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May the Lit be With You

May 7, 2009

Evening of Poetry and Music in Ojai jpegMAY THE LIT BE WITH YOU. Okay so I just watched a trailer for the new Star Wars movie and I’m still not sure if it’s ok for the small boy.

Maybe I’m still getting over Star Wars Day: May the Fourth (be with you)…

I’m definitely still recovering from April’s plethora of Earth Month & Poetry Month events; the Cinema Caberet at REDCAT was the best!!

Here we are already at May 7!

I have to admit I didn’t make it to LA on Tuesday to hear Anne Waldman (it’s just NOT that easy to achieve escape velocity  especially when tempted with Casa de Soria cinco de mayo maragarita specials!)

But I hope to make it to Ojai/Meiners Oaks tonight for the “Broken Word” reading at The Farmer and The Cook, starting at 6PM. Freshly minted MFA the truly magnificently poetic code blogger Pobert Peake will be reading alongside Joan Nicholson, Johnny Fonteyn, Judy Oberlander, and Steve Sprinkel. Get one dollar off organic wine and beer throughout the evening. The spring weather is warm and lovely so the reading may even take place outdoors!

Here are a few more events going on in the SoCal region for you to enjoy; I will probably add a few more to this post later today. But right now I have to run pick up the boy at school!

Monday May 11 7pm: Final evening of the open mic competition at Bart’s Books— warm up for the Ojai Fest open mic (see below)

May 11 730pm: Moonday reading at Village Books in Pacific Palisades Suzanne Roberts & Sholeh Wolpé

Date: Monday (Moonday) May 11, 2009
Time: 7:30 pm
Place:  Village Books, 1049 Swarthmore Ave. (just north of Sunset) Pacific Palisades Free parking in rear of building
Open Reading? Yes, come early to sign up. We start on time!
Questions? Email: or call the bookstore at: 310-454-4063

Suzanne Roberts’ books include Shameless (2007), Nothing to You (2008), and Plotting Temporality (forthcoming from Red Hen Press). Her work has recently appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Poems & Plays, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and South American Explorers. Named the “Next Great Travel Writer” by National Geographic’s Traveler, Suzanne is at work on another book, Almost Somewhere, comprised entirely of travel poems. She is a tenured English instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College, where she runs a successful Writers’ Series. For more information, please visit her website at

Rain in Venice

At the gate of Saint Mark’s Cathedral,
a drowned pigeon sways in a black puddle,
mottled feathers, once wind-fluttered.

Tourists follow wooden planks across
the drenched square. The city balanced
between green canals, tilting and sinking.

In less than a year, you will have moved
out of the house, filed for divorce,
taken with you this red umbrella.

You turn to me, say, I have never seen
such rain. The flood carries the pigeon,
an eye open, unblinking at the paper-white sky.

* Previously published in Valparaiso Poetry Review

©  2009 Suzanne Roberts

Sholeh Wolpé is the author of Sin­Selected Poems of Forugh Farrokhzad (University of Arkansas Press), The Scar Saloon (Red Hen Press), Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen Press), and Shame (a play in three acts). She is the associate editor of The Norton Anthology of Modern Literature from the Muslim World (Norton, 2010) and the editor of the Atlanta Review – Iran Issue (2010.)  Her poems, translations, essays and reviews have appeared in scores of publications worldwide. Sholeh was born in Iran and lives in Los Angeles. More information:

Holy Water

At a party for a man who is now
a woman living with a lesbian lover,
the butterball woman sitting next to me on the couch
tells me she had her dog blessed

at a Catholic church in Hollywood.
She says there was an ad in the paper.
People brought their birds, cats, lizards,
even fish, to be blessed by holy water.

I ask her if she is Catholic.
Oh no, I’m Jewish, she says.
But I wanted my dog blessed.

This reminds me of Mashad-reezeh, how its Kad-khoda,
the village chief, always rose at the crack of dawn
to pray, performing ablutions with cloudy pond water,
thick with moss, fish feces, and drowned stars.

From Rooftops of Tehran

©  2009 Sholeh Wolpé

Tuesday May 12 5:30-7pm: Favorite Poems Project, Zoeys Cafe 5-7pm. Bring your favorite poem written by someone else!

Host Janine writes, “We launched Ventura’s Favorite Poem Project at Zoey’s last month and had a great time.  Thanks to all who were there!  We plan on making it a second Tuesday tradition, so mark your calendars now and start thinking about your favorite poem for May. Here’s how it works: bring a favorite poem (not your own*), a friend or two, and get ready to share your love of poetry—or just sit back and soak it all in (you don’t have to step up to the mic to join in the fun).  Zoey’s offers lovely things to eat and drink, if you’re of a mind to order, and it’s a great place to hang out with old and new friends. WHERE:    Zoey’s Café and Loft, 451 E. Main Street, Ventura. Questions?  Contact Janine Pourroy at *The Favorite Poem Project is happening in communities all over America (check out for more info).  The only rule is that participants share a poem not written by themselves or their relatives.

May 13 7:30pm Edward Hirsch at UC Irvine

Edward Hirsch

Andrew Tonkovich writes in the OC Weekly: UC Irvine’s most recent Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellows Series speaker brought out protesters against a former Mexican president, engaging the community in a perhaps-unanticipated fellowship of which the school might be proud. One hopes for more with this week’s “My Pace Provokes My Thoughts: Poetry and Walking” by poet/poetry promoter Edward Hirsch. This free, public lecture series is a gift to the neighborhood, plus an opportunity to see the scholars and artists you would otherwise pay for big-time at venues named after real-estate tycoons. Besides being a teacher, poet and essayist, Hirsch famously turned a sometimes-poetry-phobic public on with his best-selling How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love With Poetry (which I love and have used in my classrooms!) Now, apparently, he wants us all to think. And walk. At the same time.

Sat May 16th — 7.00 – 9.00 p.m at the Ojai Retreat Center:  Christina Pages — Poet; Arnaud Damasceno — Flutist; Francisco de Leon — Guitarist

May 17, 2009 3pm: Valley Contemporary Poets Present: John Harris and Ellyn Maybe
Tarzana Community and Cultural Center
19130 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, California 91356 $6.00 Suggested Donation

Tues. May 26 Richard Beban +O 7:30 pm Tuesday Night Poets – Artists Union Gallery (V)

SAVE THE DATE:  Ojai Poetry Festical
June 6th at the Ojai Art Center

According to Robert Peake, the daytime events are all free, and tickets for the evening event are now on sale at Bart’s Books, Ojai Creates, and Ojai House, and will be available at the door:

Hats off to the Ojai Valley Poetry Association for picking up the banner and carrying on the tradition of bringing poetry to Ojai. They have just announced the schedule for the Ojai Valley Poetry Fest on June 6th at the Ojai Art Center .

The free Poetry Fest Day Program begins at noon and includes performances by teens and seniors, Santa Barbara poet laureates, the Razor Babes, and Hispanic poets. Open mic signup also begins at noon for the afternoon session. A workshop in ecstatic Persian poetry, and “Word as Song,” combining poetry and music, complete the afternoon.

The Evening Program features L.A. poets Wanda Coleman and Frank T. Rios , and Ventura Country favorites Marsha de la O. and Jackson Wheeler . Tickets for the evening program are on sale now at Bart’s Books , Ojai Creates , Ojai House, and will be available at the door. Ticket price is $10 (cash only.)

For more information call John Kertisz at 805-640-1508 or email Tree Bernstein at Ojai Poets at gmail dot com.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 8, 2009 4:33 am

    Lovely to see you this evening!

  2. May 8, 2009 4:43 am

    7 minutes seemed like 7 seconds! and such a pleasure to sit by Val–I love her energy! look forward to seeing you guys on a tandem bike on the next FFArtRide!

  3. May 8, 2009 4:26 pm

    I love that you posted our reading right under the flying monkeys from 2007! Thank you for getting the word out there about the reading.

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