Posted by: wordrunner | October 2, 2012

October 1, 2012

Dear Literary Folk,

September came to a close with a smash—the three-day 100 Thousand Poets for Change extravaganza across the nation and in 115 countries around the world. The events at the Arlene Francis Center  concluded on Sunday with music and poetry, hosted by Ed Colletti. Kudos to Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion for shepherding the international community to make this event such a powerful celebration of the power of the word to reshape consciousness and realize the changes we want to see in the world. Check out the website at

Autumn is a fertile time for writers—the whisper of mortality in the air may stir our creative juices. If you’re feeling like getting out into this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” to commune with the “dark-vowelled birds,” here are some events in the area I can recommend. The October Calendar has many more. Check them out!

Guerneville poet and publisher Pat Nolan invites writers from the area to the inaugural meeting of the New Black Bart Poetry Society on Wednesday October 3, 6:00 p.m. at River Reader Bookstore 16355 Main St., Guerneville. Election of officers, issuance of membership cards (temporary), and a presentation on the history of The Black Bart Poetry Society. This latest incarnation of the Poetry Society will focus primarily on attracting a local membership (North Bay Counties) through the presentation of lectures, seminars, symposiums, colloquies, panel discussions, and literary mud wrestling among other worthwhile and edifying entertainment. More information at:

The Marin Poetry Festival runs for four days, Wednesday, October 3 through Saturday, October 6. The festival is a benefit for Poetry Flash, a Bay Area & national literary resource and features Robert Hass, Gillian Conoley , giovanni singleton, Marvin Hiemstra, Hal Robins, Avotcja, Pablo Rosales, Bill Vartnaw, Brian Kirven, Elizabeth Underwood,  Todd Plummer & Iron Springs Review & YOU! The events are located at various loctions. Check the October Calendar Page for details. More information:

Geri Digiorno, poet, visual artist, and director of the Petaluma Poetry Walk, also hosts  Poetry and Music at the Redwood Café in Cotati. The next event is on Sunday, October 7, 5:00-7:00 p.m., featuring Nancy Long, Martin Hickel, Raphael Block, Bhavani Judith Cook Tucker, and Kyle Martin. Free. More information at this website:

October brings us Petaluma’s Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead elebration beginning Oct. 4 and continuing through Nov. 4 with altars, music, dance, art, workshops, lectures and activities for all ages around town. This year’s theme is Alas de Vida/ Wings of Life. Check out the  complete calendar of events in Spanish and English at this link:

As part of this celebration, consider joining us for the Poetry of Remembrance Community Reading, an evening of bilingual poetry held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Petaluma Arts Center.  This year’s event will be hosted by Beatriz Lagos and will feature poet Francisco X. Alarcon, along with other writers and poets in the community. There will be a potluck dinner. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted.

And on Saturday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. WordTemple Poetry Series presents TRANSLATION NIGHT! (Originally scheduled for October 13) Featuring Andrea Lingenfelter, translator of The Changing Room, poems by Zhai Yongming, and Alissa Valles, translator of Zbiegniew Herbert’s Collected Poems – 1956-1998. At the new location for the Sebastopol Center for the Arts: Sebastopol Vets Building, 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol. For more information go to

Below is one of my favorite October poems by Dylan Thomas, whose 98th birthday is this month.

Terry Ehret
Sonoma County Literary Update Co-Editor


Especially When the October Wind

Especially when the October wind
With frosty fingers punishes my hair,
Caught by the crabbing sun I walk on fire
And cast a shadow crab upon the land,
By the sea’s side, hearing the noise of birds,
Hearing the raven cough in winter sticks,
My busy heart who shudders as she talks
Sheds the syllabic blood and drains her words.

Shut, too, in a tower of words, I mark
On the horizon walking like the trees
The wordy shapes of women, and the rows
Of the star-gestured children in the park.
Some let me make you of the vowelled beeches,
Some of the oaken voices, from the roots
Of many a thorny shire tell you notes,
Some let me make you of the water’s speeches.

Behind a pot of ferns the wagging clock
Tells me the hour’s word, the neural meaning
Flies on the shafted disk, declaims the morning
And tells the windy weather in the cock.
Some let me make you of the meadow’s signs;
The signal grass that tells me all I know
Breaks with the wormy winter through the eye.
Some let me tell you of the raven’s sins.

Especially when the October wind
(Some let me make you of autumnal spells,
The spider-tongued, and the loud hill of Wales)
With fists of turnips punishes the land,
Some let me make you of the heartless words.
The heart is drained that, spelling in the scurry
Of chemic blood, warned of the coming fury.
By the sea’s side hear the dark-vowelled birds.


Note: A pdf may be uploaded here of most of the pages on the Sonoma County Literary Update site.


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