After I wrote my latest Inlandia Literary Journeys column for the Southern California News Group in which I encouraged people to send postcards to those in varying degrees of isolation due to the Covid pandemic, I learned that October 1, 2019 marked the 150th anniversary of the first postcard.
The Universal Postal Union organized a celebration of the postcard and created a website along with Postcrossings describing the history of postcards.
Poets should note that next year will be the fifteenth anniversary of the Seattle Poetics LAB‘s August Poetry Postcard Festival. Registration to participate in the exchange of original poems through postcards begins in September of 2020. The project is a fun way to encourage yourself to write a series of new poems.
If you would like to receive a postcard from a random person in the world, consider joining Postcrossings.
I hope you will take the time to send a postcard today.
I often discover inspiring reads in the new books section at The A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands, CA. Adam Sol’s “How a Poem Moves” started me thinking about what to write for my Inlandia Literary Journeys column that was scheduled to appear in print just before Veterans Day.
Published in Canada, Sol’s book may be purchased online or ordered from your local book store. The book may be marketed to readers of poetry, but will inspire many a poet to consider the moves they might make with their own poems. Sol maintains a blog by the same name as the title of his book.
Taken with Lucia Galloway‘s “Ten Miles from Home” while reading her new book “Some Words for Meanwhile,” I was excited when I learned she would be reading at the DA Arts Center in Pomona. At her reading I asked her if I might use her poem for my Veterans Day column. She agreed and kindly added the poem to the poems she read that evening.
On Sunday, November 10, 2019, the column ran in the print editions. I enjoy driving around the region to purchase a copy of each of the papers to see how they varying in their presentations.
I allude to the British World War I poet Wilfred Owen in my column. For my undergraduate thesis to earn my BA in English, I utilized James Fowler’s faith development theory to analyze the life of Owen and consider how his transitioning stages of faith appeared in his poetry. I was privilege to meet one of the major Owen biographers and scholars, Dominic Hibberd, when he came to Atlantic Union College to visit with Professor Deborah Leonard who had taught with him in China. Ms. Leonard served as advisor to my thesis.
Such a perfect afternoon and location for a reading entitled “Open to Air”! Since it was the day before the fall time change, I had selected a group of ten poems for my first set that centered around time, including “On Seeing the Cost of Time Change,” which playfully mocks Benjamin Franklin for not seeing the effects of his idea. It was great to have Roxy Heinrich in the audience who originally suggested I write a poem about the time change.
My second set focused around memories, most with medical connections, taking into account the majority of the audience with professional medical connections. I was touched by a woman who spoke with me after the reading to say she was an ICU nurse and that my poem “2 a.m. Set” captured that environment.
The final set centered around nature. I was disappointed that Dr. Melissa Brotton was not able to attend and hear a poem about a Siberian Husky named “Huck,” which I wrote for a nature writing class I took from her at La Sierra University.
I also read “We Came to Count the Cypress” which I wrote six years ago today in response to a walk at Fairmont Park in Riverside, CA led by writer Gayle Brandeis and artist Sue Mitchell.
Thank you to Drs. Michael Orlich, Jim Walters, and John Lou from Loma Linda University’s Humanities Program who invited me and organized today’s reading.
Take the 10 to Anderson/Tippecanoe. Exit and head South on Anderson St. towards the hospital. You’ll pass on the right a Del Taco and Loma Linda Academy. After you cross Academy Way/Van Leuven St, you’ll head up the hill and cross over the railroad tracks. The picture below shows the view as your coming down the railroad overpass. You want to get in the far right lane.
Turn right onto Stewart Street.
Get into the left lane on Stewart as you head under the pedestrian bridge. Get into the far left lane. Turn left onto Campus at the stop sign.
You will drive up to the corner of Campus and University. The Coleman Pavillion is actually up ahead on the left, but your best bet for parking it off University.
Turn right onto University.
You will make a left just past the parking garage.
The entrance is divided. Be sure to get into the right side. There may be spikes on the left.
Drive straight forward until the parking lot has a T. Your going left into the parking garage. There is no fee to park in this garage.
Find parking inside the garage and exit the garage so you are on the sidewalk facing the construction being done on the church on the other side of Campus St. Use the cross walk to get to the other side of Campus.
You should see a bus stop as you are walking up the hill on Campus St.
You can walk through the parking lot just past the bus stop to reach the Coleman Pavilion.
This is what the building looks like from the front.
Inside the from entrance, want to immediately turn left towards the elevators.
Be careful of the poster advertising the event. These posters were inside the entrance on the Friday before the reading. In the hallway on the opposite side of where you want to get the elevator. Who knows where they will be on the day of the reading. They are mobile as you can see.
Next to the elevator is a directory. You are headed to the Faculty Lounge on Level 2. You will be entering the elevator on Level A. Push the 2.
When the doors of the elevator open on Level Two, you will see the Brian and Maureen Bull School of Medicine Lounge straight ahead.
The doors will likely be open. This sign is to the right of the doors.
This sign is to the left of the doors.
The doors of the lounge were closed for an event when I did my reconnaissance, so I didn’t get to see the actual venue. The event is not ticketed so come early to get the best seating.
I wanted to create something special for my friend Victoria Waddle’s birthday. I imagined her initials made out of open books.
I tested the block using some black ink. The first impression (bottom left) showed some of the lines in the negative space. I carved them lower to remove them from the print (top right). I created a cut-out form (upper right) to help me align the block with the paper. I ended up choosing blue ink for the final print (bottom right).
Enjoyed reading for the first time at the Open Words poetry reading I wrote about for the newspaper back in May. Located at the Ironbark Ciderworks in Claremont, this open mic reading occurs on the first Sunday of each month.
Mari (pronounced like Marie) Werner and Terry Wilhelm organize the reading. One of them typically starts the evening to warm up the crowd and the other closes the reading.
I arrived about ten minutes before the reading began and was about the eighth reader to sign-in. The dozen or so readers for the evening showed a wide array of comfort and skill. The audience facing the microphone and the general customers were audibly receptive to all. It’s a great venue for both the novice and seasoned poet to read.
Ironbark provides a vivid, artistic environment for a poetry reading. The staff were friendly and helpful (I think one of the staff was even a reader), but not obtrusive. A teetotaler like myself felt no pressure to drink. Other readers shared how much they enjoyed the fermented cider offerings. I only wished Ironbark sold food as well as beverages.
After the reading, the closing host encourages the audience to share news of upcoming local poetry readings and publishing opportunities. Mari noted Karen Maya-Greenbaum in the audience and suggested the Fourth Sundays Poetry Readings at the Claremont public library. Victoria Waddle, Managing Editor of Inlandia: A Literary Journey, encouraged the readers to submit to the adult edition of the online journal before the August 31st deadline.
My latest column for the Southern California News Group highlights the Open Words and Fourth Sundays poetry readings in Claremont. The column ran in the Sunday, May 12, 2019 editions of The Inland Valley Bulletin, The Press-Enterprise, The Redlands Daily Facts, and The Sun.
“To hear the diverse voices of Southern California’s poets and beyond, head to Claremont, a town that values poetry.”