Are we nuts? 5 Poets Write Custom Poems on Demand in Public

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.



A Poem Created Just for You at “A Poem for You” to Celebrate National Poetry Month

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.

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.

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.

For more information, contact Terry Wolverton, 323-661-5954,

Writers and the Web: New workshop on Mar 2

Seems like artists in all media are using the web increasingly to market and distribute their work, through blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos, MySpace pages, and other social networking sites. Writers are using these tools more and more to find and build their audiences, and even to hone their craft. As a writer, how can you make these tools work for you?

Join us for our Writers and the Web workshop on March 2, 2-5 p.m., to learn how:

Location: Writers at Work, 4022 Fountain Ave., Suite 202, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Instructor: Bronwyn Mauldin

Cost: $25

Preregistration required: Send a check made out to Bronwyn Mauldin, to the address above

This workshop will provide a basic introduction to the key principles and tools you need to know, from how to post an article or comment, to managing your online identity, to building an audience online. We’ll also talk honestly about potential pitfalls, like spam, trolls, and how to keep a blog from taking over your life.

If you can, bring a laptop with wireless capability. We’ll explore many of these tools in class. By the time you leave, you’ll have started your first blog, wiki, podcast page or feed reader. (Don’t know what those are? Join us at the workshop to find out.)


About the instructor: Bronwyn Mauldin is a writer, blogger, podcaster and consultant. She has taught workshops on Web 2.0 and coached new and established bloggers. She blogs at Her writing has appeared in Blithe House Quarterly, Clamor magazine, and From ACT-UP to the WTO (Verso). She’s also a producer and host of Indymedia On Air on KPFK radio.

Joan Kelly’s new project

At the Writers at Work 10th anniversary, Joan Kelly, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine, read from her current book project:

If you don’t see the embedded media player above, click here to download the mp3 file.

To get your own copy of The Pleasure’s All Mine, click here.

The Pleasure’s All Mine

Calla Boulevard

Cheryl Klein, author of The Commuters and creator of Bread and Bread blog, read from her current book project, Calla Boulevard, at the 10th anniversary. Listen here:

Or just download the mp3 file here.

To buy a copy of The Commuters, click here.

The Commuters

Wisdom Walk

At the 10th anniversary event, Sage Bennet read from her nonfiction work, Wisdom Walk:

Don’t see the media player above? Click here to download the mp3.

To buy the book, or to learn more, click here.

Wisdom Walk

The Master of Seacliff

Author Max Pierce read from his gothic mystery, The Master of Seacliff, at the 10th Anniversary. Listen here:

Click here to download the mp3 file if you’re having trouble.

To buy your own copy of The Master of Seacliff, click here.

The Master of Seacliff

Ten thoughts for ten years

Eloise Klein Healy gave the opening remarks at the Writers at Work 10th Anniversary Reading and Celebration. Listen here:

If you don’t see the embedded media player – or if you want to download the MP3, just click here.

You can read more about Eloise and buy her new collection of poetry, The Islands Project, here.

The Islands Project

To hear Terry Wolverton’s welcome, click here.

10th anniversary of Writers at Work

For those who missed the 10th anniversary reading and celebration of Writers at Work – and for those who want to listen again to your favorite authors – this post is the beginning of a series. Click on the player below to hear welcome remarks from author and Writers at Work founder Terry Wolverton.

If you don’t see the embedded media player, click here to download the file.

Click here to buy Terry’s new collection of poetry, Shadow and Praise.

Shadow and Praise

Podcasts of other authors from the anniversary reading to follow.

Thanks to Mike Skiff for the sound recording!


Writers At Work 10th Anniversary Event

10th Anniversary Reading and Reception
Sunday, October 21, 2007 2 p.m.
Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles 90027
For reservations, call 323-661-5954
Writers At Work (WAW), an independent center for creative writing in Silver Lake, celebrates its tenth anniversary with a reading by current and former participants who’ve published their books. Readers will include: Sage Bennet, author of Wisdom Walk; Stephanie Hemphill, author of Things Left Unsaid and Your Own, Sylvia; Joan Kelly, author of The Pleasure’s All Mine; Cheryl Klein, author of The Commuters; Max Pierce, author of The Master of Seacliff; and Julia Salazar, author of Natural Disasters. Poet and teacher Eloise Klein Healy, whose most recent collection is The Islands Project, will present a keynote address. This event is sponsored by the Woman’s Building, and supported by generous contributions from Dylan Gailey, Sondra Hale, and Matt Knight.