Happy to announce that Doug McBride, a longtime participant in Meditate/Create and the newest member of The Art of Prose, has had his first publication of a work of fiction, the story “New Years Eve” in Wolf Willow Journal.  You can read it here: http://www.wolfwillowjournal.com/new-years-eve.html

Congratulations, Doug!

This Sunday, April 6, poets Brendan Constantine, Yvonne M. Estrada, Peter J. Harris, Lynne Thompson and Terry Wolverton will test their mettle and celebrate National Poetry Month at Skylight Books. If you’d like us to pen a poem for your pooch, scribe a sonnet for your secretary, or ink iambs about the Indianapolis 500, come to Skylight Books, 1818 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90027 from 2-4 p.m.

You’ll be assigned to a poet, describe the poem you’re hoping for, and the poet will go to work. Within approximately 30 minutes you’ll leave with a signed copy of a poem by a celebrated poet, written just for you.  And yes, it’s free.

It’s on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t miss out! These five poets are just crazy enough to pull this off.

THEN, go grab a latte and stick around for the 5 p.m. National Poetry Month reading by Poets At Work: Kim Dower, Yvonne M. Estrada, Dylan Cameron Gailey, Brett Guitar Hofer, Eric Howard, Kay Sundstrom Sharon Venezio, Tina Yang and Terry Wolverton. Watch and listen as they pull a round of winning hands from the poetry deck.


Terry Wolverton holds magnetic poetry in her hands. Photo by Angela Brinskele.

In celebration of National Poetry Month, Skylight Books teams up with Writers At Work to bring you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: Five widely published and highly regarded poets — Brendan Constantine, Yvonne M. Estrada, Peter J. Harris, Lynne Thompson and Terry Wolverton — will create “A Poem for You,” an original poem written spontaneously and just for you or a designated recipient.

Just think — an original poem to give your loved ones; congratulate friends or colleagues on a new job, a marriage, a baby; commemorate a special moment. You can even request a curse poem for someone who did you wrong.

Here’s how it works: Come to Skylight Books on Sunday, April 6, 2014, between 2-4 p.m. You’ll be matched with one of the poets and have the opportunity to tell them the content you’re looking for. The poet will go to work while you browse the store, and within 20-30 minutes, you’ll receive a signed copy of your poem.

Poem-seekers will be assigned to poets on a first-come, first-served basis. Poem-seekers will give input, but poets will maintain their poetic license to interpret as the muse guides them. Poets will retain the copyright to their work (they can publish it; you cannot).

Skylight Books is located at 1818 N. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, Calif.

Participating Poets

Brendan Constantine is the author of Letters to Guns, Birthday Girl With Possum and Calamity Joe. He is poet-in-residence at Windward School and has brought poetry workshops to libraries, hospitals, foster-care centers, correctional facilities and shelters for the homeless. He is also proud of his work with the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. He currently curates a reading series in partnership with the Craft and Folk Art Museum. www.brendanconstantine.com

Yvonne M. Estrada is a poet and photographer. Her recent chapbook, My Name on Top of Yours, features both poems and original photographs. Her poetry has been published in Emerging Urban Poets Workshop Anthology (vols. 1-3), … and in fact there was no ceiling fan, (en)closures, San Gabriel Valley Quarterly, Catena, Mischief, Caprice & Other Poetic Strategies, Pulse Magazine, GuerrillaReads, Verse Wisconsin and the Poem of the Month 2011 Calendar.

Peter J. Harris is founding director of The Black Man of Happiness Project, a creative, intellectual and artistic exploration of Black men and joy. He has published poetry, essays and fiction in national publications; worked as a publisher, journalist, editor and broadcaster; and been an educator and workshop leader for adults and adolescents. Bless the Ashes, a book of poetry, will be published in fall 2014 by Tia Chucha Press. He’s author of the joyful book The Vampire Who Drinks Gospel Music: The Stories of Sacred Flow & Sacred Song. www.blackmanofhappiness.com

Lynne Thompson won Perugia Press’s First Book Award for Beg No Pardon, which was also awarded Great Lakes Colleges Association’s New Writers Award. Her work has been published in numerous journals, including Sou’wester, Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review and the anthology New Poets of the American West. Her latest collection, Start With a Small Guitar, was published by What Books Press in October 2013. She is the reviews and essays editor for the literary journal Spillway.

Terry Wolverton is the author of ten books of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction, most recently, Wounded World: lyric essays about our spiritual disquiet. She is the founder of Writers At Work, a creative writing studio in Los Angeles, and Affiliate Faculty in the MFA Writing Program at Antioch University, Los Angeles. She is currently collaborating with composer David Ornette Cherry to adapt her book Embers as an opera. www.terrywolverton.com

For more information, contact Terry Wolverton, 323-661-5954, wtrsatwork@aol.com.



—Kelso Sand Dunes, East Mojave Preserve

My ten-year-old daughter is feeling brave, so
we go rock hunting today, explore far beyond
the last dirt road, just she and I, no dad.

We see the sand dunes from miles away,
some hallucinogenic scene from the Sahara,
camel humps rising from the flat desert floor.

My daughter wants to climb them, but
there’s no sure way to guess how far away
they are, no sure measure to tell how tall,

I tell her it’s not safe to hike mountains so
unstable, hills that shift in light winds,
our boots would fill with sand and we’d

sink like thirsty prospectors come to find
buried treasure, lured by promises of silver
and gold, the rattlesnake’s hypnotic charms.


“Mirage” was previously published in “No Place for a Puritan: the Literature of California’s Deserts (Heyday Books, 2009.)

Ruth Nolan is poet and writer living in Palm Desert, where she teaches at College of the Desert. She blogs about the desert for KCET Artbound LA and Heyday Books  Her poetry has appeared recently in Rattling Wall Issue 4.


From My Name on Top of Yours

Read the writing on the cinder block wall:
Joker, Jasper, Dopey, Termite, Tokes, Crow.
It’s not an “is it art?” debate, at all;
these are the monochromatic zip codes
of my gangster, tattooed, sharp-creased, cousins.
Scribbled in black on a bus bench, strangled
names crossed out, over names crossed out again,
red under yellow under green tangled
like wire. Memo, Cowboy, Flyboy, Topper.
Neil Armstrong planted a flag on the moon;
it can’t be seen from their clearly marked world
where, if you don’t live there, you better run.
Tight fence of paint, like barbed wire that’s hidden.
Trespassed borders end lives, I’m not kidding.


Yvonne M. Estrada’s recent chapbook, My Name On Top of Yours, features both poems and original photographs: http://tinyurl.com/mzx7fd9. Her poetry has been published in Catena; Mischief, Caprice & Other Poetic Strategies; Pulse Magazine; GuerrillReads.com, #8; Verse Wisconsin; and 2011 Poem of the Month Calendar.


Apologies for being CRAZY LATE with this, and no disrespect intended to the poet or the poem. — TW






She hears it in her sleep
Ruining each dream like
The punchline of a bad joke
Sweeping of Santa Anas
Branches flying over the roof
Sparrows driven from their nests
Patio furniture tossed like confetti
Garbage flying like chunky crows
She wakes up to the drain pipes moaning
Remembers a night of falling through
Noise, shaken through her dreams
Let’s go see, she tells her dog
Let’s go look. Let’s see
What the wind did

Kim Dower’s new collection, Slice of Moon, in which this poem appears, was published in September this year.  Her first collection, Air Kissing on Mars appeared on the Poetry Foundation’s Contemporary Best Sellers list. Kim’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, The Seneca Review, Barrow Street, Eclipse, and Two Hawks Quarterly. http://kimdowerpoet.com.






The heart of the spirit world
lives and churns and its wake
is a house of smoke rising
and billowing out of the ground
The walls of the house
are scrim for the pantomime
silhouette — folly, vanity, lust —
and a little box is lit
like a lantern at the heart
of the house of smoke. The box
flickers and wavers, stays lit,
is tended by my fox, fox
color of smoke, fox whose tiny
fine features belie
a boundaryless burst of tail. What
in the spirit world wants us
this badly? over and over to come
churning up from the ground?…
I carry the little box lantern
from place to place in the house;
It shows shapes that build
then dissolve in relenting
intentions. Smoke heaps
and gathers, then loses
resolve. I clean my whiskers,
lick my paws
hold the lantern, snap
my jaws. I want
what the spirit world wants:
another chance, another chance.

Mary Fitzpatrick’s poems have been featured in Mississippi Review, Agenda, Dos Passos Review, ASKEW, Georgetown Review, as well as in A Bird Black as the Sun (Green Poet Press) and Cancer Poetry Project 2 (Tasora Books). She holds a BA from UC Santa Cruz and an MFA from UMass Amherst. wordfitz@aol.com