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WordTemple Poetry Series

The WordTemple Poetry Series and WordTemple Arts & Lectures take place at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts

Sebastopol Vets Building

282 S. High Street, Sebastopol

Please scroll down for the most recent scheduled event


2015 WordTemple Events  (Please return for updates)

Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


Ellery Akers is celebrating her latest collection, Practicing the Truth, winner of the 2014 Autumn House Poetry Prize, judge by Alicia Ostriker.  Her collection Knocking on the Earth was named a Best Book of the Year by the San Jose Mercury News.  The winner of eleven national writing awards, Akers is also the author of a children’s novel, Sarah’s Waterfall.  Among her honors are fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Ucross Foundation, and Headlands Center for the Arts.

JOSEPH ZACCARDI — Changing Harm to Harmony — Bullies & Bystanders Project

The anthology by the same name, edited by Marin County Poet Laureate Joe Zaccardi is A Book of Poems, Letters & Other Writings that serves  as a “present day response for changing harm to harmony…best defined by the process of restorative justice” (Richard Cruwys Brown).  A number of contributors will read from the anthology which includes poems by many San Francisco Bay Area poets, including Sonoma County poets, as well as Mark Doty, Jane Mead and Jane Hirshfield.  Sample poem titles include “Fat Kid,” by Peter Schmitt, “The Invisible Boy,” by Paul Sohar, “Such a Pretty Face,” by CB Follett and “Perfect Target,” by Rebecca Foust. Some of tonight’s readers include Andre Le Mont Wilson, Gerald Fleming, CB Follett, Katherine Hastings, Jodi Hottel, David Beckman, Ed Coletti, Stephanie Mandel, Rebecca Foust, Susan Terris, Mark Meiderding, Julia Vose, Eva M. Schlesinger, Barbara Welch Brooks, Alan Cohen, Linda Enders and Calvin Ahlgren.  Come experience this heartfelt and beautifully produced anthology.  Joe Zaccardi will give an introduction.

Opening Poet:  Phyllis Meshulam.  Phyllis Meshulam is a long-time teacher and coordinator for California Poets in the Schools and for Poetry Out Loud, and the author of Valley of Moon from d-press and Doll, Moon from Finishing Line Press. Her poems appear in many literary magazines and in Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, winner of a Northern California Book Reviewers Award. With a B.A. from Pomona College, and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Meshulam is the editor for a lesson plan book, Poetry Crossing, published in 2014 in honor of CPitS’s 50th anniversary.

 ”With each poem in Doll, Moon, Phyllis Meshulam spins a delicate, strong strand of webbing that connects the reader to ancestors, human and animal, and to events in history and the cosmos.” — Maxine Hong Kingston, author of China Men, winner of the National Book Award.


Saturday, February 21, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


Tsering Wangmo Dhompa is the author of three collections of poetry: My rice tastes like the lake, finalist for a Northern California Independent Bookseller’s Book of the Year Award; In the Absent Everyday; and Rules of the House, finalist for an Asian American Literary Award.  Dhompa’s first non-fiction book, A Home in Tibet was published by Penguin, India, in September 2013.  She has received a Cultural Equity Grant from the Arts Commission of San Francisco, and fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and Hedgebrook.  Tsering grew up in the Tibetan exile communities of Nepal and India and now lives in San Francisco.

Patti Trimble and Peter Whitehead are celebrating their new CD of spoken poems and music on cello, piano Chinese banjo, zither, spike fiddle and toy melodeon: In the Middle of the Night of the Road of My Life I Found Myself in a Tangled Wood.  Trimble is a poet, essayist, and visual artist known for performances of her lyric poetry with music as a form of alternative news.  Her poems have been published widely and are included on 3 CDs, 2 of them produced with musicians Peter Whitehead and Ramzi Harrabi in 2014.  Residing in Sicily and Petaluma, she teaches writing for Arcadia University Abroad, Sonoma State OLLI Program, and Point Reyes Field Institute.  Her recent poetry collections are The Hills Have Turned Their Backs and Hello Heaven! Arabic Poems from Midieval Sicily.  

Peter Whitehead is a musician, composer, performer, songwriter and instrument builder.  He creates scores for film and dance, and performs solo work using a variety of homemade sound sources, plus an array of more conventional instruments and electronics.  In the worlds of dance and film, he has made music of Mikhail Baryshnikov, Susan Marshall & Company, Anna Halprin, Matt Dillon and others.  His work has been used in over a dozen countries for television and radio and, at home, it has been featured frequently on NPR and PBS.  His music is available online and from Out of Round Records, an independent label he co-founded in 2001.

Steve Shain has been playing the string bass since 1963 in Chicago Heights, Illinois. He met poet ruth weiss through painter paul beattie’s daughter, ananda, in the late 1980s and accompanied ruth on many gigs through the late 1990s. Since reading on the road in high school, steve has been interested in the beat generation; in fact his first car was a 1954 hudson hornet. He is currently freelancing with poets, dancers, jazzers, and improvisers in the Bay Area. Steve was a founding member of the Rohnert Park Symphony and currently owns a cobbler/sewing/fabrication business.

Claire Drucker has published poems in journals such as Phoebe, Controlled Burn, Diner, Epiphany, Puerto del Sol, Eclipse, and the Women Artists Datebook.  The Fluid Body, a chapbook from Finishing Line Press, was published in 2014. Her first chapbook, Vortex, was published in 2008. Claire teaches writing and literature at Santa Rosa Junior College and is a longtime poet-teacher with CA Poets In the Schools. She is a poetry mentor for Poetry Out Loud, a national high school recitation contest, and also works as an educational strategist helping teens who struggle with reading and writing.


Saturday, April 25, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.



Paul Hoover has won a 2014 PEN/America Translation Fund award from a field of 120  applicants for his translation of Nightmare Running on a Meadow of Absolute Light by Marìa Baranda.  Tonight we celebrate that work.  “One of Mexico’s leading poets of the generation born in the 1960s and a powerful presence in all of Latin American poetry, Baranda is best known for her sweeping and incisive long poems.  Her cry is resoundingly of sea, sponge, ant, and prayer, as related in rapture.  Hoover deftly captures the drama of her cadences in Spanish.” — PEN/America

Poet, editor, and translator Paul Hoover is the author of over a dozen collections of poetry including The Novel: A Poem (1991), Totem and Shadow: New & Selected Poems (1999), Winter (Mirror) (2002), Edge and Fold (2006), Sonnet 56 (2009) In Idiom and Earth (En el idioma y en la tierra) (2012), which was translated by María Baranda and published by Conaculta Press in Mexico, and desolation : souvenir (2012).  He translated the poems of Friedrich Hölderlin, with Maxine Chernoff, in Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin (2008); with Nguyen Do, he translated Black Dog, Black Night: Contemporary Vietnamese Poetry (2008) and Beyond the Court Gate: Selected Poems of Nguyen Trai (2010).


Michael Palmer is the author of many books of poetry, including Madman With Broom (Selected poems with Chinese translations by Yunte Huang, Oxford University Press, 2011); Thread (New Directions, 2011); and Company of Moths (New Directions, 2005), which was shortlisted for the Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize; Codes Appearing: Poems 1979 — 1988; The Promises of Glass; The Lion Bridge: Selected Poems 1972 — 1995 and others.  His new book of poems, The Laughter of the Sphinx, is scheduled for publication from New Directions in 2015.  He is also the author of a prose work, The Danish Notebook.  He has translated work from French, Russian and Portuguese, and has taken part in collaborations with painters and dancers, including work with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company.  He edited and contributed translations to Nothing The Sun Could Not Explain: Twenty Contemporary Brazilian Poets (Sun & Moon Press).  Palmer’s honors include two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writer’s Award, a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the Arts and Letters Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Wallace Stevens Award.  His work has been translated into over thirty languages.

Clara Rosemarda will open the evening with a reading from her new chapbook from the Small Change Series, Naked Branches.  A Sonoma County poet, memoirist and counselor, Rosemarda teaches creative writing and The Enneagram of Personality.  She co-created and coordinated the successful program Writer’s Sampler at the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and is co-editor and co-author of the literary anthology STEEPED: In the World of Tea.


Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.


Malachi Black is the author of the poetry collection Storm Toward Morning (Copper Canyon Press, 2014).  “Malachi Black’s exciting Storm Toward Morning, moves fluently between the rigors of inherited forms and the openness of free verse with an uncompromising precions.”  As the recent Creative Writing Fellow in Poetry at Emory University, his poems appear or are forthcoming in journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, Boston Review, AGNI, Narrative, The Southern Review, and Southwest Review, among others, as well as in several recent and forthcoming anthologies, including Discoveries:  New Writing from The Iowa Review; Before the Door of God:  An Anthology of Devotional Poetry (Yale UP); and The Poet’s Quest for God (UK).  The recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship (awarded by the Poetry Foundation in conjunction with Poetry magazine), Black has since been granted fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the MacDowell Colony, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the University of Texas at Austin’s Michener Center for Writers, the University of Utah, and Yaddo.  Black was featured as the subject of an Emerging Poet profile by Mark Jarman in the Academy of American Poets’ American Poet magazine, and his work has several times been set to music and otherwise featured in exhibitions both in the U.S. and abroad.  He is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of San Diego since Fall 2014.

Robert Thomas latest book, Bridge, is a work of poetic fiction published by BOA Editions. His first book, Door to Door, was selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as winner of the Poets Out Loud Prize and published by Fordham University, and his second book, Dragging the Lake, was published by Carnegie Mellon. He has received a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and won a Pushcart Prize. Robert lives with his wife in Oakland. For more information, see  “Bridge has the lucid spacious interiority and intensity of Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, and a prose style hypnotic and brilliant enough to earn that comparison.  Thomas’s combination of sheer lyricism and incisive edginess in each swift poetic chapter keeps the reader leaning forward to hear what our wonded, brazen, narrator…is going to say next.” — Tony Hoagland


2014 EVENTS:


Reception for Katherine Hastings — Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, 2014 — 2016

Sunday, January 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Sebastpol Center for the Arts


2014 WordTemple Poetry Series

Saturday, February 15 at 7 p.m.

MARK IRWIN and ROBERT SWARD with Opening Poet: Pamela Stone Singer

Mark Irwin is coming from Los Angeles to celebrate his seventh collection of poetry, Large White House Speaking (New Issues), winner of the Green Rose Prize.  Born in Minnesota, Irwin has lived in France, Italy and throughout the U.S.  He has taught at a number of universities and colleges including Case Western Reserve, the University of Iowa, Ohio University, the University of Denver and others.  He has also translated two volumes of poetry, one from the French and one from the Romanian.  Recognition of his work includes the Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, National Endowment for the Arts, the James Wright Poetry Award and fellowships from the Fulbright, Lilly, and Wurlitzer Foundations.  He lives in Colorado, and Los Angeles, where he teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at the University of Southern California. “In this superb collection, Mark Irwin balances precision — each line has been carved into being with consummate care — against an enchanting and tonic strangeness, an adventurous commitment to the depths and reaches of metaphor.  Few poets remain as faithful to the imagination where formal mastery always serves its vision.  To read the poems here is to feel our lives ‘luminous and ringing as the space grows larger.’  Mark Irwin is a true original, and Large White House Speaking is his best book.” — Peter Campion

Robert Sward makes his way to Sonoma County from Santa Cruz to delight us with New and Selected Poems — his twenty-sixth collection!  Sward is also the author of several books of fiction and non-fiction.  Ellen Bass says “These are funny, sad, generous poems — peopled with characters it’s impossible not to love, especially Robert’s podiatrist-Jewish-Rosicrucian father with his wisdom that bridges all dualities expounding on the feet and the soul, sex and death, the broken and the whole.  In one poem, Robert asserts,  ‘In a world of No, dogs are a Yes.’  And in the world of poetry, this book is a resounding Yes.  Read it when you’re happy, but especially read it when you’re depressed.  You’ll find yourself joining in with the many dogs in these poems, saying, ‘Woof, woof f—in’ woof!” Come enjoy what is being called Sward’s definitive collection, “outwardly zany and fanciful, but inwardly serious, troubled, and questioning.”   You won’t regret it!

Pamela Stone Singer is the author of Master Lessons, a poetry chapbook (Finishing Line Press) and Teaching Compassion (Latham Foundation).  She has been a poet/teacher with California Poets in the Schools for more than two decades, a poet/coach for Poetry Out Loud, and a humane educator.  Along with a colleague, she wrote poetry programs for Conversations with Poetry (www.panted  She was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize. ________________________________________________________

Saturday, March 15, 2014 at 7 p.m. CLIVE MATSON with CELLIST GAEL ALCOCK   .   ROY MASH   .   SUSAN COHEN

Clive Matson is the author of ten collections of poetry and four books of fiction, as well as his non-fiction volume LET THE CRAZY CHILD WRITE! (New World Library).  His books of poems include Chalcedony’s Second Ten Songs (Minotaur Press); Mainline to the Heart and other Poems (Regent Press); Squish Boots (Broken Shadow Publications); Heroin (Neon Sun) and many others.  The winner of several awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry from the Berkeley Poetry Festival and  a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award, Matson holds creative writing and novel-writing workshops in Costa Rica and the United States.  He received his MFA in Poetry from the School of the Arts, Columbia University.

Matson will perform with the cellist Gael AlcockAlcock is a classically trained cellist and teacher with extensive orchestral and chamber music experience.  She works with composers and new music ensembles, and accompanies singers, dancers, poets and artists.  Her solo compositions explore jazz, middle eastern, and free styles of improvisation.


Roy Mash is the author of Buyer’s Remorse, a “celebration of the small, the overlooked, the underrated.”  Drawing on themes of the body, of mathematics and rationality and more, Mash calls forth everyone from Archimedes to Tweety Bird.  Called a “latter day Anti-Oracle” and an “incorrigible wag who’s smuggled his pea shooter into the Church of Poetry,” Mash promises an evening of entertainment and thought.  A long time board member of Marin Poetry Center, Mash’s poems have appeared in many journals, including Agni, Nimrod, River Styx and others.


Susan Cohen is a multi-award winning poet and the author of Throat Singing as well as two chapbooks and a book of non-fiction.  Her honors include the Harpur Palates 2013 Milton Kessler memorial Poetry Prize, the Literal Latte Poetry Prize (2012) the Rita Dove Poetry Award (2011) and others.  Chana Bloch writes about Throat Singing: “In poems about the world of family and the natural world, and the requirements for survival in either, Cohen writes with intelligence, clarity, and deep understanding, always following the drift and the pull of feelings.”  An MFA graduate of Pacific University, Cohen lives in Berkeley and Bodega Bay.   Saturday, April 26, 2014   7:00 p.m. DAVID ROSENTHAL.    LEONORE WILSON.  TODD MELICKER. 

David Rosenthal

David Rosenthal is the author of The Wild Geography of Misplaced Things, published by White Violet Press in 2013.  A Pushcart Prize nominee and a Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award finalist, Rosenthal is the founder and host of First Wednesday Formal, a monthly poetry reading series in Albany California. “David Rosenthal’s The Wild Geography of Misplaced Things takes us beyond the established borders of our ordinary lives into memory and its defiance of time, a place, where things that may have been mispaced suddenly reappear and reeal their true nature, until we realize that nothing in Rosenthal’s world that truly matters is misplaced or forgotten…It helps that rhythm seems to come as naturally to him as breathing.  It helps that he knows the value of laughter and the dangers of too much restriction…It helps that he has a boundless capacity for tenderness…It helps that his clarity of purpose is never polemical or dogmatic, even when it is hard-hitting…Rosenthal makes the listening as instructive as it is delightful.” — Lynne Knight


Leonore Wilson is the author of Western Solstice (Hiraeth Press) and Tremendum, Augustum (Aldrich Press).  The winner of fellowships to the University of Utah and Villa Montalvo Center for the Arts, she is poet laureate  of Napa Valley where she lives on her family’s ranch.  Wilson is on the River of Words and MFA advisory panels at St. Mary’s College and has taught English and Creative Writing for over twenty years at various colleges and universities in the Bay Area.  Her work has appeared in Quarterly West, Third Coast, Poets Against the War, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Third Coast and other literary journals and anthologies. “Politicial, fierce and tender, Leonore Wilson’s poems take cadence inside herself and ‘anti-matter flagellating, palpitating’ into mysteries of life and death, female presence, the planet, gender and music.  Her process is transformative, the reader’s experience is deliciousness.  Gaia’s sweet substance…” — Annah Soblemen, author of In the Bee Latitudes and The Tulip Sacrament.


Todd Melicker is quite simply one of the more daring and interesting poets to hit the scene in recent years.  Tonight he will read from his new collection, rendezvous, winner of the annual Black Box Poetry Prize and published by Rescue Press. “Todd Melicker’s rendezvous shapes itself as a series of creation stories.  In the process of forming and naming, he enacts intimacies that are at the heart of creation, for Melicker comprehends a tenderness not immediate to the rest of us, derived, as we are “from the/given up/divine etcetera.”  His deeper perception causes imagination and formal assurance (which suffuse this book) to fall away like ‘seedship or boathusk’ before ‘the living arrival’ of recognition.  So we meet and so we are dispelled ‘where the first half we believe/& the second half believes us.’” — Elizabeth Robinson Saturday, May 17, 2014    7:00 p.m. ELLEN BASS.      MIRIAM BIRD GREENBERG.     JOHN JOHNSON.

Ellen Bass is the author of Like a Beggar (Copper Canyon Press, 2014); The Human Line; and Mules of Love (BOA Editions).  Winner of the Lambda Literary Award, Bass also co-edited, with Susan Howe, the ground-breaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (Doubleday).  Her books of non-fiction include the powerful The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse (Harper Collins), which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into ten languages.  Bass teaches in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University.

Miriam Bird Greenberg is the author of All night in the new country (Sixteen Rivers Press) and Pack-Blood, Fever Grass (Ricochet Editions).  The daughter of a New York Jew and a goat-raising anthropologist involved in the back-t0-the-land movement, Greenberg grew up on an organic farm in rural Texas and spent her childhood roaming the nearby creeks and caved-in barns in muslin schoolteachers’ dresses left behind by ancestors a hundred years dead of diptheria.  A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Greenberg has taught English as a Second Language in Japan, Canada and San Francisco.  She has also deckhanded on a sailing vessel from Miami to Panama, collaborated with the audience-immersive performance group Odyssey Works, and ridden freight trains across the United States.  She is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a writing fellowship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and a 2013 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship.

John Johnson has received awards and honors for his poetry from Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, The New Guard Literary Review, and Sebastopol Center for the Arts. His poems have appeared in many print and online publications, including BOXCAR Poetry Review, Clade Song, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Web Conjunctions. You can find more of his poetry at   Saturday, September 20, 2014    7:00 p.m. GILLIAN CONOLEY.     DANUSHA LAMÈRIS.    Opening Poet: WILLIAM GREENWOOD.

Danusha Lameris

Danusha Laméris’s  first book, The Moons of August, was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the 2013 Autumn House Press poetry contest and was released in January 2014. She was a finalist for the 2010 and 2012 New Letters Prize in poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poem, “Riding Bareback,” won the Morton Marcus Memorial prize in poetry and her work has been featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. She has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, The Sun and Crab Orchard Review as well as in a variety of other journals.

Gillian Conoley, the award-winning author of seven collections of poetry, is returning tonight to celebrate her latest book, Peace.  Peopled by Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thoreau, as well as musicians, senators and the lives of the ordinary, Peace braids the past with the present in ways that add up to a type of transcendence even when the key question is never answered:  Can peace and war live simultaneously?

Peace is a struggle composed of inner and outer lives, personal and political history, and words that soothe and disrupt, elucidate or temporarily obscure, but don’t urge to action. Peace comes from confronting all the pieces and faces, the bad stories and ceaseless, difficult present. So Gillian Conoley tells us in her masterfully composed collection Peace. One knows these love-filled forms of familial falling apart, the tragedy and warmth of growing up in the sticks, clarity achieved in the hot spaces and so rhythmic sounds Americans have put to their times. “Like gold into scar/ a twister in the skull.”

                                                                                                              Alice Notley, author of Culture of One

 And that’s not all!  Conoley will also read from her newly published book Thousand Times Broken: Three Books — the previously untranslated books of Henri Michaux.  Written between 1956 — 1959, during Michaux’s mescaline experiments, Thousand Times Broken includes Four Hundred Men on the Cross, a contemplation of his loss of faith; Peace in the Breaking, written under the influence of mescaline, and Watchtower on Targets, a collaboration with surrealist and abstract expressionist painter Robert Matta.

William Greenwood(2)

Sonoma County poet William Greenwood is celebrating the publication of Landscape/Cityscape (Small Change Series, WordTemple Press 2014).  “In Landscape/Cityscape Greenwood resumes his singular, sometimes eccentric explorations, getting at the core of what language may propose for one’s way of living.  Very much in evidence here are both natural and urban vistas, those external panoramas of consciousness that help us, in Ezra Pound’s words, pull down our vanity.” — Paul Vangelisti Saturday, October 18, 2014    7:00 p.m. ROBIN BECKER.  BRIAN KOMEI DEMPSTER.  JANINE CANAN.


Robin Becker, Liberal Arts Research Professor of English and Women’s Studies at the Pennsylvania State University, is the author of seven poetry collections, including Tiger Heron, her latest; Domain of Perfect Affection; The Horse Fair; Giacometti’s Dog; and All-American Girl, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. In 2002 the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh published Venetian Blue, a limited-edition chapbook of Becker’s art poems. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Bunting Institute, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2000 she received the George W. Atherton III Award for Excellence in Teaching from Penn State, and from 2010 to 2011 she served as the Penn State Laureate. For the Women’s Review of Books, Becker edits poetry and writes a column on poetry called “Field Notes.” “Becker’s Tiger Heron, rich with animal life from the flying squirrel and prairie dog to inhabitants of the coral reefs of the Caribbean, expresses outrage and grief over the ongoing destruction of these ecosystems. A moving poem deals with homophobia, another celebrates Yiddish, ‘a mongrel, Middle-High German.’ These vivid, self-confident lyrics ranging from villanelle to couplet deserve close reading.”  —Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer Prize winner

Brian Dempster

Brian Komei Dempster celebrates the 2014 15 Bytes Book Award winner Topaz (Four Way Books).  In this debut collection, Dempster examines the experiences of a Japanese American family separated and incarcerated in World War II prison camps.  Through the fractured lenses of past and present, personal and collective, the speaker seeks to piece together the facets of his own identity and to shed light on a buried history.  “Topaz is a significant and moving addition to one of the oldest and most firmly rooted of literary genres — the quest…Dempster brings to his quest both a gravitas of tone and an arsenal of poetic skills mastered through his long apprenticeship in the art of poetry.” — Richard Tillinghast Dempster, the editor of Nisei Voices Award winner Our Side of the Fence: Growing Up in America’s Concentration Camps, is a professor of rhetoric and language and a faculty member in Asian Pacific American Studies at the University of San Francisco.

Janine Canan

Janine Canan will read from two new books, Mystic Bliss and Ardor: Poems of Life.  A psychiatrist and award-winning author, Canan resides in the Valley of the Moon.  The author of over twenty books include original poetry, key translations of French poet Francis Jammes and Jewish German poet Else Lasker-Schuler, collections of saying by Indian spiritual leader Amma, and the feminist classic, She Rises Like the Sun: Invocations fo the Goddess by Contemporary American Women Poets.  For more information, go to


2013 WordTemple Events: Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 7 p.m. ARISA WHITE and JACQUELINE KUDLER.  Opening Poet:  CLARA ROSEMARDA

Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her debut collection, Hurrah’s Nest, was published by Virtual Artists Collective and is the 2012 winner of the San Francisco Book Festival Award for poetry. A Penny Saved is her second collection, released by Willow Books. An editor for HER KIND (, the official blog of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, and the editorial manager for Dance Studio Life magazine, Arisa has received residencies, fellowships, or scholarships from Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, Rose O’Neill Literary House, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Hedgebrook, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Prague Summer Program, Fine Arts Work Center, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2005, her poetry has been widely published and is featured on the recording WORD with the Jessica Jones Quartet.  Breaking News 12/12/12:  Arisa White has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award for her collection Hurrah’s Nest.  She joins U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey as the only other woman nominated for the award in 2012.  Come help her celebrate at WordTemple!

Jacqueline Kudler is the author of two books from Sixteen Rivers Press, Sacred Precincts (2003) and Easing into Dark (2012).  Winner of a Marin Arts Council Board Award and a Marin Poetry Center Lifetime Achievement Award, she teaches memoir writing and literature at the College of Marin in Kentfield, California.  Her poems have appeared in numerous literary reviews, magazines and anthologies.  “The power and consolations of family resonate throughout all of the poems in Jacqueline Kudler’s moving and deeply reflective new collection…Joy is generational and renewable, making the slowly encroaching ‘dark’ more tolerable and even, at times, something to honor.”  — David St. John

Clara Rosemarda, poet, memoirist, counselor, coach, and workshop leader, teaches creative writing as spiritual practice. An inspirational teacher, Clara has worked with beginning as well as nationally known writers for 30 years. A finalist in The Dickens, her poems and essays have been published in literary journals such as Tiny Lights:A Journal of Personal Narrative; Zebulon Nights; Jasmine Nights and Monkey Pluck. She is co-editor and co-author of STEEPED:  In the World of Tea.  During warm seasons she can be found swimming in the Russian River or Ionian Sea.


Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 7 p.m.


Mary Mackey’s published works include six collections of poetry, including  Sugar Zone, winner of the 2012 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence (Marsh Hawk Press 2011). She is also the author of thirteen novels. Her poems have been praised by Wendell Berry, Jane Hirshfield, Dennis Nurkse, Ron Hansen, Dennis Schmitz, and Marge Piercy for their beauty, precision, originality, and extraordinary range. Four times Garrison Keillor has featured her poetry on his program The Writer’s Almanac. Mackey’s works have been on The New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller lists, sold over a million and a half copies, and been translated into twelve foreign languages including Japanese, Hebrew, Greek, Russian, and Finnish. She is past president of the West Coast branch of PEN, a Fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Professor Emeritus of English at California State University, Sacramento. For the last twenty years she has been traveling to Brazil with her husband, Angus Wright, who writes about land reform and environmental issues. At present she is working on a series of poems that combine Portuguese and English to evoke the lyrical space that lies at the conjunction of the two languages.

Kevin Simmonds presents Ota Benga Under My Mother’s Roof — Poems by Carrie Allen McCray, Kevin Simmonds, editor

In Ota Benga under My Mother’s Roof, Carrie Allen McCray (1913–2008) uses poignant and personal verse to trace the ill-fated life of the Congolese pygmy who was famously exhibited in the Bronx Zoo in 1906 before being taken in by the McCray family of Lynchburg, Virginia. Rooted in the rich historical and autobiographic context of her own experiences with Benga, McCray offers compelling, dexterous poems that place Benga’s story within the racial milieu of the early twentieth century as the burgeoning science of social anthropology worked to classify humans based on race and culture. The theme of this book is a study of humanity, of people of all kinds, in which Benga’s vitality becomes the measure against which everyone is measured. With poems that revel in African American signifying, spirituality, and traditional storytelling, McCray’s collection establishes a sincere legacy for Ota Benga as she shares her friend’s harrowing tale with new generations. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Carrie Allen McCray was an educator and social worker before turning to writing later in life. McCray is the author of Freedom’s Child: The Life of a Confederate General’s Black Daughter, which details her discovery that her mother was the child of a Confederate general and his black servant. McCray is the author of the poetry chapbook Piece of Time, and her poems have been published in Ms. Magazine, River Styx, Point, and the Squaw Review, and in the anthologies Moving beyond Words and The Crimson Edge: Older Women Writing. Kevin Simmonds is a writer, musician, and filmmaker originally from New Orleans. He is the author of Mad for Meat and editor of Ota Benga Under My Mother’s Roof by Carrie Allen McCray and Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality. Simmonds’s collaborations include the Emmy Award–winning documentary HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica and Voices of Haiti: A Post-Quake Odyssey in Verse, both commissioned by the Pulitzer Center. His genre-defying films include Singing Whitman and feti(sh)ame. Presently, he is completing the poetry and music for Emmett Till, a river, a Japanese Noh-inspired theatrical work for Theatre of Yugen commissioned by the Creative Work Fund. Recently, he debuted ORIENT: a new anthropology, a multimedia theatre piece about historic and contemporary relations between the Asian and African-American communities, commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission.  He divides his time between San Francisco and Japan. Sandy Eastoak is the author of several chapbooks, including Home Ground, Darkness Only Light, Elect Indians, Praise Poems, Coronoa Gaia, Corona Fauna and Corona Flora. Her work has appeared in several publications, including Rabbit & Rose, Peace & Pieces Review, Women’s Voices, Princeton Arts Journal, Kickass Review,  and Kahawai: Journal of Women & Zen.  An artist, Eastoak is a founding member of Sebastopol Gallery. _____________________________

Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 7 p.m.

DANA GIOIA and, from Sweden,  KJELL ESPMARK.  Opening Poet:  Sonoma County Poetry Out Loud winner Kennedy Petersen.
Kjell Espmark (b. 1930) is a poet, novelist, and literary historian. He is also a former professor in Comparative Literature at the University of Stockholm. He has been a member of the Swedish Academy since 1981, and since 1988, he has been a member of the Nobel Committee and served as chairman from 1988-2004. He has been awarded a number of prizes, including the Bellman Prize for poetry and the Schuck Prize for literary criticism. His most recent awards include The Kellgren Prize, The Great Prize of De Nio (“The Nine”), and the Tranströmer Prize. He is an officer of L´Ordre de Merite. Espmark has published thirteen volumes of poetry. His poems continue to be translated into a number of languages.
Dana Gioia, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet, is the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and the author of four collections of poetry.  He is also the author of three books of essays, including Can Poetry Matter?, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  His most recent  collection of poems is Pity the Beautiful (Graywolf Press, 2012).  Gioia currently lectures at the University of Southern California as the Judge Widney Professor of Poetry and Public Culture.  “Gioia concerns himself with every aspect of his craft: its traditions, its movements toward and away from rhyme and meter, and its ancient roots in the sound of the human voice…Gioia is clearly a poet whose words are heard, whose positions ignite debate, whose work constantly and unflinchingly searches out new ways to counter what he calls ‘our sentimental, upbeat age.’” — American Book Award Citation
Kennedy Petersen is 16 years old, and currently a sophomore at Montgomery High School. This is her second year competing in Poetry Out Loud, which all began when her freshman English teacher recommended that she compete in a classroom competition. She is an avid bibliophile and aspiring writer/poet herself, hoping to gain her college degree in English and the Classics and become an English professor at the university level.
Saturday, May 18, 2013:  HUGH MARTIN and GERALD FLEMING   Open Poet:  AMY TRUSELL
Hugh Martin grew up in northeast Ohio and served six years in the Army National Guard as an M1A1 Tanker.  He deployed to Iraq in 2004 and later graduated from Muskingum University.  Martin is the author of the chapbook, So, How Was the War? (Kent State UP, 2010) and The Stick Soldiers (BOA Editions Ltd., 2013), winner of the A. Poulin Jr. Prize. His work has appeared on PBS Newshour, The New York Times’ “At War” blog, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, and in many other journals.  Martin has an MFA from Arizona State and he is currently a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.
Gerald Fleming’s poetry and prose poems have appeared widely over the past thirty years. He has won numerous awards and fellowships, and between 1995 and 2000 he edited and published the literary magazine Barnabe Mountain Review, whose archives can be found at U.C. Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. His book of poems Swimmer Climbing onto Shore was published in 2005, and a book of prose poems, Night of Pure Breathing, appeared last spring from Hanging Loose Press in New York. He taught in the San Francisco public schools for thirty-seven years, and has published three books for teachers, the most recent of which is Rain, Steam, and Speed (Jossey-Bass/Wiley). He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. This evening, he will read from his latest collection, a book of longer prose poems, The Choreographer.
“This terrific collection of short narratives—prose poems, parables, fables, stories, extended jokes—is a pleasure from start to finish. While some pieces, like ‘No-Man’s-Land’ and  ‘Companionship,’ recall the mesmerizing creepiness of early Ian McEwan, others suggest the creative exuberance of, say, Donald Barthelme. But Fleming’s world is a unique universe of his own making, defined by a poet’s sense of language and a novelist’s take on story. Readers will have a blast traveling through this wondrous place.” —Terence Winch, author of Falling Out of Bed in a Room with No Floor
Amy Trussell is the author of several collections of poetry, including Meteorite Dealers; The Painted Tongue Flowers; Devil Lee (with A. di Michele); and Ungulations.  Her work has been published widely in literary journals.  Performance venues for her poetry and dance have included Loyola University in New Orleans, The Spiritual Voodoo Temple in New Orleans, and the Deep Ecology Conference in San Francisco.  Excerpts of Ungulations were performed at Zeigeist Theater in New Orleans, accompanied by the music of Yona Flemming.  Currently, she is working on a poetry book collaboration with Sebastopol poet Nancy Dougherty.
Saturday, June 8, 2013 at 7 p.m.
Tomás Q. Morín is the author of A Larger Country, winner of the 2012 APR/Honickman Prize.  His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including New England Review; Boulevard; Slate and others.  He has received scholarships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the New York State Summer Writers Institute.  He teaches literature and writing at Texas State University.

Natalie Diaz, born and raised on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation in Needles, California, is the author of When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press).  She is the recipient of a Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize.  Diaz lives in Surprise, Arizona where she works on preserving and restoring the Mojave language.  When My Brother Was an Aztec foregrounds the particularities of family dynamics and individual passion against the backdrop of the mythological intensity of tribal life and a deeply rooted cultural history.  In these distinctively voiced poems, a sister struggles with a brother’s addiction to meth, while everyone, from Antigone and Houdini to Huitzilopochtli and Jesus, is invited in to hash it out.

Jonah Raskin is the author of six poetry chapbooks including “Rock ‘n’ Roll Women” and “Storm City,” which was inspired by Superstorm Sandy.  A professor Emeritus at Sonoma State University, he lives in Santa Rosa and has written books about Jack London and Allen Ginsberg.  This evening he will read from “Storm City.”


Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 7 p.m.

PHILIP TERMAN and IRIS JAMAHL DUNKLE   Opening Poet:  DAVE SETER    (photos forthcoming)

Philip Terman’s collections of poetry include What Survives (Sow’s Ear Press, 1993), The House of Sages (Mammoth, 1998, 2005), Book of the Unbroken Days (Mammoth, 2005), Rabbis of the Air (Autumn House Press, 2007) The Torah Garden (Autumn House Press, 2011) and Among the Scribes (Out and Back Press, 2013).  His poems and essays have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Poetry Magazine, the Kenyon Review, the Georgia Review, The Sun Magazine, The New England Review, Tikkun,  The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and The New Promised Land:  American Jewish Poets and Joyful Noise:  An anthology of American Spiritual Poetry. He is a co-director of the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, Contributing Editor for Poetry at Chautauqua, and teaches creative writing and literature at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.   Occasionally, he performs his poetry with the jazz band Catro.

Iris Jamahl Dunkle’s debut poetry collection, Gold Passage, is forthcoming from Trio House Press in December 2012.  Her chapbook Inheritance was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010, and her second manuscript, Interrupted Geographies, was a finalist for the 2012 Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her newest chapbook, The Flying Trolley will be published by Finishing Line Press in 2013.  Dunkle currently teaches writing at Napa Valley College, Clarion University and with California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). Of note, her poem “How to Cope in a New Landscape” was a finalist for the The New Guard’s Knightville Poetry Contest and her poem “The Trick of Sound” was a finalist for the Yalobusha Review’s Yellowwood Poetry Prize. Her poetry, creative nonfiction and scholarly articles have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous publications including: Poet’s Market 2013, Crab Orchard Review, Fence, LinQ, VOLT, The Mom Egg, Sentence, Weave, Verse Wisconsin, Boxcar Poetry Review, The Squaw Valley Writers Review, Sugar House Review, Inter|rupture and Talking Writing.  Dunkle received her B.A. from the George Washington University, her M.F.A. in Poetry from New York University and her Ph.D. in American Literature from Case Western Reserve University. She is on the staff of the Napa Valley Writers conference and currently resides with her family in Northern California.

Dave Seter studied creative writing at Princeton University, where he earned his degree in civil engineering.  His poetry has recently appeared in Appalachia, Tulane Review, Spillway, Raven Chronicles, and various other publications.  He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations.  Born in Chicago, he has lived on both coasts, and currently resides in Sonoma County, California.  His first collection, the chapbook Night Duty, was published in 2010 by Main Street Rag Publishing Company.



WordTemple Arts & Lectures Presents

In Conversation:  Susan Griffin and Judy Grahn

Saturday, October 26, 2013       7:00 p.m.

Sebastopol Center for the Arts, 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol, CA

Susan Griffin, named by Utne Reader as one of a hundred important visionaries for the new millennium, is a poet, essayist, playwright and screenwriter.  Author of Woman and Nature; A Chorus of Stones — the Private Life of War; Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy — the Autobiography of an American Citizen and co-editor of Transforming Terror — Remembering the Soul of the World, Griffin draws connections between the destruction of nature, racism, the diminishment of women, and traces the cause of war to denial in both private and public life.  She lectures widely and abroad. Judy Grahn is an internationally known poet, writer, and social theorist.  Her work underpins several movements, including Gay, Lesbian, and Queer; Feminist/Woman-Centered; and Women’s Spirituality, but it has spread far beyond any of these.  Her books include her recent memoir A Simple Revolution; The Judy Grahn Reader; Love Belongs To Those Who Do the Feeling; Really Reading Gertrude Stein; The Work of a Common Woman and many others.  She currently serves as Associate Core Faculty for the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in Palo Alto, California, in the Women’s Spirituality Master’s Program.

Griffin and Grahn will read selections from their books, followed by a conversation between them, ending with questions from the audience.  Be sure to mark your calendars for this special event!


For a look back at the 2012 and 2011 seasons, scroll down starting here.

Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 7 p.m.


Toni Mirosevich is the winner of the Frank O’Hara Award for My Oblique Strategies and author of The Takeaway Bin, her most recent collection.  Oblique Strategies is a card game invented by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. “Over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas” are printed on a pack of cards and offer a set of possibilities to apply “when a dilemma occurs in a working situation.” The Takeaway Bin borrows from that concept, presenting poems that reply to various daily dilemmas, specific or obscure.  The result is an extremely interesting and sometimes playful collection.  “In long-lined sonnets and jazzy improvisations, the speaker juggles a mix of colloquial and formal diction, learned and popular referents. Winning titles “Lie or Lay,” “Lucky Stiff,” “Old and In The Way,” may charm, but this poet knows “Our worst impulse has yet to be discovered.” A provocative intelligence powers these sizzling lyrics.”— Robin Becker, Author of Domain of Affection

Marjorie Stein is a Sonoma County poet celebrating her first full-length collection, An Atlas of Lost Causes published by Kelsey Street Press.  “The murder mystery presented as an asymptote: throughout her exquisitely careful, relentless layering of stunning phrase after stunning phrase, we feel Stein getting closer and closer, forever approaching the impossible and unidentified crime that she’s exploring ever more minutely all the time. Her tools of exploration are a twin sister, a camera obscura, one-way ephemera, an iridescent death, and much, much else, all set on the trail of all that cannot be named, or our desperate desire for it. A jubilantly haunting work.” ~ Cole Swensen. Currently serving as an Assistant Editor for Volt, Stein’s work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, zaum, Phoebe, VOLT and other publications.   A previous chapbook manuscript, Flammable Histories, was a finalist in the Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Contest.

Ed Frankel

Ed Frankel

Ed Frankel divides his time between his home in Sonoma County and Los Angeles, where he is on the faculty of the UCLA English Department Writing Programs.  He also teaches literature, poetry, and creative nonfiction for the BA and MFA Programs of Antioch University Los Angeles.  His essay “In the Lap of the Angel of History: A Memoir” appears in the textbook Eyewitness to Texas History by Almarez, et. al.  Frankel was shortlisted for the Strokestown International Poetry Festival Prize 2011 in Ireland, and is the recipient of many prizes and awards, including the 2010 Little Red Tree International Poetry Competition, the 2009 New Millennium Poetry competition and others.  He has been nominated for the Pushcart Best of the Small Presses Poetry Prize and the California Book Award.  His chapbooks include When the Catfish Are In Bloom: Requiem for John Fahey and People of the Air.


Saturday, March 24, 2012   7 p.m.


Julie Rogers and David Meltzer

Julie Rogers and David Meltzer

A dual milestone in City Lights history, David Meltzer’s When I was a Poet is volume 60 of the Pocket Poets Series as well as their first book of poems by this renowned author.  At age 11, Meltzer began his literary career during the Beat heyday of San Francisco.  He is the author of many volumes of poetry including No Eyes: Lester Young; Beat Thing; and David’s Copy, among others.  He has edited numerous anthologies such as Reading Jazz, Writing Jazz and San Francisco Beat: Talking with the Poets.  Meltzer has been performing in and around the Bay Area with his wife, poet Julie Rogers.  In November 2011 he received the SF Bay Guardian’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Julie Rogers is the author of five chapbooks of poetry, and in 2007 her Buddhist hospice manual, Instructions for the Transitional State, was published by Vimala.  Her book of poems, House of the Unexpected is forthcoming from Wild Ocean Press.  Her poems have been published in various magazines, literary journals and anthologies such as Poets Against the War and, most recently, Beatitude — Golden Anniversary 1959 – 2009.

Gregory Randall

Gregory Randall

Gregory Randall is the author of four chapbooks including Double Happiness, selected by Mark Doty for the 5th Annual Camber Press Chapbook Award; A Room in the Country (Pudding House Press); Uncommon Refrains (The Lives You Touch Publications) and Blue Water Views (Finishing Line).  He is a recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize and a finalist for the 2010 Sixteen Rivers Chapbook Contest as well as the 2008 White Pine Press book award and the 2006 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize.


Saturday, April 21, 2012   7 p.m.

A Special Evening of Poets Who Curate  Poetry Series


Opening Poet:  Sashana Proctor

James Maughn

James Maughn lives in Santa Cruz where he co-edits the literary arts journal Perihelion.  He also coordinates A New Cadence Poetry Series in the Felix Kulpa Gallery in Santa Cruz.  His first book, Kata, was published by BlazeVOX Books.  His second book, Arakaki Permutations, was published by Black Radish Books in 2011.  Otoliths Press will publish These Peripheries later this year.

Connie Post

Connie Post served as Poet Laureate of Livermore from 2005 – June 2009.  During her term she created two reading series, Wine and Words, and Ravenswood.  She is the host of the Valona Deli Second Sunday Poetry Series in Crockett.  Her awards include the 2009 Caesura Poetry Award from the Poetry Center of San Jose and the Dirty Napkin Cover Prize.  She has a chapbook published by Finishing Line Press, Trip Wires.

Ed Coletti

Ed Coletti

Poet and painter Ed Coletti graduated from the Creative Writing Masters Program at SFSU.  A Vietnam veteran, he is widely published in this country and Europe.  He ran the SoCoCo and Poetry Azul reading series in Santa Rosa for many years.  He currently operates the internet sites Ed Coletti’s PC and No Money in Poetry.  His collection of poems When Hearts Outlive Minds was published in 2011 (Conflux Press).

Gillian Wegener

Gillian Wegener

Gillian Wegener is the author of The Opposite of Clairvoyance (Sixteen Rivers Press).  She was awarded top honors in the 2006 and 2007 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and has had her work published in many journals, including Spillway, In Posse, and Sow’s Ear, among others.  Wegener, originally from Queens, NY, lives in Modesto where she coordinates and hosts the 2nd Tuesday Reading Series.

Sashana Proctor

Sashana Proctor is a Sonoma County poet and writer.  Her work has appeared in Women’s Voices; Harlots’ Sauce and, most recently, in The Scream Online‘s anthology about heaven and hell.  Recently, she has turned her attention to writing about getting older, which she muses “beats the alternative.”   Her poems are infused with humor, pathos, grief, wonder, fear and celebration.


Saturday, May 12, 2012   7 p.m.


giovanni singleton             giovanni singleton is a poet, teacher, and founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, a journal dedicated to the work of artists and writers of the African Diaspora and other contested spaces.  A recipient of a New Langton Bay Area Award Show for Literature, she frequently presents on writing and other subjects at schools and conferences.  She has been a fellow at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Cave Canem and the Napa Valley Writers Conference.  Tonight she will read from new new book, Ascension (Counterpath, 2012).  From Counterpath Press:  “These poems press against our deepest held questions: What is an I?  Where are my borders?  What or how am I ‘with’?  From whom — from what — do we hide?”

Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter

Kathleen Winter first read for WordTemple during the first season of the series — way back when.  We welcome her back now to celebrate the publication of her new book Nostalgia For the Criminal Past, winner of the Elixir Press Antivenom Prize.  Winter grew up in San Antonio, Texas and lives in Northern California. Her poems have appeared in journals such as AGNI, FIELD, The New Republic, Anti- and the Cincinnati Review. She holds degrees from Arizona State University, the University of California, Davis, School of Law, Boston College and the University of Texas at Austin. She teaches writing at the University of San Francisco. David Beckman’s chapbook, Language Factory of the Mind, was published by Finishing Line Press in December 2011.  His poems have appeared, or will soon appear, in The Marin Poetry Anthology, The Green Door, Audience, and Spillway. He is a 2012 nominee for a Pushcart Poetry Prize.  David’s plays have been produced at The Beast Festival in New York, Powerhouse Theater in Santa Monica, 6th Street Playhouse in Santa Rosa, and at Pegasus Theater’s Tapas Short Play Festivals in Monte Rio. One of his short play scripts is in the coming issue of In Posse Review. His novel Under Pegasus was published in 1996 and he has a short story in the current issue of Shaking magazine. _________________________________________ Saturday, July 14, 2012    7 p.m. ALICIA SUSKIN OSTRIKER.   JOAN BARANOW.  TERRY EHRET. Alicia Suskin Ostriker Alicia Suskin Ostriker is one of America’s premier visionary poets and critics.  She is the author of 14 poetry collections, including The Book of Seventy; The Mother/Child Papers; No Heaven; the volcano sequence; and The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968 – 1998.  She has received the Paterson Poetry Prize, the William Carlos Williams Award, the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award.  Ostriker is professor emerita of English at Rutgers University and teaches in the low-residence MFA program of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.  Tonight she will read from her new collection, The Book of  Life — Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011.

Joan Baranow

Joan Baranow

Mill Valley poet Joan Baranow, PhD., is an Associate Professor of English at Dominican University of California and the Chair of the Department of Literature and Languages.  She is  the author of Blackberry Winter (Talent House Press); Living Apart (Plain View Press); and Morning: Three Poems (Radiolarian press).  Her poems have been published widely in literary journals including Antioch Review; Cider Press Review; Cream City Review; Paris Review; and Spoon River Poetry Review among others.  Baranow is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.  With her husband, physician and poet David Watts, she produced the PBS documentary Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine.

Terry Ehret

Terry Ehret is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Night Sky Journey from Kelly’s Cove Press.  Her literary awards include the National Poetry Series, California Book Award and Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize.  A co-founder of the hands-on publishing collective Sixteen Rivers Press, Ehret served as the poet laureate of Sonoma County from 2004-2006. ______________________________________________ SPECIAL CHILDREN’S EVENT in cooperation with Copperfields Books RHYME-A-PALOOZA!  Poetry for Kids Sunday, July 22, 2012   1:00 p.m.

Copperfields Books Montgomery Village

775 Village CourtSanta Rosa

Join us in the Montgomery Village Courtyard for an afternoon of kid-friendly poetry. Not only will local poets Kathleen Winter, Bill Vartnaw, George Stenger, Marjorie Stein, Katherine Hastings, Terry Ehret and Iris Jamahl Dunkle read their favorite kids poems, but so can you! All young attendees are invited (but not required!) to share their favorite bit of verse. For information about other events hosted by Copperfields Books, go to ___________________________________________________________________ Saturday, September 8, 2012     7:00 p.m. BOOK RELEASE PARTY:  CLOUD FIRE by WordTemple host KATHERINE HASTINGS.  With a guest appearance by New York poet LEE SLONIMSKY and live music performed by TIMOTHY ZIEMINSKI. Katherine Hastings invites you to attend a book release party for her first full-length collection Cloud Fire (Spuyten Duyvil NYC, 2012).  “How refreshing to come across a book like Katherine Hastings’ marvelous Cloud Fire, rich and verdant in formal experiment and range.  Mixing lyrics, narratives, curses, blessings, spells, and unabashed love poems, the work is hard-won and honest, generous and rigorous.  In poem after poem Katherine Hastings casts her ever-vigilant, observing eye, sharp as it is poignant.  Her deepest concern seems our perilous locale and planet: ‘My city whose streams are rock doves and parrots, whose bright arm is a spring board for love and suicides,’ and yet ‘we breathe here better than anywhere, distressed.’” — Gillian Conoley Lee Slonimsky is the author of four collections of poems, including Pythagoras in Love; Talk Between Leaf and Skin; Money and Light and his latest book Logician of the Wind.   Together with his wife, Carol Goodman, he also writes Lee Carroll’s Black Swan trilogy:  Black Swan Rising; The Watchtower; and The Shape Stealer.  He will give a short reading as part of the celebration of Hastings’ book Cloud Fire and will also teach a workshop and give a full reading in Healdsburg the following week.  Stay tuned for details! Timothy Zieminski has been a student of Dominic DiSarro, Linda Ghidossi-DeLuca, Kathryn Marshall, Dawn Dover, and currently studies with concert violinist Axel Strauss at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He is a founding member of the Zaira String Quartet, has held the position of principal second violin of the Santa Rosa Symphony Young People’s Chamber Orchestra, and was a member of the Santa Rosa Symphony Youth Orchestra from 2006-2009, appearing numerous times as a soloist with both orchestras, and performing on a European tour in 2009 with the SRS Youth Orchestra.  A member of the San Francisco Youth Orchestra from 2009-2010, he currently plays in the San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra.  Mr. Zieminski has won several awards, including multiple scholarships, and third and first place in the SRS Youth Orchestra Concerto Competitions in 2007 and 2008, respectively.  He was also first place winner in the 2008 Sonoma County Etude Competition. (No WordTemple funds are being used for this event.  This is a book release party for Katherine Hastings hosted by CJ Rayhill) ____________________________________________ TRANSLATION NIGHT!   PLEASE NOTE THE NEW DATE AND LOCATION Saturday, October 27, 2012   7:00 p.m. LOCATION:  The Sebastopol Center for the Arts has MOVED to the Sebastopol Vets Building, 282 S. High Street, Sebastopol.  This reading will take place in the DINING ROOM. Featuring Alissa Valles, translator of ZBIGNIEW HERBERT  — The Collected Poems 1956 — 1998 and Andrea Lingenfelter, translator of The Changing Room, poems by ZHAI YONGMING.  Opening poet: Art Hoffman presenting translations of Bertolt Brecht. Zbiginiew Herbert One of Poland’s most honored and influential poets, the late Zbigniew Herbert has an international reputation. His poetry, marked by a direct language and a strong moral concern, is shaped by his experiences under both the Nazi and Soviet dictatorships. As Bogdana Carpenter writes in World Literature Today, “from his extremely destructive experiences Herbert manages to draw constructive conclusions, and he builds a bridge between realms that seem to be irreconcilable: the past and the present, suffering and poetry.”  Named A Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, The Collected contains all nine collections of Herbert’s poetry published during his lifetime. Alissa Valles is the author of  Orphan Fire.  She grew up in the United States and the Netherlands and studied Slavic languages, literature and history at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies in London, Poland, Russia and the United States. Zhai Yongming’s The Changing Room    — Winner of a Northern California Book Award, 2012 The author of six volumes of poetry, Zhai Yongming first became prominent in the mid-1980s with the publication of her twenty-poem cycle, “Woman,” a work that forcefully articulated a female point-of-view in China’s largely patriarchal society. Her powerful imagery and forthright voice resonated with many readers. Zhai has continued to hone her critique of traditional attitudes towards women, quickly becoming one of China’s foremost feminist voices and a major force in the contemporary literary scene. She is also an installation artist and prolific essayist, and stages poetry readings and other cultural events at the bar she owns in her native Chengdu. Andrea Lingenfelter received her MA from Yale University and her PhD from the University of Washington. She is also the translator of the novels, Candy (Back Bay, 2003), Farewell to My Concubine (W. Morrow, 1993), and The Last Princess of Manchuria (Morrow, 1992).

Bertolt Brecht

The poems of Bertolt Brecht, translated by Art Hofmann. The German playwright, Bertolt Brecht (1898 – 1956) is known world wide for theater pieces that achieved numerous accolades during the late 1940s for their stylistic innovations. That many of his plays include songs, like “Mack the Knife” from The Three Penny Opera, and that he wrote poetry the way others keep diaries is less well known. The major edition of his works devotes several volumes to poems and songs, which number over 2300. In the years since his death, Brecht’s reputation as a poet has taken on increased significance in Germany, where it parallels his fame as a playwright. Art Hofmann is retired from Santa Rosa Junior College where he was an instructor of German and Chair of the Department of Modern Art and Classical Languages.  On a Fulbright Scholarship in Germany in 1959 and 1960, he studied Bertolt Brecht’s poems and plays, and visited the theater am Schiffbauerdamm frequently when some of Brecht’s original productions were still running.  On a visit to Berlin in 1998, he acquired a volume of Brecht’s poems and began to translate them.  His ambition is to produce a volume of 100 poems of Bertolt Brecht in English. ______________________________________________

2011 Readings:

Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 7 p.m.



Matthew Zapruder Matthew Zapruder is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon), winner of the 2010 Goodreads Readers’ Choice award for poetry, and selected as one of the top 5 poetry books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly, as well as the 2010 Booklist Editors’ Choice for poetry. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Open City, Bomb, Slate, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Tin House, Harvard Review, Paris Review, The New Republic, The Boston Review, The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, The Believer, Real Simple, and The Los Angeles Times. He has received a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Literary Fellowship. Currently he works as an editor for Wave Books, and teaches as a member of the core faculty of UCR-Palm Desert’s Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing.

Alissa Valles was born to an American father and Dutch mother in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and studied languages, literature and history at the School of Slavonic & East European Studies in London and at universities in the U.S., Poland and Russia; she worked for the BBC World Service, the Dutch Institute of War Documentation, the Jewish Historical Institute and La Strada International in Warsaw, and is now an independent writer, editor and translator based in the Bay Area. Her poetry collection Orphan Fire (Four Way Books) appeared in 2008.  She has been a recipient of a Ruth Lilly Poetry fellowship and the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry magazine. She is editor and co-translator of Zbigniew Herbert’s Collected Poems 1956-1998 (Ecco) a New York Times Notable Book in 2007, Herbert’s Collected Prose 1948-1998 (Ecco 2010). She acted as poetry editor for the web journal for international literature Words without Borders, and was an editor on the anthology New European Poets (Graywolf 2008). She is on the editorial board of the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics and regularly contributes to the Boston Review. Abby Lynn Bogomolny is the editor of  New to North America: Writing by U.S. Immigrants, Their Children and Grandchildren and the author the poetry collection, People Who Do Not Exist. She juries the annual poetry Burning Bush Poetry Prize and teaches writing f/t at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Saturday, June 18, 2011 at 7 p.m.

SUSAN BROWNE.  ROBIN EKISS.   KEITH EKISS Opening Poet:  TODD MELICKER Susan Browne is the author of Buddha’s Dogs, winner of the Four Way Books Intro Prize selected by Edward Hirsch, and Zephyr, published by Steel Toe Books.  Her awards include prizes from the Chester H. Jones Foundation, the National Writer’s Union, the Los Angeles Poetry Festival and the River Styx International Poetry Contest.

Robin Ekiss

Robin Ekiss is a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford, recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award for emerging women writers, and author of The Mansion of Happiness, winner of the 2010 Shenandoah/Glasgow Prize and finalist for the Balcones Poetry Prize, Northern California, and California Book Awards.

Keith Ekiss

Keith Ekiss is a Jones Lecturer in CreativeWriting at Stanford University and a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry. His poems, and his translations of the Costa Rican poet Eunice Odio, have appeared in Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, New England Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. Pima Road Notebook, his first book, was published by New Issues Poetry & Prose in  2010.

Todd Melicker

Todd Melicker daily wanders the streets of Petaluma, Calif., gathering data as a GPS technician. He is the author of the chapbooks, day collects (Woodland Editions) and the immaculate autopsy (Achiote Press). His work has appeared in such journals as Parthenon West Review, The Colorado Review, New American Writing, and is forthcoming in Ambush Review. He is managing editor of the literary magazine VOLT. ******************************************************************************************************************** Saturday, April 23, 2011 at 7 p.m. features: MELISSA STEIN,  PUI YING WONG, PAUL HOOVER and … WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE Opening Poet:  JODI L. HOTTEL

Paul Hoover

Paul Hoover will present from his new book Sonnet 56 published by Les Figues Press with an introduction by Ira Monk.   The book mixes Love, Poetry and Shakespeare in a marvelous grab bag of form, wit and playfulness. Starting with Shakespeare’s sonnet 56 — Sweet love, renew thy force, be it not said / Thy edge should blunter be than appetite, — Hoover writes 56 poetic variations, turning Shakespeare’s sonnet into a series of new (and traditional) forms, including: “Villanelle,” “Noun Plus Seven,” “Limerick,” “Blues,” “Course Description,” “Flarf,” “Imagist,” “Tanka,” “Answering Machine,” “Rilke,” “Morse Code” and “Bad Writing.” The result is tender portrayal of love and an excellent survey of the possibilities within contemporary poetry.

Melissa Stein

Melissa Stein is the author of Rough Honey, Winner of the APR/Honickman First Book Prize, selected and with an introduction by Mark Doty.  Published by American Poetry Review with Copper Canyon Press, the poems in Rough Honey have been praised by   Molly Peacock as “a miracle of a first collection.”  Major Jackson calls her language “seductively alert and textured enough to evoke rarely contemplated worlds.” “Openness…of form, and of the receptive and longing body is Rough Honey’s central subject…” (Doty)

Pui Ying Wong

Pui Ying Wong will be coming to WordTemple from New York City.  Her new collection of poems is Yellow Plum Season, published by New York Quarterly.  Born and raised in Hong Kong, she is bilingual in English and Chinese.  She left Hong Kong to study in Japan before coming to the United States.  Lee Slonimsky says, “when gazing at the Chinese versions that start each section, the reader becomes fluent in Chinese, for the power this book has at its core is the radiance and meaning of poetry, a global language.”  Please give a warm Sonoma County welcome to this poet who is traveling so far to read here.

Jodi L. Hottel

Jodi L. Hottel is a writer and retired English teacher living in Santa Rosa.  Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Nimrod; English Journal; The Dickens; Frogpond and anthologies from the University of Iowa press, Tebot Bach, and the Healdsburg Arts Council.  She is currently working on her first chapbook, a gathering of poems about the Japanese-American internment. * * *

WordTemple Kicks Off 2011with Translation Night! Saturday, February 26, 2010,   7:00 p.m. WILLIS BARNSTONE and JANINE CANAN

Willis Barnstone

Willis Barnstone “Four of the best things in America are Walt Whitman’s Leaves, Herman Melville’s Whales, and the sonnets of Barnstone’s The Secret Reader: 601 Sonnets, and my daily corn flakes — that rough poetry of morning.”  — Jorge Luis Borges In his first Sonoma County appearance, Willis Barnstone, author of many books of translations, memoirs, literary criticism and poetry, including The Complete Poems of Sappho; The Greek Lyric Poets; Sonnets to Orpheus; The Poetics of Translation and many others, will present his latest publication The Restored New Testament — A New Translation with Commentary, Including the Gnostic Gospels Thomas, Mary and Judas (Norton, 2010).   This monumental translation, in which Barnstone preserves the original song of the Bible, rendering a large part in poetry and the epic Revelation in incantatory blank verse, is the first to restore the original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew names, thereby revealing the Greco-Jewish identity of biblical people and places.  Citing historical and biblical scholarship, he changes the sequence of texts and adds three seminal Gnostic gospels.  Filled with superlative writing and lyrical wisdom, The Restored New Testament is a magnificent biblical translation for our age. “Willis Barnstone’s The Restored New Testament is breathtaking, new, astounding.  It is a courageous, a daring book; but by some magic, it appears not nouveau and experimental but deeply rooted and ancient…If Barnstone, through a long life of poetry, translation, story and memoir, in language after language, had nothing else but this book, it would be a lifetime of extraordinary achievement.  We are blessed by it.”  — Gerald Stern Barnstone is a Guggenheim Fellow and the recipient of many awards, including the Emily Dickinson Award, the W. H. Auden Award, and four Pulitzer Prize nominations.  He is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University and former O’Connor Professor of Greek at Colgate University.

Janine Canan

Janine Canan The award-winning author of 17 books of poetry, anthologies, translations, stories and essays, Canan presents her latest publication, Under the Azure — Poems of Francis Jammes. Not only are the translations gorgeous throughout, but Canan includes a forward by Jammes” grandson, and an introduction that illuminates the life of Jammes, “poet of the Pyranees:”   “In 1895, twenty-six year old Francis Jammes experienced an epiphany: It was during the month of April, 1895, that I was invaded — I can find no other word to express my meaning.  A simultaneous explosion of all my lyrical powers took place within me.  I do not know why I did not die from the blast of that violent wing which seemed to strike me, and from which my poem ‘Un Jour’ was born.”" “Francis Jammes made music of his sorrow and delight, a music both simple and mysterious…Janine Canan makes you hear the whoosh of the angels’ wings in his poetry, a whoosh that is the same in every language, but yields only to the highest art of translation.  — Andrei Codrescu “You don’t read Francis Jammes, you breathe him, you inhale him…In Jamme’s work, there is nothing but poetry and perfume…once you have abandoned yourself to him, you will think he is the only poet there is.”  — Andre Gide