Posted by: literaryfolk | September 1, 2011

Literary Update for September 1, 2011

Dear Literary Folk,

September always feels like homecoming in the literary community with two favorite annual gatherings: the Petaluma Poetry Walk on Sunday, September 18, and the Sonoma County Book Festival on Saturday, September 24. To find out who’s reading and presenting at these events, click on each, or visit the County News page of the Literary Update.

This is the time for nominations for Sonoma County Poet Laureate. If you are interested in serving as Poet Laureate, if you’d like to nominate a poet you know, or if you’d like to be part of the Poet Laureate Selection Committee, contact Linda Galletta at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts: Deadline for nominations is September 30, 2011 and the new Poet Laureate will be announced in December. You can download the submission requirements and application form from the Sebastopol Center for the Arts’ website

For those like me whose lives revolve around the academic calendar, September is also the start of a new year. Classes and workshops are starting up all over the county, such as Marlene Cullen’s Jumpstart Workshops, Iota Press’s Poetry and Printing, and Nancy Long’s personal coaching for those who dream of putting on a one-person show. Check out the Workshops page to see all the current and upcoming offerings.

September, then, is a time for new ventures and beginnings, as it is for those who observe the Jewish High Holy Days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The Jewish Year 5772 begins at sunset on September 28, 2011, but Rosh Hashanah is not exactly a celebration; it’s more a time of reflection and redirection when we look back and ask, have we strayed from our path?  Have we stopped listening to the small voice of honesty within us? Have we lost our soul’s balance?

For the last ten years, September has been a time of grim remembrance and atonement. 9/11 will always have an ominous ring to it for those of us who watched the towers fall, and especially for those who lost friends or family. We should also remember that 9/11 is a sad day of remembrance for the people of Chile, too. On September 11, 1973,  the CIA-backed military coup, led by General Pinochet, overthrew the democratically-elected government of President Salvador Allende, leading to his assassination (or suicide) and ushering in an era of brutal repression.

As we enter this September, with its promise of abundance and its memory of sorrows,  here is a poem  about reclaiming our balance and our light, written by our new U.S. Poet Laureate, Phil Levine.


Making Light of It

I call out a secret name, the name
of the angel who guards my sleep,
and light grows in the east, a new light
like no other, as soft as the petals
of the blown rose in late summer.
Yes, it is late summer in the West.
Even the grasses climbing the Sierras
reach for the next outcropping of rock
with tough, burned fingers. The thistle
sheds its royal robes and quivers
awake in the hot winds off the sun.
A cloudless sky fills my room, the room
I was born in and where my father sleeps
his long dark sleep guarding the name
he shared with me. I can follow the day
to the black rags and corners it will
scatter to because someone always
goes ahead burning the little candle
of his breath, making light of it all.

from A Walk with Tom Jefferson, Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1988

Terry Ehret, Sonoma County Literary Update Co-Editor

Click on any of these pages from the menu above to view the rest of the September 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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