Poetry as Portraiture: Adam Zagajewski and Andrew Winer

Courtesy SBMA.

Courtesy SBMA.

Santa Barbara Museum of Art presents Poetry as Portraiture: Adam Zagajewski and Andrew Winer on Sunday, April 15 at 2:30 p.m. in the Mary Craig Auditorium (SBMA, 1130 State St., Santa Barbara). (Note: Please enter through the Museum Store or Park entrance during the current renovation project.)

Prize-winning, globally-admired poet Adam Zagajewski writes with precision and wonder about the calm and courage of ordinary life. He says of poetry that it “is like a human face—it is an object that can be measured, described, catalogued, but it is also an appeal.” His most recent book, Slight Exaggeration, is a blend of memoir, essay, and anecdote, and in which he defines poetry as “a slight exaggeration, until we make ourselves at home in it. Then it becomes the truth.” Zagajewski is interviewed by fellow writer, friend, novelist, and Chair of the UC Riverside writing program Andrew Winer. Book signing to follow.

This special presentation is part of SBMA’s Parallel Stories series, a literary and performing arts series that pairs art and artists with award-winning authors and performers of regional, national, and international acclaim. This series functions as a multidisciplinary lens through which to view the Museum’s collection and special exhibitions.

The event is free for SBMA Members, $10 for non-Members and $6 for seniors. Tickets may be purchased at  the Museum Visitor Services desk or online at tickets.sbma.net.

 —Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on April 14, 2018.

Poetry Benefit for La Casa de Maria

To benefit restoration efforts at La Casa de Maria following the Thomas Mudslide, Poets Enid Osborn, Paul WillisDavid StarkeyChryss Yost, Sojourner Kincaid RollePerie LongoLaure-Anne Bosselaar, Gudrun BortmanLois Brown KleinJohn Ridland, Christopher Buckley and Nancy Lee will read.

Bob Sedivy will play Japanese flute.

The event takes place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 18, at Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St. 

Leslie Dinaberg 

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on March 15, 2018.

Poetry: William Stafford Community Reading

William Stafford, courtesy photo.

William Stafford, courtesy photo.

The 11th annual  William Stafford Community Reading takes place at the First Crossing Day Use Area on Paradise Road in Los Padres National Forest at 2 pm on Saturday, January 28.

“This year’s featured readers are Enid Osborn, Ron Alexander, and the inspiring student poets from the Los Prietos Boys Camp,” says organizer Paul J. Willis, former Santa Barbara Poet Laureate and Westmont College Professor of English. 

“There are always a couple of featured readers, but anyone in attendance is also welcome to read a Stafford poem aloud,” Willis says.

Since 2007, Willis has hosted the Los Prietos Stafford Readings, an annual community reading of the poems of William Stafford at the First Crossing Day Use Area on Paradise Road in Los Padres National Forest. This is the former site of the Los Prietos Civilian Public Service Camp, where Stafford served as a conscientious objector during World War II. The First Crossing Day Use Area does not have an address, but it is almost directly across the road from the Los Prietos Boys Camp, 3900 Paradise Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105. (In case of rain, meet a mile down the road at the Los Prietos Ranger Station, 3505 Paradise Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105.)

Also on the horizon at 7:30 pm on Thursday, February 16, the young adult novelist Sara Zarr will read and speak in Kerrwood Hall at Westmont College (955 La Paz Rd.).  Zarr is the author of six novels, the first of which, Story of a Girl, was nominated for the National Book Award.

Both of these readings are free and open to the public. 

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 26, 2017.

Local Lowdown: Culture Club–The Mission Poetry Series

Poet Gina Ferrera is one of three authors featured in the September Mission Poetry Series. Courtesy photo.

Poet Gina Ferrera is one of three authors featured in the September Mission Poetry Series. Courtesy photo.

Poetry is always in season around here, and one of the best places to get your fix is the Mission Poetry Series. Now wrapping up its sixth season, the series recently partnered with Antioch University as a new host venue to serve the literary and poetry communities with free readings from an eclectic assortment of poets each fall and spring. Poet Emma Trelles now programs and hosts the series, along with curator Melinda Palacio, as it evolves and continues to be one of the premiere readings on the Central Coast.

The fall reading (at 1 p.m. on Sept. 26 at Antioch University, 602 Anacapa St.) features poets David Campos, Gina Ferrara and Christine Penko.

Since its inception, the Mission Poetry Series has featured more than 30 poets, offering them paid readings and an opportunity to reach a wide and diverse audience. Each poet reads for 20–30 minutes, and original poetry one-sheet prints, with a poem by each of the featured poets, are distributed free at every reading.

For more information, visit facebook.com/missionpoetryseries.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in the Fall 2015 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Santa Barbara Poetry Series

“Though the drought continues through the winter, there is no drought of winter poetry,” writes organizer Paul Willis. The public is warmly invited to attend the winter reading of the Santa Barbara Poetry Series at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 21 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (653 Paseo Nuevo, Upper Arts Terrace).

The three presenting poets are Katie Shara, Jackson Wheeler and Zack Rogow.

Younger poet Katie Shara was born and raised in Santa Barbara and is a recent graduate of Westmont College.  She became interested in poetry while on a semester abroad in Orvieto, Italy.  She is currently working at a local preschool—teaching two-year-olds, writing curriculum, and settling into post-grad life.

Local poet and social worker Jackson Wheeler was born and raised on the eastern slopes of the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.  He is the author of two collections of poetry, Swimming Past Iceland (Millie Grazie Press, 1993) and A Near Country (SOLO Press, 1999), and also of a forthcoming collection, Was I Asleep: Poems 1980-2014.  Since 1989, he has hosted the Arcade Poetry Series, now part of the cultural offerings of the Oxnard Carnegie Art Museum.

Visiting poet Zack Rogow was born and raised in New York City and now lives in San Francisco. His poems have appeared in a variety of magazines, from American Poetry Review to Zyzzyva, and he is the author, editor, or translator of nineteen books or plays, including his seventh book of poems, My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers (Kattywompus Press, 2012), and an anthology of U.S. poetry, The Face of Poetry (University of California Press, 2005).  Currently he teaches in the low-residency MFA at the University of Alaska, Anchorage.

The event is supported by Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation. Admission is $5 for adults and $3 for students.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine on February 13, 2015.

David Starkey Reads “Like a Soprano” at Antioch

Like a SopranoYou never know where the muse will strike. Santa Barbara Seasons’ contributing poetry editor David Starkey binge-watched the entire six-season 86-episode story arc of The Sopranos, then turned the dark, violent mobster underworld into a mordantly humorous collection of 86 prose poems. Like a Soprano (Serving House Books) is, like The Sopranos, a darkly entertaining, disturbing and touching piece of art.

Starkey will read from his work on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 7 p.m. at Antioch University Santa Barbara, 602 Anacapa St.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 1, 2014.