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Archive for December, 2010

A CELEBRATION OF WINTER POEMS at the Albany Library ~ Tuesday, December 14, 2010 ~ 7-9 pm

Sunday, December 12th, 2010


Poetry at the Albany Library

A Celebration of Winter Poems
2nd Tuesdays: Poetry Party with Open Mic
Tuesday December 14, 2010 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Produced by Catherine Taylor

“Let now the chimneys blaze
And cups o’erflow with wine,
Let well-turned words amaze
With harmony divine. . . “

— Thomas Campion
(from “Now winter nights enlarge”)

Photo: KarenRonald

You are invited to bring a winter poem by a favorite writer to share, along with one or two of your own.

Featured poets: All of us!
(In other words, grab some favorite poems and let’s have some fun!)


In winter

all the singing is in

the tops of the trees . . .

— Mary Oliver
(from “White-Eyes”)


Albany Library
1247 Marin Avenue
Albany, CA 94706

maps & directions


Annie Finch

Challenge: An initial survey of winter poetry can be “a grim gathering–unexpectedly grim for the contemporary reader,” writes Annie Finch,whose The Poetry of Deep Winter (12/22/09 at Harriet: The Poetry Foundation Blog) gives a broader overview of winter poems. With this in mind, perhaps a few of us will find expressions of joy or icy wonderment. CALIFORNIA winter poems win extra points!


Partially funded by Friends of the Albany Library.

Wheelchair accessible.
ASL interpreter provided with 7 working days notice
(510.526.3720 or TTY 510.663.0660)
Produced by Alameda County Library, Albany 12/10

Albany Library
1247 Marin Avenue

“Best Place to Hear and Read Good Poetry”




Saturday, December 11th, 2010



Why are these men in jail? | SF Bay View
Read the original

“There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”
— Michelle Alexander

Courtesy photo
Author Michelle Alexander interviewed at Democracy Now! | pt. 1
Author Michelle Alexander interviewed at Democracy Now! | pt. 2
Author Michelle Alexander interviewed at Democracy Now! | pt. 3
Author Michelle Alexander interviewed at Democracy Now! | pt. 4
Cover design: Jamaal Bell

The New Jim Crow:
Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
By Michelle Alexander
304 pages
The New Press
, January 2010
$27.95 hardcover

Reviewed by the Huffington Post
Reviewed by Mumia Abu-Jamal

Michelle Alexander: “The Real Cost of Prisons”
(The Nation, December 9, 2010)



Conjugal Visits

the classic ballad/poem by Al Young

By noon we’ll be deep into it —
up reading out loud in bed.
Or in between our making love
I’ll paint my toenails red.

Reece say he got to change his name
from Maurice to Malik.
He think I need to change mine too.
Conversion, so to speak.

“I ain’t no Muslim yet,” I say.
“Besides, I like my name.
Kamisha still sounds good to me.
I’ll let you play that game.”

“I’d rather play with you,” he say,
than trip back to the Sixties.”
“The Sixties, eh?” I’m on his case.
Then I won’t do my striptease.”

This brother look at me and laugh;
he know I love him bad
and, worse, he know exactly how
much loving I ain’t had.

He grab me by my puffed up waist
and pull me to him close.
He say, “I want you in my face.
Or on my face, Miss Toes.”

What can I say? I’d lie for Reece,
but I’m not quitting school.
Four mouths to feed, not counting mine.
Let Urban Studies rule!

I met him in the want ads,
we fell in love by mail.
I say, when people bring this up,
“Wasn’t no one up for sale.”

All these Black men crammed up in jail,
all this I.Q. on ice,
while governments, bank presidents,
the Mafia don’t think twice.

They fly in dope and make real sure
they hands stay nice and clean.
The chump-change Reece made on the street
— what’s that supposed to mean?

“For what it costs the State to keep
you locked down, clothed and fed,
you could be learning Harvard stuff,
and brilliant skills,” I said.

Reece say, “Just kiss me one more time,
then let’s get down, make love.
Then let’s devour that special meal
I wish they’d serve more of.”

They say the third time out’s a charm;
I kinda think they’re right.
My first, he was the Ace of Swords,
which didn’t make him no knight.

He gave me Zeus and Brittany;
my second left me twins.
This third one ain’t about no luck;
we’re honeymooners. Friends.

I go see Maurice once a month
while Moms looks after things.
We be so glad to touch again,
I dance, he grins, he sings.

When I get back home to my kids,
schoolwork, The Copy Shop,
ain’t no way Reece can mess with me.
They got his ass locked up.

© 1996, 2001, 2007 by Al Young


POETRY FEEDS: A Benefit for Share First Oakland ~ Sunday, December 12, 2010

Saturday, December 11th, 2010


© Share First Oakland

Sunday, December 12, 2010
6 to 10 pm
Food, books, crafts, and “open poetry wall” for auction
First Congregational Church of Oakland
2501 Harrison Street, Oakland, CA 94611

(19th Street Oakland BART Station)

Courtesy Red Room | Photo © Francisco Dominguez

Produced by Lorna Dee Cervantes
Share First Oakland

Where is your skin, parting me?

Where is the cowlick under your kiss

teasing into purple valleys? Where

are your wings, the imaginary tail

and its exercise? Where would I breed

you? In the neck of my secret heart

where you’ll go to the warmth of me

biting into that bread where crumbs crack
and scatter and feed us our souls …

— Excerpted from “A un Desconocido”
© Lorna Dee Cervantes

The Line-Up

6:00 pm Feast or Famine Chance Dinner – $5 – $10 meal ticket; Holiday Book and Craft Fair; Instant Publishing Poetry Wall

6:45 pm Sanctuary – Welcome: Lorna Dee Cervantes; Rev. Jeanne Loveless, First Congregational Church

Invocation: Francisco Alarcón

J. Webb Mealy, Co-Founder, Executive Director of Share First Oakland; volunteer representative

Reading of poem by Oakland poet, Reginald Lockett: Lorna Dee Cervantes

7:00 pm First Group with Lorna Dee Cervantes

1.   Special Presentation: Jack Foley and Adelle Foley

2.   Rafael Jesús González

3.   Nina Serrano

4.   Paul Lobo Portuges

5.   Vicki Vertiz

6.   Cecile Pineda

7.   John Oliver Simon

8.   Lucha Corpi

9.   Special Presentation: Ishmael Reed

7:45 pm Second Group with Ishmael Reed

10.  Tennessee Reed

11.  Timothy Reed

12.  Odilia Galván Rodríguez

13.  Elmaz Abinader

14.  Ruth Schwartz

15.  Becca Carmona

16.  Sharon Doubiago

17.  Francisco X. Alarcón

18. Special Presentation: Cherríe Moraga

8:45 pm Raffle | Auction | Donation Drive

19. Special Music Presentation

20.  Special Presentation: Avotcja

8:55 pm Third Group with Francisco Alarcón

21.  Leticia Hernández

22.  Tomás Riley

23.  Javier O. Huerta

24.  Linda Watanabe McFerrin

25.  Cesar A. Cruz Teolol

26.  Blackberri

27.  Trina L. Drotar

28.  Sandy Thomas

29.  Lorna Dee Cervantes

9:45 Fourth Group with Lorna Dee Cervantes

30.  Roberto Tinoco Duran

31.  DeCoy Gallerina

32.  Maureen Hurley

33.  Caroline Goodwin

34.  Luisa Leija

35.  Myron Michael Hardy

36. Matt Shears

37.  Nick Johnson

38.  Nancy Inotowok

39.  Yogesh Sharmas

40. Tomás Moniz

Closing Music Presentation with Lorna Dee Cervantes