Friends, please join me TONIGHT @ SPC for release party and reading from Companion Spirit by Jan Haag

Writers, Readers and Friends:

Jan Haag is one of our major literary heroes here in the valley. Each week, she creates a safe and welcoming space for dozens of writers to come together to find, love and cultivate their writing voices. Through her, many folks who never thought they would have come to a place where they can say, wholeheartedly, “I am a writer.” These people go on to create their writing lives: for some, that means a daily or weekly practice of writing for the personal joy of it; for others, that means going on to publish or create writing groups for others or to teach craft or to become an active force for literary and artistic expression in the community–or all of the above!

Tonight’s reading is not to be missed. Please join me in celebrating and honoring Jan’s own work. I look forward to buying my copy of the beautiful second edition of Companion Spirit!

Yours in writing,




Jan Haag

A book release reading for Companion Spirit

Jan Haag is a creative writing and journalism professor at Sacramento City College. She has worked as a reporter and copy editor for newspapers and United Press International, as well as serving as editor-in-chief of Sacramento magazine. She holds a master’s degree in English and Journalism from California State University, Sacramento. A poet and novelist, Jan is the author of Companion Spirit, a poetry collection just released by Amherst Writers & Artists Press. She has completed a young adult novel set in British Columbia and is working on a novel set in Sacramento in the 1950s and 1970s. She is an Amherst Writers and Artists affiliate who leads writing workshops in Sacramento.

companion spirit

walking in the
front door i
have to catch myself
at the threshold-
the first breath inside,
i inhale you

another step, woozy
with the scent of dog
and wood shavings,
i breathe again


i call your name,
but there is
no answer
no dog
no wood
except the oak
tables you
crafted by hand,
the shavings long
swept away

i pause in
our living room
barely breathing
heart thudding

though there is
no vision
no voice
you’ve made an

inhaling you
again, i use
your line when
you’d first hear my
voice on the phone:


Two months after, she realized
she could not envision his eyes—
smoky brown, heavily lashed—
searching for her.

After the first year, she lost
his voice, no longer felt its timbre
resonating in her head,

and by the second, the texture of
that early gray hair she cut
in the backyard—gone.

Four years in, she forgot
how it felt to hold him exactly,
and worse, how he held her,

how she’d press her head
against his chest to hear
that clicking valve,
plastic encased in a heart.

She remembered the silence after
it stopped, and him
coldcoldcold in his chair,
one foot fallen off the ottoman.

She touched that porcelain foot,
wore it heavily in her lap as she sat
on the hard wood floor,
felt death thud inside her.

She should have recorded his voice,
memorized his hug, tucked
away snips of hair after cuts—
something, anything
to make him stay.

Now and again, in dreams, he
appears, calls her by name,
his deep voice resonating
though the pillow and
the thick of sleep.

She tries to drag it
with her into daylight,
but she wakes to only memory,
too distant to touch.
“there you are”

Coming Events at SPC and Elsewhere:
All events are at Sacramento Poetry Center at 7:30 PM unless noted otherwise. Host name in brackets.

November 12 [Emmanuel Sigauke]: Casey Tonnelly and Oscar McNary
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]: Mary Mackey 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
December 10 [Emmanuel Sigauke]: Mira Loma high School’s “Prisms”
December 17 [Rebecca Moos]:
December 20 [Mary Zeppa and Lawrence Dinkins] Poetry at the Central Library, 828 I Street, 12 noon
December 24 [Tim Kahl]:
December 31 [Frank Graham]: Happy New Year’s 2013 Reading for the Benefit of SPC” with Bob Stanley on banjo. 7-9 PM.

Poets Gallery [December]: Milton Bowens

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