A few of us die-hard poets and nature lovers trekked up to Parsons Meadow Lodge festivities, arising early, packing the car, and meeting at 6 AM for the drive up the mountain. We arrived just in time for some of Camille Dungy’s workshop exercises by the Tuolumne River, with the rushing sound of the water behind us helping with the flow. Then a brief lunch, with shared items from Gail’s lunch and our own snacks added in, and then a commune with the river and quiet time to write, walk, take photos, and simply enjoy the environs. The Unicorn mountain behind us, and the back side of Cathedral Peak in another direction, we were in good company.
The featured writers–Mike Burwell, F. Daniel Rzicznek, Margaret Eissler(organizer), and Camille Dungy–filled the lodge with good words, from 1:00-2:30, and set the rest of the day ticking – good poems to feed on– and Shira Kammen’s music once again sublime. The afternoon included a walk, a supper near the trail directly in the meadow, with a view of blue ponds formed from river rivulets and tributaries, and four poetesses speaking music amid the unwrapping of the shared dishes for the feast.
The evening approached, with the open mic luring the campers and poets back in to the lodge, its stone walls holding us in an embrace. With hot coffee and camaraderie, humor, poetry, storytelling, and music, it was the perfect campfire without the pit. We were the community of humanity, sharing voice and sound that reverberated long after the event ended.
We had forgotten flashlights, so the journey back would have resulted in some injuries down those rocky trails had not a poetry couple given us that hat headlamp to light our way back to the vehicle. We survived. Next time, we vowed, we would rent a tent cabin at Wolf or somewhere nearby, or at least a campsite, and sleep there, catching the next morning’s workshop as well and staying there, luxuriating in all that greenery and river water. And next time, we would all bring a flashlight.
Poems are coming out of that adventure.
My recent poetry reading from River by the Glass at Black Sheep Winery was an intimate, lovely setting. It was quiet, moisturey cool under the trees despite the 98-degree day, and with good friends in the audience, as well as new friends made, it was a delightful afternoon that flew by in the pleasure of fine wine and word-tasting. We had the Chardonnay and the award-winning Zinfandel, and we had the pleasure of a good discussion about the nuances of words and the insights behind poetry. I read the first poem, “Drowning at the Kern” and a few other river poems to celebrate water and moisture, that parching day. A few light-hearted poems contrasted to the sadness of that first poem – and I think we were all satiated by the end of the afternoon. It was a delight to have all these wonderful people there, talking about poems, about life, about relationships, and about what really matters in the hubbub of our days.
Ironstone Reading August 13 was a wonderful gathering of some of the finest poets in our region!
Joy Roberts, MWP business manager, who keeps the press connected and well-oiled and ready for business! She’s also one of the hottest editors in our region. If you need your book edited, manuscript prepared for publication, she is the one who will set you straight. Also, she’s a good friend and has a good shoulder for crying on, if needed. Every poet needs a good shoulder and good friends. Here she is at the Ironstone Vineyards reading.
Ironstone Vineyards ~ Moonstruck with Manzanita Aug. 13 was a wonderful gathering! Many talented poets read to the rhythms of bassist David Sackman throbbing in the background. It was warm that day — but the Heritage Room was so lovely and cool — the day was delightful! Jeannette Clough (Island, Red Hen Press) came all the way from LA to be with us–outstanding poet, along with others who traveled a distance — Sande Trizise, Brigit Truex, Zoe Keithley, from Sacramento, Kevin Arnold (from San Jose Poetry Center, President), Mr. Clewett from Elk Grove, and more from several counties came out to enjoy the poets and their fine words.
- Kathy Isaac-Luke reads from Chrysalides