mini miscellany: Susan Kelly-DeWitt and Maya Khosla TONIGHT at SPC

Friends, here’s a first course in local literariness for this week. More to come soon…see you out and about! -Kate


Susan Kelly-DeWitt and Maya Khosla
Monday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 PM
SPC — 1719 25th Street
Host: Emmanuel Sigauke

Susan Kelly-DeWitt is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and the author of The Fortunate Islands (Marick Press), eight previous small press collections and the new online chapbook, Season of Change (Mudlark No, 46). Her poems can also be found in journals such as Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and The North American Review, to name a few, and in anthologies such as (most recently) The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (Autumn House Press), A Bird as Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens (Green Poets Press) and in The City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press). Susan has lived and worked in Sacramento for forty years where she is also an exhibiting visual artist and has been program director for the Sacramento Poetry Center and the Women’s Wisdom Project, a poet-in-the-schools and prisons, a longtime instructor for UC Davis Extension, and a high school college counselor. She is currently a member of the National Book Critic’s Circle, a blogger for Coal Hill Review and a contributing editor for Poetry Flash.

Season of Change
            after a poem by Mark Strand

There is an open field inside me; it is night, and I praise the spangle of stars.

I praise the black silk purse of sky that has never yet snapped shut.

I praise the tarnished moon and the silver clasp on the necklace of Being.

I praise the river that flows nearby and that other one inside you, with its levees and secret sloughs.

I praise the night-flying black-crowned heron and the helpless minnow clamped in its beak.

I praise the earthworm’s muddy snout, along with my amazement that he can toil underground
all his life, and by instinct alone.

I praise the cockroach’s understanding of age and necessity and the spider’s abandoned crochet work,
its grandmotherly intricacy.

I praise the dispersed atoms of the Buddha’s feet.

I praise Dickinson’s white dress and her hand-sewn fascicles.

I praise Akhmatova’s “Yes, I can” in the prison queue in Leningrad, that shadow of a smile on what
was once a face.

I praise the clock for stopping at 10:03 PM, when the battery ran out.

I praise the drunks in their weakness jails and the gamblers with their come-hell-or-highwater hearts.

I praise this late summer poem for having been born.

I praise the tiny swallowtail butterfly, which has landed on the white buddleia, for surviving its lonely
metamorphosis, and

I praise the sun when it comes to call, for I am still alive to see it after all.

From Mudlark []

Maya Khosla is co-directing “The Turtle Diaries Project” (, supported by awards from Save Our Seas Foundation. Equipped with a background in biology, she also works on animal rescues. Her work has appeared in “World Literature Today” (Pushcart Prize nomination), “The Harper Collins Anthology of EnglishPoetry” and “Sanctuary Magazine.” Her collections include “Keel Bone” (Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize) and “Web of Water” (non-fiction). Previous efforts include screenwriting for “Shifting Undercurrents: Women Seaweed Collectors in Gulf of Mannar” (2012 Jeevika Film Festival Award) and “Village of Dust, City of Water” (2007 Lion Award, Wildlife Asia Film Festival).

Yuba River

For Joyce

Today I returned to the river you showed me
a still place where the undercurrents
are holding and releasing the pebbly banks,
where bowls larger than swimming pools
are bulging with shadow-green caves
sweet and clear as jelly, with surfaces rich in silver.

So I went searching for the small, defiant
dollops of life— frogs so delicately spotted
you could stare at them and see only speckled stones.
And I thought about you there, miles upriver,
laughter like light itself, persuading me to jump in,
to trust the silken flows of time immemorial
with everything I have. The instant spent there
was a minute, an hour, a lifetime.
Isn’t that what water tries to tell us?

And of course I hesitated at first. As all the living—
the anchored, the finned or feathered
feel fear too. Recognizing that to take a leap
of faith is to treasure arrival, always. The ancients,
Ganges, Mississippi, Orinoco, all teach us that.
Now four a.m. brushes like hair across my face
and I awaken again to that rushing and roaring
on the other side of time, somewhere not too far

behind you.


Coming Events at SPC and Elsewhere:

All events are at Sacramento Poetry Center at 7:30 PM unless noted otherwise. Host name in brackets.

October 15 [Rebecca Moos]: Be Davison Herrera reads from her new Cookbook of Poems for Lovers over 60 (artwork by Jack Herrera). Musical drumming accompaniment.
October 18
[Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins] Poetry at the Central Library, 828 I Street, 12 noon
October 22 [Tim Kahl]: David Alpaugh and Kathleen Lynch
October 29 [Frank Graham and Katy Brown]: “Scary Poets’ Halloween Reading Benefiting Literacy” an open mic reading for all poets in costume.

Poets Gallery [October]: Bob Girasek

November 5 [Bob Stanley]: Jan Haag with a book release reading for “Companion Spirit”
November 12 [Emmanuel Sigauke]:
November 15 [Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins] Poetry at the Central Library, 828 I Street, 12 noon
November 19 [Rebecca Moos]: Tim Kahl book release Reading for “The Century of Travel”
November 26 [Tim Kahl]: Peg Alford Pursell and Michael Spurgeon

Poets Gallery [November]: Bob Girasek (acrylic/oil painter)

December 3 [Bob Stanley]: American River Review
Thurs. December 6 [Frank Dixon Graham] Alan Williamson and Jeanne Foster

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