My poem “Sirens” is one of two texts chosen to be drawn in calligraphy for display among paintings and sculptures in the exhibit “Earth Air Water Fire: Balancing on the Edge.” The show hangs through May in the Tides Converge Gallery at the former Letterman Hospital site, 1012 Torney, San Francisco (open weekdays, 8:30 to 5:00). The exhibit is the brainchild of Gwenda Joyce, the Art Ambassador; “Sirens” was initially published in Blue Unicorn. Fire image by Moein Moradi.

Bluecoat book launch

Platte Bridge Station, 1866, by William Henry Jackson

Bluecoat and Pioneer debuts in Berkeley on February 21, 5:30 to 7:00, at University Press Books on the edge of the UC campus, 2430 Bancroft Way. I’ll talk about the origin of the manuscript–“a genuine attic find,” one reviewer says–sketch the 150-year-old events my ancestor barely survived, and read some dramatic passages.  We’ll explore an unexpected link to Bay Area history, the Native American occupation of Alcatraz in 1969-71. The usual refreshments. More about the book at University of Oklahoma Press.

After 150 years, the selected adventures of my frontiersman great-grandpa are in print from University of Oklahoma Press: Bluecoat and Pioneer: The Recollections of John Benton Hart, 1864-1868. Foe of the Confederates and friend of the Crow Indians, JBH was something of a hero and something of a scamp, with his own lively angle on the conflicts to which he brings new witness. Historian John Monnett goes so far as to say: “[Editor] John Hart offers scholars and general readers alike perhaps the most important original memoir of an enlisted soldier and plains frontiersman.”  Order at the press.

Blue Unicorn bulks up

With the October 2019 issue–now dubbed Fall–the all-poetry journal Blue Unicorn changes format and schedule. Instead of three forty-page issues a year, we will publish two, Fall and Spring, each containing sixty or more pages of content and having a flat-spined, “perfect” binding. Editorial policy has also shifted. To make life a little easier for poets, we will now consider multiple submissions (tell us if) and previously published work (tell us where). E-mail submissions to staff@blueunicorn.org are preferred, in the form of attached files; postal submissions, with stamped, self-addressed envelope, are also still okay. Annual subscription remains $20.

Bay and Delta bulletins

Big water stuff going on as the authorities struggle to set river flows adequate for fish, try to get their minds around sea level rise, and brace for wetter floods and dryer droughts as climate change kicks in. For Estuary News I reported the Resilient by Design showcase of solutions for cities menaced by rising tides (May) and the biennial Bay-Delta Science Conference (September). And I’ve penned a new intro to the Bay Institute’s  report about the state of the vast watershed draining to the Golden Gate, From the Sierra to the Sea. First published in 1998, it is about to be reissued, with update. (Hint: Things aren’t getting better.)

Reading the Poets Fall 2018

My poetry reading and discussion group, Reading the Poets, convenes again at Book Passage in Corte Madera on October 1, 2018, seven till nine, running for eight Monday evenings thereafter. This fall we’ll focus more on recent poetry, including for instance an evening on Louise Glück and one on Seamus Heaney. Participants help to set the course with their suggestions and questions.  People who may regard themselves as beginners are as welcome as the widely read. I provide texts in advance on all evenings but the first. Here is the link to register.

Rising waters

The oceans are rising, and so is San Francisco Bay. Planners and architects from around the world recently converged on the region to offer solutions for nine swathes of shoreline threatened with inundation. The June issue of Estuary News, organ of the San Francisco Estuary Project, surveys the results of this “Resilient by Design” competition. I contribute an overview piece, “Reflecting on the Rush to Resilience,” as well as an appreciation of the late Carl Morrison, a key player in the related field of flood control. On the local scale as well as the planetary scale, it’s the question of the hour: can we organize fast enough to slow the course and manage the consequences of climate change? Photo by SPUR.

My poetry reBook Passage clip artading and discussion group, Reading the Poets, starts up again at Book Passage in Corte Madera on March 5, 2018, seven till nine, running for eight Monday evenings thereafter. We wander through the world of English-language poetry, with some translations, never taking the same route twice. Participants help to set the course with their suggestions and questions. People who may regard themselves as beginners are as welcome as the widely read. I provide texts in advance on all evenings but the first.

John Benton Hart

The wagon wheels are turning: University of Oklahoma Press is mid-stream in publishing Bluecoat and Pioneer: The Recollections of John Benton Hart, 1864-1868  “I have refereed quite a few manuscripts submitted for possible publication,” wrote noted historian John Monnett, “but I have just finished reading the best one it has ever been my privilege to evaluate.” In August I traveled to Wyoming and Montana to tie up research loose ends and take part in the 150th anniversary observance of events on the Bozeman Trail, scene of many of Johnny’s adventures.

The October issue of Blue Unicorn, the all-poetry triquarterly, honors the late Ruth G. Iodice, who launched the journal with two co-editors in 1977.  With subscribers in half the states and several foreign countries,  BU has proved a hardy perennial. It has printed well-known poets and first-timers writing in a mix of styles, notably welcoming rhymed and metered verse when these tools were out of fashion.  Since Ruth’s death in August, BU continues under my editorship.