Poet Laureate’s News

April 2023

ElizHerron-reverseDear Friends,

Here’s my Poet Laureate quarterly update. And a busy quarter it’s been these past three month!

It’s turning out to be wonderful work leading the Being Brave Poetry Workshops. There have been five since the beginning of the year. Two more are scheduled and four more await their dates. The workshops are comprised of between 7 and 15 people, who gather with me to make poems about what being brave means to them. For more about this, please visit www.elizabeth-herron.com and if you want to know even more, email me for the project folder.

I’ll be doing a reading and workshop for the Wildlands Preserve, a non-profit north of Jenner sometime in the next few months, possibly on the Summer Solstice. 

The Being Brave Poetry Workshop is moving out of the county as I’ll be facilitating a group at The Mesa Refuge for Writers, open to interested supporters of the Refuge as well as Refuge writers. That event will be in late June.

It is deeply gratifying to be able not only to share my writing as your Poet Laureate, but to do what I know I do well working with groups of all sorts around finding poetic language for what scares us, spreading poetry and building the strength of community through my Being Brave Poetry Workshops. I’m immensely grateful for the opportunity to do this work. 

My next focus will be on the east side of the county — Kenwood, Sonoma, Glen Ellen where I hope — with the Kenwood School, just haven’t yet fixed the date. And I’d like to do a reading and workshop in the Sonoma area, possibly at the Sonoma Valley Museum.

I had the pleasure of visiting Steve Trenam’s JC class — a wonderful experience of reading and conversation about poetry; and I read at Sande Anfang’s Rivertown poetry series, also really rewarding. She has established a wonderful audience. At Spring Lake Village I spoke to around 40 people, reading, doing a mini-Being Brave workshop, and discussing writing.

Gail King and Pat Nolan and Jonah Raskin and I read to a full house on a rainy night in Guerneville a few weeks ago. And April 18th, I’ll be reading with Bill Vartnaw and Jack Crimmins at 1 o’clock on KRCB. Tune in if you can.

On April 20th at Artaluma in Petaluma I will be reading with Iris Jamahl Dunkel, and Merlin Coleman will be presenting her sound art installation, Quarry. Merlin’s forthcoming residency in San Francisco, Iris’ new biography, and my own new book, In the Cities of Sleep, poems centered on climate chaos, which finally came out in February, will be the subjects for Q&A following each segment of the program. If you haven’t seen In the Cities of Sleep, please ask for it in your local bookstore; you might mention it is available through Ingram. That makes it easy to add to their orders. Of course, It is also available online.

I have also accepted an invitation to be the guest poet for the Great Books Poetry Weekend next fall, an event I eagerly look forward to. 

The Freedom of New Beginnings anthology that Phyllis Meshulam gathered and published, with the assistance of Gail King and Terry Ehret, has had a nice debut, and I’ve been able to participate in that by joining in two of the book’s group readings. If it fits to do more, I certainly will.

I have initiated the Being Brave Poetry Podcast. My webmaster will assist with the technical part of stringing together audio files of being brave poems, which will be on my elizabeth-herron.com website on the Being Brave pages. We are getting this off the ground, synchronistically, during National Poetry Month, with an invitation to past Poets Laureate of the county to send me an audio file of a poem on the theme of being brave.

Lastly, I am encouraging all of you – even if you have not written much poetry – to participate in National Poetry Month, Poem in Your Pocket Day, April 27th. I myself intend to stuff my pockets with my own Being Brave Pocket Poem (something almost as short as a fortune cookie fortune, something no longer than a haiku), which I will hand out to friends and strangers as I go about the day on the 27th. “Here,” I’ll tell them, “It’s National Poem in Your Pocket Day. Here’s my pocket poem about Being Brave.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all day you were being handed little poems by strangers? Join me, and tell me what happens.

My warmest good wishes to all of you,

Elizabeth Carothers Herron
Sonoma County Poet Laureate 2022-2024


Archives of previous Poet Laureate columns may be found here for 2012,  2013, 2014,  20152016-2017, 2018-2020, 2020-2022 and 2022-2024.

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