Editor’s note: This week’s Poetry Corner features the work of Robert McDowell, the author/editor/co-author/translator of 10 books, most recently “Poetry as Spiritual Practice: Reading, Writing, and Using Poetry in Your Daily Rituals,” “Aspirations,” and “Intentions” (Free Press/Simon & Schuster). He was co-founder and director of Story Line Press for 22 years, worked at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, taught at many universities, high schools, and conferences, and is a UC Santa Cruz graduate. To learn more about him, visit robertmcdowell.net or threeintentions.com.
New local publication is born by way of a matchbook
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” —Ernest Hemingway
Short, and not exactly sweet, those words are a ‘story’ that Hemingway wrote, and a tale that many, ironically, call one of his finest. The ‘story’ is six words long, 28 characters, deep, moving, and brilliant. This concept of ‘micro-fiction’ has been around for ages, and one local Santa Cruz writer has zeroed in on the allure of writing in a very small format. Editor Kyle Petersen has launched something called Matchbook Story, a quarterly publication that comes out in the form of a matchbook, with the inside flap telling a story in 300 characters or fewer. On Thursday, March 25, at 6 p.m. at local pub, Poet and the Patriot, Petersen will unveil his first edition of Matchbook Story, along with an author reading from the first story published in this new medium. Additionally, runners up will also be reading their 300-character stories at the event.
Santa Cruz honors its first Poet Laureate
At a book fair in seventh grade, Gary Young purchased Whitter Bynner's “The Jade Mountain; Translations from the Tang Dynasty,” and Oscar Williams’ “Immortal Poems of the English Language.” Upon reading the books, he decided then and there that he wanted to be a Chinese poet of the Tang dynasty.
Although he is not Chinese and does not live 1,200 years in the past, Young has come far in the way of recognizing his childhood dream. On Jan. 26, Young was named the first ever poet laureate of Santa Cruz County.
“What really is important is that the community said, ‘We have marvelous poets here, poetry is important in our lives, it's important in our schools, it's important in the community—let's recognize that,’” Young says.
Laura Davis uncovers the magic of the memoir
Writing can be a powerful, healing tool. Laura Davis knows that to be true. She’s written a handful of popular non-fiction books on just that—finding the ‘courage to heal.’ And for Davis, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, the writing process itself was her own healing tool.
Her past, and her future, came into focus around the same time—as a child, and then again as an adult. “I’ve been writing since I was a little girl as a means for self-expression, what I thought, felt, and believed, as a way to educate and inform, and provoke,” says Davis, a longtime Santa Cruz author, who teaches writing classes in town. “Writing has been a critical way I’ve processed with my life and coped with my life.” This has included blogging when she was ill with cancer recently, to writing seven books with topics ranging from sexual abuse to parenting to reconciling relationships.