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Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium's Spring/Summer 2014

Catherine Al-Meten

The Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium announced their upcoming schedule of readings for the Spring and Summer, 2014. Each month the Consortium hosts a poetry reading featuring two poets. The reading is held at the East Village Coffee Lounge, 498 Washington St., Monterey (at the corner of Washington and Pearl Streets). Open to the public, the admission fee at the door is $5.00. Each of the scheduled readings will be on the second Sunday of the month (with the exception of this month when the reading will be on Sunday, May 10).

On April 13, the Consortium hosted Barbara Bloom and Nicole Henares.

Barbara Bloom, poet and author of On the Water Meridian (ISBN 978-0-9792567-1-4) a, came to the Central Coast from where she was brought up in the wilds of British Columbia. Her lyrical poetry is influenced by her life of living and growing up in both California and B.C.. Educated at UCSC and SFSU, Bloom taught creative writing at Cabrillo College for over 20 years. To read some of Bloom’s poetry or hear a recitation that was featured on the Writer’s Almanac, visit the Skyhighway website and NPR’s Writer’s Almanac sites.

Nicole Henares, a poet who was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula, describes herself as “a holy goof and lazy devotee of the Goddess of the Muse. Henares is an active member of the Monterey Poetry Review (former editor and currently the webmaster and consultant for the publication). Her poem, “The Dance of the Urban Honeybee” (a tribute to the late Ric Masten) was featured in a recent issue of the Monterey Poetry Review

Another example of Henares’ prose work can be found in Underground Voices.

On Saturday, May 10 the Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium hosts two well-known, local poets, Kim Li Bui-Burton and Charles Atkinson.

Kim Ly Bui-Burton, poet, writer, and the Director of the Monterey Public Library, will be one of the featured poets. Bui-Burton’s Vietnamese-American heritage has influenced her poetry, with its focus on multicultural themes. Her poetry also reflects her desire to fuse the natural world with the human perspective of the world in her lyrical work. Bui-Burton’s poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies of poetry including: Tilting the Continent, The Body Ecletic. She also was awarded the American Book Award in 1995 for her book, I Am Becoming the Woman I Wanted. An example of this can be felt in an excerpt of her poem, A Poem for R, first published in Passionate Hearts:

“Your body is a new country,

hidden landscape in cotton and chambray

that I want to travel with every vehicle I own:

hands, tongue, slide of silk.
Below, in the heat
and rush of wet,

we’re learning again

how summer moves through the deep canyons,

stirring grasses and honeying fruit. “

Charles Atkinson, a well-known local poet and Creative Writing instructor at UCSC, will be the other featured poet. Atkinson has published four volumes of poetry including: The Only Cure I Know (San Diego Poets Press), The Best of Us on Fire (Wayland Press), Because We Are Men, and most recently, Fossil Honey (Hummingbird Press). He has been the recipient of numerous awards including: the Sow’s Ear Poetry Prize, the Stanford Prize, the Comstock Review Prize, the Paumonak Poetry Award (SUNY), the Emily Dickinson Award, and the Ledge Poetry Prize. A beautiful example of what you might be hearing on May 10 is Atkinson’s poem, “Fragmentary”:
“iv. lost
It’s familiar things lost:

distant hammers 
that quit at noon and again at four,

a neighbor’s vacuum dying,

finch—cheer-cheer—silent in the heat.
Small comforts withdrawn.

its winter gold shriveled to a seedpod, 

a rattle; the constant wind that 
blows offshore,

then drops at dusk.
I miss old habits—walking with her, 
listening to her sadness.

We didn’t 
speak the desperate truth,

didn’t love 
ourselves enough to say,

I want, I need.

Guests at our lives,

we looked up 

knowing we needed to 
begin again in earnest.

Even with 
others’ hurt, dismay.

Even apart. “

Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium’s Summer Schedule, 2014:

June 8 Sunday—Carolyn Brigit Flynn and Alyce di Palma

July 13 Sunday--Bill Minor and Robert Sward

August 10 Sunday—Lauren Crux and another poet, TBA

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