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Archive for November, 2012

The 2012 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Awards | Oakland Public Library, Rockridge Branch, Saturday, December 1st, 2-5pm

Friday, November 30th, 2012



View photos from this event right now at


PEN Oakland to honor writers
Marta Yamamoto | San José Mercury News
29 November 2012

Melba J. Boyd
, Steve Dalachinsky,
Rafael Jesús González, Jill Nelson, Daniel A. Olivas,
Melinda Palacio, Eugene Redmond

Dubbed “the Blue-Collar PEN” by the New York Times, PEN Oakland announces the 2012 winners of the Josephine Miles Literary Awards.

“Part of the pleasure of receiving the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award for 1996 is that I can now think of myself as an honorary citizen of Oakland, not a sister-city, but a West Coast mate to Brooklyn, my old place.”
Norman Mailer



OCOTILLO DREAMS by Melinda Palacio | Bilingual Review Press (novel)

THE ARMAGEDDON OF FUNK by Michael Warr | Tia Chucha Press (poetry)

SOLITUDE OF FIVE BLACK MOONS by Aurora Harris | Broadside Press/University of Detroit Mercy Press (poetry)

LA NEGRA Y BLANCA: Fugue & Commentary by Deena Metzger | Hand to Hand Press (novel)

FUG YOU by Ed Sanders | Da Capo Press (memoir)

SUGAR ZONE by Mary Mackey | Marsh Hawk Press (poetry)

SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward | Bloomsbury (novel)



Alexander Cockburn wins the 2012 Censorship Award

Q.R. Hand will receive PEN Oakland’s 2012 Reginald Lockett Lifetime Achievement Award


Melinda Palacio‘s novel OCOTILLO DREAMS confronts issues of identity, politics and family secrets during the infamous 1997 immigration sweeps in Chandler, Arizona. ||| Michael Warr’s poems in THE ARMAGEDDON OF FUNK form a memoir trekking across international and ideological borders, interconnecting a world of opposites. ||| Aurora Harris’ poems in SOLITUDE OF FIVE BLACK MOONS remap consciousness, examine selfish pursuits and destructive thoughts, re-examine imperialism and global irresponsibility, and consult our universal soul. ||| Deena Metzger’s novel LA NEGRA Y BLANCA explores  relationships between people, historical and imaginary, in the bloody tragedy of the on-going Conquest and US imperialism in Guatemala and Latin America. ||| Ed Sanders’ memoir FUG YOU is his extraordinary personal history of New York lower east side counterculture in the 1960s. ||| Mary Mackey’s poems in SUGAR ZONE confirm the findings of magical realists, crisscrossers of the earth-wise & astral, and interpenetrators of life & death. And hence, heavy with light, sparkle in the “bleeding” throats and ears of language. ||| Jesmyn Ward‘s novel SALVAGE THE BONES, set in a coastal town of Mississippi, tells the story of a family and community bound together as a hurricane hurtles toward them from the Gulf of Mexico.


The 22nd Annual PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles National Literary Awards will take place
Saturday, December 1, 2012, at
the Oakland Public Library, Rockridge Branch,
5366 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618
from 2 to 5pm


The ceremony is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a reception and book signings. For further information, please contact Kim McMillon at 510.681.5652 or John Curl at 510. 526.9324

PEN Oakland, founded in 1989, is a chapter of PEN International, founded in 1921. Dubbed “the blue collar PEN” by the New York Times, PEN Oakland annually sponsors the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Book Awards, named for the late poet and faculty member of U.C. Berkeley’s English Department. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the awards. Each year PEN Oakland presents an award to outstanding book titles published in the previous year. The Awards were created twenty years ago to honor writers of exceptional works often not acknowledged by the mainstream literary community. Judged by respected writers, the awards honor books that both reflect a multicultural or marginalized viewpoint and represent the highest standards of literature. 

Further information, contact
PEN Oakland


SPAIN RODRÍGUEZ (1940-2012) | In Memoriam

Thursday, November 29th, 2012


  © Babylon Falling

Spain Rodríguez: Zap Comix artist dies

Kevin Fagan

© San Francisco Chronicle | Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hard-charging biker. Class warfare revolutionary. Pioneering underground cartoonist.

Loving family man.

That was Spain Rodríguez.

From his role as one of the original Zap Comix artists with Robert Crumb, to his work as a founder of the Mission District murals movement in San Francisco, Rodríguez influenced generations of cartoonists and illustrators with a gritty, in-your-face approach to urban life.

He continued to do so until his death Wednesday at his San Francisco home – inking a poster printed this week for a concert honoring the labor movement and Woody Guthrie.

Mr. Rodríguez was 72, and had battled cancer for six years.

Read the whole obituary at


Spain Rodriguez’ CHE: A Graphic Biography

(Mike Gold’s 2008 ComicMix review)

  Photo: Al Young

Carla Blank, Spain Rodríguez, Ishmael Reed, Joyce Carol Thomas, and Gary Gach pause to pose following the Bob Callahan memorial service | Berkeley 2008


Robert (Bob) Callahan | 1942-2008



Tuesday, November 27th, 2012
click to kiss



Our church is a radical performance community based in New York City. Performances are designed and directed by Savitri D. The musical director is Nehemiah Luckett. The lead singer is Laura Newman.

Let’s talk about the Devil. Corporate Commercialism has sped up to a roar, virtually unopposed. Consumerism is normalized in the mind of the average person. Sometimes we even refer to ourselves as consumers, forgetting that we are also citizens, humans, men, women, animals. We forget that we share many resources, public spaces, libraries, information, history, sidewalks, streets, schools that we created laws and covenants and governments to protect us, to support us, to help us … The subjugation of these resources and these laws to the forces of the market demands a response.

… Above all we try to “complexify” the moment of purchase, to snap people out their hypnosis and back into the mystery of being human. We remind people that things come from somewhere, that products have a resource past, a labor past. Someone made It, and It is made of something. We trace the route a product took to get on the shelf, the life it might have when we throw it away. We animate the objects that surround us and, in so doing, we re-animate ourselves. We become citizens again.

 Attend the Church of Stop Shopping
with Reverend Billy



View our latest movie!

* The Story of Change

Can shopping save the world? The Story of Change urges viewers to put down their credit cards and start exercising their citizen muscles to build a more sustainable, just and fulfilling world.


WOVEN VOICES: Poets Gloria Vando & Anika Paris at Beyond Baroque, Thursday 29 November, 7:30 PM

Sunday, November 25th, 2012


Thursday, November 19, 2012 | 7:30pm

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center
681 Venice Blvd. Venice, CA 90291


Map & Directions

WOVEN VOICES: An Evening of Poetry & Music with Mother-Daughter Duo Gloria Vando & Anika Paris

With special music guests: Kristian Klikovitz on keys, Michael Saucier on bass, and singers Delbi Smart and Lynn Fanelli.
Refreshments!  Booksigning!  

“Woven Voices is like no other poetry book! Here is a gorgeous trio of poets who share family ties, a common Puerto Rican History, and the twists and turns of a diasporic journey.… You’ll find yourself singing along, entering a world of beauty and truth you didn’t know existed.”
—Ruth Behar, MacArthur Fellow

“This is but a glimpse into the numerous intersections of these three poets’ voices. And it’s interesting to take note of how the intertwined threads leave space to allow each poet to preserve the soloist song of “I” without blurring into a chorus-like “we.” The shared space is the book itself, a beautiful testament to a family tradition.”
—Rigoberto González, The Poetry Foundation’s Blog, Harriet

GLORIA VANDO is the founding publisher/editor of Helicon Nine Editions for which she received the Governor’s Arts Award (KS). She won the Di Castagnola Award (Poetry Society of America) and Best Poetry Book of the Year Award (Latino Literary Hall of Fame) for her book, Shadows & Suppose.  She received the 2009 Poetry Award from El Instituto de Puerto Rico, NY; the Thorpe Menn Poetry Book Award for Promesas: Geography of the Impossible; first Kansas Arts Commission Poetry Fellowship; two Billee Murray Denny Prizes; River Styx International Poetry Award (Philip Levine, judge); and others. Her work is in magazines, texts, anthologies, and CDs, including the 2007 Grammy-nominated Poetry on Record: 98 Poets Read Their Work 1888-2006 (“The third CD features poets of the post-World War II era. (“It’s Gloria Vando’s ‘Fire’ that serves as a high point on this portion of Poetry on Record.”—The Music Box review). She has served as a judge for the NEA and numerous State Arts Councils, is a contributing editor of the North American Review; cofounder, with her husband, Bill Hickok, of The Writers Place, a literary center in Kansas City; and now serves on the boards of the Venice Arts Council and Beyond Baroque.

ANIKA PARIS is a platinum award winning singer/songwriter and recipient of ASCAP’s Abe Oleman Scholarship (Songwriters Hall of Fame), CRIA Award, Nashville’s Song Festival, ASCAP’s Pop Awards. Published with Universal Polygram and Warner Chappell, her songs are featured in major films starring Gwenyth Paltrow, Ben Affleck, Maria Carey, John Tutturo, to name a few, and on soundtracks. She is the only female composer for Warner Brothers Telepictures, toured the US, Europe and Asia, even performed for the royal princess of Thailand. She has composed for Off-Broadway’s Novel, Morpho-Genesis, The Judas Tree, The Island of No Tomorrows and Temple of the Souls, which received four HOLA Awards in 2012, including outstanding music. She teaches songwriting and performance at Musicians Institute in Hollywood, and is a newly minted author with her book Making Your Mark in Music (Hal Leonard, 2011). Her poems have appeared in publications and anthologies, including The Kansas City Star, Spillway, The Mom Egg, Chance of a Ghost, Poetic Voices Without Borders, Anthology of Kansas City Poets, and most recently in Woven Voices (Scapegoat Press, 2012), a three-generation poetry anthology alongside her mother and grandmother (Anita Vélez-Mitchell)




Friday, November 16th, 2012


© Mary-Marcia Casoly

Oh, the military’s wonderful
The military’s swell
But now it seems the military
Is on the way to Hell
For they’re playing hanky panky in the army

He went to West Point
Flags unfurl!
went to West Point

What a girl!
But they were playing hanky panky in the army

He said, “My dear,
It’s time to quit”
said, “Don’t hand me

That kind of shit
When you’re playing hanky panky in the army,

I think you’ve got
Another female
And boy I’ll send her
Some hot email:
Don’t YOU play hanky panky with the army!”

He said, “Oh, God
Is onto us
I’d rather die
Though I’ve been playing hanky panky in the army

I must confess,
I’m sorry, toots
Upon my face
I’ve got such schmutz*
For I …
For I…
Was playing hanky panky in the army”

Jack Foley

© 2012 Jack Foley

* Schmutz: Yiddish for ‘dirt’



  © Getty Images

CIA Director Gen. Davis Petraeus shakes hands with biographer Paula Broadwell, co-author of All In: The Education of General David Petraeus, on July 13, 2011

There will be many moments when all eyes turn to you for a decision. Be prepared for them. Don’t shrink from them. Embrace them. Some­times the best move is the bold move.