Posted by: wordrunner | July 1, 2013

July 1, 2013

Dear Literary Folk,

Terry Ehret is on a temporary hiatus from this blog post, so we are offering Bill Vartnaw’s newest and newsy column here instead. After reading this, check out the calendar, county news, and workshop and conferences pages for more of summer’s literary offerings, including Redwood Writer’s Authors Launch Celebration on July 14, Off the Page (a readers theater performance of work by local authors) on July 25-27 in three locations, a panel discussion of the “wild new world of publishing” at the Occidental Center for the Arts on July 12, and one county to the east, the 33rd Napa Valley Writers Conference with readings open to the public from July 28-August 2. And more…

And now, here’s Bill!

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Bill VartnawIt’s hot! Hope every one had a great Solstice!

Sorry, my blog didn’t appear last month. I had a few things to say too, (I’ll say them below) but I was dealing with mortality, mine & others, & wasn’t going online, didn’t get Jo-Anne’s message & lost track of what day it was. I got bit by a tick. The medical lab says it was not a Lyme tick, but I had to wait two weeks, ingesting anti-biotics twice a day, before I found out. I am relieved now, am thinking about writing a poem about it, possibly in the tradition of John Donne’s “The Flea,” a bit darker, though I haven’t done it yet. I’m still learning the lesson.

Last month, Petaluma started a new poetry open mic at Aqus Cafe, co-ordinated by Sandra Anfang, on the first Monday of the month. That would be tonight, if you are reading this on Monday, July 1st. The featured readers are Carol Dorf and Dawn McGuire. Carol Dorf is fascinated with the boundaries between disciplines — mathematics and poetry—- prose poetry and lineated poetry. She is poetry editor of Talking Writing where she writes about issues in contemporary poetry; and she teaches mathematics. Dawn McGuire is a neurologist and author of two poetry collections, Sleeping in Africa and Hands On. McGuire has won several poetry awards, including the Troubadour Prize (UK), the National League of American Pen Women, and the 2011 Sarah Lawrence/Campbell Corner Academy of Language Exchange Poetry Prize for “poems that treat larger themes with lyric intensity.”

Last month, Sandra featured herself with Gail Newman, a San Francisco poet I had hadn’t heard in many years. I enjoyed their work. It was a short reading, due to a new art exhibit being hung at the cafe that night & probably a memo not being seen by the right persons, but showed plenty of promise, as they say. I’ll definitely be there tonight.

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A Sonoma poet who refuses to be identified, & quotes Kierkegaard a lot, tells me that there is a new open mic in Sonoma at Readers’ Books, starting on July 13th from 5 to 7 pm. Those of you who are not familiar with Sonoma, Readers’ Books is a half block east of the plaza, at 130 East Napa Street. They are asking for a $5.00 donation to help pay for their new reading patio where the new open mic will be held. That’s worth a look. Kiitos.

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While I’m on July readings, & this is not an open mic, on Sunday, July 7th at the Redwood Cafe in Cotati, from 5 to 7 pm, there will be a Judy Stedman Writing Tribute with Lynn Camhi, Godelieve Uyttenhove, Gail Calvello, Caroline Brumley, Donna Emerson and Geri Digiorno reading poems by & about the late SRJC poet & teacher. These are women who were in a writing group with Judy. Sarah Baker will provide the music for the evening.

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One of my biggest gaffes, don’t let me count the ways, was not responding to an email to help save the Sonoma County Book Festival until after the due date had been reached. According to their Kickstarter url, they reached their goal on the last day. Thank you everyone! I would have felt awful if that would have happened on my watch. I used to love to go the San Francisco Book Festival when I lived in the city, it was a huge event & one day it ceased to exist. I understand that it’s happening again, but it was gone for over a decade. I don’t want that to happen here. I found an address on the Sonoma County Book Festival Facebook site: P.O. Box 159, Santa Rosa, CA 95402. I will send a small donation, as well as ask for a table for Taurean Horn Press, & invite you to do something similar if you didn’t know & are so inclined. This is what I’ve found out from their online sources:

  •  The 2013 Book Festival on Saturday, September 21, is moving to the outdoor courtyard at the Santa Rosa Junior College in Santa Rosa so all of the Festival offerings are in one spot (and it’s a beautiful spot!).
  •  We are partnering with our local independent bookseller, Copperfield’s Books, to bring an amazing line-up of nationally acclaimed authors while still showcasing our wonderful local authors.
  •  We’ll continue to provide presentations, workshops, and a slew of children’s activities in an all-day event that you won’t want to miss and that will remain absolutely FREE.

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Since I’ve mention one September event, I may as well as mention another near & dear to my heart, the Petaluma Poetry Walk is on Sunday, September 15th this year. It looks to be a very good one, here’s the line up as of today:

  • Au Cocolat
    Barbara Swift Brauer/Gerald Fleming/Jodi Hottel
  • Riverfront Gallery
    Jamie Asaye FitzGerald/Glenn Ingersoll/Kathleen Winter
  • Apple Box 1
    Michelle Baynes/Yvonne Baynes/Geri Digiorno/Nancy Keane/surprise poet
  • Apple Box 2
    Raphael Block/Diane Frank/Steward Florsheim
  • Copperfields
    Avotcja/Judy Grahn
  • Phoenix Theater
    Kim Shuck/Bill Vartnaw/Nancy Wakeman
  • Petaluma Museum
    Jennifer Barone/Martin Hickel/Lynn Watson
  • Aqus Cafe
    Neeli Cherkovski/David Meltzer/Julie Rogers

I hope you will find/make time to come. I haven’t mentioned 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Check it out too.

Stay cool.

Bill Vartnaw
Sonoma County Poet Laureate 2012-2013


For a pdf version of most of the pages on the Sonoma County Literary update site (for June 2013), click here.


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