Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Sequoia Reading - Thanksgiving with John Brantingham and Friends, November 26, 2017

We are so looking forward to this reading, celebrating nature and trees. We have lots to be thankful for in California, in terms of nature and trees....The Village Poets Monthly Reading for November, the last this year, will be held on Sunday, November 26, 2017, at 4:30 p.m., at Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042. 

The reading will include JOHN BRANTINGHAM and his students , CYNTHIA ANDERSON, CINDY RINNE , and SHAYMAA as featured poets (45 min. for the group) and two open mike segments. Refreshments are served and $3 donations collected for the cost of the venue, the second historical landmark in the City of Los Angeles, that celebrated its centennial in 2013.  The Museum is managed by the Little Landers Historical Society.


John Brantingham
John Brantingham teaches creative writing at Mt. San Antonio College, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, and the Center for the Arts. He is the author of Dual Impressions: Poetic Conversations about Art, an ekphrastic collection. He also published the following books and chapbooks: East of Los Angeles,  Putting in a Window,  The Mediterranean Garden,  Heroes for Today,  Mann of War,  Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods,  The Gift of Form,  The Green of Sunset,  In the Land of Bears, and  Study Abroad. 

Brantingham also co-authored How to Write, a textbook, and wrote The Gift of Form: A Pocket Guide to Formal Poetry. His blog "30 Days until Done" contains different instructions every month: "This month we are writing poems about joy," or "This month, we write poetic letters..." Visit: of his poems were featured by Garrison Keillor on the Writer's Almanac and you can find his books on


Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she is the author of seven poetry collections, the most recent being Waking Life (Cholla Needles Press, 2017). She co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens.


Cindy Rinne creates art and writes in San Bernardino, CA. She brings myth to life in contemporary context. Cindy is the author of Moon of Many Petals (forthcoming, Cholla Needles Press), Listen to the Codex (Yak Press), Breathe In Daisy, Breathe Out Stones (FutureCycle Press), Quiet Lantern (Turning Point), spider with wings (Jamii Publishing), and she co-authored Speaking Through Sediment with Michael Cooper (ELJ Publications). Cindy is a founding member of PoetrIE, an Inland Empire based literary community and a finalist for the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Prize poetry book competition. Her poems appeared or are forthcoming in: Birds Piled Loosely, CircleShow, Home Planet News, Outlook Springs, The Wild Word (Berlin), Storyscape Journal, Cholla Needles, and others.


Shaymaa is a writer currently living on the lam. She graduated from UC Berkeley with double bachelor's degrees in English and Gender & Minority studies. Her education inspired her to turn her sights onto social justice through policy and non-profit work, and she is pursuing her Master's in public administration and peace studies. She has been published in the Chiron Review, the Cal Literary Arts Magazine, Field Guide, and the East Jasmine Review, among others. She has also won numerous writing contests and scholarships, including multiple prizes in the Writer's Day Contest. She attends various poetry events, including open mics, the Southern California Literary Festival, and Drawing Inspiration from the Parks and finds them to be nourishing to her as a writer, an artist and a human being. She is proud of the fun fact that Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass read her poetry on a few occasions and said it, along with her life story, was fascinating and worthy of publication. She spends her free time traveling the world, in ill-lit forests and engaging in occult things like tarot, astrology, and cooking from memory.

Two poems by SHAYMAA


A shock of blue, the scrub jay
takes us down the trail to a
tree with pockmarked bark.
Each hole is an acorn home.
They glint like a child's hoard.

The hillside is a dark enigma,
the torrential river below
hushing its tell. Tree green
and shadow black cavort,
drawing passerby inquiry.

The fire licks at the darkness,
and rain whispers into the air. No
one sees the grey cinders burn
white hot as a raindrop here and
there soothe the fire to a smolder.

A shimmer of blue-grey and
the day is gone. Settling to sleep,
the breathing nearby is delicious
temptation. No one has a name,
a history. When in a dark room,
the known and the secret look the same.

Wild Life

The clouds are a stained glass ceiling,
a skylight. The trees everywhere are
fingers, dirty hair, broccoli for kings.

Pay attention. Inhale the surroundings
from the mountain top. How do people
enjoy nature when hiking?

Being slow, I notice a salamander
with steps like babies, like vulnerability.
I notice the tick who hungers for my blood,
the wind in a quiet circumnambulation
of the Great Spirit.

The hills are a Gothic landscape, painted
by an auteur with only emerald, black,
and blue. The fog is a slowly reaching hand,
creeping toward trails that are moody footsteps.
I lead everyone, then fall behind, first finding the
trail, then letting it find me.

Getting lost here, starting a fire,
the darkness of everyone's faces,
subtle bundling, a sort of sudden
comfort from being in the same place
with strangers who smile and tell stories and
eat banana bread cookies without
seeing them in the dark.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Note: Photos of sequoias from John Brantingham, photos of sycamore, oak and maple leaves, and pomegranates by Maja Trochimczyk