Posted by: literaryfolk | September 1, 2012

September 1, 2012

Dear Literary Folk,

September brings Sonoma County’s two premiere literary events. Both have the feel of a family reunion/moveable feast—so many great writers to hear, people to schmooze with, and delightful late summer weather to savor. I look forward to seeing you all there!

On Sunday, September 16th, it’s the 17th Annual Petaluma Poetry Walk in various locations in downtown Petaluma,12-7 PM. Details on the calendar page or at

Then on Saturday, September 22, you can get a second dose of national and local authors at the 13th Annual Sonoma County Book Festival in Old Courthouse Square and other venues in downtown Santa Rosa,10 AM to 4 PM. Visit the website for a complete list of venues, authors, activities, and vendors

For those of you who are haiku enthusiasts, here’s an event you won’t want to miss. On Sunday, September 23, 1:00-5:00 p.m., the Haiku Poets of Northern California present their annual Two Autumn’s event, the longest-running haiku reading series outside of Japan, featuring some of the best haiku poets writing in English today. This year’s reading includes haiku and haibun (prose poems with haiku) from Renee Owen (accompanied by musician Brian Foster on shakuhachi flute, guitar, mandolin & harmonica), as well as poets Bruce Feingold, Michael McClintock, and Naia. The event will be at Fort Mason (room C-260) in San Francisco, on the waterfront. For more information visit their website,

Also on the September Calendar is the first anniversary of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change International Reading. Ed Colletti hosts the event for Sonoma County on Sunday, September 30, noon to 3 PM at the Arlene Francis Center, 99 6th St., Santa Rosa. The afternoon reading features Ed, our host, James Tracy, Ava Koohbar, P.D. Dunnigan, Bill Vartnaw, Phyllis Meshulam, Jodi Hottel, Guy Beiderman, and Carl Macki. Ed has asked me to reprise my “How Fascism Will Come” rant, composed for the first event last September, so I’ll be there, too. There will also be music by Dubtown Dread, Sonoma County Raggae Band, and a live feed with Jamaica.

If you don’t know about 100 Thousand Poets for Change, it’s the brainchild of Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion. Check out the website. The international connection is phenomenal!  (NOTE: The 100 Thousand Poets for Change events take place in Santa Rosa over the entire weekend, September 28-30. Complete schedule maybe found at:

Susan AdamsLast month, the literary update included the sad news of the passing of poet and artist Susan Adams. Many gathered at her home and studio outside Petaluma in August to celebrate her life and work, and especially to remember the powerful, creative, loving woman she was. Here are some image from her extraordinary painting collection, along with the poems “What We Keep,” selected from her chapbook by that title, and “Rain Song.” To view more of Susan’s art, visit her website at

Terry Ehret, Sonoma County Literary Update Co-Editor

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

What We Keep
by Susan Adams

In the truck a uniform,
brown as a summer river,
the wool coat she clutched then
watched as the train pulled away.

I couldn’t tell if the auctioneer winked
when he looked at the lifetime
spread over the floor and said
somebody’d buy the stuff.

Embroidered silk pajamas she vowed
not to wear ‘til he came home,”
folded flat for fifty years, still wrapped
in the musk of the South China Sea.

She had made it easy, taping notes
as she closed the tops, lapping one
corner into the other, one box then another,
one year after the other.

Too big for any box, the gaudy straw
sombrero she tried to win for me one day—
Take it, the carney finally said,”
you tried long and hard enough

On the floor lay a handwritten scroll
with some poetry she had loved,
and next to that a triangular box
with a flag it took eight men to fold.

by Susan Adams

Across the road a deep field
where the rain slants down, and the
long grain of the fenceboards
darkens under the white-be­llied sky.
I’ll meet you there.
We will make our way
back to the hollow, smell
of iron and rust­­­­—blood-sweet,
where words like Each Other
no longer make sense,
back to the first drop and ding,
the slow begin before the roar
as we seep easy into the soft mud.
Across the road there is a field
where the rain sings an old dream, and
the horses face into the wind,
under the sky white as smoke.


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