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Ventura County May Poetry Events: Erotica, Joy Manesiotis, plus AP and students too!

May 10, 2017

While April is National Poetry Month, this May there’s some great poetry readings to catch in Ventura County!

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 11 at 7:30pm in the EP Foster Library Topping Room (651 E. Main Street, Ventura), join Ventura County Poet Laureate Phil Taggart as he hosts a featured reading by  Joy Manesiotis followed by an open mic with readings by local luminaries as well as poets in training and others including my Ventura College Composition students.

Expect the unexpected! I tell my students they can find poetry anywhere.  They could submit anything they chose to that they’d written this semester but they can read what they want Thursday night.  Above is the cover that Brandon Elliott designed using the title that the students generated and voted for and an image submitted by Maria Sheldon that she took in her photography this semester.

Featured poet is Univ of Redlands prof Joy Manesiotis

the author of “They Sing to Her Bones,” which won the New Issues Poetry Prize. Individual poems and essays have appeared widely in literary journals, including “The American Poetry Review,” “Massachusetts Review,” “Virginia Quarterly Review,” and “Poetry International.” Among her honors are a Poetry Fellowship from New York Foundation for the Arts, resident fellowships from Ragdale Foundation, Prairie Schooner’s Reader’s Choice Award and a Graves Award in the Humanities. She has an MFA in Poetry form Warren Wilson College and a BFA in Sculpture with Honors) from Virginia Commonwealth University. She’s a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Redlands in southern California.
Below are two examples of her work. Please note that the poet did NOT use asterisks between stanzas but I was having problems getting it to format correctly.
 
I Lean Toward That Shape, Wishing to Stroke
by Joy Manesiotis
 
I lean toward that shape, wishing to stroke
its silky outline, but I will be undone
*
by the gesture. The bird whose name I do not know
calls in the morning’s suffusion of light—once, and again. I wish only
*
to see the unencumbered gaze—to know its contour
and its blessing. Now empty of the bird’s call, the air

stalls, refuses to lighten. The bird will not call the morning
into being. I would be wrapped in the warm silk

of that regard, for once clear and without reproach. An atonal humming—
its uncertain vibration—fills my torso, no plush comfort.
 
 
  The Road
by Joy Manesiotis
*
Past the house and further, the white road,
not the cobbled lane, curving tight
*
between blinding white walls on the island.
Rough tan block, the house yellowish
*
against the blue sky, a wood porch, capped
by brick tiles, the porch leaning against the road,
*
the grape arbor before it, tangled and sweet.
This is where the sadness lies, on this
*
road, in its jagged curve, in the pattern
woven by the vines and cast onto the smooth white,
*
crushed stones, ground to a fine dust, a powder
finer than the mist that rises
*
up the mountain in the mornings,
through the fig orchards, ghosting the olive trees.
*
This is a weekly series that always has a great open mic. Future featured readers at the library include:
May  18      Ron Koertge
May  25      Paul Willis
June 1        Mary Ann McFadden
June 15      Larry Colker & Barbara Edelman 
June 22        Kurt Olsson

There’s also a new 6pm Wednesday poetry series starting in Newbury Park at the library 2331 Borchard Road hosted by Ken Jones: May 3 and June 7.

Carnegie Art Museum Poetry Series continues on May 13 starting at 6pm

featuring  Jean Colonmos and Shelba Cole Robison.
Carnegie Art Museum is located at 424 S C St, Oxnard, CA 93030

Coming up May 20 from 7-9pm is the annual Erotic Poetry Reading.  This popular fundraiser benefits the Ventura County Poet Laureate Fund at theVentura County Arts Council. Hosted by Ventura County Poet Laureate Phil Taggart, the event features poets from throughout Ventura County. Admission is $10.
Looking for writing inspiration?
AskewPoetryJournal  youtube page
Phil Taggart
Ventura County Poet Laureate
www.philtaggart.com
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