Thursday Jul 17 2008
Lincoln Poets Club hosts Nevada City author Molly Fisk
By: Leona Reber Special to The News Messenger
The July meeting of the Lincoln Poets Cub was packed with enjoyable events. Added to the usual guest poet and Open Mic segments of the program was a silent poetry and writing books auction, a potluck luncheon and a brief business meeting. The guest poet of the month was Molly Fisk of Nevada City, whose quiet charm and eloquent poetry kept the crowd of nearly 40 people enthralled and wanting more when she was through. Fisk, a National Endowment of the Arts Fellow who teaches Creative Writing at UC Davis and the Sierra Cancer Center, among others, is a prolific and oft-published writer. She has been awarded a plethora of honors throughout her career, including the 2007 Dogwood Prize, the Robinson Jeffers Tor House prize, Billee Murray Denny and the National Writer’s Union prizes. She is the founder of an online workshop, Poetry Boot Camp, which has drawn participants from all over the world. She has authored two poetry collections, “Listening to Winter” and “Salt Water Poems,” and a CD of radio commentary, “Using your turn signal promotes world peace.” In addition, she is a commentator for NPR and is regularly heard on KVMR public radio in Nevada City. She lectures extensively on creativity and writing. Fisk began her set Sunday with a few selections from “Listening to Winter.” Her first poem, which told about her visit to Norway, was meant as a bit of sympathetic magic, in hopes that talking about a cold place would help take the audience’s minds off of the hot weather that had everyone sweating. Much of Fisk’s early poetry employed gentle imagery, recalling childhood memories and those of her growth into the complex person that she has become. She poetically explored vacations, friendships and such diverse memories as purchasing sanitary napkins in Paris, a long-ago abortion and her health issues, as well as the futility of war. “Windfall” wove a story of a Celtic song her mother taught her with the taste of pears plucked from a deer-nibbled tree and sailors returning to their lovers. “Mercy” chronicled a telephone call that she had shared with her sister, whose house had just burned, while Fisk was in the hospital for what was thought to be a heart attack. Her final poem, “Daybreak,” explored a morning when she lay abed listening to Red-Tailed Hawks, which led her to think about the importance of memories lost and found. After a brief break, with refreshments provided by Lincoln Friends of the Library, the Open Mic portion of the afternoon began. Carol Smiles kicked things off with a poem about life-long learning, and a second entitled “Curtains,” which she dedicated to her sister who, she said, often has a strange way of looking at life. Tom Bakey followed with a tribute to his mother. “She passed away three years ago at the age of 99,” he said, “but she is still here.” Evelyn Sticher came next, sharing a poem about a woman who lived a “perfect” life – and, in doing so, missed much, and followed it with a humorous list poem, “Junior Prom.” Jack Fabian then tickled everyone’s funny-bone with “A Driving Urge,” about his wife’s bad driving, and ended his set on a more serious note, reading the political lament, “I Hardly Recognize My Country Anymore,” which seemed to strike a chord with the audience, who responded with generous applause. Margaret Bell read “Aquatones,” about all of the water sounds that we enjoy, and Glenn Allen, Lincoln’s Cowboy Poet, continued the political tone with “Cigarette Butts.” His second offering was a humorous look at the improper use of words. Matt George, 14, the youngest poet to read, shared a grim piece about California air quality and a second one about his ill-tempered cat. Jude Victor read “On Mr. Rubenstein,” about a lonely neighbor, and a more humorous offering, “Seven pieces of no rhyme or reason,” which was all sounds. Michael Govea poetically discussed writer’s block with “Out of Touch,” and ruminated on the importance of keeping on touch with friends. Sandra Bozarth shared “Our Trip to Town,” which told about a dusty, bumpy wagon ride of a bygone era. Cleo Kocal returned to political poetry with “The More Things Change…” about a 1960s protest march that many veterans took part in. John Noon lightened things up considerably with “Rainbow Man,” setting the scene by donning a bright red hat with a rainbow band and displaying a crystal that sent rainbows dancing through the room. Rose Allen read two unusual haikus that she prefaced by saying, “I’m sure the Japanese would probably cringe from the content.” David Anderson followed with a dialectical poem about an experience in the hospital emergency room. He completed his set with a Slavic poem that explored the patterns of marriage. Sue Clark completed the Open Mic hour with a joyous poem about a trip to San Francisco with her Scottish cousin. Poets Club meetings are free to the public. The group regularly meets every second Sunday at the Twelve Bridges Library from 3-5 p.m. unless otherwise announced. Clark also teaches poetry and fiction writing classes. For more information about classes or club events, call Clark at 434-9226.