Adrienne Rich’s “For The Record”

Today, as a small one-person part of the Poets Against Trump protest in Washington DC, I’m going to stand on the steps of Cupertino City Hall and read this poem.

20th Century Protest Poetry

Adrienne_Rich,_Trumansburg,_New_York,_October_2001Award-winning poet Adrienne Rich passed away in 2012, but left behind a remarkable collection of poetry (25 books) and essays (7 books). Often political, almost always personal, Rich’s poems pose deep questions about femininity, power, and language. In 1997, Rich was awarded a National Medal of Arts and declined in protest of Newt Gingrich and the House of Representatives vote to end the National Endowment of the Arts (it failed, thankfully) and the Clinton Administration’s anti-art and literature policies at the time (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was also on the block). Rich stated, “[Art] means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of the power which holds it hostage.”

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Absent + Retrospect

Have I been so absent? It appears to be true. I have been writing, many many poem drafts, and some dream notebook keeping, but it’s not blogging.

There is a new place where I have written stories, a cool site, Retrospect, that is the brain/love-child of some dear friends of mine. Here’s what they have to say about it.

Retrospect is the place for baby boomers to tell their stories.

Week by week, story by story, we help you capture and share your memories and experiences with family, friends, and fellow boomers. Join the community and contribute your stories to our collective mosaic.

I’ll have to figure out how to hook this all up, but for now you can read my stories here. The image above is from a pattern for making shorts and pants – a pattern very like the one I would have used as a child in the 1960s. I’m on the young end of the Boomer spectrum, but I still have nightmares about those shorts.

(I encourage you to check out Retrospect. There is much there worth reading.)

New Cupertino Poet Laureate Reading

Tomorrow, October 13, 2016, there will be a special poetry reading at the Cupertino Library.

Cupertino Courier June 03 2016 Ann Muto photo 2

Ann Muto


Two Poets Laureate and a winner of the 2016 Rotary Teen Poetry Contest will read on Thursday, October 13th from 7-8:30pm. San Ramon Poet Laureate Shikha Malaviya, Cupertino Poet Laureate Ann Muto and Aryia Dattamajumdar will read poems related to the theme:  “Myself, My World, Our World”. All poets are invited to read during the Open Mic period.


Shikha Malaviya

Shikha Malaviya is co-founder of The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective, dedicated to introducing new voices from India & the Indian diaspora. She has been a featured TEDx speaker, AWP mentor and has been nominated for the Pushcart prize. Her book of poems is Geography of Tongues. Shikha was a resident of Cupertino from 2002-08, when she helped foster the joy of poetry/creative writing in the classroom at Regnart Elementary and McAuliffe Elementary Schools, where her children were students.


Aryia Dattamajumdar

Aryia Dattamajumdar is a student at Cupertino Middle School. Her favorite class in school is science. She discovered through her volunteer activities that leading a group of people takes a community to do it together. This competition helped her master the courage of writing poetry and created a life-long passion for poetry. In addition to writing poetry, the competition motivated her to become more active in poetry events in the community.




Ann Muto becomes fourth Cupertino Poet Laureate

Great news (bittersweet, it’s true for me) for poetry lovers every where!

Amanda Williamson, Cupertino’s third poet laureate, has to step down from the post this summer to move with her family out of the area. I’ll miss Amanda, and I hope the poetry community where she’s going is ready for her energy, her smile, her all-poetry-business sparkly dresses.

The greatest outcome of this sad turn, however, is that Ann Muto, long-time Cupertino resident, has agreed to step in and complete Amanda’s term. The photo above is from the article published Friday 6/3/16 in the Cupertino Courier.

Cupertino Courier June 03 2016 Ann Muto page

Read the article online at the San Jose Mercury News site here. Photo above by Jacqueline Ramseyer/Bay Area News. Story by Kristi Myllenbeck,

Ann recently read at San Jose’s 36th annual Day of Remembrance held in Morris Dailey Auditorium at San Jose State University in San Jose, Calif., on Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016. The event commemorates Executive Order 9066, which led to the incarceration of more than 120,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II. (Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group). Start here to click through all seven photos. Ann can be seen in these: photo#3 and photo#4.  The photos are embedded in this article, by Marisa Kendall Marisa Kendall,, in the San Jose Mercury News.

Ann also won third place in the 2015 Los Gatos Poetry Contest, hosted by Erica Goss, who served as that city’s poet laureate at the time. Read that story in the Los Gatos Weekly-Times, the local edition of the Mercury News.


Fiber Art and Ekphrastic Poetry

“The Classical Elements in Fiber & Poetry” was an exhibition of sixteen fiber art pieces and corresponding ekphrastic poetry, produced by ARTful Women, and presented at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles. I was privileged to be invited to write four poems for this exhibit, by Sally Ashton, who organized the poets (including Parthenia Hicks and Persis Karim). Sally, a former Poet Laureate for Santa Clara County, was contacted by Lin Schiffner, a member of the ARTful Women, a group of fiber artists from Nevada County, California.

There were several things about this process I found wonderful and interesting. Meeting the fiber artists was delightful; collaborating on poetry with other artists is a great adventure that enriches one’s own work. For this project it happened twice: first while working with the other poets, and second while interacting with the quilters. Thinking about “the elements” proved to be a deeply moving experience for writing poetry. I wanted my four poems to be similar, so I wrote them all in one afternoon (the first drafts) and thought about prayers to the earth as my inspiration. I also thought about who might be using quilts in their lives, lovers, babies, the dying. Not all those ideas made their way into the finished poems, but the value, beauty and power of earth, air, fire and water, and how we experience them on our increasingly embattled planet, I hope come through.

The photos here are from the poetry reading and artist reception, February 7, 2016.

This link takes you to a video made by The Quilt website. I’m not sure how it was done, but I think by someone videotaping the poems and the artwork on the wall at the museum. It’s more like a slide show than a video and a nice representation.

You may purchase a catalog from the exhibit at the museum bookstore or by contacting ARTful Women.

Learn more about ekphrastic poetry here (at the Poetry Foundation website) and here (posts from the Cupertino Poet Laureate blog).

Two Cupertino Poets Laureate to Read in Pacifica

Yes, Amanda Williamsen and I will be reading in Pacifica on Saturday, March 26 at Florey’s. Looking forward to it!

floreys bookstore


Cupertino Poet Laureate

Hello, Poetry Lovers!

Two of Cupertino’s Poets Laureate will read at Florey’s Book Company in Pacifica on Saturday, March 26, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.  The bookstore is located at 2021 Palmetto Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044.

Jennifer Swanton Brown, Cupertino’s second Poet Laureate, and I, our third and current Poet Laureate, are excited to read together.  I’ll be sharing poems from my poetry memoir project about growing up in rural Ohio.  Many of these poems are hot off the press (of my computer printer under a table in my living room) and you may be the first listeners to hear them!

There will be time for open mic readers as well, so bring your poetry to share.  I hope to see you there.  Hey, that rhymes….  Hmm….  I know!  Don’t be square.  Let down your hair.  Dance yourselves on down there.  If you can’t get a partner, use a wooden chair.


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