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Monterey Poetry and Poets: How place feeds the soul of poetry

Asilomar Shoreline
Asilomar Shoreline
Catherine Al-Meten

Monterey Poets: Creating magic through words

The Monterey Peninsula and the surrounding area, the farmlands, deep tree-lined valleys, orchards laid out across hillsides and fields, velvet, flower-strewn mountains, the rocky shore, and sandy beaches, dry stream beds, and cool deep lakes, provide inspiration for artists, writers, composers, and poets alike.

Poetry and poets abound in this area, and some poets and writers find a lifelong connection to the area. Robert Louis Stevenson, who stayed in Monterey just a few short months, was inspired to write his famous Children’s Garden of Verses among other pieces while living here.

Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) wrote extensively about life along the Central California Coast. Jeffera who wrote in classic narrative and epic poetry form, also wrote shorter poems. He is remembered for giving poetic voice to the environmental movement. We hear his voice in his poetry,

'headland beyond stormy headland plunging like dolphins through the
gray sea-smoke
Into pale sea, look west at the hill of water: it is half the
planet: this dome, this half-globe, this bulging
Eyeball of water’’.

''This coast crying out for tragedy like all beautiful places’’.

Jeffers also seemed to understand the damage brought upon the indigenous peoples of this area, by the expansion of others into their land:

''the ghosts of the tribe
Crouch in the nights beside the ghost of a fire,
they try to
remember the sunlight,
Light has died out of their skies.''

We are so fortunate to have living here now, poets whose words magically create visions, narratives, and memories of life lived in this beautiful place.

Robert Nielsen, Carmel Valley California photographer, performance poet, writer, and painter, segued into full-time art-making after practicing law for many years.

Born in Australia, Robert emigrated with his family to the United States when he was in high school. A graduate of Stanford University and Columbia Law School, he studied in Britain and in France, has lived and/or worked in the United States and Canada, as well as in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. His poetry has appeared in various publications, including his poem, “Armistice Day” which was part of the Porter Gulch Review, 2013,pp. 105-106.

Robert is member of the Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium, and appears regularly as one each month’s featured poets. In June, you won’t want to miss the monthly poetry reading. Beginning on Sunday, June 8, 2014, the Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium will be hosting its readings at the Old Capitol Books bookstore at 559 Tyler Street in downtown Monterey (between Pearl and Munras).

Poet, Carolyn Brigit Flynn will be reading from her new collection of poems, Communion: In Praise of the Sacred Earth. A writer and teacher dedicated to language as a pathway to soul and spirit, Flynn is also the editor of the popular anthology, Sisters Singing: Blessing, Prayers, Art Songs, Poetry and Sacred Stories by Women. Learn more about Flynn by visiting her website, Writing to Feed the Soul.

Poet, Simon Hunt, was born in Rhodesia (now Zimbawbwe), and was raised in England and the United States. Hunt teaches English at Santa Catalina School in Monterey, and lives in Monterey with his wife and two children. Hunts poetry has appeared in Homestead Review, Light Quarterly, The Rainbow Review, the Seventh Quarry, and other journals and online publications. He was co-editor of the Renaissance Culture and the Everyday. He serves on the board of directors for the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation.

The Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium is open to the public. For the admission fee of $5.00, you are sure to have an evening of fine poetry with a congenial group of poets, writers, and poetry lovers.

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