On September 27, 2018, poets from California State University, Bakersfield collaborated with the Bakersfield Museum of Art as part of their “Art After Dark” series to present poems inspired by the California collective “Society of Six,” Yvonne Cavanagh, and Charles Arnoldi. Thanks to the vision and hard work of Development Coordinator Alli Duncan and Curator Rachel Magnus, the event was a smashing success, and thanks to support by Curt Asher, Dean of the Walter Stiern Library, and Robert Frakes, Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities at CSUB, the attendees were given a chapbook featuring the poems and art that inspired them. I owe Yvonne Cavanagh an extra level of gratitude for painting “Floating Oranges,” the inspiration for my own poem, “Under an Inverstion Layer.”
Under an Inversion Layer
–after Yvonne Cavanagh’s Floating Oranges
Highway 65 was never alive.
Not on those eye-wet days of fog delays
when a sheet would swallow the horizons
and I would steer by watching the shoulder
and wait for the windshield to re-issue
red tail lights proceeding in a linear
fashion past the rows of navel citrus
into which one could easily vanish
were one to drift or lose track of the white.
And not on those nights of cold spell clear skies
and sharp stars with the growers’ wind machines
churning the frost-smoke through the orange groves
in hopes of keeping the sugar cell walls
from rupturing each ember hemisphere
and rendering the sunny flesh unfit
for human consumption, each floating globe
now a mere decoration, a sunk cost.
Roads do not lead anyone anywhere.
I tell myself this whenever I’m lost.
I am looking forward to participating (and singing, perhaps?) in this reading with the awesome literary journal Memoir Mixtapes.
On April 20 as part of Mt. San Antonio College’s 2018 Writers’ Weekend, I’ll be leading three workshops focusing on Creative Nonfiction with the workshop titles “Adjusting the Filter: Using Persona to Craft Voice and Perspective,” “Be-Mused: Creating the Subject,” and “If Only: Writing Alternate Personal Histories.” It should be fun!
On Tuesday, March 20, at 6:00, I’ll be giving a reading as the 2018 Walter Stiern Library Writer-in-Residence, and on June 7 I’ll be leading a writing workshop from 9:00-4:00. Workshop applications (seating is limited) are available here.
I just finished the final edits on the newest anthology of local poetry for our National Poetry Month reading of local poets at CSU Bakersfield’s Walter Stiern Library. The reading is on April 10, so if you’re in the Bakersfield area, come out and hear our local poets read! The theme for 2018 was “Flora and Fauna,” so we have poems about foxes, snakes, sequoias, and almonds . . .
On September 28, poets from California State University, Bakersfield collaborated with the Bakersfield Museum of Art as part of their “Art After Dark” series to present poems inspired by the work on display by the artists Gwynn Murrill, Javier Carrillo, and Astrid Preston. Thanks to the vision and hard work of Development Coordinator Alli Duncan and Curator Rachel Magnus, the event was a smashing success, and thanks to support by Curt Asher, Dean of the Walter Stiern Library, and Robert Frakes, Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities at CSUB, the attendees were given a chapbook featuring the poems and art that inspired them. We hope to make this an annual event exploring the ekphrastic connection between different art forms. I owe Astrid Preston an extra level of gratitude for painting “Kings Canyon, 1993-1995,” the inspiration for my own poem, “Since, or Sense.”
Summer vacation? What summer vacation?
I’ve been working on two workshops for the upcoming Central Coast Writers Conference, one on how to frame one’s piece/poem with effective titles and opening and closing lines, and one on finding inspiration by becoming one’s own muse (which involves improvisation, performance art, and unwitting collaboration). When I’ve given workshops in the past, they’ve ended up inspiring bursts of my own writing, so I’m excited to see how this turns out. (It’s already inspired one short story and one long poem, so it’s off to a good start).
I’ll also be giving a workshop for Writers of Kern in November on how to craft (and be inspired by) effective metaphors. Two books that have inspired my own use of metaphors are Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson and I Is an Other by James Geary, both excellent reads at illuminating how metaphors gird (see what I did there) our thinking.
I’m also helping organize a September Art After Dark collaboration between the Bakersfield Museum of Art and California State University, Bakersfield in which CSUB poets will be writing and performing ekphrastic poems inspired by the work of Astrid Preston, Javier Carrillo, and Gwynn Murrill.
Finally, I’ll be teaching two new texts in the fall: Stephen Burt’s The Poem Is You and Christopher Buckley and Gary Young’s One for the Money: The Sentence as a Poetic Form, two great books for any poet. Now I just have to create some lessons and exercises . . .