Tag Archives: RIchard Garcia


Anthology Submission Announcement for Redondo Poets

Monday, January 16, 2017

Larry Colker and Jim Doane, who curate the Redondo Poets at the Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach, are soliciting poems from anyone who has read in the series for a 20th anniversary anthology. When they started being weekly co-hosts in one of the truly staid but droll side-pockets of Los Angeles County, e-mail was still the domain of relatively few people, so Jim and Larry have requested that all readers from the second decade spread the word about their project in hopes that featured poets who read in the first decade will contact them. They are also willing to consider submissions from people who read at the open mike for the series.

The deadline for sending poems to this anthology, which will be published electronically, is May 1, 2017. The address to send requests for guidelines is:

According to my records, I have been a featured reader at Redondo poets twice, but I have also read at a couple of the open mikes. In particular, I remember reading several ghazals at an open mike for the reading that Richard Garcia and Katherine Williams gave on December 9, 2014. During the previous three months, thanks to a RSCA grant from CSU Long Beach, I had been working on a series of ghazals, “The Jugular Notch of Sunset Blvd.” Richard’s response to my reading of some of those poems was an important affirmation of my project, and I selected two of those ghazals for consideration in their anthology in appreciation of Richard’s comment.

Ground Level Conditions Poetry Presidental Election

Fight or Flight — The Social Imaginary of “Canada”

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Substantial protests against Trump’s election have spontaneously begun in cities across the country, and I imagine that their participants are familiar enough with the outcome of protests to dismiss any hope of remediation. As of yesterday, the gap in the popular vote between Clinton and Trump had grown to over a half-million, thereby replicating the same disjuncture as in the election of 2000. This time, however, is far more foreboding: the continuing scandalous repression of the popular vote and the ability of fascist elements in the United States to control the outcome of elections on a national level is only slightly discomfiting compared to the dystopia about to be unleashed on us.

It is a fundamental question of fight or flight. Few of us have the resources to flee; as for fight, we can afford few mistakes, whereas those about to take power will be indulged regardless of the grievousness of their errors. If California suffers the long predicted earthquake during the next four years, it will marinate in the rubble indefinitely. Trump won’t lift a finger. George W. Bush was hardly a president that New Orleans could rely on, and the West Coast had better be prepared for a worst-case scenario.

In the meantime, I take solace in the capacity of poets to alleviate the immediate distress with ironic humor. One of my favorite poets is Richard Garcia, who is probably the best living poet published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Rattle magazine posted one of his poems this morning in its “Poets Respond” section.

http://www.rattle.com/canada-by-richard-garcia/ Poets Respond section of Rattle 11/13/16

Baseball Poetry

“Brazen” — Homage to Vin Scully’s Final Dodger Stadium Broadcast

Sunday, September 25, 2016

On the Occasion of Vin Scully’s Final Dodger Stadium Broadcast

Today opened with some very sad news for all baseball fans. Jose Fernandez, one of the most brilliant and joyful young pitchers in the game, died in a boating accident Clint Hurdle, the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, spoke of how inspiring Jose Fernandez was as a player and of how he will be missed by the entire game.


Since today will mark the last broadcast from Dodger Stadium by Vin Scully, I wanted to pay tribute to him by reprinting in my blog a poem I wrote a quarter century ago, and which poet and editor Lee Rossi published in his magazine, Tsunami. I sent a copy of it to Vin Scully, and he responded with a handwritten note that I treasure as a highlight of my correspondence.

for Vin Scully

“He’s taking a huge lead off second base.
There’s no other word for it but brazen –
that’s a great word, brazen – whatever
happened to brazen?” A great verb, too.
Brazen it out, the desire a veteran squeezes,
when his best pitches sprawl and he must depend
on location and luck. July’s road trip,
twelve games in ten days, interinanimates
August’s eight-game winning streak. I remember
Scully, in the fermenting middle of an inning,
suddenly talking about “The Brothers Karamazov,”
and not just a reference either. A couple
of sentences. It was very endearing,
as though Scully were saying to the few
who’d read it – I know you’re listening
because my voice comforts you, a small boy
crouching under bedcovers, a transistor radio
simmering next to your ear, the lesson
of anonymity and surprise: September, 1964,
Scully announces the Cardinals’ pinch hitter,
a kid called up from the minors two days before,
he hits a three-run homer and the Cardinals win
and no one hears from the kid again.
Sometimes I want a game to last all night.
I’m tempted to turn the radio off in the seventh
or eighth inning so I can wake and pick up
the paper, not knowing who came from behind
and who let another’s heroism spoil
in June’s truculent humidity, the drought of July
spinning into the resilience of August,
the chilly rains of April and September.
Oh extra innings and the ground rule double!
“He’s taking a huge lead off second base.” –
and I scramble back and skip out again,
taunting the catcher and shortstop of fate
and the future, knowing there’s only a few seasons
left to spit and slide, but I won’t quit,
aging as I am in a narrow bullpen,
fingering the red seams for that new pitch
that will redeem my summers in Salinas,
Butte and Albuquerque, the slow curve
that will bring me the brazen, blazin’ glory
I’ve dreamed of each night before sleep
whacks my next pitch deep to center field.

This issue of Tsunami also contained writing by Amy Uyematsu (an exceptionally fine poem entitled “The Woman Gaugin Chooses to Paint”); Richard Garcia (“Chickens Everywhere”); Tim Donnelly; Mary Armstrong; Lyn Lifshin; Charles Webb; and B.Z. Niditch. Leland Hickman, who had died on May 12, 1991, was the featured poet. Two of his poems, “Hay River” and “Blackwillow Daybreak,” were reprinted as the centerpiece of the issue.

It should be noted that I am posting this after the Dodgers came back from a 3-2 score in favor of the Colorado Rockies. With two outs in the ninth inning, Corey Seager summoned his inner Kirk Gibson as a way to honor Vin Scully and hit a home run to tie the score. Then, an inning later, Charlie Culberson hit his first home run of the entire 2016 season to win the game and clinch the division title for the Dodgers.

Post-Script added on October 2, 2016

Here is a link to Vin Scully’s tribute to his fans and his farewell address from San Francisco.