Posted by: wordrunner | June 1, 2012

June 1, 2012 Update

Happy solstice to all you literary folk.

Welcome to glorious summer days in Sonoma, and especially the strawberries, cherries, and whatever is coming up in the garden. Even the pollen that plagues us, we need it!

Congratulations to the Sitting Room, which is celebrating its 30th birthday on Sunday, June 10 with the “usual heavenly cake and unusual entertainment.” All are invited to celebrate. Walt Whitman just had a birthday, too. (On May 31. See Sonoma County Poet Laureate Bill Vartnaw’s post.) I suppose Leaves of Grass is what first brought many of us to love poetry. Walt would have been 193. Or rather, he is 193, as he is still with us (“For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.” Song of Myself).

On the Solstice, you can join Bill Vartnaw and fellow writers Guy Biederman, Fran Claggett, Ed Coletti, Armando Garcia-Davila, and Elizabeth Herron reading at Quicksilver Mine Co. in Forestville.

Also of note as the season turns, a Literary Lunch on Saturday, June 23 in Armstrong Redwoods Natural Preserve is a fundraiser for Stewards of the Coast & Redwoods. (Details at:

Congratulations also to Harry (H.B.) Reid on the publication of The Year of the Tiger and Other Stories, three novellas under one cover, and to Katherine Hastings for her poetry collection Alohe Mele. (See Sonoma County in Print for info.)

Looking ahead to July, mark your calendar for a special WordTemple Poetry Series event featuring award-winning east coast poet and critic Alicia Ostriker. On Saturday July 14, Ostriker will read from her new collection of poems, The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011 at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

Here is a poem for a summer day by Mary Oliver.

By Mary Oliver

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 have 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?

You may download a pdf of most of the pages on this site, updated June 1, 2012.

Jo-Anne Rosen
Sonoma County Literary Update Co-Editor


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