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Archive for March, 2009


Saturday, March 21st, 2009



A Whole New Moon | © Al Young

I have borrowed the title for this cycle of photos from a 1968 book by the late Manhattan poet Joseph Ceravolo, recipient of the very first Frank O’Hara Award. Like the season itself, Spring in This World of Poor Mutts still makes me sigh. Read Jim Ceravolo’s remembrance of his father and how these poems still link the two of them by heart.
—  A.Y.


Poppy | © Kathy Sloane


A Kathy Sloane Spring

All photographs subject to copyright restrictions


Spring Garden


Trillum and Wood Sorrell at Muir Woods


Blue Heron


Spring Stretch (Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most)


Woman Rising


Poppy (Shameless Hussy)

All photos in Kathy Sloane’s Spring © 2009 Kathy Sloane



At San Francisco’s Chadwyck Dolby Gallery Al Young reunites with Katayoon Zandvakili, his former Squaw Valley workshop enrollee, whose memoir appears in Persis M. Karim’s Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora. The occasion was a fundraiser benefit reading for Saint Mary’s College MFA Creative Writing Program. | Photo: Mark Cohen


Carroll Peery interrupts his nightly game of scrabble at Caffè Mediterraneum to greet Al Young, a former performer at the Cabal, Berkeley’s legendary folk music club, where Al performed regularly between 1962 and 1965. Towards the end, Peery owned and managed the Cabal, founded by Debbie Green and Howard Ziehm.
Photo: Carl Martineau


Al Young, Bobby Theseeker, and Diane Di Pisa at the March opening of Berkeley in the Sixties, an exhibit of black and white photographs of Berkeley’s lively Telegraph Avenue denizens taken by the late Elio Di Pisa, who managed the CaffĂ© Mediterraneum from the 1960s through the 1990s.
Carl Martineau


Official opening for exhibit of Elio Di Pisa’s Berkeley in the Sixties photo show at the Med.   | Al Young


Photo: Al Young

Elio Di Pisa’s portrait of  the late Joe Agos, who frequented the CaffĂ© Med from its inception. Ethiopian-born, Joe — a pleasant, pensive man — spoke fluent Italian. As a youthful frequenter of the Med in the early 1960s, I remember the fiery, vibrant conversations that Joe regularly got into with cafĂ© owners Elio and Gianni.


Lynn Jehle, Marc “Moose” Silber, and George Pappas bask in an impromtu spring serenade served up by Esteban Bello (Stephen Bell) at Berkeley’s French Hotel in late March of 2009.  | Carl Martineau


Easter offering from North Carolina |  © Vivian Torrence

al-toni-22 Photo © Ginger Bennett Griffin

Al Young with novelist and astrologer Antoinette May at the Gold Rush Writers Retreat in Mokelumne Hill, the heart of California’s Gold Country, in early May of 2009. In the 1970s and 80s, before computers became common, the two prolific writers shared the same superb typist: Joye Crespo, who never hesitated to voice her personal opinion on manuscripts she was hired to type.


© Ginger Bennett Griffin

With poet Sally Ashton (co-founder of Gold Rush Writers Retreat), who edits DMQ Review, and teaches writing and literature at San José State University.



Click on the picture-frame to view an old-fashioned photo-collage (assembled by Diem Jones): Al Young with such friends and acquaintances as Toi Derricotte, Ernest J. Gaines, Lawson Fusao Inada, Wallace Stegner, Nikki Giovanni, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Amiri Baraka, James D. Houston, Jane Hirshfield, Quincy Troupe, blues great Charles Brown, Ishmael Reed, Elmaz Abinader, John Handy, Dana Gioia, and Wynton Marsalis



Saturday, March 14th, 2009


Go to the original International Herald Tribune article


By Kevin J. O’brien
Sunday, March 8, 2009

BERLIN: As European lawmakers debate how to keep access to the Internet free and equal – so-called network neutrality – they are being bombarded, not unsurprisingly, by lobbyists.

But the corporate envoys roaming the halls of Brussels, trying to make their case, more often than not do not represent the Continent’s myriad telecommunications and Internet companies, but rather those from the United States.

As the reputation of Europe grows as the world’s technology regulator, representatives in a conflict that pits the AT&Ts and Verizons against the Googles and Yahoos are attempting to shape European law in the hopes that U.S. regulators will follow suit.

“The U.S. companies see the outcome of the fight in Europe as key,” said Jeremie Zimmermann, a lobbyist for La Quadrature du Net,an Internet advocacy group based in Paris. “Each side is hoping to score points on the issue here so they can take it back to the States to influence the outcome there.”

Net neutrality, which La Quadrature supports, is a proposal backed by some free-speech advocates and Internet businesses that seeks to bar network operators from filtering Internet traffic. Operators say that basic traffic management is necessary to balance the soaring demand for bandwidth from video and popular Web sites.

For consumers in Europe and the United States, the outcome of the debate could influence whether they will continue to be able to download unlimited amounts of data using their flat rate broadband plans or will be forced to pay higher rates related to the amount of data they download.

The outcome could also legally empower operators to single out users of file-sharing software that could be used for illegal downloading.

During the past two months, lobbyists for the U.S. operators and Internet businesses have sent letters to European Union lawmakers promoting their competing legislative agendas, according to copies of the letters obtained by the International Herald Tribune.

Lobbyists for AT&T and Google have also discussed the issue – and in one case directly debated it – in forums held in Brussels for lawmakers and other policy makers.

The question before lawmakers – in Europe at the moment and in the United States probably some time this year – is how to draw the line between the need for networks to manage data to assure smooth service and the deliberate filtering that aims at popular Web sites, the content of downloads or high-volume users. Such filtering could lead to access fees on Internet businesses and, according to some free speech advocates, de facto censorship.


The debate is tied to a routine proposal working its way through the European Parliament to update minimum service requirements for EU network operators. When Parliament approved the package of requirements, known as the universal services directive, on first reading in September, lawmakers on opposite sides were able to insert language that both authorized and blocked a net neutrality mandate.

The lack of clarity touched off a vigorous lobbying battle in Brussels by U.S. businesses on both sides of the issue, in some cases supported by European companies, including Vodafone, Ericsson and VirginMedia, and free-speech advocates.

In general, operators like AT&T and Verizon oppose neutrality mandates, concerned that they might hinder the companies’ ability to manage data and guarantee quality service. Internet businesses, which rely on the Web for free delivery of content and services, are seeking legal guarantees to prevent operators from charging them for access.

The U.S. approach to net neutrality has been shaped largely by the Federal Communications Commission, which in August drew up a set of four neutrality principles as it sanctioned a cable broadband operator, Comcast, for slowing the speed of broadband service to high-volume users.

Comcast is appealing the decision in Washington. The outcome of the case is expected this year and could be a major test of network neutrality in the United States, said Markham Erickson, a lawyer for the Open Internet Society, an advocacy group in Washington.

In the meantime, the lobbying focus has shifted temporarily to Belgium, where European lawmakers are closer to making a decision. Two committees are expected to vote on the legislation March 31, before a final vote by the full Parliament on April 22. The plan would also need to be approved by EU telecom-munications ministers.

Lobbying by U.S. businesses in Brussels is not unusual. More than 30 U.S. companies like Pfizer, Microsoft, McDonald’s, Philip Morris, Westinghouse and Kraft Foods employ lobbyists in Brussels, according to the European Parliament. Foreign countries and businesses also hire lobbyists to work in Washington.

But most of the time, lobbying by foreign entities tends to be discreet.

That has not been the case in the debate over network neutrality, where the high commercial stakes for operators and Internet companies have pushed competing U.S. commercial interests to the forefront.

In Brussels on Feb. 10, Leonard Cali, the director of AT&T’s federal regulatory group, participated in a panel discussion on the issue by a European small-business group.

On Feb. 19, Simon Hampton, a Google lobbyist, spoke to 200 people about Internet control, at an event in Brussels sponsored by the European Green Party.

On Feb. 26, Sebastian Mueller,also a Google lobbyist, debated Karim Lesina, an AT&T lobbyist, on network neutrality in a closed-door meeting of newspaper and magazine publishers. Simon Summers, an organizer, said the lobbyists and organizers wanted to hold the debate in private. No journalists were invited, but the meeting was attended by representatives of France Télécom, Telefónica, Sony Pictures, Skype and Lagardère, as well as representatives of the European cable industry and lawmakers.

Lobbyists for Google and Verizon declined to comment for this article. Lobbyists for Yahoo and eBay did not respond to requests for interviews. Lesina, the AT&T lobbyist, declined an interview request but his employer, the largest carrier in the United States, issued a statement that said the company believed “decision makers in Brussels are rightly interested in policies that will promote investment in broadband and next-generation networks.”



Saturday, March 14th, 2009



CA Lit Sunrise Sunset

April 2-6, 2009 at Santa Monica High School

Bringing literature to life for students is one of the most effective ways to enhance the learning experience. The California Literature course at Santa Monica High School is a UC approved senior-level college preparatory course that is designed to offer such opportunity. In California Literature students examine a variety of perspectives that ultimately define the culture of our state. Through the analysis of literature, history, geography, environmental issues, students gain a clearer understanding of the many paradoxes that stem from the dreams and realities of California. It is our hope to offer students the opportunity to further explore these perspectives outside of the classroom experience.

This coming April, the Santa Monica High School California Literature students will explore the University of California at Santa Barbara, Cal State San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo Farmer’s Market, the National Steinbeck Center, Earthbound Organic Farms, the historic city of Monterey (Cannery Row and the Monterey Aquarium), Point Lobos State Park, and The Hearst Castle in San Simeon. The field trip will take place over five days, from April 2nd to April 6th, and will allow students the opportunity to connect what they have studied to their own personal experiences.

For further information about these exciting excursions, link here



THE SEA, THE SKY, AND YOU, AND I | Al Young, poetry; Dan Robbins, bass | Audio CD available now

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Buy album or tracks at DigStation

Order directly from Al Young.Org


$15, plus $1.75 shipping & handling plus 9.75% CA sales tax

TOTAL: $18.21




Cover photo: Al Young


The Sea, The Sky, And You, And I, an exciting new $15 compact disc from Bardo Digital, went on sale officially April 1, 2009, just in plenty of time to celebrate National Poetry Month, National Library Week, and National Jazz Appreciation Month.

Available soon from Apple’s iTunes Store, Rhapsody, Sony Connect,, AOL’s MusicNet,, the new Napster, Music Match, and other online retailers through CD Baby’s worldwide distribution web.

Right now you may download this album or individual tracks at DigStation.



Back cover photo: Matt Scott
Album design: Jesse Hiatt
Burning Cat Studios, Santa Cruz, CA


Produced by Al Young



Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Every now and again, then yet again, science floats up
out of her silence. Parallel Universes, she whispers, or
String Theory, Uncertainty Theory or Newton’s Laws of Motion.
Some poets, painters, and dancers and drummers look up
from what they’ve been doing to tune in. Tell me about it,
they sometimes think, but, knowing, don’t say a thing.
To know or not to know – this is the kiss, the lick to cherish
and woodshed for the moment light shines on all we know.

— Al Young
© 2009



Manhattan Skyline 2008 |  Photo: Al Young