Posted by: wordrunner | March 1, 2023

March 2023

Dear Literary Folk,

snow on Sonoma MountainWe’ve surely had some wild weather in February with freezing weather, wind, rain, hail, and snow on our higher peaks.

Rebecca LawtonToday, in between storms, I’m headed out to Abbott’s Lagoon in Point Reyes National Seashore for a winter bird walk with writer and naturalist Becca Lawton. My husband and I tagged along in January when Becca led a poetry and birding walk at Ellis Creek in Petaluma. We saw swans, hawks, egrets, many varieties of ducks and songbirds, and Anna’s hummingbirds mating on the fly! And, of course, we saw many blackbirds. With each siting, Becca invited someone in the group to read a passage from Wallace Stevens’s “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird,” and we each offered our reflections and interpretations of Stevens’s enigmatic poem. This was such fun that we decided to hire Becca for a private group expedition to Point Reyes. Walking with a naturalist-guide is a very different experience from walking on your own. As I told Becca at Ellis Creek, “You teach us how to see.”

If this kind of outing appeals to you, check out the March events calendar. On March 25, 8:00-10:00 a.m. Becca will be leading a literary bird walk in Jack London State Historic Park, Glen Ellen, California. The cost is $10 to benefit the park. Details and tickets:

For more about Becca’s books and field work, visit her website:

Home Turf: A Bestiary of Sonoma State University
On this theme of nature writing, Thursday, March 2, 5:00-7:00 p.m. Sonoma State University’s Art Gallery will host a reading and discussion with local author Lakin Khan and artist/illustrator Shane Weare, as they introduce their newly published book, Home Turf: A Bestiary of Sonoma State University. For details check the calendar page. To RSVP, contact SSU Art Gallery Exhibitions Coordinator, Carla Stone at or (707) 664-2295.

Book Passage Offers Two Presentations to Help Authors Realize Their Publishing Dreams
Book PasssageBook Passage presents John J. Geoghegan on How to Get Your Book Published, a 3-hour class offered live on Zoom. This class is designed to help writers improve their chance of getting their memoir, novel, or nonfiction book considered for publication by a reputable literary agent or publisher. Saturday, March 4, 12:00-3:00 p.m. Details and registration:

Then, right after Geoghegan’s presentation, at 4:00 p.m. Book Passage presents Tzivia Gover in conversation with Brooke Warner, in person at the Corte Madera store. Featured book is Dreaming Big: A Conversation about the Private and Public Sides of Writing. Brooke Warner (She Writes Press) and Tzivia Gover (author of Dreaming on the Page) will explore questions of solitude, audience, and when and if to make our personal narratives public.

Book Passage’s Corte Madera venue is located at 51 Tama Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. Details:

Jodi Hottel and Diane Lee Moomey at Rivertown Poets
Diane Mooney and Jodi HottelMonday, March 6, 6:00 p.m. Rivertown Poets features Jodi Hottel and Diane Lee Moomey. The reading starts promptly at 6:15. Open mic follows the features. Reading time for open mic is 3 minutes per poet. (The reading list for March 6 is full.) Zoom in to listen at or via Also, listen to Rivertown Poets on KPCA.FM in Petaluma and live-streaming on the web every Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Each week, a pair of poets or poetry interviews is featured.

Spring Poetry Festival at Café Frida
Cafe Frida GalleryEd Coletti hosts the Spring Poetry Festival on Sunday, March 26, 12:00-2:00 p.m. outdoors at Cafe Frida Gallery, 300 South A Street #4, Santa Rosa. This will be the fifth quarterly festival reading (but who’s counting?) In addition to Ed, featured readers include Pat Nolan, Avotcja, Gail King, Carl Macki, Iris Jahmal Dunkle, Rob DiLillo, Pamela Singer, and Hilary Moore, with Steve Shain accompanying on bass. Details are posted at:

The Sitting Room’s Annual Publication Open for Contributions
In answer to the questions we’ve been getting, YES, The Sitting Room Annual Publication will be happening this year and here is the wide-open topic, appropriate for our new year’s resolutions: haven’t we all some scene, some topic, some learning moment, some dream, some ________ that we have wanted to write about but never somehow got around to? Too tender or too tough or too elusive…. Most of us have, I suspect, and this is your chance to just DO IT (in two pages or less, in any genre, poetry, prose, or drawing even – wouldn’t it be fun to have a graphic novel in the publication? – ) In short, any form any genre so long as writing it fulfills a long deferred idea or inkling or mini-project. Get it off your chest. JUST DO IT!

And then send it to Karen Petersen on or before April 1, 2023 via email,

Contributions should be no more than two pages, 12 point, Times New Roman. Word, Pages or other plain text files are fine. Image files as .jpeg. If you do not use a computer, please send your work to: The Sitting Room, PO Box 838, Penngrove, CA 94951

Poem for March
March is Women’s History Month, and to honor this theme, here is a poem by the amazing poet and performance artist Patricia Smith, who is featured in the most recent issue of Poets & Writers.

by Patricia Smith

Patricia SmithThe storm left a wound seeping,
a boulevard yawning, some
memories fractured, a
kiss exploded, she left
no stone resting, a bone
army floating, rats sated,
she left the horizon sliced
and ornery, she left in a hurry,
in a huff, in all her glory,
she took with her a kingdom
of sax and dream books,
a hundred scattered chants,
some earth burned in her
name, and she took flight,
all pissed and raucous, like
a world-hipped woman
makin’ room.

Copyright © 2008 by Patricia Smith. From Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008).

Terry Ehret
Sonoma County Literary Update Co-editor


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