Posted by: wordrunner | June 1, 2021

June 2021

June 1, 2021

Dear Literary Folk,

This Memorial Day, I’m at my cabin in the Sierras, a retreat from Internet, cell phone, and e-mail. So I will be keeping my post relatively short. 

Sunday Surprises
Like many of you, I have been enjoying J.J. Wilson’s weekly e-mail essays called “Sunday Surprise,” featuring different authors and topics from the rich Archives at the Sitting Room. If you’re not on the Sitting Room’s e-mail list, or if you’d like to catch one of the “Sunday Surprises” you may have missed, visit the Sitting Room’s website: Alternative to Amazon
If you’re looking for a way to shop for books online, but don’t necessarily want to add to the coffers of Jeff Bezos, I encourage you to check out This is a relatively new online bookselling venue, so you won’t find all the whistles and bells, nor as complete an inventory as you might find on Amazon.’s mission is to financially support local, independent bookstores. If you want to find a specific local bookstore to support, you can locate the store on Bookshop’s map, and that bookstore will receive the full profit off your order. Otherwise, your order will contribute to an earnings pool that will be evenly distributed among independent bookstores (even those that don’t use Bookshop). Bookshop also invites those of you who self-publish to promote and sell your books with them. Bookshop wants to help strengthen the fragile ecosystem and margins around bookselling and keep local bookstores an integral part of our culture and communities. Check them out at

Dominican University’s Free Creative Writing Events
If you check the literary calendar for June, you’ll see three events sponsored by Dominican University’s MFA Program in Creative Writing. These events look wonderful, and are all free, but do check the calendar page for details about how to pre-register through Eventbrite.

Saturday June 5, 4:00-6:00 p.m. Leanne Betasamosake Simpson Noopiming, author of The Cure For White Ladies (published by University of Minnesota Press as part of their Indigenous Americas series). 

Tuesday, June 8, 4:00-5:00 p.m. Craft Talk with essayist Molly McCully Brown, author of the essay collection Places I’ve Taken My Body (Persea Books, 2020). 

Friday, June 11, 3:00-5:00 p.m. Panel discussion on Radical Presses. Get an inside look at how editors shape literary production as editors from Aunt Lute Books, Black Freighter Press, and Sixteen Rivers Press discuss their visions for change. 

Rivertown Poets Celebrate Its 8th Anniversary 
Congratulations to Sande Anfang on the 8th anniversary of our beloved Rivertown Poets series. You can help make this anniversary special by joining Sande on Monday, June 7, 6:15-8:15 p.m. when Connie Post and Kevin Gunn will be featured readers, followed by open mic. Sande will be enjoying virtual cake. BYOC (bring your own cake) and/or beverage. See the calendar page for Zoom link and to sign up for the open mic.

Other June Virtual Events of Note
Copperfields Books presents In The Heights Book Launch with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes and and Jeremy McCarter: conversation on creativity, community, and finding home. This virtual launch is on Tuesday, June 15, 5:00-7:00 p.m. For details and tickets:

Writers’ Forum presents Susan Bono and M.A. Dooley reading excerpts from The Write Spot: Musings and Ravings From a Pandemic Year. The reading will be followed by a writing session, using prompts from the anthology. This free event is on Thursday, June 24, 6:30 p.m. See the calendar page for the zoom link.

For our north-county writers, the LOBA Open Mic Poetry Series at the Ukiah Library is a jewel! Melissa, who curates the series, invites you to share poems in any form or style, or just listen to great poems! Check the calendar page for the Zoom link. The readings are the last Thursday of each month, and the June reading will be Thursday, June 24, 7:00 p.m.

And finally, on Sunday, June 27, Sixteen Rivers Press presents Ann Marie Macari and Julia Levine in an online reading at 3 PM. Here’s the link to join the reading:

Northern California Summer Writers’ Conferences
The Mendocino Coast Writers Conference (August 5-7) will be virtual again this year, via Zoom (at reduced rates), while Napa Valley Writers Conference (August 1-6) is aiming for in-person workshops, mostly outdoors on the Napa Valley College campus. For details, check out our Conferences page.

Poem for Juneteenth
We have just passed the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, which triggered a long-overdue reckoning with our history of systemic racism. The month of June gives us an opportunity to appreciate the profound significance of the announcement proclaiming emancipation of slaves on June 19, 1865 in Galveston, Texas. This is known as Juneteenth, but also Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day, and Emancipation Day. Activists are campaigning for the US Congress to recognize Juneteenth as a national holiday. In honor of Juneteenth, the poem for June is “Emancipation,” by Priscilla Jane Thompson, who was born in 1871 in Rossmoyne, Ohio. A poet and lecturer, she taught at Sunday school at Zion Baptist Church and self-published two books of poetry, Ethiope Lays (1900) and Gleanings of Quiet Hours (1907). Her work inspired the Harlem Renaissance. She died on May 4, 1942.

Priscilla Jane Thompsonby Priscilla Jane Thompson

‘Tis a time for much rejoicing;
      Let each heart be lured away;
Let each tongue, its thanks be voicing
      For Emancipation Day.
Day of victory, day of glory,
For thee, many a field was gory!
Many a time in days now ended,
      Hath our fathers’ courage failed,
Patiently their tears they blended;
      Ne’er they to their, Maker, railed,
Well we know their groans, He numbered,
When dominions fell, asundered.
As of old the Red Sea parted,
      And oppressed passed safely through,
Back from the North, the bold South, started,
      And a fissure wide she drew;
Drew a cleft of Liberty,
Through it, marched our people free.
And, in memory, ever grateful,
      Of the day they reached the shore,
Meet we now, with hearts e’er faithful,
      Joyous that the storm is o’er.
Storm of Torture! May grim Past,
Hurl thee down his torrents fast.
Bring your harpers, bring your sages,
      Bid each one the story tell;
Waft it on to future ages,
      Bid descendants learn it well.
Kept it bright in minds now tender,
Teach the young their thanks to render.
Come with hearts all firm united,
      In the union of a race;
With your loyalty well plighted,
      Look your brother in the face,
Stand by him, forsake him never,
God is with us now, forever.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on June 19, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

Terry Ehret
Sonoma County Literary Update Co-editor


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