Posted by: wordrunner | August 1, 2018

August 2018

August 1, 2018

Dear Literary Folk,

The Napa Writers’ Conference is already underway this week, running until Friday, and I imagine many of you are attending. If you’re not signed up for the intensive workshops, you should know about the craft lectures and readings, which are open to the public. Some are free; some have an entry fee, usually $25 each. You’ll find full descriptions with times and locations on the calendar page. This is what’s coming up.

Wednesday, August 1 – Brenda Hillman and Lan Samantha Chang
Thursday, August 2 – Student Participant Reading

Craft Lectures
Wednesday, August 1—Camille Dungy, Howard Norman
Thursday, August 2—Carl Phillips, Lauren Groff

Marin Poetry Center Summer Traveling Show

Every summer, the Marin Poetry Center organizes a series of readings throughout the North and East Bay. On Sunday, August 12, at 2:00 p.m. Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma will host Traveling Show featured poets Donna Emerson, Gail Entrekin, Dave Seter, Julia Vose and others. For a list of participating poets and venues throughout the Bay Area, visit:

This event is free. The location is Copperfield’s, 140 Kentucky Street, Petaluma.

GoFundMe for the Petaluma Poetry Walk

Petaluma Poetry WalkThe Petaluma Poetry Walk needs our help. The Walk is an annual event, taking place this year on September 16, 2018.  This one-day moveable feast of words features poetry readings held at several venues in downtown Petaluma, including a bakery, a gallery, a restaurant, a bookstore and others, all within easy walking distance of one another. Various groups of poets will read their work at each of these venues. This event has been held for the last 22 years and is the premier poetry event in this area.

In years past, the directors Geri Digiorno and Bill Vartnaw have reached into their own pockets to help cover the costs. Local patrons, businesses, and individuals volunteers and organizers have also made contributions to help the Poetry Walk qualify for Poets & Writers matching funds. Unfortunately, this year the funding from Poets & Writers is not available, which is why we’re reaching out with this GoFundMe campaign.

Our goal is $2,000, which will cover this year’s printing costs and can hopefully provide an honorarium for the poets who are reading their work. If we exceed this goal, the Poetry Walk will have a small budget to work with going into next year and beyond.

Please consider making a donation, however small. It only takes a few minutes. Here’s the link to contribute to the Walk’s GoFundMe account:

You can also mail a check or money order to: PO Box 526, Petaluma, CA 94952-0526 . You can make the check out to the Petaluma Poetry Walk. However, if you need a tax deduction for your donation, please make the check out to The Sitting Room, and in the memo space, indicate that the donation is for the Petaluma Poetry Walk.

Discover more about the upcoming walk venues and readers at the Poetry Walk website:

Special thanks to Kevin Pryne for setting up the GoFundMe account, and to The Sitting Room, which has generously offered to be the nonprofit sponsor for this fundraising campaigne.

Do You Love a Good Mystery?

Then you’ll want to mark your calendar for Wednesday, August 22, 7:00 p.m. Copperfield’s Books’ Midweek Mystery series, featuring Rhys Bowen’s Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding. From the New York Times best-selling author of On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service, Rhys Bowen, comes the next installment of the Royal Spyness Mystery series. This event is at Copperfield’s, Montgomery Village Store, 775 Village Court, Santa Rosa. Details:

America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience

America We Call Your NameSixteen Rivers Press is pleased to announce the publication of our new anthology, America, We Call Your Name: Poems of Resistance and Resilience.

This anthology, born in response to the 2016 Presidential election, combines the voices of poets from across America—from red states and blue states, high schools and nursing homes, big cities and small towns—with the voices of poets from other countries and other times. From Virgil and Dante to Claudia Rankine and Mai Der Vang, from Milton to Merwin, from Po-Chü-i to Robin Coste Lewis, these voices—now raucous, now muted, now lyric, now plain—join together here in dissent and in praise, in grief and alarm, in vision and hope. The 126 poems in this book call out to America in resistance to threats to our democracy and in the resilient belief that this fragile, imperfect form of government can and must be preserved.

Among the work in this collection is Sonoma County poet David Beckman’s “my soon-to-be written protest poem.” Other local authors are Tom Centolella, Janet Jennings, Kay Ryan, Lucille Lang Day, Jane Hirshfield, Susan Terris, Brenda Hillman, Judy Halebsky, and Robert Hass.

“These poets have an urgent message to share with you,” writes Camille T. Dungy in the foreword. “This message is brand new, and it is also eternal. Read carefully. What you learn here might just save your life.”

We expect books from the printer by September 4. In the meantime, the book is available for pre-order on Amazon. You can use this link:

Scroll down to read a sample poem from America, We Call Your Name.

From the Republic of Conscience


Seamus HeaneyWhen I landed in the republic of conscience
it was so noiseless when the engines stopped
I could hear a curlew high above the runway.

At immigration, the clerk was an old man
who produced a wallet from his homespun coat
and showed me a photograph of my grandfather.

The woman in customs asked me to declare
the words of our traditional cures and charms
to heal dumbness and avert the evil eye.

No porters. No interpreter. No taxi.
You carried your own burden and very soon
your symptoms of creeping privilege disappeared.


Fog is a dreaded omen there but lightning
spells universal good and parents
hang swaddled infants in trees during thunderstorms.

Salt is their precious mineral. And seashells
are held to the ear during births and funerals.
The base of all inks and pigments is seawater.

Their sacred symbol is a stylised boat.
The sail is an ear, the mast a sloping pen,
the hull a mouth-shape, the keel an open eye.

At their inauguration, public leaders
must swear to uphold unwritten law and weep
to atone for their presumption to hold office-

and to affirm their faith that all life sprang
from salt in tears which the sky god wept
after he dreamt his solitude was endless.


I came back from that frugal republic
with my two arms the one length, the customs woman
having insisted my allowance was myself.

The old man rose and gazed into my face
and said that was official recognition
that I was now a dual citizen.

He therefore desired me when I got home
to consider myself a representative
and to speak on their behalf in my own tongue.

Their embassies, he said, were everywhere
but operated independently
and no ambassador would ever be relieved.

“From the Republic of Conscience,” from 
Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996 by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 1998 by Seamus Heaney.

Seamus Heaney
April 13, 1939 – August 30, 2013


Terry Ehret
Co-editor, Sonoma County Literary Update


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