Posted by: literaryfolk | May 1, 2011

Literary Update for May 1, 2011

Dear Literary Folk,

Welcome to May! April whirled past us in a flurry of literary events that remind us all how lucky we are to live in Sonoma County, which has a literary life few communities can rival. Today the sun is out, the breezes are light, the bees are out in the blossoms the wind and rain haven’t yet shaken free, and Sonoma County’s beauty is at its finest.

“The world’s favorite season is the spring.
All things seem possible in May.”
–  Edwin Way Teale

Sonoma County Publications

One delightful new possibility is a publication project proposed (love those alliteratives!) by Bart Schneider: an annual series of new work and classic reprints celebrating California writers. For many years, Bart lived, wrote, and worked in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, editing The Hungry Mind Review and directing the fabulous writers’ center called The Loft. Bart moved to Sonoma a few years ago, and has since become an important member of our literary community. Bart writes poetry, literary reviews, and novels, including the series that features his poetry-loving detective, Augie Boyer. Check his work out by clicking here.

Bart plans to launch this series in the fall of 2011, a project which promises to add a new dimension to the publishing work of so many talented folk here in the county, including our own Jo-Anne Rosen’s Wordrunner Electronic Chapbooks; Gillian Conoley’s Volt; Susan Bono’s Tiny Lights; Katherine Hastings’s WordTemple Press; Eric Johnson’s Iota Press, with its gorgeous letterpress designs; Barbara Baer and Maureen Jennings’s Floureant Press, which has created several unique anthologies of local writers; the student publications of Zaum (Sonoma State) and First Leaves (SRJC); the Redwood Writers‘ anthologies and co-publishing projects; and the Sitting Rooms annual publications. Click on any of these to find out more.

The Literary Update includes a page of Northern California Journals and Presses, which is the most visited page on the blogsite for those outside Sonoma County. But not all our local presses and journals are listed here. As part of my shout-out to the publishers above, I want to encourage you all to get your information included on the blogsite. Check out the page by clicking here. If you’d like your publication included, click on the contact page and send us your information!

Bibliophoria Poetry Contest Winners Announced!

Congratulations to Bibliophoria poetry contest winners Lin Max, John Johnson, and Susan Adams. Their work will be printed by Eric Johnson of Iota Press. Gwynn O’Gara, Sonoma County Poet Laureate, was the final judge for the blind submission contest. More details are on the County-Wide News page.

5th annual California State Poetry Out Loud Competition

Another shout-out goes to Phebe Hong, winner of the 2011 Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud Competition in February, and second runner up in the state competition in Sacramento in March. You can find out more about Phebe by visiting the County-Wide News page. Kudos to Phyllis Meshulam, Poets in the Schools area coordinator and director of the county’s Poetry Out Loud Program.

Prague, anyone?

Following my two-weeks in Ireland, leading the West Ireland Literary Tour and Writing Retreat, I’ll be flying to Prague in the Czech Republic. There I’ll be giving a reading on Friday, June 24, at a club in central Prague. This will be a collaborative event with Slovakian painter Andrea  Smišková, whose works will be on display that evening. Andrea has translated some of my poems into Czech, which she will be reading. And I will present a sequence of brand new poems, inspired by Andrea’s paintings. So if any of you happen to know folk in Prague (its Summer Writing Workshops is the central gathering place for writers from all over the world!), please let them know about this event. Click here for details: Terry Ehret’s Readings.

May Highlights

Here are a few of the special events you’ll find on the May Calendar page:

Clara Rosemarda’s Creative Writing as Spiritual Practice.  More details on Workshop page. Contact Clara: 707:579-2081,

Saturday, May 14, 7:00 pm: Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma hosts a reading by Sixteen Rivers Press’s newest poets: Christina Hutchins and Jeanne Wagner. Christina’s new book is The Stranger Dissolves, which David St. John  a “superb collection , elegant, impassioned, and consistently wise in its reckonings.” Jeanne Wagner’s In the Body of Our Lives “explores the dark complications of home and relationship, grief, emotional deafness, the estranging skin, sin, and redemption” (Jeanne Emmons). Please join us for an evening of new poetry in Copperfield’s welcoming setting. Refreshments will be provided. The event is free. Location: 140 Kentucky Street, Petaluma, CA 94952-2994. Phone: (707) 762-0563.

Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21, 8:00 p.m. Petaluma Readers Theatre opens its 2011 season with “A Million Ways to Go!” These are tales of travelers… some scary, some fun, some true, some not. Four actors will take you on several journeys … maybe some that you recognize from your own adventures! Directed by Jared Dreyfus, Produced by Nancy Long. At Riverfront Gallery in Petaluma. Details on the calendar page, or visit

Saturday, May 21, 10 am-noon. “Reading the Mystics.” Book: New Seeds of Contemplation, by Thomas Merton. Led by Dr. Vincent Pizzuto, Upcoming meetings: June 18, July 16. At Oasis, 141 Second Street, Petaluma. Free! Contact: Nancy Long at for more information.


Terry Ehret

Sonoma County Literary Update co-editor

And finally, in honor of May, here is one of my favorite poems by May Swenson:


By May Swenson1913–1989

Body my house
my horse my hound
what will I do
when you are fallen
Where will I sleep
How will I ride
What will I hunt
Where can I go
without my mount
all eager and quick
How will I know
in thicket ahead
is danger or treasure
when Body my good
bright dog is dead
How will it be
to lie in the sky
without roof or door
and wind for an eye
With cloud for shift
how will I hide?

May Swenson, “Question” from Nature: Poems Old and New. Copyright © 1994 by May Swenson. Reprinted with the permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Source: Nature: Poems Old and New (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1994)

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


%d bloggers like this: