Posted by: literaryfolk | January 31, 2011

Literary Update for February 2011

Dear Literary Folk,

February brings us choruses of frogs in every arroyo and stream. It brings us a lover’s holiday, Black History Month, and a remembrance of Presidents. We are exactly halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Oddly, we also celebrate this first glimmer of winter’s end as Groundhog Day.

In Celtic tradition, February 2 was Imbolg, sacred to Brigit, a festival marking the beginning of spring. Lady Augusta Gregory (Gods and Fighting Men, 1904), describes Brigit as “a woman of poetry, and poets worshipped her, for her sway was very great and very noble. And she was a woman of healing along with that, and a woman of smith’s work, and it was she first made the whistle for calling one to another through the night.”

It is fitting, then that February is a literary month, bringing us a number of contests, calls for submission, workshops, and events you’ll want to check out. Here are some highlights.

The Sitting Room’s Move

Many of you are familiar with The Sitting Room, which has served our literary community in many capacities since it was founded 30 years ago. The location in downtown Cotati has been a gathering place for book groups, workshops, and readings, as well as a sanctuary for writers needing a little quiet space to work. In January, The Sitting Room moved from this location, and is in the process of setting up in JJ Wilson’s house on Curtis Drive near Sonoma State. The new space is wonderful, with a workshop room, reading room, kitchen, yard, and plenty of space for the extensive collection of books, journals, and unpublished archives gathered over the years. The Sitting Room will continue to host its workshops and book group at the new location, though on a more limited basis.

If you’d like to help with the archives and collections, contact Karen Petersen at or JJ Wilson at

Spring Prosody Workshops at the Sitting Room

Starting the week of February 21-25, I will be offering a two poetry workshops this spring through the Sitting Room. The focus is on prosody, or the musical and rhythmic elements of poetry, with a focus this semester on four poems by four different poets: William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Dylan Thomas, and Elizabeth Bishop. The workshops will be held on Monday and Friday, 9 AM to noon, at the Sitting Room’s new location. Currently, there are three open seats in each workshop. For more information, click here to see the current workshops page of the Literary Update. Or contact me directly at tehret99@comcast. net.

Haiku and Pie

Attention all you haiku writers and lovers of pie! On Sunday, February 13, 2:00-4:00 PM,  Copperfield’s Books and the Petaluma Pie Company will host a haiku and pie contest.  You’re all invited to wax poetic-in standard haiku stanzas of 5-7-5- about pie.  Prizes will be awarded for Most Humorous, Most Profound, and Most Romantic, as well as an overallGrand Prize Winner. Refreshments—pie included will be served. For details, contact Grace Bogart at Petaluma Copperfield’s:

Tiny Lights Essay Contest

Our good friend, Susan Bono, announces the16th Annual Tiny Lights Essay Contest. The deadline is  February 18, 2011. For details and submission guidelines, click here for the Literary Update’s Calls for Submission page, or visit the Tiny Light’s website:

The Sitting Room Publication

The Sitting Room’s annual publication is currently open for submissions. The theme this year is “Lost and Found.” Entries may be poems, short fiction, memoir, black and white drawings or photographs. The deadline is Tuesday, March 15, 2011. For details, click here to view the Calls for Submission page of the Literary Update, or check the Sitting Room’s publication page on its website:

Bibliophilia Poetry Chapbook Contest

Bibliophoria, a celebration of the art of books, will take place in Sebastopol in June and July with more than a dozen events focused on book arts — from traditional bookmaking to contemporary artistry and new technology, including the Bibliphoria Poetry Contest — now open for submissions from Sonoma and Marin poets. The deadline is March 30, 2011. For details,  click here to see the Calls for Submission page of the Literary Update. You can also visit for more information or contact Arlene Mandell:

Short Fiction Collection: Wordrunner E-Chapbooks

Jo-Anne Rosen’s Petaluma-based Wordrunner Electronic Chapbooks publishes fiction, memoir and poetry online quarterly, featuring one author per echapbook. Submissions are open for the spring 2011 FICTION echapbook from January 1 through February 21, 2011. No fee to submit. Payment: $65.  See for detailed guidelines and 2011 submission and publication schedule. The winter 2010 memoir collection, The Bus Driver’s Book of the Dead by Jesse Millner, was released on December 15 at

A Poem for the Season of Love and Bare Trees

Finally, I offer you a poem by Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Gabriela Mistral.

What You Loved

Life of my life, what you loved I sing.

If you’re near, if you’re listening,

think of me now in the evening:

shadow in shadows, hear me sing.


Life of my life, I can’t be still.

What is a story we never tell?

How can you find me unless I call?


Life of my life, I haven’t changed,

not turned aside and not estranged.

Come to me as the shadows grow long,

come, life of my life, if you know the song

you used to know, if you know my name.

I and the song are still the same.


Beyond time or place I keep the faith.

Follow a path or follow no path,

never fearing the night, the wind,

call to me, come to me, now at the end,

walk with me, life of my life, my friend.


from Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral, translated by Ursula K. LeGuin, University of New Mexico Press, 2003.

To view a short video about Gabriela Mistral’s Life and Legacy, click here.

With hope always,

Terry Ehret, Co-editor, Sonoma County Literary Update

Click on any of these pages from the menu above to view the rest of the November Literary Update:

Monthly Calendar of Events
County-Wide News (Including News from East, West, and North County)
Poet Laureate’s News
Sonoma County in Print
Local Workshop Teachers and Writing Consultants
Current and Upcoming Workshops
Writers’ Connections
Ongoing Writing Groups and Open Mic Readings
Calls for Submission
Recommended Northern California Journals and Presses
Directory of Sonoma County Writers
How to Send Announcements to the Literary Update
About the Literary Update


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