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Holiday Mason 11/7, Ventura County’s First Youth Poet Laureate 11/8, Psalms of Cinder and Silt Release 11/9

November 6, 2019
This weekend offers a plethora of poetry in Ventura! Featured poet tonight Holaday Mason followed by an open mic on Thursday Nov. 7, then Friday it’s the inaugurations of the first Youth Poet Laureate, Oxnard’s Genesis Perez, and on Saturday, there’s a reading from area poets from the newly published Psalms of Cinder and Silt.

Every Thursday, at the EP Foster Library in the Topping Room  you’ll find featured poets and an open mic beginning at 7:30pm.  The library is located at 651 E. Main Street  in downtown Ventura (across from Winchester’s) and the host and curator is Ventura County’s Poet Laureate Phil Taggart.

This Thursday, the feature is Holaday Mason who I heard read as part of the Climate Crisis reading “All Fall Down.” Other upcoming readings  are November 14  Sean McCoy, November 21  Michael C Ford, December  5   Scott Struman; my students and I will be there Dec. 5 with our class anthology.

Here’s a another sample poem from Holaday Mason called “Menopause”:

The pause of the blood, the not now
or ever impasse of womb, iron of emptiness,
the buried plasma roots of beginning,
the end of the eggs, the un-union of skin,
the played out tryst, the staunched
memory, stolen heirloom, scarred
slit wrist, the un-hatched, un-cried,
dried blown out wisp of smoke, the sealed eye,
silenced tome, floating black fish,
un-made unmade bed, the cessation
of red, the blank rivulet, the witch’s song
inside the deaf nest — ten young
drowning men in the surf. One on his belly,
a newborn clinging to his back, screaming.

On Friday Nov. 8, all are welcome to attend the inauguration of Genesis Perez as the 2019-2020 Ventura County Youth Poet Laureate at 7pm in Guthrie Hall at Ventura College 4667 Telegraph Road in Ventura; a reception begins the event at 630pm. She will serve for one year as official poet and ambassador to the community for poetry.

According to a press release, “Genesis Perez has been published in Scuffed Diamonds, a collection of Ventura County Poets and Through Me, You Will See, a collection of Oxnard High School Poetry slammers. She won the 2019 Oxnard High School Poetry Slam. Perez is a poet of social conscience, dealing with sexual harassment, sexuality, grief, and the struggles of immigrants. She was a featured reader in Mexican Schools at Beyond Baroque in Venice, Los Angeles, and the Elite Theatre Company in Oxnard. Her poetry is a close and profound examination of the human condition. Genesis Perez is 18-years-old. She was born and raised in Ventura County. She is a freshman at California State University, Northridge, where she studies Marine Biology. She has been involved in the local theater community for many years and utilizes her stage experience to enhance the delivery of her poetry to audiences. She has described herself as a “total ham”. However, she is dedicated to advocacy through the Literary Arts.”

It’s haunting that as we sweep up the ashes from the latest fire and still have the words from last weekend’s reading on the climate crisis “All Fall Down” resonating in our ears, on Saturday Nov. 9, at 2pm, a book release reading for the poetry anthology, Psalms of Cinder and Silt will be hosted by the editors Mary Kay Rummel, Friday Gretchen and Elaine Alarcon at the Museum of Ventura County, 100 E. Main Street, Ventura, CA.  Above is a video of Phil Taggart’s film/poem Fire Season.
Psalms of Cinder and Silt is an outgrowth of a series of readings Phil Taggart organized at the museum the EP Foster Library and at other sites affected by the Thomas and Woolsey fires and the resulting mudslides. The anthology is published as a special edition of SOLO Novo by the generosity of Glenna Luschei.
The collection of poetry is written by survivors of the 2017 and 2018 California wildfires and features work by Jean Colonomos, Florence Weinberger, Jennifer Kelley, Carol Ciliberti Smith, Christian Spangenberg, Nancy-Jean Pément, Raïna Manuel-Paris, Laura Reece Hogan, Brian Kirven, Susan Florence, Enid Osborn, Elizabeth Kuelbs, Gabrielle LeMay, Fernando Albert Salinas, Ariel Fintushel, Anita S. Pulier, Kathi Stafford, Daniel Thomas, Phil Taggart, Danielle Pineda Brown, Amy Tomhave, Tim Tipton, Kathie Gibboney, Gregory Franklin Huyette, Reynold Akison, John Robertson, Judy Oberlander, Amada Irma Pérez, Doug Knott, Jennifer A. Leonardo, Erin Graffy, Friday Gretchen, Zayan Reza, Ellen Reich, Sara Volle, Paula C. Lowe, Bob Chianese, Sandra Knapp, Gudrun Bortman, Katie Goodridge Ingram, Eliot Jacobson, Mark Fargo, Natalie D-Napoleon, Kimbrough Ernest, Marcy Wingard, David Starkey, Adele Menichella, Ricardo Means Ybarra, Riley Jaret, Diogo Avancini Fernandez, Maía, Vincent Mowrey, Suzanne Frost, Claudia M. Reder, Mary Kay Rummel, Ed Coletti, Anna Walsh Palencia, Bonnie Goldenberg, Ann Buxie, Richard Jarrette, Paul Willis, Elaine Alarcon, Laura Muñoz-Larbig, Peg Quinn, Becky Sanvictores, Charles Spink, Conor Adam Logan, Cie Gumucio, Ellen Cohen, Jedediah Smith, Gwendolyn Alley, Marsha de la O.
According to organizers, “These voices in the anthology represent a vivid cross section of our community and its remarkable resilience; these poems bring the power of our stories to create connection in times of crisis.” While I am in the anthology, I am not sure whether I will be in town on Saturdau and able to participate in the reading. The anthology Psalms of Cinder and Silt will be available for purchase at the release party and may be purchased on Amazon.




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