Poem: The Villanelle (read 2 or more); The Elegy (read 2 or more)

Amalio Madueno broadside/poster due

Wed    4/9    Guest Poet Amalio Madueno; bio, poem/s presentations due
Making of a Poem Meter, Blank Verse (2 or more); The Stanza (2 or more)
Laynie Browne broadside/poster due

WK 15    Mon    4/14    Guest Poet Laynie Browne; bio, poem/s presentations due
Making of a Poem The Sonnet (read 2 or more); The Pastoral (read 2 or more)
Al Young broadside/poster due

Wed    4/16    National Poem in Your Pocket Project copies due
Remaining presentations/broadsides due
<Research Project Ideas Down Draft; final due W. 4/30>
Making of a Poem:  Open Forms & 2 or more poems

WK 16    Mon    4/21    Guest Poet Al Young, California State Poet Laureate
Making of a Poem your choice: read verse or shaping form & 2 poems

Wed    4/23    Earth Action Day: guest poets TBA
<Research Project Up draft due; final due W.  4/30>
Making of a Poem: read 2 more pastorals in honor of Earth Action Day

Nat’l Earth Month & Poetry Month To Dos 2008

The highlight of Earth Month AND National Poetry Month locally will be the visit to Ventura College by Al Young, California’s State Poet Laureate.Links and more details ASAP!

FSS 3/28. 29, 30 SB Poetry Conference w/Phil Levine $325

F 3/28 Emy Reynolds at Zoeys Cafe

S 3/29 Food Crew Party Artbarn

S 3/29 1-8pm Create an artists’ book that looks like a good old fashioned matchbook. Print on two presses, score and cut! At Lettre Sauvage.

S 3/30 Homeless film fest, Artbarn

M 3/31 7pm Primal Circus, Accolades, El Jardin Courtyard
An evening of avant garde music, performance and film to celebrate the closing of gauvin’s art show. Work by Send My Regards, Opal Gann, gauvin, Sophia Kidd as Astra III, Allen D. Glass II & M.A.H.O. at Accolades Gallery in Ventura.

T 4/1 730pm Dorothea Grossman & Michael Vlatkovich Artists Union April Fools!

T 4/1 Lucy in the Sky’s Fantasy Haircuts aka Puplicious the Victorian Clown’s grand re-opening on Fir

W 4/2 Cover 101? workshop 6-9p Crowne Plaza where C st meets the sea

S 4/5 7-9pm Poetry, jazz, print: Poets Jackson Wheeler, Lois Klein, Paul Lobo Potugeus & AJ Ford with Colter Frazier on jazz sax, print work by lettre sauvage, Santa Barbara Public Library $5


T 4/8 730pm Diana Raab + O Artists Union

W 4/9 noon & 2pm Amalio Madueno VC

S 4/12 from the Margins reading Artists Union

S 4/13 Earth Day Ventura

M 4/14 Laynie Browne reading & discussion on modern sonnets

T 4/15 Lois Klein + o Artists Union

T 4/17 6pm Dengue Fever instore at Salzers

S 4/19 7pm Adrianne Marcus & Carol V. Davis, Carnegie Art Museum $3

S 4/19 Calque – Suzanne Jill Levine, Stephen Kessler, Craig Santos Perez & Jen Hofer 7:30 pm Beyond Baroque (LA) $10

SS 4/19, 20 Chumash Days Malibu Bluffs Park

S 4/20 Santa Monica Pier Earth Day Concert

M 4/21 CA Poet Laureate Al Young noon, 130, 730pm VC

T 4/22 Sojourner Kincaide Rolle +O 7:30 pm Tuesday Night Poets – Artists Union Gallery

W 4/23 Earth Action Day, VC

FSS 4/25, 26, 27 COACHELLA Music and Arts Festival

SS 4/26, 27 LA Times Book Festival

SS 4/26, 27 Ventucky Artwalk

S 4/26 Poet’s Seder – Laurel Ann Bogen, Ellyn Maybe, Larry Colker, Rachel Kann, Claudia Handler & Rick Lupert 7:30 pm Beyond Baroque, Venice $10

S 4/26 Sherman Pearl +O 7:30 pm Bell Arts Factory, Ventucky

W 4/30 Al Young, Oxnard College

BTW, any of these events would count toward a cultural/literary/eco event; help out and it will count toward service learning. make-up or extra credit!

CA Poet Laureate Al Young to Visit Ventura

ay-with-glasses-2007.jpgCalifornia Poet Laureate Al Young will visit Ventura College Spring 2008, mostly likely on a Monday at noon in April during National Poetry Month. He may also lead a writing workshop at 130pm then read that evening.

Watch this space for updates on this exciting visit by a warm and wonderful poet and performer!

To learn more about Al, visit his website