Posted by: literaryfolk | July 1, 2012

July 1, 2012

Dear Literary Folk,

In most literary communities, things are rather quiet during the summer months. Folks are away traveling or exploring their own writing projects at retreats and conferences. But here in Sonoma County, we’ve got many workshops, events, and readings right in our midst. The calendar and workshop pages are worth your review, especially the brilliant series of wine receptions and readings of authors from the Napa Valley Writer’s Conference.  I’ll highlight a few of the delights below.

Friday, July 6, 7:30 p.m. 100 Thousand Poets for Change. Patriotism — The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 7:30 music by singer/songwriter Moss Henry. 8:00 – poetry by Michael Rothenberg, Terri Carrion, Joan Brady, Pauline Laurent, Andrew Mayer, Attila Nagy, Frank Kahl, Lilith Rogers, Rebel Fagin, Ari Camarota, Ann Carranza. Gaia’s Garden Restaurant, 1899 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa. Vegetarian/vegan dinner buffet available before reading ($4 minimum purchase). Sponsored by the Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County.

Special Note: Susan Lamont from the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County is highlighted this month on the 100 Thousand Poets for Change website as the Organizer of the Month. Yeah, Susan!

Poet Laureate Summer Poetry Series

in honor of Lawrence Ferlinghetti
at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art 

July 12, 26, and August 9, 2012, 6:00 p.m.

Sonoma County poet laureates, Terry Ehret (2004-2005) and Bill Vartnaw (2012-2013) are the honorary hosts of a summer poetry series in honor of Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Sonoma County’s most distinguished poets working today, including all five living poet laureates, will read selections of their work over three evenings. Throughout the series there will also be an opportunity for community members to read, starting with the participants of the Young Writers & Artists Workshop and Ehret’s Ekphrastic Poetry workshop. The Poet Laureate Series is organized by the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art’s education department in conjunction with the exhibition Cross Pollination: The Art of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, on view from June 24 – September 23, 2012.

July 12: Gwynn O’Gara, Patti Trimble, Mike Tuggle, Bill Vartnaw

July 26: Ed Coletti, Lin Marie deVincent, Geri Digiorno, Jewel Matheison

August 9: Iris Dunkle, Terry Ehret, Katherine Hastings

SVMA members: $8 per night/$20 series. General Public: $15 per night/$40 series  (includes $5 museum admission)

Related Workshop: August 2, 5:30 – 7:30 pm Poetry and Painting: A Workshop on Ekphrasis with Terry Ehret 

Ekphrasis, a form of poetry that gives words and voice to painting, sculpture, and photographs, has a long tradition, going back in Western culture to the epics of Homer. Using the paintings of Lawrence Ferlinghetti on exhibit at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Petaluma poet Terry Ehret will lead a two-hour workshop with hands-on writing exercises to guide participants through the creation of their own original ekphrastic poems. New and experienced writers are welcome. The participants in the workshop are invited to read their poems alongside the paintings that inspired them on the evening of August 9.

SVMA members: $20  General Public: $25

Saturday, July 14, 7:00 p.m. The WordTemple Poetry Series presents Alicia Suskin Ostriker and Joan Baranow. Alicia Suskin Ostriker is one of America’s premier visionary poets and critics and the author of 14 poetry collections, including The Book of Seventy; The Mother/Child Papers; No Heaven; the volcano sequence; and The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968–1998.  At the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 6780 Depot Street, Sebastopol. For details, visit or contact Katherine Hastings, curator of the Series, at

Sunday, July 15, 2:00-4:00 p.m. The Healdsburg Literary Guild’s Third Sunday Salon presents Jodi Hottel reading from her new book Heart Mountain. Jodi L. Hottel is a Sansei, third generation Japanese American whose first book of poems tells of her mother’s family’s internment during World War II at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. At the Bean Affair, 1270 Healdsburg Avenue. FREE. See Ongoing Groups/Open Mics under Sunday.

Monday, July 23, 9:00 a.m. “The Political Poem and its Pronouns”, a poetry lecture by Eavan Boland, part of the 32nd Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. Boland is the author of 10 books of poetry, including Domestic Violence and Against Love Poetry. She directs the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University. Admission costs $25, or $90 for the four-day series in either poetry or fiction, or $175 for all eight conference lectures. Students with current ID are admitted free. Napa Valley College Upper Valley Campus, 1088 College Ave., St. Helena. For more information, visit

Sunday, July 29 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Write and Art Collage Workshop with Marlene Cullen. $25 pre-registration. $30 at the door. Location: The Sunflower Center near Applebee’s in Petaluma. Please visit Marlene’s website for more information: Register with Marlene Cullen: or 707-762-6279

Saturdays, August 4 & 11, 9:00 a.m. to noon: Iris Dunkle: Digging Up the Past. A Creative Writing Bootcamp at the Sitting Room. Cost $80.We will learn how to dig deep into our rich local history.  Each day will feature an example poem, historical research techniques and inspiring writing exercises.  Contact or 408 228-2139 for more information and to reserve your spot.2025 Curtis Drive, near Sonoma State University, just off Petaluma Hill Road south of E. Cotati.


Poem for July

 This quirky and wonderful poem by Naomi Shihab Nye was made available last month from Larry Robinson, and I just couldn’t resist passing it along to all of you. While we’ve all lamented the various boats we’ve missed in life, I especially appreciate the humor with which Nye dramatizes that familiar cliché.

Missing the Boat

It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it.
It is more like the boat stopping
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.

The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.

But you had this idea you were going by train.

You kept checking the time-table,
digging for tracks.

And the boat got tired of you,
so tired it pulled up the anchor
and raised the ramp.

The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy–
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.

Naomi Shihab Nye Different Ways to Pray– Breitenbush Publications, 1980


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

Terry Ehret
Sonoma County Literary Update Co-Editor


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