“Language is wine upon the lips” – Virginia Woolf
Sebastopol Center for the Arts (SCA) is committed to offering a wide range of literary arts programming. Poetry readings, writers workshops, performances reflecting a standard of excellence and recognition for this timeless artform are offered at various times throughout the year.
For more information about our Literary Arts Program, contact Cynthi Stefenoni, email@example.com. Sebastopol Center for the Arts: (707) 829-4797.
Join us for a free poetry reading and gathering featuring poets Poets Laureate Emeriti Iris Jamahl Dunkle, Gwynn O'Gara, Bill Vartnaw, and many other poets from across the county. Maya Khosla will host.
The afternoon will mark two years after the first “Rising from the Ashes” reading where 20 people shared poems, music, scratch-notes, and thoughts gathered in the haste of a moment—after the October 2017 fires. This time, our gathering will mark two years after the first reading. Since that time, we have been exploring themes centered on the rebuilding process happening all over Sonoma County and on our wild lands, which are advancing through the stages of vigorous post-fire rejuvenation—the oaks, bays, redwoods, the chaparral, the wildflowers and wildlife.
Refreshments will be served.
Sebastopol Center for the Arts is home to Word Temple, a monthly presentation of poetry by wordsmiths from all corners of the globe. Created by Katherine Hastings, Sonoma County Poet Laureate, 2014-2015, Word Temple is now managed by Greg Randall and Toni Wilkes.
For more information about Word Temple, click HERE or contact Greg Randall firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sebastopol Center for the Arts was instrumental in the formation of the Sonoma County Poet Laureate program and is still home to its selection committee.
The Poet Laureate is a Sonoma County resident whose poetry manifests a high degree of excellence, who has produced a critically acclaimed body of work, and who has demonstrated a commitment to the literary arts in Sonoma County. The Poet Laureate often participates in official ceremonies and readings and serves a two-year term. Beginning in 2018, s/he will receive a $1,000.00 stipend in addition to the title.
The Poet Laureate Selection Committee consists of representatives from each of the five County Supervisory Districts, as well as from Sonoma State University, Santa Rosa Junior College, Sonoma County Library, the Literary Arts Guild, Sebastopol Center for the Arts and the previous Poet Laureate. Each member of this panel has demonstrated knowledge of, and an active commitment to, the life of poetry in our county.
Sonoma County’s 10th Poet Laureate
May 1, 2018 - April 30, 2020
Maya Khosla has been chosen to be Sonoma County’s 10th Poet Laureate by a committee of her peers. Her term began May 1, 2018 and continues until December 31, 2019. Ms. Khosla’s work as a field biologist, poet and filmmaker has taken her to wilderness areas, to the page and to the screen. She was one of the first volunteers allowed to document the vigorous natural regeneration in Pepperwood Preserve, following the October 2017 fires in Sonoma, and her work is currently ongoing with a team of volunteers. She often combines poetry and film. Her published works include award-winning poetry, non-fiction ,and scripts for documentary films including Village of Dust, City of Water, Shifting Undercurrents, and Searching for the Gold Spot: The Wild After Wildfire. Maya has worked on natural resource surveys throughout California as well as in Kenya and India.
“Most of the biodiversity in these forests depends on wildland fire”
- Chad Hanson
Once we have looked away, once we have mourned
and banished all smoldering thoughts about the tribe
of blackened trees replacing the known world—
for now and another season – and the last long
fingers of smoke have been ushered out by wind, a
ticking begins. No one has seen them arriving in
such numbers, but the birds are neither lost nor passing
through. They are simply linked tight to the newborn
scents of ash and rain, to the promise of white fruits,
the riches concealed by bark.
So were the ways of ancestors who began their
journeys as specks in the distance, some fifty
thousand years ago. Riding the miles of smoky gold,
along a known line of hunger, growing closer and closer.
The rufous beat of instinct working a
migration upstream against the flow of smoke. Into
the source, its multiple treasures.
One new arrival looks bright with hope. He preens his
dusk-and-opal plumage. Others tap like as if knocking
on doors. The answers have all been provided by the
ages, delicate as genetic fibers coiled in each cell—
beak and bone, muscle and shiny eye. The living
are awake to the growth and profusion soon to follow.
They will grow with the diligence of all known colors
unfurling from the soil’s chocolatey darkness, from
the trees re-greening come spring, from the
- Maya Rani Khosla
Iris Jamahl Dunkle (2016-2017)
Katherine Hastings (2014-2015)
Bill Vartnaw (2012-2013)
Gwynn O’Gara (2010-2011)
Mike Tuggle (2008-2009)
Geri Digiorno (2006-2007)
Terry Ehret (2004-2006)
David Bromige (2002-2003)
Don Emblen (2000-2001)