Posted by: wordrunner | December 1, 2022

December 2022

Dear Literary Folk,

U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limόn at Santa Rosa Junior College
Thanks to Steve Trenam, many of us in Sonoma County had the chance to hear our 24the Poet Laureate of the United States reading her work at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Burbank Auditorium the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The reading and conversation were simulcast to the Petaluma Campus and made available via zoom.

Ada Limon at Santa Rosa JC Burbank Auditorium

Originally from Sonoma, Limόn now lives in Lexington, Kentucky, but makes regular trips to her home town. She was selected as the new U.S. Poet Laureate in July. The August post of the Literary Update offered an introduction to Limόn’s work, for those not familiar, including her poem “A New National Anthem,” which was one of the selection she read to the crowd at SRJC. You can catch Limόn’s poetry podcast, “The Slowdown”:

A fine review of the event, written by Mya Constantino, appeared in the Press Democrat last week:

And for those who missed the reading, you can watch it online at this address:

Remembering Michael Rothenberg
feature and photo by Susan Lamont

Michael Rothenberg and TerriOne of the most alive people I know — Michael Rothenberg — died on November 21st at age 71 in Tallahassee, Florida of 4th stage lung cancer. His death was a loss to the world, because he had taken his poetry and his activism around the world.

Michael had undergone radiation and chemo, but it wasn’t enough. When he was diagnosed, he said he only wanted a few people to know because he wouldn’t be able to handle responding to everyone. He had SO many friends the world over. So he swore me and some others to secrecy. Therefore, of course, this comes as a surprise to many.

Some of you knew him through his poetry and some of you knew him through his activism after the killing of Andy Lopez. I first met him after I’d heard of his and Terri Carrion’s idea to create 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC) – from a Facebook post by Penelope LaMontagne (another poet we have lost). Then, a young woman came into the Peace & Justice Center and asked me if I knew anything about the project. While we were talking, Michael called. He was thrilled by the synchronicity and that I’d heard of the project and we immediately became great friends.

I organized many 100TPC readings in Sonoma County for quite a few years – usually at Gaia’s Garden – while Michael and Terri promoted global readings which numbered 700 one year. And then Andy Lopez was killed and Michael and Terri threw themselves into the fight for justice as energetically as they supported poetry. When Michael and Terri do something, they do it 100%. We organized several 100TPC events around the life of Andy and a poem Michael wrote about Andy and a superficial and hypocritical Sonoma County has been translated and published in other languages.

Michael was not a newbie to activism, as he had been an environmental activist for many years in San Mateo County. He was also the founder of a nonprofit which helped poets in financial need. And, of course, 100 TPC was an activist enterprise.

He had hoped that the cancer wouldn’t return because the treatment had screwed up so many systems in his body and he knew he’d be unable to tolerate further treatment. And then he fell down some stairs and sustained a concussion. The last time we talked, he called me up to ask if he could cry because he was having such trouble with the rest of his body – and that was before the cancer returned. Of course, I said “yes.”

He was in the middle of several projects. Books in the works. Also a CD/recording of poems and music. (After all, he once lived in Nashville and tried to write music there!) Every day, he drew and painted. He was always so busy, always creating. He created an online poetry magazine, edited many books of poetry, worked with a wide variety of musicians; they sought him out. It’s impossible to imagine that energy stilled.

Terri has been left with many loose ends to tie up — all the works in progress, continuing the work on his brother’s estate — and she recently lost her mother, who had lived with them. She is deeply involved with a non-profit for Lake Jackson to which their house backs up.

Over the last few years, Michael had lost so many people who were fundamental to his life – one death after another, one grief after another – his son, his brother, his dearest poet friends. Joanne Kyger and Michael McClure come most immediately to mind. Now he has followed them.

You can find out more about him at

RIP Michael

Novelist Jane Smiley at Book Passage in Corte Madera
Jane SmileyOn Saturday, December 10 at 1:00 p.m., Book Passage will host Jane Smiley reading from her new novel, A Dangerous Business. From the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author of A Thousand Acres: a rollicking murder mystery set in Gold Rush California, as two young prostitutes follow a trail of missing girls. In person at the Corte Madera Store, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd. Details:

Two Great Local Writers Pair Up at Bird and Beckett
Come hear Dan Coshnear and Bart Schneider on Tuesday, December 13, at 7:00 p.m. Dan will read from his story collection Separation Anxiety, and Bart will read his poems on food from The Daily Feast. The event will be held at Bird & Beckett bookstore, 653 Chenery Street, San Francisco.

In View of the Whale: Songs and Poems of Social Justice<
In View of the WhaleJoin Sebastopol Center for the Arts on Friday, December 16, for an evening of prominent local poets’ readings interspersed with music sung by SebArts’ new choirs led by John Maas, aligned with Joe Sances’ monumental 51 ft. long whale, embodying myriad historical images relating to social justice and environmental degradation.

Poets will include SoCo’s current Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Herron, previous SoCo Poet Laureate, Terry Ehret, and more!

For details and to reserve a seat (the event is free), use this link:

Doors open: 6:30 pm, Show: 7:00-8:30 pm
Location: Sebastopol Center for the Arts 282 South High Street Sebastopol, CA, 95472

Another Chance to Hear the Poems of “Freedom”
On Sunday, December 18 4:00-5:30 pm. Occidental Center for the Arts Literary Series is thrilled to host a selection of poets from this year’s anthology, The Freedom of New Beginnings, Poems of Witness and Vision from Sonoma County, edited by Phyllis Meshulam with Gail King, Gwynn O’Gara, and Terry Ehret. Most of the 30 poets included in the anthology call or have called Sonoma County, California home. Readers on December 18th will include Pamela Stone Singer, Lilah Tuggle, Raphael Block, Phyllis Meshulam, Terry Ehret, Gwynn O’Gara, Gail King, Kat Winter, John Johnson, Iris Dunkle, Bill Greenwood, and Donna Emerson, many of whom have honored OCA’s stage with their poetry in previous years. Free admission, all donations gratefully invited. Selected readings by above poets, a Q&A, followed by book sales & signing. Refreshments, wine/beer/coffee/tea for sale. OCA: 3850 Doris Murphy Way, Occidental, CA. OCA’s facilities are accessible to people with disabilities. For more info: or 707-874-9392.

Translated from The Original: One-inch Punch Fiction
Guy Beiderman’s new book is being released this week by Nomadic Press. Guy is a Sonoma county ex-pat, who still teaches in Sonoma County. In fact, Guy will be teaching a flash fiction workshop at Occidental Center for The Arts in the spring. This month, Guy will be making two appearances to launch Translated from the Original.

The first is on Saturday, December 3, 6-8 pm as part of the Nomadic Press book launch. Here’s the link for that:

The second event is on Monday, December 5, 6:15 pm as one of the features at Rivertown Poets, along with Robert Rubino, hosted by Sande Anfang. This will be a hybrid reading, so you can attend in person at Aqus Café or zoom in from home. The Zoom open mic list has been filled, though there may be room for one or two more live readers. Email Sande Anfang at Zoom in to listen at

Sixteen Rivers Press Announces Call for Manuscripts
From November 1 2022 to February 1, 2023, Sixteen Rivers Press is open to submissions for full-length poetry manuscripts. The press is on a three-year production cycle. A manuscript accepted in this cycle would be published in April 2025. You can read the submission guidelines on the website at:

We hope you’ll consider sending us your work!

Call for Submissions for SCW’s Women Artists Datebook
Women Artists DatebookOne of my favorite publishers is the Syracuse Cultural Workers in New York state. I’ve promoted their work here before because it is rare to find a group so committed to the creative folk who move our collective vision forward, and so inclusive in their promotion of artists.

This year’s 2023 Women Artists Datebook is available on their website at Select calendars, then datebook. You could order a copy for yourself, or to give as gifts. Or browse the website for other items that might suit your taste and needs. If you like what you see, consider submitting your art or poetry for the 2024 datebook. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2023, but early submissions are welcome. You can submit these at They are also accepting submissions of artwork for their 2024 Peace Calendar. Guidelines are at:

Poem for December
For those who celebrate the season of Yule and the Winter Solstice, here’s a quote from poet Wendell Berry that reminds us of what the darkness can teach us.

Wendell Berry quote

Terry Ehret
Co-editor, Sonoma County Literary Update


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