Posted by: literaryfolk | October 1, 2011

Literary Update: October 1, 2011

Dear literary folk,

A writer friend who lives in San Francisco tells me that Sonoma County is well known as a hotbed of literary activity. I didn’t know that when I left the City for Petaluma 13 years ago, but how very grateful I am now for this bounty. There are readings or open mics almost every night, workshops and writing support groups for every discipline and taste. And our writers are being published.

We support huge events such as the book festival on September 24 that drew visitors from all around the Bay Area.  It is always a peak experience to be surrounded by hundreds, possibly thousands, of people who love to read and write.

The other large and well attended event took place the night before the book fest: 100,000 Poets for Change. There Terry Ehret read her powerful, hair-raising prose poem, “How Fascism Will Come,” reprinted below, for those who were not able to attend (and those who were and enjoyed it on the spot).

Of note in October: UUCSR Writers is presenting a free all-day forum, “From Chaucer to Tweets,” on October 8, with workshops on writing craft, language and technology, and an afternoon poetry panel. (See http://uucsrwriters.blogspot.com).

Newly published this fall are Terry Ehret’s Night Sky Journey, Bart Schneider’s Morning Opera and Mike Tuggle’s What Lures the Foxes, all from Kelly Cove Press; the Redwood Writers annual anthology Vintage Voices: The Sound of a Thousand Leaves; edited by Cynthia Helen Beecher; Wisdom Has a Voice: Every Daughters’ Memories of Mother, edited by Kate Farrell (Unlimited Publishing); and Donna Emerson’s Wild Mercy from Finishline Press. There will be readings in various locations for these books throughout October. Check the calendar.

Also recently published: LOSS, an online fiction anthology (Wordrunner eChapbooks, Petaluma), featuring stories by Sonoma County author Stefanie Freele, among others, and edited by Marko Fong. You may read these at www.echapbook.com/stories/loss.

And now to Terry’s prose poem.
Enjoy the literary bounty,
Jo-Anne Rosen
co-editor

100 Thousand Poets for ChangeOn Friday, September 23, on the eve of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change international reading, poets, musicians, and activists gathered at Gaia’s Garden in Santa Rosa to participate in the world’s largest poetry event. The Santa Rosa reading was sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center and hosted by Susan Lamont.

On September 24, poets around the USA, and across the planet, gathered in a demonstration/celebration of poetry to promote serious social, environmental, and political change. This project was launched by two Bay Area poets, Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion. If you’d like to find out more about the 100 Thousand Poets for Change events and future readings, visit their website at www.100tpc.org.

Responding to some requests, here is the prose poem I wrote for the September 23 event.

How Fascism Will Come

When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross.  

                                                                             —attributed to Sinclair Lewis

When fascism comes, it will greet us with a smile. It will get down on its knees to pray. It will praise Main Street and Wall Street. It will cheer for the home team. It will clap from the bleachers when the uninsured are left to die on the street. It will rally on the Washington Mall. It will raise monuments to its heroes and weep for them and place bouquets at their stone feet and trace with their fingers the names engraved on the granite wall and go on sending soldiers to die in the mountains of Afghanistan, in the deserts of Iraq. It will send doves to pluck out the eyes of its enemies, having no hawks to spare.

When fascism comes, it will sit down for tea with the governor of Texas. It will pee in the mosques from California to Tennessee, chanting, Wake up America, the enemy is here. It will sing the anthems of corporatization, privatization, demonization, monopolization. It will be interviewed, lovingly, on talk radio. It’ll have talking points and a Facebook page and a disdain for big words or hard consonants. It won’t bother to read. It will shred all its books. It will lambast the teachers and outlaw the unions.

When fascism comes, it will look good. It will have big hair, pressed suits, lapel pins. It will control all the channels. It will ride in on Swift Boats. It will sit on the Supreme Court. It will court us with fear. It will woo us with hope. When fascism comes, it will sell shares of itself on the stock market. It will get rich, then it will get obscenely rich, then it will stop paying taxes. It will leave us in the dust. It will kick our ass. It won’t have to break a sweat to fool us twice. It will be too big to fail.

ClootiesWhen fascism comes to America, it will enter on the winds of our silence and indifference and complacency. And on that day, one hundred thousand poets will gather. In book stores and libraries, bars and cafes, in their houses and apartments, in schools and on street corners, they will gather. In Albania, Bangladesh, Botswana, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Finland, Guatemala, Hungary, Macedonia, Malawi, Qatar, crying, laughing, shouting. They will wrap the sad music of humanity in bits of word cloth and hang them, like prayers, on the tree of life.

Note: Note: This piece was inspired by images, articles, and commentary I found online when I “googled” Sinclair Lewis’s quote. Exact quotes are italicized. One of the most powerful was Henry Wallace’s warning written in April, 1944. Here’s the link: http://newdeal.feri.org/wallace/haw23.htm. Another inspiration was Tim Wise’s essay on Redroom.com called “This is How Fascism Comes: Reflections on the Cost of Silence,” from October, 2008. Here’s the link for that: http://redroom.com/member/tim-wise/blog/this-is-how-fascism-comes-reflections-on-the-cost-of-silence.

Terry Ehret
September 23, 2011

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
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Recommended Northern California Journals and Presses
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