Tag Archives: Cross-Strokes

Painting and Sculpture Poetry

Maw Shein Win — Reading in Los Angeles at Jason Vass Gallery

Maw Shein Win, one of the poets included Cross-Strokes: Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco, will be reading at the Jason Vass Gallery in DTLA (Downtown Los Angeles) on Saturday, February 20, in conjunction with an exhibit of paintings by Mark Dutcher. Win has written a series of poems based on Dutcher’s Time Machine, a collection of ten paintings that trace the aftereffects of an epiphanic encounter in 1983 with a painting by Susan Rothenberg at LACMA. In addition to the poems responding to Dutcher’s paintings, Win will also read from a manuscript-in-progress entitled “Score.” Artist and poet Eve Wood will also read a poem written to accompany another painting by Dutcher entitled “The Poet and the Sailor,” which concerns American poet Hart Crane.

Win and Wood will read at 2:00 p.m.
The gallery is located at 1452E. Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021. It is near the intersection of E. Sixth Street and S. Santa Fe Avenue. The phone number is (213) 446-0788.

Win was also interviewed recently about her writing in:


Upcoming in Northern California is a reading at Pegagus Books in Berkeley to celebrate the publication of Cross-Strokes.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
7:30 p.m.
2349 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704


My thanks to Tim Donnelly and Maw Shein Win for organizing this event, which will also feature Stephen Kessler and my co-editor, Neeli Cherkovski.

Ground Level Conditions Poetry

New Year’s Eve: The Big One

December 31, 2015: From Long Beach to Monterey Bay to Mexico and France and Back

I will not likely spend as much time on the road in 2016 as I did in the year that is just ending. On the final day of 2015, it’s difficult to avoid reflection on such a momentous year on a personal level. Back in the decade and a half that I largely spent working as a typesetter, I would have years with one or two events equivalent to those I took part in 2015. In 1985, for instance, Poetry Loves Poetry appeared; in 1993, my spoken word recording from New Alliance Records, Vehemence, was released, and was played on Liza Richardson’s “Man in the Moon” show on KCRW. But I never had a year back then when I spent so much time on the road in the company of so many other poets. It started back in the spring when Pruebas Ocultas was published in Mexico by Bonobos Editores. In late August, I went to Mexico City to read from the book along with my translators, and from there I went to Guadalajara for a panel with Pura Lopez-Colome, and then to San Luis Potosi for a huge poetry festival with poets from Ecuador, Spain, Canada and Israel. I was the only poet from the United States asked to be part of it. In between the publication of Pruebas Ocultas and the poetry tour in Mexico, the gathering of poets I organized for CSU Summer Arts at Monterey Bay took place in July. For two weeks a score of poets from around the state had a chance to work with Juan Felipe Herrera, Cecilia Woloch, Ellen Bass, Douglas Kearney, and Marilyn Nelson. Marilyn gave an extraordinary reading at the beginning of the second week, which Cecilia and I were honored to serve as her co-readers. Juan’s and Douglas’s workshops were especially inspiring.

Two weeks on the road in Mexico and another two weeks in Monterey Bay replaced my usual summer residence in Idyllwild Arts, where I had taught a class in fiction writing for twenty years. The decision to end that portion of my teaching career after a nice round number was not easy. I miss my colleagues at Idyllwild, but the fact that it was time to move on seemed confirmed by my travels to Mexico and Monterey Bay, none of which was more than very tentatively in place when I decided to bow out of Idyllwild after 2014. I couldn’t put my suitcase and passport away, however, once school started, for in late November I went to Dijon, France, to give a plenary talk at a conference on “Modernities.” I want to thank Helene Aji, especially, for her invitation and for the welcome and accommodations provided by Fiona McMahon and Paul-Henri Giraud.

There were incredibly somber moments in the midst of all these travels, however. Linda and I left for France on the day of the notorious terrorist attacks in Paris, and our visit there took place within an inescapable realm of shocked grief. Not long after our return, the terrorist attack in San Bernardino reverberated with similar, astonished dismay. Surely a tipping point has been reached, but this is only to say that those who would harm others who are total strangers see no reason to cease their onslaught, and any hope that my generation might see an end to this madness has now perished. It would appear to be the same case with the insidious disregard for the lives of African-American citizens in this nation. The cold-blooded execution of several African-American youths in the past several years has only seemed to whet the appetite for those who believe that police officers deserve absolute immunity. The death of Tamir Rice is especially egregious and I would urge anyone who can sign a petition to secure more emphatic justice in his memory to do so. If you hesitate to do so, afraid of being placed on a list of suspected dissidents, you are not wrong to feel fearful. But read Marilyn Nelson’s “A Wreath for Emmett Till,” and ask yourself if you would have stayed silent then. If not, speak up now for Tamir Rice.

Finally, I was grateful to be able to put the finishing touches on Cross-Strokes: Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco, which Seismicity Editions at Otis College of Art and Design published at the very end of the year. Although Neeli Cherkovski is listed as the co-editor, I was the editor who did the bulk of the work on the book, and it would not have become a finished project without my concerted efforts over the past year and a half. Back in the early summer of 2014, the book was nothing more than a set of completely disorganized computer files that represented the nominations that both Neeli and I had made for poets to be included. In the summer of 2014, I organized the files and began the process of firming up the final table of contents. In the past six months, I spent an incredible amount of time correcting the texts and working with an admirably assiduous book designer, Rebecca Chamlee, to make the book worthy of Seismicity’s booklist. I am proud of this anthology, which serves as a complement to two earlier volumes of Los Angeles poets I edited and published under the imprint of Momentum Press.
This coming summer will be much more quiet, or so I hope. It is the first time that I will have a summer without any teaching or typesetting work taking up my time in well over 30 years. In fact, I can’t recall a summer so open to the chance of simply working on my writing since the summer of 1977. Ever the naughty pessimist, however, I can’t help but mention the extraordinary amount of minor seismic activity that has quivered throughout California the past twelve months. I wouldn’t given anyone better than even money odds about the likelihood of a major (6.2 or greater magnitude) earthquake happening in 2016. Get ready, folks. The drought that is being temporarily allayed is the least of our problems and worries.

I hope, though, we can all ride out the Big One and find ourselves still in each other’s joyful company a year from now. Happy new year to all my dear friends and readers.