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Archive for March, 2011


Friday, March 25th, 2011
Courtesy River Bend Nature Center     Courtesy National Post (Canada)  

Courtesy NHK World


Cairo women, Tahir Square 2011

© Amr Dalsh/Reuters

Robert Fisk on the Arab Spring at

Arab Spring at

In a November 2007 BBC interview, before her own assassination, Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto spoke with the BBC’s David Frost about Osama bin Laden’s death

Visit Global Voices


Photo: BJ Tierney

Al Young in surprise celebration of his 72nd birthday at Caffè Trieste, Berkeley, where he went to hear the Randy Craig Quartet. When the band struck up “Happy Birthday” and vocalists Katie Perry and Danielle Thys, the photographer’s daughter, pointed out the poet and led the crowd in song, he knew he’d been found out. The scores of birthday greetings showered upon him by email, snail mail and voice mail continue to touch him deeply.

Photo: Danielle Thys

Photographer Barbara J. Tierney and Al Young: long-time email pals meeting for the first time in real-time.


© Pornchai Kittiwongsakul / AFP/ Getty Images

Thai Customs officer shows an Indian Roofed turtle on his hand during press conference at Customs Department in Bangkok on June 2, 2011. Thai Customs Department seized 451 of turtles and gharials worth more than 1,000,000 bahts ($33,333 USD) upon the shipment’s arrival in the country. (Canada’s National Post)

© J. Ruth Gendler

Magenta Bowl and Silver Moon


compassion begins at home

© Susan Slapin
© Susan Slapin
© Susan Slapin

Peace Blessings Gratitude

SUSAN SLAPIN | Visual Artist | Visit her website


© Vivian Torrence

An orderly orchard nest of praying mantises (mantis religiosa) springs to life in North Carolina

© Vivian Torrence

Spring lizard


Photo: Firehouse Theater

Al with Nancy and Richard Bartholomew, old friends, at the 4th Annual Pleasanton Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival, late March 2011


Cellist-composer Clovice Lewis with Al Young at Galilee Lutheran Church in Kelseyville, CA right after  Spring Awakening, a benefit performance for KPFZ-FM, Lake County’s community radio station

Poets Rafael Jesús González, Sandra Wade and Al Young in post-concert pose, Lake County, CA, April 2011


Photo: Josie Talamantez

Al Young and Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, two of five judges for California’s Poetry Out Loud 2011; photographed March 20 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento, where Round One of this year’s recitation competition took place.

Photo: Al Young

Josie Talamantez, Chief of Grant Programs, California Arts Council



Sally Ashton, newly appointed poet laureate of California’s Santa Clara County

Melinda Cervantes   | Alan Soldofsky   | Diem Jones

Al Young

Celebrating poet Nils Peterson at San JosĂ© State University: Melinda Cervantes, Santa Clara County Librarian and 11th Senate District Woman of the Year, at the podium; seated behind at her left: poet-producer and host Alan Soldofsky, SJSU’s Director of Creative Writing; to her right: poet/musician co-host Diem Jones, Deputy Director of Arts Council Silicon Valley | Click here or directly on image to magnify

Al Young

Nils Peterson

… A phone rings – a barista calls out

‘Tall vanilla soy latte.’

Strange talk to one who grew up

with a nickel cup of joe.

There are fewer and fewer

native speakers of one’s born language.

You learn to live with translations.

from “Coffee Shop in the Late Afternoon” | © Nils Peterson

Nils Peterson, Santa Clara County’s poet laureate emeritus, addresses an audience gathered at San JosĂ© State University’s Student Union Ballroom to celebrate his life and work | March 18, 2011

Al Young

On a rain-crazed night in San JosĂ©, Nils Peterson and cohorts regale the poet’s dining admirers with a mini-concert of barbershop quartet favorites at Flames Eatery & Bar.


CNN’s responds to Gadhafi and fiery conflict in Libya

Photos: Al Young

A wet spring Saturday night, I Street, downtown Sacramento


Courtesy photo

Photos: Al Young
© Catherine Bowen Stern

La Tigresa (Dona Nieto) (top) tripping on the poetry of Arthur Sheridan (below) at the monthly poetry bash he produces at A Taste of Rome in Sausalito, CA


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Robert Marchand will represent California in April’s 2011 Poetry Out Loud National Competition in DC

Thursday, March 24th, 2011


Monterey County’s Robert Marchand to represent California in Poetry Out Loud nationals

Mark Reifenheiser from Contra Costa County took second, and Phebe Hong from Sonoma County was third in an extremely close competition

© Brian Baer | California Arts Council

Finalists for the 2011 California Poetry Out Loud recitation contest line up onstage in Sacramento

© Brian Baer | California Arts Council

Robert Marchand, a senior at Pacific Grove High

• To read the original California Arts Council dispatch, click here
• Flickr photostream of California’s Poetry Out Loud 2011

Robert Marchand from Monterey County (a senior at Pacific Grove High School — age 18) took first place and will represent California in the national Poetry Out Loud finals in Washington, DC in April. Taking second was Mark Reifenheiser from Contra Costa County (a senior at Mt. Diablo High School, age 18), and Phebe Hong from Sonoma County (a junior at Santa Rosa High School, age 16) placed third.

Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Chair of the California Arts Council, found this year’s competition extremely hard to judge because of the overwhelming amount of talent. “I gave out so many perfect scores this year I’m surprised we could even find a winner,” said Feruzzi Shriver. “Any of these county champions could have represented California in Washington. We look forward to having Robert Marchand represent our great state in April.”

Al Young, former California Poet Laureate and also a judge in this year’s competition, was impressed with the 2011 California county champions — not only in the recitations, but also with their backgrounds and beliefs explained during the biographies portion of the event dinner on Sunday, March 20, 2011. “Given the energy, passion and intelligence of this year’s Poetry Out Loud performers, I have total faith that our future is in good hands,” said Young. “The shortsightedness of the world today may be overcome by young people like these.”

Being a judge in this year’s event cemented Young’s opinion that the arts are essential in the educational process. “If arts education and access to the arts were made available to children at younger grades, there would be fewer prisoners, fewer gangs and less anxiety and depression in our youth. The arts allow children and youth to express themselves, their lives, and their creativity — outlets that not only increase self confidence and societal interaction, but improve interest in learning and help form the productive and intelligent adults of tomorrow.”

Photo: Josie Talamantez

Al Young and Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, two of five judges for California’s Poetry Out Loud 2011, photographed March 20 at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento, where Round One of this year’s recitation competition took place.

Feruzzi Shriver noted the impact that Poetry Out Loud can have on students. “Programs like this can have a lasting impact on a young person,” said Feruzzi Shriver. “We have participants who come from group homes, from at-risk youth programs, or who hadn’t found a place until they found this program. I saw such pride in the parents and teachers today. I’m very proud that the California Arts Council works so hard to make this program work for thousands of high school students.”

“I would gladly write poems all year long for this year’s crop of participants to memorize and perform,” said Young. “They would be delivered with elegant accuracy by every single one.”

This year marks the sixth time the California Arts Council has produced the annual competition — the largest of its kind in the nation, with over 40,000 students in approximately 34 California counties participating. The program encourages high school students to learn about poetry through memorization, performance, and competition. The California state finals is the culminating competition between county winners who have shown their merit in the classroom, school, district, and county (a pyramid competition structure similar to the spelling bee).

Marchand, as the California Poetry Out Loud champion, receives $200 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). He will go on to compete in Washington, DC in April, and his school will receive $500 for books. Reifenheiser, as the runner-up, receives $100 from the NEA, and $200 for books at his school.

The state’s Poetry Out Loud program is directed by the California Arts Council, and was initiated by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Local arts agencies and school districts conduct the program on the county level. The California Arts Council would like to thank the Target Corporation for sponsoring the state’s program and helping bring California Poetry Out Loud to as many California high school students as possible.

The agency is also indebted to the hardworking staff at the California Channel who allow the program to be broadcast and webcast, and to the California Department of Education and State Superintendent Tom Torlakson for their sponsorship of the event space on March 21, 2011, at the East End Complex Auditorium.

Interested in seeing the poems the students recited during Rounds One and Two? The California Arts Council posted them online?

Go to the California Arts Council original to see listings for Round Two — and more

© Brian Baer | California Arts Council

Kristin Margolis, manager of California’s Poetry Out Loud and Poet Laureate programs, readies this year’s eager county finalists for Round Two of the recitations.



Thursday, March 24th, 2011


Saturday, March 26 through Sunday, March 27, 2011

10th Annual Pleasanton Poetry, Prose & Arts Festival

© Joseph Robinson

AL YOUNG Keynote Speaker and workshop presenter

Check out this year’s illustrious roster of authors, lecturers, workshop presenters and contest judges

Online version of this brochure available at

For additional information,
Or telephone



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