Posted by: wordrunner | October 2, 2013

October 1, 2013

Dear Literary Folk,

After two years as Sonoma County’s literary ambassador, Bill Vartnaw will hand the poet’s laurels to a new Poet Laureate. Who Will Be Sonoma County’s 2014-2015 Poet Laureate?

Don Emblen

Bromige-DavidEhret-Terry1014.Lit.Laureates-OGaraGeri DiGiornioMike TuggleBill Vartnaw

The answer to that depends on you. The poet laureate is selected by a committee of representatives from each of the supervisorial districts of Sonoma County, as well as the poets who have served as laureates over the past decade. If you are interested in being considered for this honor, or if you know of a poet who you think will serve the community well in this role, nominations are now open.

The Poet Laureate is a Sonoma County resident, whose poetry manifests a high degree of excellence, who has produced a critically acclaimed body of work, and who has demonstrated a commitment to the literary arts in the County. The Poet Laureate often participates in official ceremonies and readings. Our laureate roll call includes Don Emblen, David Bromige, Terry Ehret, Geri Digiorno, Mike Tuggle, Gwynn O’Gara, and, of course, our current laureate Bill Vartnaw.

The Poet Laureate will not have a formal job description but will be encouraged to develop an agenda promoting poetry and the literary arts in Sonoma County. Organizers of various community events may invite the Poet Laureate to participate in their events. There is no stipend or compensation for this position.

Deadline for nominations is October 31, 2013 and the new Poet Laureate will be announced in December.

Download the submission requirements and application form from the Center for the Arts’ website at or email  For questions please contact Linda Galletta at or call the Center for the Arts at 829-4797.

El Día de los Muertos and the annual Poetry of Remembrance Community Reading

Day-of-Dead-Poster-2013This year’s theme for the month-long celebration of El Día de los Muertos is “Tree of Lives/Arbol de Vidas.” Among the many events is the annual Poetry of Remembrance/ Poesia del Recuerdo bilingual community reading. This will be held on Friday, October 25 from 5:30 to 9 PM. If you’d like to volunteer to help, read a poem in honor of a loved one, or attend the evening’s program and pot luck supper, contact any of the following:

Besides these annual and biannual events, the October Calendar is quite busy. Here is just a taste of what’s happening this month. For a complete listing of events, check out the calendar page.

Saturday, October 5, at 2:00 pm, Phyllis Meshulam and Raphael Block will be poetry and music on the theme Healing the Earth, at Petaluma Library, 100 Fairgrounds Drive.

On Thursday, October 3, 10, 17,and 24 at various locations, there will be readings and events on the theme of “Changing Hurt to Hope: Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence.” Check the calendar for details or Contact: Michelle Wing, (707) 478-1460 or

Thursday, October 17 (and October 18, 19, 24, 25, 26), 7:30 p.m. Petaluma Readers Theatre and Tiny Lights Publications present “Haunted: Chilling and Thrilling Stories,” directed by Lorin Bell. Clear Heart Stage, 90 Jessie Lane, Petaluma. Tickets ($10) for “Haunted” are available at The Mail Depot, 4th & C St, Petaluma; Soft Shell, 10 Kentucky St, Petaluma; online at; or at the door.

Saturday, October 26, 7:00 p.m. WordTemple Arts & Lectures presents Transforming Terror — Remembering the Soul of the World. In Conversation: Susan Griffin and Judy Grahn, reading from their books and in conversation with the audience. Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol. For more information go to

And finally, here is an October poem to welcome the autumn rains, harvest, and mellowing light.

Terry Ehret, co-editor

To print and read a pdf of almost all the pages on this blogsite, click here.

Poem in October

by Dylan Thomas

landscape in WalesIt was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.

Dylan Thomas, “Poem in October” from The Poems of Dylan Thomas.
Used by permission of David Higham Associates, London as agents for the Trustees of the Copyrights of Dylan Thomas.

Source: Poetry (February 1945).


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