HEADS-UP SF BAY AREA: Reading with Michael Rothenberg, Owen Hill, Paul Corman-RoberTs and Youssef Alaui …

FullSizeRender-2Michael Rothenberg of Big Bridge magazine, 100,000 Poets for Change, and almost countless poetry books edited or written – not to mention Shell Dance Orchid Gardens in Pacifica –  says,

“Diversity of vision and style are the heart and soul of this reading, a momentous occasion of joyous and dark surprise.”

Sunday, March 6th, 5-8 p.m.
Art House Gallery, 2905 Shattuck Avenue (at Ashby), Berkeley

Featured poets include:
Michael Rothenberg
Owen Hill
Paul Corman-Roberts
Youssef Alaoui

Open reading sign-up at 5 p.m.
$5 – $10 donation suggested.

MICHAEL ROTHENBERG will bring his strange brew of San Francisco Renaissance meditations, savvy humor and political rant.

OWEN HILL, the wizard of Moe’s legendary reading series, is always smart and insightful and sets the stage for a noir apocalypse.

PAUL CORMAN ROBERTS, notoriously unable to see his forest for his trees brings a message yearning for community and justice tempered with a reckless if soulful heart.

YOUSSEF ALAOUI will engage the surreal and the fabulist with his strange dark melodies.

This is the first time these poets have read together and it might be the last. If you are in the area, join them for a night of celebration and exultation!

For more information contact: Clive Matson, 510-654-6495, clive@matsonpoet.com


Owen Hill is currently finishing the annotations for the new edition of Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. His most recent poetry collection is A Walk Among the Bogus from Lavender Ink Press in New Orleans.

Paul Corman-Roberts is a compulsive poet and a compulsive organizer. His latest collection of poems is called We Shoot Typewriters from Nomadic Press and he is a core-founder of Oakland’s Beast Crawl Festival. He once had coffee and donuts with Eldridge Cleaver.

Youssef Alaoui is known for his varied, dark, spiritual and carnal writings. His work has appeared in Exquisite Corpse, 580 Split, Cherry Bleeds, Carcinogenic Poetry, Red Fez. His work was nominated for the Pushcart prize. Youssef’s novella, The Blue Demon is available on Amazon and at other bookstores.

Michael Rothenberg
is a poet, editor and publisher of the online literary magazine Big Bridge,  and co-founder of 100 Thousand Poets for Change (100TPC).

Michael’s editorial work includes several volumes in the Penguin Poets series: Overtime by Philip Whalen, As Ever by Joanne Kyger, David’s Copy by David Meltzer, and Way More West by Ed Dorn.

His poetry books include Unhurried Vision (La Alameda/University of New Mexico Press), Indefinite Detentions: A Dog Story (Shabda Press USA and Ekstasis Press CANADA) and Murder (Paper Book Press). Drawing The Shade is due out from Dos Madres Press in 2016.

© 2016, illustration, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Celebrating American She-Poets (5): Rita Mae Brown, “I wanted to write a perfect poem.”


“Time had not teased me. I thought eternity was mine in which to live and in which to write. Thinking myself amazingly intelligent, I saw no reason to hide my light under a bushel basket.  My youthful poetry paraded my stuff. I imitated Horace shamelessly; he still remains one of my favorite poets in the original Latin but I have grown up enough not to imitate him. Who could?

“Perhaps there will only be one Rita Mae.  I’m not sure I could stand another one.  Anyway, as I learned more and more about language and literature I also learned more and more about my own limitations.  I wanted to write a perfect poem.  I was soon humbled and wanted to write a great poem.  I eventually became realistic: I wanted to write a good poem.”

. . . so says American novelist, screenwriter, POET and activist, Rita Mae Brown (b. 1944) in the intro to Poems, poetry from her two published collections combined into one book. Who among us can’t sympathize with that ambition? Or perhaps you want to write the perfect short story, paint the perfect picture, or compose the perfect piece of music. It’s all in the same spirit.

Spare and elegant, Rita Mae Brown’s poems deal with war, human rights and feminist and lesbian themes. She’s always confident and often contemptuous.

A Short Note for Liberals

I’ve seen your kind before
Forty-plus and secure
Settling for a kiss from feeble winds
And calling it a storm

Many of the poems were written when she was eighteen and the introduction is written from the perspective of middle-age. She’s fierce, her imagery apt and sometimes breath-taking.

For Those of Us Working For a New World

The dead are the only people
to have permanent dwellings.
We, nomads of Revolution
Wander over the desolation of many generations
And are reborn on each other’s lips
To ride wild mares over unfathomable canyons
Heralding dawns, dreams and sweet desire.

Thumbs-up on this collection.  It’s out of print, but used copies are available through Amazon and other book vendors.


Rita Mae Brown is also a New York Times bestselling author of the Mrs. Murphy mystery series, which is cowritten with her cat, Sneaky Pie. Other novels include In Her Day, The Sand Castle and Six of One. She’s written two memoirs and was nominated for an Emmy for her screenwriting. Writers might enjoy Starting From Scratch: A Different Kind of Writer’s Manual. It’s savvy and full of sass, an enjoyable read.

© poems and book cover art, Rita Mae Brown