Posted by: wordrunner | September 1, 2015

September 1, 2015

Dear Literary Folk,

Poetry Flash Needs Our Help
Many of you know that the inspiration for the Sonoma County Literary Update came from Poetry Flash, Joyce Jenkins’s journal of Northern California and West Coast literary happenings, which is nothing short of a miraculous labor of love. A recent $600 rent increase for the Flash’s home has come at a time between essential grants, and contributions are needed to keep the Flash flashing until the grant monies come through. If you’ve ever had occasion to consult the Flash, either in its original print form or its current web-based format, please consider making a donation. It’s easy to do: just send check for any amount that suits your budget to Poetry Flash at 1450 Fourth Street, #4, Berkeley, California 94710, or use this link to make a Paypal contribution:

Guest Writers Invited
My co-editor, Jo-Anne Rosen, and I would love to share our post space with members of the Sonoma County Literary Community. If you’d like to take on a month’s full post or offer a “featurette” (150 words) about a writing group, reading venue, or upcoming event, please send your contribution along to me at

Kudos to Katherine Hastings on the publication of Digging Our Poetic Roots!
Digging Our Poetic RootsSaturday evening, a standing-room-only crowd gathered at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts to celebrate the culmination of Katherine Hastings’s poet laureate project anthology, Digging Our Poetic Roots — Poems from Sonoma County. Katherine gives a full report on her Poet Laureate’s News Page ( And if you missed this lively gathering, you have two more chances: Wednesday, September 16, 7:00 p.m., at the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, and Thursday, October 15, 7:00 p.m., at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts.

Time to Nominate Our Next Sonoma County Poet Laureate
The Sonoma County Poet Laureate Selection Committee is seeking nominations for our 2016-18 Poet Laureate. Candidates must be residents of Sonoma County, whose poetry manifests a high degree of excellence, who have produced a critically acclaimed body of work, and who have demonstrated a commitment to the literary arts in Sonoma County. If you know someone you’d like to nominate, or if you’d like to be considered for this prestigious post, we welcome your nominations. Nominations must be received via email by October 31, 2015. If you have questions, contact Linda Galletta at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts:

Previous Poets Laureate of Sonoma County
Don Emblen,  2000-2001
David Bromige,  2002-2003
Terry Ehret,  2004 – 2005
Geri Digiorno, 2006-2007
Mike Tuggle,  2008-2009
Gwynn O’Gara, 2010 – 2011
Bill Vartnaw, 2012-2013

Terry Ehret and Caitlin Ehret MoeThree Poets Laureate at the Redwood Café
I don’t know what the collective noun is for poets laureate—quiver? murmur? persuasion? clowder?—but whatever it is, you have a chance to hear three past laureates read at the Redwood Café on Sunday, September 6 from 5-7 PM. The evening event features Mike Tuggle and Gwynn O’Gara. I’ll be the third, performing a poetry/music duet with my daughter Caitlin. Hope to see you there! Location: 8240 Old Redwood Highway, Cotati.

PetPtryWlk2015Petaluma Poetry Walk on Its Way
Once again, downtown Petaluma will be host to a day of poetry readings on Sunday, September 20, starting at the Seed Bank at 11:00 a.m. and ending at Aqus Café from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. You can check out the full list of locations and featured readers at this link:

Watershed FestivalWatershed Poetry Festival
The 20th annual Watershed Poetry Festival takes place this year on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at Civic Center Park (MLK Jr. Way at Center Street, Berkeley). This FREE, day-long event features local and national poets, musicians, students, publishers and vendors. This year’s outstanding lineup of poets and writers includes former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Malcolm Margolin, Francisco X. Alarcón, and Novella Carpenter (Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer).

Sixteen Rivers Annual Benefit Reading and Anniversary Party
Sixteen Rivers Press invites you all to join us on Saturday, October 17, to celebrate the sixteenth anniversary of our founding with a reading by Dean Young and Mathew Zapruder. Tickets are priced at four levels, beginning at $25, and proceeds will go to the support of Sixteen Rivers Press and the publication of our books. The event goes from 3 to 6 PM.  Tickets will be available from Brown Paper Tickets on September 7.

For a list of all the calendar events across the county and beyond, visit the Calendar Page:

Congratulations to local authors who have had their work published recently in books or journals. You can discover more on our Sonoma County in Print page ( Special thanks to Ed Coletti, who keeps our announcements of local writers publishing in literary journals up to date.

Poem for September

by Bruce Weigl

I didn’t know I was grateful
for such late-autumn
bent-up cornfields

yellow in the after-harvest
sun before the
cold plow turns it all over

into never.
I didn’t know
I would enter this music

that translates the world
back into dirt fields
that have always called to me

as if I were a thing
come from the dirt,
like a tuber,

or like a needful boy. End
Lonely days, I believe. End the exiled
and unraveling strangeness.

From The Unraveling Strangeness by Bruce Weigl, published by Grove/Atlantic. Copyright © 2003 by Bruce Weigl

Terry Ehret, co-editor
Sonoma County Literary Update


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