Virtual Poetry Harmonics

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I recently had the great good fortune to collaborate on a musical poem with a terrific composer and friend, Jerry Gerber. Jerry has written nine symphonies (that I know of!) for electronic orchestras and it was fascinating to be a part of his process, up close and personal.

Jerry asked if he could score my poem, “Lucid: Dream For,” which originally appeared in Works & Days Quarterly #9. It took me about a nanosecond to say yes and we were off to the races. I sent Jerry a recording of me reading the poem, then he set about composing music for it. He would send me bits to listen to and when it was finished, I came to his studio to listen to the entire piece. We went over the score section by section, discussing what the music and poetry were doing, both individually and together, with Jerry working his mixing board like technical wizard. It was an instrument filled with every sound you could imagine and many you couldn’t, from gongs and trills, to strings, horns, and woodwinds. I was amazed by his mastery of the musical elements, from the percussive beat that pulsed under my words to the dreamy melodic phrases and subtle use of silence that gave new creative life to my poetry.

I love working with artists in all kinds of media, whether it is contemporary classical music, drawings, dance or jazz. A poem can express the ineffable in life, but when combined with another art form, a kind of alchemy occurs, turning each piece into something new, something that wouldn’t have existed without the other. I must admit that I was a little claustrophobic in the recording booth, but it was such an amazing experience, and I feel lucky I could add my voice to Jerry’s music!

Click here to hear samples “Lucid: Dream For” and Jerry’s Symphony, Virtual Harmonics*. I hope you enjoy it!

*Available in download and CD.

Sunday, January 24th: Departures and Arrivals at the Backyard Reading Series

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Sunday, January 24th
4:30 pm
917 Hearst Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94710
(Follow signs to back gate. Do not knock on front door.)

Gate opens at 4:30, readings commence at 5:00, drinking from tiny bottles to follow.

Readings by:
Jezebel Delilah
Diane Glazman
C.E Shue
Ryan Young

Your tickets are booked and your bags are checked. You’ve taken off your shoes and been lovingly caressed by the TSA. Soon you’ll be airborne, hurtling at six-hundred miles per hour towards whatever the future holds. But now it’s time for the waiting, the quiet space between here and there, empty time partitioned by overpriced sandwiches and watered-down bloody marys. Stow your tray tables and put your seats in the full upright position, because in this edition of Backyard, we will be examining everyone’s favorite liminal space: the airport. There will be long layovers and missed connections of all kinds. We will explore the wonders of first-class and the indignities of coach. We’ll discuss where we’re going, and what we’re returning from, and all the lonely and magical places in between.

Pan Am Stewardess costumes encouraged

Free, though donations of cash and beer will be accepted

Reader Bios:
Jezebel Delilah X is a queer, lush-bodied, Black, femme performance artist, writer, actress, filmmaker, educator, facilitator, orator and Faerie Queen Mermaid Gangsta for The Revolution. She loves to flirt, laugh, perform, crack corny jokes, and insert Octavia Butler references into every conversation. She is a Co-Managing Editor for Everyday Feminism; co-host of the queer/feminist Open Mic, Culture Fuck; Creative and Production Director of queer, Black, multi-disciplinary performance troupe, Congregation of Liberation; and on the board of Black Girl Dangerous. She has performed in a wide variety of Queer and Queer People Of Color theatre projects and cabarets, and has been a featured reader at literary events all over the Bay Area. She uses a combination of memoir, poetry, theatre, and feminist storytelling to advance her politix of radical love, socioeconomic justice, anti-racism, community accountability, critical reflection, love, healing, and liberation. She loves romantic songs, romantic films, romantic books, romantic conversations, romantic friendships, and writing long, vulnerable, passionate facebook statuses about romance.

Diane Glazman is an alumna of both the Squaw Valley Writers’ Workshop and Lit Camp. She holds an MFA in fiction from San Francisco State University and is a former student Artist-in-Residence at Recology (aka: the San Francisco dump), for which she created a gallery-show of visual and text-based artwork constructed from recycled and repurposed items brought to the dump’s public disposal area. Her work has been published in several journals including CALYX and sparkle + blink. She is an award-winning writer and photographer whose work has appeared in several literary journals as well as a former freelance writer with more than 250 by-lined articles published on a vast and random variety of topics including finance, travel, health, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, Holocaust survivors, and the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a volunteer with the National Park Service’s Mounted Patrol in the Marin Headlands.

C.E. Shue writes about hypnotic lions, robot ghosts, invisible cities and Sleeping Beauty’s dreams. She holds an MFA from the University of San Francisco and her work has appeared in Drunken Boat, Versal, Washington Square, The Collagist, sparkle + blink, Works & Days Quarterly, and other journals. A Kundiman Fellow, she has also received grants from the Provincetown Fine Arts Workshop and the Vermont Studio Center, where she will be in residency in 2016.

Ryan G. Young is a writer living in Berkeley. He writes software documentation for a living.

Get Lit by The El Nino of Love!

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Get Lit Reading
Tuesday, Jan. 19th:
7pm-9pm
Ale Industries: 3096 E. 10th Street, Oakland

Featuring: Candy Shue, Sarah Carpenter, Keeley Ann Finn, Julia Park Tracey, G. Macias Guzman, Nancy Davenport, Jeff Chon, Rajshree Lehka, Garrett Murphy, Hollie Hardy, Tomas Moniz, Fernando Meisenhalter, Kristen Caven, Norma Smith, Leora Fridman

The emcee for the night will be the wonderful Annelyse Gelman.
Music by the ever-so-talented Lake Lady!

Beer made by Ale Industries on site and coffee by our good friends next door, Red Bay Coffee.

Vouched Books will also be joining us! From their website: “Whether we’re reviewing work on our website, hosting a reading, or selling small press books at one of our guerrilla bookstores, the heart of Vouched Books is this: we love small press literature.”

Sleeping Beauty’s Dreams at Quiet Lightning, Monday November 2nd!

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I’m happy to be reading my poem series, “The Beauty of Sleeping,” at Quiet Lightning‘s next literary mixtape on Monday, November 2nd. Aurora had a 100 years to sleep, so let the dreaming begin. . .

The estimable Evan Karp and Jennifer Lewis curated the evening, which always features an eclectic and electric group of writers.

I’m honored to be among:

Chris Ames
Kacy Cunningham
MK Chavez
Cassandra Dallett
Diane Glazman
Chad Koch
Jenny Qi

Bel Poblador, C.E. Shue, Ben Finateri, Ken Grobe, Margaret Spilman, and Eila Carrico!

@ Arc Studios & Gallery
Monday, Nov 2 2015

7:30 pm show | 6:30 pm doors
1246 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA
all ages

$7-10, no one turned away for lack of funds
sPARKLE & bLINK 69 ft. covers by Doug Sandelin
free for first 100

cheap draft beer courtesy Lagunitas

Little Dog In The Rainy Forest: Magic In the City

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The drought has been long and taken its toll on our backyard, which has gone completely brown. We were longing for some respite from the recent heatwave, so we headed over to Mount Davidson Park, an oasis nestled in the middle of the Miraloma neighborhood not far from its more famous neighbor, Twin Peaks.

Here the streets are windy and narrow. We parked on Myra Way and walked to the trailhead behind the bus stop near Dalewood Ave. The mountain seemed to generate its own weather, making it feel like we were in the Santa Cruz Mountains, instead of the middle of San Francisco. Fog kissed our cheeks.

We started off walking a bit of an incline through pines and eucalyptus, then wound our way around the east side of the hill, which came out of the trees and into a rockier terrain. Soon enough we were back in the forest where the fog was so thick the condensation off the leaves was like rain dripping. A very welcome sound in the middle of the drought. The eucalyptus were lush, and there were even ferns, blackberry bushes, wild strawberry plants, and moss all along the trail.

Climbing a woodsy set of steps, we came to Mt. Davidson’s iconic cross, the place where Clint Eastwood, as Dirty Harry, tracks down his nemesis, Scorpio. Then on to the overlook, which, on a clear day offers spectacular views of the City. People were taking pictures of the Cross and one intrepid couple was doing a fashion photoshoot with a dramatically austere tree at the cliff’s edge.

After letting Lola sniff to her heart’s content, we traversed the trails on the southern side of the mountain back to our car, all of us thoroughly refreshed for our short journey back to the sunny City. But it’s nice to know where we can always find “rain”!

For more information and directions to Mount Davidson Park, click on the links in the post.

Enjoy!

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The sun shining through overcast skies made the grassy land look like a sepia photograph.

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The hub, Lola and I soaked up the mist against our skin.

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The Cross has been called a controversial symbol as well as an historic landmark.

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Which way to go? Up the steps!

Little Dog Under a Big Sky: Walking With the Wind

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Lola wanted to check out the massive Seal Point Dog Park in San Mateo, so the hub and I headed down the Bay side of the Bay Area–and found a fantastic hike to go with it. This made us all very happy.

The walk from Seal Point Park to Coyote Park Recreation Area is easy and curves around an estuary, making for some cool changes of scenery. As we walked, we could watch planes flying in the blue skies and above and beyond that, the clouds were absolutely gorgeous.

It’s a view that we never see from our car on the 101 freeway, nor the other ways we usually travel around the Bay–either on the bridges (more cars) or BART, which goes under the Bay, or as far at the SFO airport, but not really beside the Bay.

Even more strange and delightful is the Wind Art Walk, which includes several whimsical sculptures that channel the energy of the wind. We could feel the wind of course–and now we could see it and hear it too.

We watched the planes landing at SFO, kitesurfers on the Bay, and Lola even got to go the the biggest dog park I’ve ever seen, the Seal Point Dog Park. Very dusty (almost like being Matt Damon in “The Martian”), but she liked it a lot.

Click on the links in the article for more information and directions to Seal Point Park!

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A tree of whirling birds.

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You can stand between the two discs and hear yourself in stereo sound!

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The spiky sculpture is a wind organ for playing music.

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Lola heads for the City.

The Magic of Half Moon Bay

Took the boo and the hub hiking last week–I always feel refreshed after a good forest bath. We found this trail that goes by the old Burleigh Ranch. You can see the barn (which looks like people have been camping in it) and a couple of outbuildings overgrown with old branches and vines. We found thistles in bloom and even better, in decay, becoming stars.

Even the name, Half Moon Bay, is magical. Lola enjoyed it too; found plenty of stinky things to sniff and a little shade to sit in on a hot day.

The end of a perfect outing? Going to Barbara’s Fishtrap and eating crab sandwiches on the beach as the sun set. Lola even got a few of my french fries. . .

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A cool glade appeared before us just when we needed it. More magic!

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Think it’s haunted?

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Thistles in bloom.

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Thistle stars.

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Barn rising into trees.

Drawing and Writing

I’ve always liked writing based on other art forms, whether it’s ekphrastic poetry, art reviews, or stories about stolen Picasso paintings. Lately I’ve been exploring making visual art–in particular, drawing with charcoal. Just a burnt piece of wood, yet it is all one needs to create a bond with the earth that it came from. Here is a landscape of my beloved Southwest.

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Poet As Radio Remembers Colleen Lookingbill

From the May 25th Poet As Radio:

On Sunday we gathered an unprecedented number of poets at Lightrail Studios to celebrate an unparalleled poet and spirit, Colleen Lookingbill, who unfortunately left us on March 30th. Besides the Poet as Radio hosts, Tiff Dressen, Susanne Dyckman, Todd Melicker, Joseph Noble, Steven Seidenberg, Candy Shue along with Colleen’s husband Jordon Zorker took part in a memorial show, which included a reading of Colleen’s work and a discussion of her life. We heard work from both her books Incognita (Sink Press, 1992) and a forgetting of (Lyric & Press, 2011), as well as some other pieces published in literary journals.

After the break, the group shared anecdotes from Colleen’s life and artistic endeavors. Jordon told us that she was influenced by the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets and she liked the term ‘experimental poetry.’ Colleen was also a visual artist and she created visual poetry that was included in a forgetting of. Colleen was an incredibly open and giving person. Tiff introduced Colleen’s relationship to Buddhism and Jordon expanded on this, discussing her interest in different spiritual traditions. Joseph told us about his experience of book shopping with Colleen, where she gravitated towards obscure texts. One of her last projects was an anthology of women poets she compiled with Elizabeth Robinson, As If It Fell From the Sun (Ether Dome, 2012).

Thank you to all the poets who took part in this show.
And thank you Colleen for your poetry, your presence and the beautiful mark you left on this writing community. You are surely missed.

Click Here to Listen:
Poet and Visual Artist, Colleen Lookingbill

Under the Influence: Italo Calvino

Who could not love the premise of Evan Karp‘s reading series, Under the Influence? Each writer chooses an author that (s)he loves, introduces the audience to that author, then reads a short piece inspired by the work of that writer. I stumbled upon Italo Calvino’s novel, If On A Winter’s Night, A Traveller, when I was working at my first bookstore job in San Francisco. I fell into it completely, with its 2nd person narration and its unconventional, twisty storytelling. I went on to read Invisible Cities, Cosmicomics, Under the Jaguar Sun, Marcovaldo, Mr. Palomar, and many other Calvino titles. He had a prolific imagination that made the world seem possible.

My story, “Invisible City,” was inspired by Calvino’s stories told by Marco Polo to Kublai Khan. To me that book is several books rolled into one: fairytales, travelogue, architectural guidebook, and bromance. Still one of my favorite books to read on an airplane.


“Invisible City” at The Emerald Tablet, August 2, 2014