Posted by: wordrunner | April 2, 2016

April 1, 2016

Dear Literary Folk,

It’s April, and our recent bounty of rain has blessed Sonoma County with a green and blossoming spring. The hills, vineyards, orchards, creeks and rivers are all brimming with color, water, and frog choruses.

AWP National Conference

Once again, the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference coincides with the first-of-the-month post for the Literary Update. Among the many featured presenters are Claudia Rankine, Elizabeth Alexander, W.S. Di Piero, Naomi Shihab Nye, Judy Grahn, Juan Felipe Herrera, Joyce Carol Oates, and D.A. Powell. Since the conference this year is in LA, lots of local folk will be attending, and I hope to see many of you there. I’ll send an addendum to the post once I’m there, and Jo-Anne will bring you up to date with her announcements before this post finds its way to you.

More News from Terry at the AWP conference:
2016-04AWPphotoThe 17th annual gathering of the writers is underway in downtown LA. Sonoma and Marin counties are well-represented with Dana Gioia, Greg Mahrer, Iris Dunkle, Gwynn O’Gara, Kathleen Winter, Patti Trimble, Jodi Hottel, Phyllis Meshulam, Jean Heglund, Erin Rodoni, John Johnson and myself (Terry Ehret). There may be more locals I haven’t yet run into, but with 12,000+ poets, novelists, memoirists, playwrights, translators, publishers, academics and wandering bards, we may only have time to wave across the convention lobby or the book fair aisles.

As one presenter reminded us, April is not only National Poetry Month,but also Alcohol Awareness Month, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month. Any connection may be purely coincidental.

April is National Poetry Month
Keep an eye out for ways to celebrate this. Here are a few of these from our calendar page, where you’ll find more details and many more events throughout the month.

Saturday, April 2, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Second Annual Sonoma County Local Author Showcase and Symposium at the Rohnert Park-Cotati Regional Library, co-sponsored by Creative Sonoma.

Thursday, April 7, 7:00-9:30 p.m. California Quarterly is sponsoring an evening of poetry, featuring readings by poets whose poems have appeared in recent CQs. The public is invited. Sausalito City Hall/Library, 420 Litho Street, Sausalito.

Sunday, April 10, 2:00-4:00 p.m. Salon on Adrienne Rich at the Sitting Room in Penngrove. Barbara McCaffry and Susan Miller lead a session on Adrienne Rich in honor of National Poetry Month.

Thursday, April  14, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Why There Are Words Literary Reading Series presents “Rhyme or Reason,” featuring the following acclaimed authors: Amanda Conran, Stefan Kiesbye, Allie Marini, Nayomi Munaweera, Barbara Roether, Kathleen Winter, Katie M. Zeigler. Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; readings begin at 7:15. $10.

Sunday, April 24, 2:00 p.m. Fourteenth Annual ukiaHaiku Festival. At SPACE Theatre, Ukiah.

Saturday, April 30, 1:30-3:30 p.m. On Independent Bookstore Day, Meet & Greet Jo-Anne Rosen, author of What They Don’t Know: Selected Fiction. At Copperfields Books, 140 Kentucky Street, Petaluma. More information on the book:

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April. Learn more at:

April Celebration of Shakespeare
twelfth-nightApril 23, 2016 marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. To honor him, SRJC’s Theater Arts Department is presenting a saucy “Shakespeare Cabaret” and one of his most popular comedies, Twelfth Night. You will be transported back to Elizabethan England with this traditionally-staged production—re-creating the custom of male actors playing women. Huzzah!

“Shakespeare Cabaret” will be performed at Newman Auditorium on Mon April 4, 2016 at 5:30 and 8 PM General $15. Students & Seniors $10. Recommended for ages 10 and above.

Twelfth Night performances: April 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, May 5, 6, 7 at 8:00 PM; April 24, 30, May 7, 8 at 2:00 PM. A special 3:00 PM performance is scheduled for Sunday, May 1 as part of SRJC’s Day Under the Oaks.

This production features professional musicians playing Elizabethan music on period instruments, including the lute, hurdygurdy, krumhorn and sackbut.

There will also be an after-play discussion on Sunday, April 24th. Members of the artistic staff and cast will be hosting the discussion surrounding the play, Shakespeare’s world and this “original practices” production. To order tickets online, here’s the link:

Poem for April
IrishRepublic1916-2016April 2016 is also the 100th anniversary of the Irish Easter Uprising. Thousands of soldiers marched solemnly through the crowded streets of Dublin on Sunday to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the fateful rebellion that reduced parts of the capital to ruins and fired the country’s flame of independence. The uprising was commemorated in poetry by W.B. Yeats, whose “Easter 1916” is our poem for April.

Easter 1916
wb-yeats-gettyW. B. Yeats, 1865 – 1939

I have met them at close of day
Coming with vivid faces
From counter or desk among grey
Eighteenth-century houses.
I have passed with a nod of the head
Or polite meaningless words,
Or have lingered awhile and said
Polite meaningless words,
And thought before I had done
Of a mocking tale or a gibe
To please a companion
Around the fire at the club,
Being certain that they and I
But lived where motley is worn:
All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

That woman’s days were spent
In ignorant good-will,
Her nights in argument
Until her voice grew shrill.
What voice more sweet than hers
When, young and beautiful,
She rode to harriers?
This man had kept a school
And rode our wingèd horse;
This other his helper and friend
Was coming into his force;
He might have won fame in the end,
So sensitive his nature seemed,
So daring and sweet his thought.
This other man I had dreamed
A drunken, vainglorious lout.
He had done most bitter wrong
To some who are near my heart,
Yet I number him in the song;
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Hearts with one purpose alone
Through summer and winter seem
Enchanted to a stone
To trouble the living stream.
The horse that comes from the road,
The rider, the birds that range
From cloud to tumbling cloud,
Minute by minute they change;
A shadow of cloud on the stream
Changes minute by minute;
A horse-hoof slides on the brim,
And a horse plashes within it;
The long-legged moor-hens dive,
And hens to moor-cocks call;
Minute to minute they live;
The stone’s in the midst of all.

Too long a sacrifice
Can make a stone of the heart.
O when may it suffice?
That is Heaven’s part, our part
To murmur name upon name,
As a mother names her child
When sleep at last has come
On limbs that had run wild.
What is it but nightfall?
No, no, not night but death;
Was it needless death after all?
For England may keep faith
For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse —
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Terry Ehret
co-editor, Sonoma County Literary Update


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