It is such a pleasure to find out that my poem “The Draft of Messiah” tied for sixth place with two other poets for Poetry Super Highway’s 2015 Summer Contest. Very exciting! Thank you to the judges who took the time to read all 635 poems and score them. Congrats to the top ten!
I will be featuring Saturday, October 24, 2015 at The dA Center in Pomona, CA at 7 p.m. alongside Marco Vasquez and Madeline Newman Rios. This event will be hosted by Elder Zamora and John Brantinham. I will be reading poems from my chapbook, “Born To Electrify”, and some new poems as well. I hope to see some of you there. I haven’t featured in awhile, so I’m excited! It’s always such a pleasure and honor to be asked to read at a venue. There will be an open-mic as well. Come & share. I’d love to hear you all read.
We have added another feature to our line-up Brandon Mayer. We will be featuring Mariano Zaro, Brandon Mayer, and Mike Sonksen for October 30th, 2015 at 7 p.m. at Half Off Books in Whittier, CA. Sign-up sheet goes up no later than 6:30 p.m. we can’t wait to see you all there. We will be having a costume contest for all ages. Winner wins a gift certificate to Half Off Books. The audience decides who wins!
Mariano Zaro is the author of four poetry books: Where From/Desde Donde (Bay Books, Santa Monica), Poems of Erosion/Poemas de la erosión (Carayan Press, San Francisco), The House of Mae Rim/La casa de Mae Rim (Carayan Press, San Francisco) and Tres letras/Three Letters (Morsa/Walrus, Barcelona). His poems appear in New Baroque, LA Melange, River’s Voice, Askew, The Seattle Muse, Badlands, Al Aire Nuevo and Luces y Sombras. He has translated American poets Philomene Long, Alicia Vogl Sáenz, Sarah Maclay, Marie Lecrivain and Michelle Mitchel-Foust. As a fiction writer, his short stories have been featured in several literary journals in Spain and the United States: Menos 15, El signo del gorrión, Caracola, The Louisville Review, Poeticdiversity, The Baltimore Review, Pinyon, Magnapoets, Portland Review and The Palo Alto Review. In 2004 he received the Roanoke Review Short Fiction Prize.
Brandon Mayer: Originally from Florida, Brandon Mayer studied music and film at UCLA. After living in Spain and New York, he returned to California and, while working as a schoolteacher, made the beautiful full-length Sea of Stars, which was self-released in the fall of 2000, soon after followed by the EP Palm Tree and Culver. As an ensemble and solo artist, Mayer has toured and performed extensively. Also a composer, he has written music for theater and films that have been broadcasted on television and performed/screened at festivals throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Mayer lives and works in Los Angeles, where he teaches music at Blind Childrens Center and UCLA.
Mike Sonksen also known as Mike the PoeT, is a 3rd-generation Los Angeles native that earned his Bachelors’ Degree at UCLA in 1997. In June 2014, he completed an Interdisciplinary Master of Arts in English and History from the California State University of Los Angeles. Following his graduation from U.C.L.A. in 1997, he has published over 500 essays and poems with publications and websites like KCET, Poets & Writers Magazine, Wax Poetics, Southern California Quarterly, LA Weekly, OC Weekly, The Architect’s Newspaper, LA Alternative Press, Los Angeles Review of Books, Cultural Weekly and many others. For the last three and a half years he has written a column for KCET called “L.A. Letters,” which celebrates bright moments from literary Los Angeles. Sonksen has taught at St. Bernard High School, View Park Preparatory Accelerated Charter High School, California State University of Los Angeles, Woodbury University and Southwest College. He has also been a guest speaker at over 70 universities and high schools. Dating back to the late 1990s, Sonksen has presented his poetry over 1,500 times in a wide range of venues including bookstores, museums, college campuses, secondary schools and literary festivals. In 2013, the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center awarded Sonksen for “Distinguished Service to the Los Angeles Poetry Community.” His next book, Poetics of Location is forthcoming from Writ Large Press.
Bird hates me. I am a poet.
He says, “I don’t speak
an ass lick of truth.”
“Settle down.” I tell him
and pass the flask
of cheap whiskey.
Bird starts to laugh
and takes a chug
of my liquor.
He believes I am hope-
less. He pitched an idea
for my chapbook.
He suggested I wrap
my poetry around
empty toilet paper rolls.
“It’s going to be given shit
anyways. So why not?” he said.
I stayed quiet after that.
Now, I try to reach the Sun.
Yet, I am still a prisoner,
and Bird died this morning.
Previously published in San Gabriel Poetry Quarterly
by Julissa Villatoro
Montebello Friends of the Library, Board Member & Publicist
Under the guises of their alter egos– Doctor Who, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, the Mad Hatter, a band of Storm Troopers, and a host of other characters– library advocates and volunteers united at the debut of Commerce own comic book convention at the public library. The “Comic Book Invasion” offered a roster of panels and creative workshops, including Comic Book 101, Teen Literature, the Zine Workshop, and the El Santo series panel. All part of their collective mission to explore comics and the sanctions of popular culture they inspire.
As a young college graduate looking for more community events near home, I was drawn to the idea of a convention much closer to home than in the greater L.A. area. In my experience attending to a couple as a guest, conventions were big festivals where it didn’t matter which…
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Latino Voices: Rio Hondo College Poetry Reading led By Mariano Zaro, 1 p.m. on October 6, 2015. Thank you to everyone who read. Everyone did fantastic. It was a pleasure and an honor to read alongside you all. I had so much fun. It’s nice to be an active member of the Creative Writing Club again at my college. Now we just need our creative writing club shirts!
On October 6th, 2015 I will be reading in the Student Union with my talented Creative Writing Club peers. This poetry reading will be led by Mariano Zaro at Rio Hondo College. We will be celebrating Latino Heritage month. Please, come and join us. I am super excited for the reading and the food. Flyer below for more information and details.
Wednesday night I went to The Ugly Mug in Orange, California for the Cadence Collective: Anthology/Sadie Girl Press Night. I wasn’t planning on going because I’ve been going through some health issues. Also doing full-time this semester leaves me with little wiggle room to have fun. I became easily swayed into going after I finished up an essay for Anthropology. I finished my essay early because I wanted to see and hear my poetry community. Finishing the essay early also gave room for a relaxing weekend, which is why I am even able to write this post in the first place.
I hadn’t seen anyone in a month prior to Wednesday. Being there at The Ugly Mug felt like the first time hearing everyone again. It was magical. Sarah Thursday did a wonderful job. She told us the story to her cover art for All the Tiny Anchors. I’m not going to tell it because if you weren’t there you missed out! Ask her about it the next time you see her. Thursday also read a few poems she hadn’t read out loud before at the request of Terry. She also read from The Unnamed Algorithm. Hearing Sarah Thursday read after so long was a sugary sweet treat.
Terry Wright was absolutely phenomenal. She read her poems from the Sadie Girl Press Sampler: The Language I Was Broken In. Do I need to mention that she also read from Cadence Collective: Year Two Anthology? Of course she did! Terry Wright is a woman full of talent. She told us the story behind her poem Mappae Mundi. I am going to be honest I really love the last line of that poem, so when she explained how that came about I giggled. I cannot wait until her chapbook release party in December. I’m so excited to have her work on my bookshelf soon.
JL Martindale read poems from her joint chapbook with Daniel McGinn The Bottle & The Boot. I cannot explain to you how wonderful her reading was. It was absolutely raw, loud, and she exposed herself without holding back. I was swooning so hard. Seriously, it’s been well over a month since I heard this woman read her poetry. I forgot how much her poetry jumpstarted my heart with emotions. JL also read a poem by Amanda Tan titled I dazzle, even with my eyes closed. It was very nice to hear Amanda’s poem be read by JL.
I also enjoyed hearing G. Murray Thomas read. Who can get tired of G. Murray Thomas reading his poetry? I can’t. I also never get tired of his awesome hugs. Robin D. Hudechek also read her wonderful poetry. I loved hearing her read What My Hands Know. It’s an absolutely beautiful poem. It gets me every time. Michael Cantin read a poem about his very big white balls but they weren’t actually about his balls. It was amazing. His reading was flawless and it left me absolutely stunned (in a good way of course). I kind of wish he read his gold poem too. Great stuff. LeAnne Hunt also read. I always love when she reads. It’s always so good. Marc who was sitting next to me agreed that LeAnne’s poetry was too good. K. Andrew Turner had challenged Elmast Kozloyan to write a poem where she incorporates Armenian. She accepted the challenge and oh it was great. I cannot wait for her second chapbook Luna Seas. Marc J. Cid also read three poems. One of the poems he read was Inoculation, which you can find on Cadence’s website. Ben was a gracious host and closed the night reading a poem by Keayva Mitchell, Alexis Rhode Fancher, and Ricki Mandeville from the Cadence Year Two: Anthology. I got there 30 minutes late though because Bruxie’s was calling, overall it was a great night.
I am so honored to be part of such a strong, talented, supportive poetry community. It’s been the best gift I’ve received to be able to be part of it since I was seventeen. I genuinely can say they are my chosen poetry family. I don’t know when I will be able to go back to The Ugly Mug. All I know is every time I do go back I always feel welcomed. These nights are only made possible because Phil the Ugly Mug owner makes it happen. I should also tell you Phil makes the best Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups milkshake. So when you go, order one, and have it.