County News Archive

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The Update welcomes announcements of interest to the Sonoma County literary community. Send text only (no attachments or PDFs please) by noon on the last day of the month to:  editor@socolitupdate.com. No workshops, classes or readings, please. (Those are posted on the calendar or workshops pages.)

Healdsburg Literary Guild Seeks New Literary Laureate

The Healdsburg Literary Guild invites applications for the position of Healdsburg Literary Laureate 2018-2020. The Healdsburg Literary Laureate is a writer honored for the quality and body of his or her work. The writer promotes Healdsburg as a center for the literary arts.

Healdsburg’s current Literary Laureate is Russ Messing who will serve until December 31, 2018. Past Laureates include, Doug Stout, 2000–2001, Armando Garcia-Dávila 2002–2003, Penelope La Montagne 2004–2005, Chip Wendt 2006–2007, Vilma Ginzberg 2008–2009, and Stefanie Freele 2010-2011, John Koetzner 2012-2013, and Gabriel Fraire 2014-2015.   Ted Calvert is currently president of the Healdsburg Literary Guild.

Interested writers from the Healdsburg, Cloverdale, Geyserville and Windsor zip codes are asked to submit the following material: writer’s resume/CV; five pages (samples) of his or her work; and a maximum of a 500-word statement of his/her vision of the Healdsburg Literary Laureate’s responsibilities and activities. In this statement, please describe what you would hope to accomplish in the years 2019–2020, share your thoughts about how the literary arts can be a tool to build a multicultural community, and tell us if you read/write/speak other languages. We want the writer to create the position in collaboration with the Guild.

Eligible candidates will be invited to read from their works on the evening of Wednesday, January 9, 2019, from 6:45 – 8:45 p.m. at the Healdsburg Regional Library, 139 Piper Street, Healdsburg.

The 2019-2020 Healdsburg Literary Laureate will be selected on the basis of two elements: a review of all the applications by the Guild Board and participation in the Evening of Laureate Candidates’ Readings on January 9, 2019.

The position of Healdsburg Literary Laureate carries a $500 stipend, payable in two annual installments of $250 each.

Application guidelines can be found at the Healdsburg Literary Guild’s website, http://www.hbglitguild.org.  Interested writers should send application materials by email to healdsburgliteraryguild@gmail.com no later than December 20, 2018.

2018 Industry Poetry Prize

Elizabeth Carothers Herron was short-listed this summer for the 2018 Industry Poetry Prize from Frontier Poetry.

California Poets in the Schools Finds New Home & Executive Director in Sonoma County

California Poets in the Schools (CalPoets), a nationally renowned, 54-year-old nonprofit organization moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, California in July, 2018 and named Meg Hamill, a Santa Rosa resident, as the new Executive Director. CalPoets serves 28,000 youth throughout California each year and is one of the nation’s largest, literary artist-in-residency programs.

The organization’s move to Sonoma County reflects the fact that local schools, parents and philanthropists place an incredibly high value upon arts education for kids. By the numbers, Sonoma County is one of CalPoets’ largest and most well-funded counties in the state, offering a top-notch literary arts education to nearly 4,000 Sonoma County students from 30 different schools each year – many from high priority neighborhoods as called out by the Portrait of Sonoma County.

In Sonoma County, CalPoets is generously supported by local funders such as Creative Sonoma, the Community Foundation of Sonoma County and the Sonoma County Vintner’s Foundation. In addition, CalPoets in Sonoma County was recently awarded $17,100 from the California Arts Council in order to fund long-term creative writing residencies in 11 Sonoma County schools for the 2018-19 school year.

CalPoets in Sonoma County provides meaningful opportunities for twelve Poet-Teachers to live and work in their local Sonoma County communities. Current and recent Poet-Teachers include Iris Jamahl Dunkle and Gwynn O’ Gara, past Poets Laureate of Sonoma County.

Newly appointed Executive Director Meg Hamill joined California Poets in the Schools as a Teaching Artist in 2007 and became the Area Coordinator for Sonoma County in 2013. Meg has over 20 years of leadership experience at national and regional educational nonprofits including Teach For America, LandPaths and Save the Bay. Hamill now has her eye on CalPoets’ future and its local and statewide presence:

“I believe deeply in the power of our work to change lives. We will continue to provide exemplary poetry lessons and activities that encourage young people to develop empathy and respect for one another. We will also seek to form partnerships and collaborate with other arts organizations and educators to meet the diverse needs of our children locally, regionally and across the state. We have our work set out for us — to ensure that our visionary organization remains at the cutting edge of our field, with deep roots and broad support.”

Meg looks forward to building relationships with the CalPoets’ Board, Poet-Teachers, partnering schools and its network of donors and friends who have helped support and encourage CalPoets’ mission for over five decades.

More information at: www.californiapoets.org/

Meeting Space!

The Sitting Room community library would like Book Groups to know that they would be welcome to hold their meetings here. There is comfortable seating for up to 10 people and parking too. We are open from 9 to 5 Mondays – Saturdays, but are happy to make arrangements for other time slots also. If interested in arranging a trial meeting, please call us at 707 795-9028 or email us at boxcar@sonic.net. The atmosphere is right (and people wont have to straighten up their houses for the occasional occasion). We are right next to Sonoma State University at 2025 Curtis Drive, Penngrove, 94951. Check out our website: www.SittingRoom.org for directions and to get a feel for the place.

Also at the Sitting Room: Birds, Blooms and Butterflies:
Four Artists Celebrate Nature

Depictions of the natural world have inspired artists throughout time. We are pleased to have work by Krista Anandakuttan, Nina Antze, Joyce Libeu and Joanne Page currently on display at the Sitting Room. Stop by and take a moment to enjoy these beautiful drawings and learn more about the great tradition of botanical illustration. Visit 2025 Curtis in Penngrove.

how Her a Flower, A Bird, A Shadow

Indies Book of the Year Awards Finalist

Show Her a Flower, a Bird, a Shadow, a short story and hybrid prose collection by Peg Alford Pursell, has been selected as a 2017 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist. Winners will be announced on June 15, 2018. The book was also honored by Poets & Writers magazine’s “Five over Fifty” annual feature in December 2017.

Who Will Be Sonoma County’s 10th Poet Laureate?

Deadline for nominations: November 7, 2017

Nominations are now open for Sonoma County’s 10th Poet Laureate. The Poet Laureate is a Sonoma County resident, whose poetry manifests a high degree of excellence, who has produced a critically acclaimed body of work, and who has demonstrated a commitment to the literary arts in Sonoma County. The Poet Laureate often participates in official ceremonies and readings. The Sonoma County Poet Laureate serves for two years (2018-2019).

The Poet Laureate Selection Committee is made up of representatives from each of the five County Supervisory Districts, and from Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma County Library, and Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the Literary Arts Guild and the previous poets laureate. Each member of this panel has demonstrated knowledge of and an active commitment to, the life of poetry in our county.

The Selection Committee is pleased to announce that starting this year, the Poet Laureate will be awarded a $1,000 stipend in addition to his or her title.

The new Poet Laureate will be announced in December, 2017

Consistent with tradition, the Sonoma County Poet Laureate will not have a formal job description but will be encouraged to develop an agenda promoting poetry and the literary arts in Sonoma County. Organizers of various community events in Sonoma County may invite the poet laureate to participate in their events.

Please download the submission requirements and application form from the Center for the Arts’ website at http://sebarts.org/index.php/literary-arts

For more information contact Cynthi Stefenoni at cynthi@sebastopolfilm.org or call the Sebastopol Center for the Arts at 707-829-4797.

WTAW Press Inaugural Chapbooks

WTAW Press has published its inaugural chapbooks, February 8, 2017. All four limited edition chapbooks are available on the website at www.wtawpress.org/news. Interviews with chapbook authors Jenny Wu and Amelie Prusik may be read at www.wtawpress.org/author-interviews. WTAW Press has also announced its first full-length titles to be published September 8, 2017. Submissions will open for the 2017 reading period on June 15. To learn more about WTAW Press and stay up on current developments, sign up for the newsletter at http://eepurl.com/bOfwf5. WTAW Press is a 501(c)nonprofit based in Santa Rosa, the publishing arm of Why There Are Words, a national neighborhood of reading series founded in 2010 in Sausalito with branches in New York City, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Austin, and Portland (with more to come in 2018). www.whytherearewords.com

A Message for Sonoma County Poets and Writers

Poet Christopher Soto is researching the life of Sonoma poet Paul Mariah. He’s been working with the Poetry Foundation and they have created a page for Paul’s bio. Some of you may remember Paul as a gentle, kind and energetic soul who often read at the Russian River Writer’s Guild in Sebastopol. He was generous with advice and support. Paul created one of the first gay presses, Manroot, in the 70s. Christopher is also in process of finding a home for Mariah’s work, and has possibly found one at Brown University.

Any of you who have any of Paul Mariah’s works, or if you have any reminiscences, or any other information that might add to the archive at Brown or the Poetry Foundation page, please do contact Christopher at soto@lambdaliterary.org

Littoral Press Poetry Prize

Sonoma County poet Carol Ciavonne’s poem “The Bird Life” has won the Littoral Press Poetry Prize, judged by Troy Jollimore. Suzanne Maxson of Sebastopol received an honorable mention for her poem “Movement.” The prize is 50 broadsides by Lisa Rappoport, a book artist and letterpress printer who has sponsored this contest for nine years.  http://littoralpress.com/web/current-events/

Sonoma County author places 2nd in EVVY Literary Contest

Charles Markee’s middle grade novel Maria’s Beads just took 2nd place as a junior fiction category book in the prestigious Colorado Independent Publisher’s Association (CIPA), 22nd annual EVVY literary contest. See http://cipabooks.com/cipa-evvy-awards. EVVY is a nickname for Evelyn Kaye, the woman who founded CIPA.

Juniper Prize awarded to Sonoma County author Joan Frank

University of Massachusetts Press’ Juniper Prize for the Novel has been awarded to Sonoma County author Joan Frank for her novel All the News I Need. Joan Frank is the author of five books of fiction and a book of collected essays. Her novel Make It Stay won the Dana Portfolio Award. Her story collection, In Envy Country, won the Richard Sullivan Prize, the Gold ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award, and was named a finalist for the California Book Award. Frank’s essay collection, Because You Have To: A Writing Life, won the Silver ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award.

Sonoma County Poet Honored

Donna Emerson will read her winning poem “First Day of Kindergarten and Eleven Years Later,” on February 6th at the annual Allen Ginsburg 2015 awards ceremony at the Poetry Center in Paterson, New Jersey.

Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud Contest

On February 15, 2016, the 10th annual Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud competition took place at the elegant Glaser Center in Santa Rosa. POL is a nationwide poetry recitation program for high school students. It’s implemented first at the classroom level, then school-wide, county-wide, state-wide contests take place. It works much like a spelling bee, and winners eventually progress to the Nationals and compete with other champions from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Melissa Lozano of Rancho Cotate HighEvery year our county-wide contest becomes more expert and competitive. This year’s winner is Melissa Lozano of Rancho Cotate High. There was actually a tie for first place in terms of raw scores. When that occurs, we look at the “overall performance” score. Shea Dorrell of Piner High School came in just one point behind, using that metric. Our third place winner was Arthur Timpe of El Molino and fourth was Victoria Ward of Maria Carrillo.

By the time this goes to press, the statewide competition will have already taken place. But if you would like a taste of this rich experience, consider coming to Word Temple on March 26. Dana Gioia, our new California Poet Laureate and founder of POL during his leadership of the National Endowment for the Arts, will be presenting, accompanied by two of our county finalists!

The schools involved this year are: Analy, Casa Grande, Creekside, El Molino, Elsie Allen, Maria Carrillo, Montgomery, Piner, Rancho Cotate, Rincon Valley Christian, Roseland Collegiate Prep, Roseland University Prep, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Academy and Tech High.

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