World Poetry: An Ensemble of Voices

Where there are people, there are voices. Where there are voices, there are a thousand words, a thousand syllables making up a thousand languages! We have chosen nine voices in nine languages from all over the world. Come here us read at our San Jose Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders tomorrow: Sunday, September 18, 2016 at History San Jose, from 9:00 a.m-6:00 p.m.

Our World Poetry segment is from 4:00 p.m.- 4:50 p.m.a cornucopia of words and vowels; a musicality of voices in nine languages.




Noted for her wit and sun-dappled sensibility, Virginette Acacio, has written for a variety of outlets including Philippine News, Hypen Magazine, Tayo Literary Magazine and has been the resident blogger for a number of tech companies. Among her accolades, she was a finalist for the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest. She is currently the global head of social media for a San Francisco-based software company.


The day ends, but now my journey begins
In waking I sleep, but through dreams I live
Craving words like a shiver does sun
Underpaid in love, starving for compassion,
Like a siren, you sing to me in the sweet notes of a minor key, calling me in tempting treble
Eager to steal my breath in one long, life-giving, passionate kiss and then-
For a moment our eyes caught, and you gazed at me as we shared the loudest silence
Filling me with the ashes of You.
For you I bleed, for you I climb,
The sweet I sought, the bitter I find.



Joe Navarro is a poet, creative writer, teacher. His literary influences have included Amiri Baraka, Wardell Montgomery Jr., Margie Domingo, Lalo Delgado, The Last Poets, Beat Poets and numerous others. Joe has authored 7 chapbooks of poetry and has been featured in four poetry anthologies. He is also a contributor to Joe is a literary vato loco and socially conscious writer who writes and speaks in Spanglish. Joe Navarro is a Literary Vato Loco, creative writer and poet. Available for presentations. Some of his poetry can be found at

when la migra stopped my carnal

when la migra stopped
my carnal for walking while
brown, they declared him
illegal, even if it was only for
a few minutes.

he didn’t know it was
illegal to be brown until
that moment, when they
asked him for his green
card. he didn’t know
what a green card was
because he didn’t know
that growing up in el barrio mission
en san pancho made him
a foreigner in america.

you see…all my carnal could
say was, what?
where are you from?…what?
are you here illegally?…what?
where’s your green card?…what?
do you understand english?…what?

all he could say was, what?
because he couldn’t believe
his ears, and thought they were
narcs, just trying to harass him,
so the questions made no sense.

he finally figured it out!
they were la migra, who couldn’t
tell one brown person from another
and saw illegal scrawled on the
foreheads of everyone in the barrio.
they finally let him go and all
he could say was…what?

–joe navarro
© copyright 2010



Joel Thomas Katz works in Silicon Valley as a business software specialist. His poems have appeared in Sand Hill Review, The Montserrat Review, Disquieting Muses Quarterly, Spillway and Red Wheelbarrow. His chapbook Away was published by Mayapple Press in 2008, and his online poetry blog can be enjoyed at


Forget the bucket of water. Forget the crown.
I’d follow him anywhere–up a mountain,
into crevasses, from the first feather of dawn
to the palms clicking in the evening breeze.
He would always lead the way, stumbling
tumbling, winding up in a grass-stained heap,
then ready to try it all over again.



Crystal was born in Taiwan and immigrated to the US as a teenager. She earned a Master’s degree in Education Policy with a minor in Journalism from Stanford University in 2007. Since then she has been a news reporter for the Silicon Valley Community Newspapers,, and the Palo Alto Weekly. Currently, she is working as a communications specialist for a high tech company. She has had poems published in a literary magazine titled Porter Gulch Review. She has published a book, A Poetic Portal to Chinese Culture.


Family members reunite at a dining table
As round as the full moon’s circle.
Steamed crabs and moon cakes aromatize the banquet
For the Moon Festival.
Also tasty are noodles and a cake for Granddad’s birthday
That coincides with the holiday
Marked by the eighth full moon of the lunar year,
Celebrated by all Chinese in every way.
“An auspicious birthday!”
More than eight decades ago he heard fortune tellers say.
“The harvest moon at birth signifies a lifetime of abundance;
Come what may!”
What came year after year was war after war,
Too much gore.
He fled farther and farther away from home
With only his mother’s pearl ring from the idyllic life before.
The pearl resembles the full moon shimmering over California,
And the full moon that delighted his youthful years in China.
The same moon had silvered the Silk Road
Across Eurasia.
The eternal moon has accompanied the uprooted osmanthus tree
To transplant to the Western territory.
She continues to bless his golden years



Tommy Mouton is a 2013-2014 John Steinbeck Fellow. He currently teaches creative writing and composition at San José State. Tommy’s work appears in Reed and Callaloo, and he is currently working on what he is calling his legacy project, a memoir entitled Flesh. A dynamic dramatic reader, Tommy’s work has been featured in venues hosted by Babylon Salon, KKUP 91.5 FM “Out of Our Minds” Poetry Radio, LitQuake, Flash Fiction Forum, Center for Literary Arts, Peninsula Literary Series, Poetry Center San José, and a host of others.

Born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, raised in the community of Moss Bluff, Tommy lives in San José with his wife and daughters.



Ikuko Matsusaka is an energetic woman of Japanese descent who enjoys poetry. She loves literature but is only a reader. She has been familiar with Haiku since she was a child. Her mother would hold a haiku party, and Ikuko had to write one or two haikus.



Shirindokht is a scholar of poetry and prose, a creative writer, an artist and a literary translator ( She has published two compilations of short stories in Persian and is currently working on a novel. Her poetry manuscript is ready for publication, while she looks for a publisher. Her latest project was a collaboration with Tasmanian editors when they published a fine collection of short stories by Iranian, Tasmanian, and British writers. The collection was titled The Third Script, and many be ordered at Shirin was a lecturer at San Jose State University till the end of Spring 2016, and now is a project manager at Pars Equality Center—working with new immigrants. She was the last director of the Associate of Iranian American writers and is one of three jurists for the ‘No to Censorship Contest’ by Siamak Pourzand Foundation.


And then the silence was unbearable.
Nothing left of my voice I screamed inside
and the silence
so loud
I couldn’t hear the tear drops in my throat.
The silenced I
in the middle of the room hush puppies on the table and I a dog of quiet means hushed on the floor
hands and fists
whispering love on my eyes and my ribs
quietly breaking
quietly healing.
Let us not break the silence.
But where your soul has gone, I asked myself, quietly,
you were once a lover.
Cold shoulder and I knew the wall was too high silently reaching for the sky.



Vuong Quoc Vu is a writer, editor, and publisher of poetry. He is founder of Tourane Poetry Press and editor of Perfume River Poetry Review. His work has been published in prominent literary journals, such as Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, and ZYZZYVA. He is a frequent reader at poetry events in the South Bay.


On winter nights, the moon sings to me.
Perhaps it is because I am Vietnamese.
We know something about this loneliness.

We say that on the moon is—
not as the Japanese say, a rabbit, or as
Americans say, a landscape made of cheese—

but a man who sits beneath a banyan tree.
From his seat of lunar sand, he looks down
at the world and searches for his home he left

so long ago it could never be found again
along the shifting shores of rivers and tides.
I can hear his lonely song. I hear it

in the white dust of my bones. The walls
of my room glow like the face of the moon.
Look close and you can see tiny pits

and craters, the shores of soundless seas.
Listen closely and you can hear a sigh
in the empty room; the walls weep.

On still winter nights, when it seems
all the world has gone to sleep,
I sing back to the moon.



Pushpa MacFarlane reads poetry at open mic, creates and maintains blogs for poets and videotapes local poetry readings. She participates in group poetry (Ekphrasis, Allure of Forms, and Beowulf) and poetry podcasts, and has read poems on air at KKUP 91.5 FM. Her poetry presentations in San José include The Poetry Café and the “World Poetry” segment at the 2015 San José Poetry Festival. She has edited, arranged, designed the layout and book cover for Remembering: An Anthology of Poems Read at Willow Glen Books, published by Jacaranda Press (2011). In 2015, she arranged and edited Third Thursdays, Volume Three of the Willow Glen Poetry Project Series. Her poems have been published in local anthologies, and her batik artwork published in the Catamaran Literary Reader.

CLICK TO VIEW FLYER IN PDF   world-poetry-segment


One Day More. . .

One day more for our upcoming San José Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders, starting at 9:00 a.m. through 6:00 History San José, and a chockfull of poetry! Those of you still contemplating about it, please get your tickets and take your pick of poetry. You will not be disappointed. It’s almost time…just one day more…


The Border of Ecstasy: Whitman & Kabir

MARK HEINLEIN and PRANITA PATEL will present The Border of Ecstasy: The Human Spirit in Kabir and Whitman at the San José Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders, from 5:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m.on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at History San José.

These poets, Kabir and Whitman, stir our emotions even today and fill the empty spaces of modern life with their undeniable achievement of spirit, language and longing. Their work fulfills our soulful desire to connect with ourselves, the divine and the world around us. While Kabir’s work speaks of and to a divine presence, Whitman’s earthy concerns reveal a holiness of our bodily life. By coupling them, this presentation gives voice to the timeless struggle and celebration of the human spirit.

Artist and poet Pranita Patel will share insights into the 15th century mystic artist, Kabir, whose ever-seeking quest for salvation parallels her contemporary search for insight through her own paintings and illuminated poetry. Ever since Mark Heinlein read Whitman, the great poet has spoken to him directly influencing his aesthetics, his bardic style of reading poetry, and helped unveil the mystery and ecstasy in nature, camaraderie, and contemplation.  whitman_kabirkabir-quote



Mark Heinlein is the author of the poetry collection Everything We Call Ordinary. His awards include the 2009 American Academy of Poets/Virginia de Arujo Award and the Bonita M. Cox Award for creative nonfiction. In 2014, with Myles Foreman, Mark performed “Beautiful Music” at TEDx Santa Cruz. In 2015 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Independent Best American Poetry Prize. He is a fishmonger and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

[From Everything We Call Ordinary]


I collected jars when I was unemployed and didn’t have money for anything
except laundry and groceries and rent. What a waste to throw away, to throw out glass containers which could be used for something. I didn’t know what I’d use them for, but I’d paid for those jars: salsa, pasta sauce, peanut butter, jellies, relish. I saved anything glass. Then set them in steaming water fifteen minutes, peeled the dampened paper with an unnamable delight. I scrubbed with a sponge the gum from the label and used a butter knife to jab the sponge in hard-to-reach spots.

I’d rinse with hot water, as hot as I could get it, wearing yellow rubber gloves. Then snap them off, grab a dishtowel to dry every spot. I’d lift them to the kitchen lights to behold perfectly clear glass, a specimen saved from the trash. It was as if I’d blown them myself, the excitement I felt as I set them on the window sill. But I never filled them with anything, rocks or seashells or homemade honey, things themselves of wonder. Instead, they contained their own beauty, glass jars lined up, filled with nothing else besides light and, more light.



Pranita Patel, M.A., is an educational specialist, artist and poet. The purpose of her work is to heal, transform and strengthen individuals and communities. Her poetry has appeared in Solo Novo, her photography has appeared in Two: An Anthology of Flash Nonfiction and she is currently at work on a creative nonfiction manuscript entitled Creating With Spirit and a novel called Nandini. Her paintings have been shown at Stone Griffin Gallery, and her art exhibit and poetry reading was the inaugural event at Healing The Zebra Arts Center. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.


In the morning light, the orange tabby sits atop a chair and waits,
diurnally, like the birdsong arising from the pit of this small valley
after my boyfriend goes down 22 steps to his sun- fire red truck and
drives off to work.

What awakens the birds from slumber? Is it the fading light from
the last star in the sky, or the regurgitating sound of the truck’s engine.

The morning sky is gray, yet a patch of blue so light and luminescent
is quilted in the western sky, an ethereal note that this day will be good.
How many times in our lives have we needed a whisper of beauty
to make it through, after the alarm clock goes off once again, and
another day begins, similar to yesterday, yet different.

Did the ancients experience routine in their lives?
Or did they live in the mystery enough.
So that each day they woke up,
thrilled to see another sunrise,
thrilled to be alive.

Two for the Road: Last Two KKUP Gigs

Tune in to KKUP 91.5 FM at 7:00 a.m. for your morning commute and listen to poets Jerry Dyer and David Eisbach with KKUP host Greg Winslow.

And later, this evening, from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., you can listen to KKUP 91.5 FM once more, for your ride home when Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Arlene Biala and poet Mark Heinlein will be talking to Poetita, Rachelle Escamilla.

Now this—most certainly, is NOT ORDINARY! 




Festival Committee: Getting to Know Us

Getting to know us. . .getting to know all about us. The festival committee members have been working very hard to ensure we present a successful and grand poetry program especially designed for you—the San José Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders, this coming Sunday, September 18, 2016, from 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. at History San José. Please get your tickets online, and bring your friends and family for a memorable potpourri of  day-long poetry. Check out the Schedule to see which events you might fancy, or just be bold and try something new. There’s a variety of programming, and some great talent you do not want to miss. If you’ve never been to a poetry event, this is your chance—grab it!


Robert Pesich is the editor and publisher of Swan Scythe Press (, President of Poetry Center San José ( and coordinator for The Well-RED Reading Series. Author of Burned Kilim (Dragonfly Press) his next collection of poetry Model Organism is forthcoming from Five Oaks Press. He works as a research associate for PAIRE and Stanford University.

Dennis Richardson is a co-host of the Willow Glen poetry readings. He never had an interest in poetry until he retired from teaching high school mathematics in 2002. For Dennis, it’s a great joy to create a good poem. He says, “It’s what I do now so my mind won’t retire from doing me.”

Barbara Saxton, a Mountain View local, has worked as a translator, financial consultant, and educator, and is now a retired English teacher, singer, relentless outdoor enthusiast, and poet, published in her chapbook Dual Exposure (2015), along with numerous journals and anthologies.

David Eisbach has always loved the arts, and a six-year membership in the San José Arts Commission introduced him to many of the City’s art groups. He has served on the boards of South Bay Guitar Society and Mission Chamber Orchestra, and joined PCSJ and the Willow Glen “Third Thursday” poets, helping in the creation of anthologies. This is his second year as the San José Poetry Festival Director.

Amy Meier has poetry included in the 2011 anthology REMEMBERING: Poems Read at Willow Glen Books (Jacaranda Press, 2011), the 2009 Family Album Santa Clara County, and the 2015 issue of Caesura. As part of Poetry Center San José, Amy organized VeteransWrite, a writing group for veterans and their family members, meeting monthly on the 4th Sunday at Markham House, History Park.

Christine Richardson is a co-host of the Willow Glen poetry readings. She frequently writes her poems using a garden tool. Her current autobiographical summary of her life: Phase one: growing taller, schooling—complete. Phase two: birthing, teaching, more schooling—complete. Phase three: creating my version of the Epicurean life—in process.

Jerry Dyer is a long-time English teacher in San José, in the East Side High School District. He also loves music in all forms, especially music that we can make when we combine our minds and voices in singing, and in poetry.

Dennis Noren is an enthusiastic participant in the poetry community of the South Bay. He is member of Poetry Center San José Advisory Board, and is actively involved in the Center’s activity at the Edwin Markham House at History Park. Dennis was one of the five winners of the 2012 Poetry on the Move contest (poetry on VTA trains and buses).

Pushpa MacFarlane enjoys reading poetry at open mic. She creates and maintains blogs for some of her poetry friends, and videotapes local poetry readings whenever she gets a chance. She also likes to arrange and put together anthologies of poems.


Poetry Center San José’s  mission is to nurture and promote diverse literary expression in our community as a means of exploring, defining, and enriching the human experience.

In furtherance of our mission, we offer programs and services to stimulate passion for the literary arts and to inspire and support emerging and established writers. We collaborate with other organizations to ensure that these programs and services reflect the diversity of our community and to involve people from a wide range of backgrounds as audience and members.

For more information about Poetry Center San José, the Board of Directors, and the Advisory Board, visit the website and check out Caesura and links to poetry  elsewhere.


Spoken Word: A Slam Dunk!

Our upcoming San José Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders on Sunday, September 18, 2016 is a celebration of unique modes of expression taken by the poetic medium in the modern day. Be prepared for some riveting spoken word, slam, and poetry with an attitude—no attitude, no poem! You will be mesmerized by the heavy use of rhythm, improvisation, rhymes, word play and slang. The imagery, sounds, and other sensations will hold you captive. Warning: Remain in your seats.



Caesar Kent has mobilized a squad of expressive and impressive performance poets in the “Spoken Word/Slam” segment, from 5:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. Having  established a multifaceted career working with words as a writer, editor, and educator, Caesar has published a couple of short novels, though his focus lies more in flash fiction and poetry. He has worked as the Fiction Editor for the Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, and he is now currently acting as co-Editor-in-Chief on another review, Caesura.  Along with freelance copyediting, he works as an English tutor, emphasizing to his students the capacity to weave creative writing into the academic. He is dedicated to two local literary organizations as a board member of the Poetry Center of San José, and the special events coordinator for Flash Fiction Forum. As a Spoken Word poet, he performs around the South Bay Area, often with his guitarist and other guest musicians, in an extemporaneous experience known as 60 BC.



Included in the San José Poetry Festival’s Slam segment is the self-proclaimed Stand-Up Poet, Mighty Mike McGee. And just WHO is Mighty Mike McGee? Mr. McGee, in his own words, is a well­ traveled, funny poet from San José, California and in the world of poetry slam competition, he is the first and only person ever to win the Grand Championship at both the National Poetry Slam (2003) and the Individual World Poetry Slam (2006). He has toured nearly one million miles throughout the U.S., Canada & Europe, being one of the first Americans to perform poetry at the University of Paris, la Sorbonne. McGee has appeared on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, CBC Radio & Television, and regularly on NPR’s Snap Judgment. He produces a number of shows in his hometown of San José, California.

In Search of Midnight, McGee’s book of humor and poetry, is available through Write Bloody Publishing. His blog is here: McGee produces a number of shows in his hometown of San José, California. Sign up for his “Sweet Home San José newsletter” and his international list.



Tshaka Menelik Imhotep Campbell has been writing and performing his work for over fifteen years and has performed across the globe at a number of venues and colleges, from the Apollo Theater in New York to the O2 in London England. His work has been published in a number of magazines, poetry anthologies and periodicals as well as in advertising campaigns with companies such as Nissan and Miramax studios. He has authored two books entitled Tarman and Muted Whispers and two albums, entitled “One” and “Bloodlines,” as well as, being the featured artist on a number of musical projects ranging in genre from Jazz to House. His most recent digital release “SKIN vol.1” has been received well and is currently available for download on iTunes, Spotify, and various other music channels. He currently resides in California and continues to ask the world to listen different.



Scorpiana Xlent is a Bronx raised poet, spoken word artist, and armchair activist who now makes San José her home and considers herself equal parts New Yorker and Northern Californian. A member of The San José Poetry Slam’s 2014 slam team competing in Nationals, she has also featured at venues in New York, Florida, and California. Scorpiana’s poems have been published in two anthologies: Fruition and The Bandana Republic. She also has her own book Inked. In addition to writing and performing, Scorpiana has taught youth poetry workshops in San José. Scorpiana X is currently the Slam Master for The San José Slam. She likes bacon and chocolate, but not together, and has learned to accept her caffeine addiction.

Three Gigs on a Friday. . .

EACH ONE with a different point of view…



Sept 9 – Noon Arts and Lectures NoonArts Tabbard GIGS sm
Fri 12:00 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.
TABBARD Theatre at San Pedro Square
Life’s Cavalcade in Poetry –Free
090916 Life's Cavalcade in Poetry

Eight local poets will deliver a series of poems based on life’s progression.
Like a train, the poems are arranged from birth to beyond in a variety of poetic forms.

Featured poets include:

Dave Eisbach:                     Birth, dependence
Robert Pesich:                    Learning
Barbara Saxton:                 Seeking, tasting, evaluating
Pushpa MacFarlane:         Reaching out, need
Sandip Bhattacharya:      Courage
Charlotte Muse:                 Rejection, sadness
Jade Bradbury:                    Start again, take a chance, move on
Dennis Richardson :         Acceptance, love, happiness


Sept 9-KKUP 91.5 FM with Gaylord Fischer kkup
Fri 1:30 p.m.
“Jewels and Binoculars”
Diane Frank & Erik Ievins, and Dave Eisbach


Sept 9 – KKUP 91.5 FM with Dave Stafford kkup
Fri  5:00 pm
“Friday Folk Off”
Pushpa MacFarlane / Robert Pesich / David Eisbach

Words & Music: Diane Frank & Erik Ievins

Diane Frank, award winning poet, and Erik Ievins, cellist, collaborate in a Words and Music ensemble. They weave between poetry and music, letting the music express the emotions of the poemsometimes from the Bach Unaccompanied Cello Suites and sometimes original compositions by Erik Ievins.

For Erik Ievins, music has always been a comfortable second language. Classically trained on cello since he was old enough to hold a bow, Erik joined professional symphony orchestras while still in high school. He plays cello and bass with StringFire, with a recently released CD, Spindriftin’. When collaborating with poets, Erik expresses the emotions of the poem through music.

Erik_Diane         Erik&Cello

Diane Frank is author of six books of poems, including Swan Light, Entering the Word Temple, and The Winter Life of Shooting Stars. She lives in San Francisco, where she dances, plays cello, and creates her life as an art form. Diane teaches at San Francisco State University and Dominican University, leads workshops for young writers as a Poet in the School, and directs the Blue Light Press Online Poetry Workshop.

Diane Frank





Iowa Omen          stringfire                                                                                       CLICK TO HEAR SAMPLE MUSIC

Diane Frank and Erik Ievins will be on KKUP 91.5 FM this Friday, September 9, 2018 with host Gaylord Fischer, at 1:30 p.m.  We guarantee a great program if you tune in to listen to Diane & Erik.




Out of this World with Len Anderson

THIS WEDNESDAY, Scientist Poet Len Anderson from Santa Cruz will be on KKUP 91.5 FM along with Diane Lee Moomey, and David Eisbach, in conversation with the “Out of This World” host, Rachelle Escamilla. Do listen in.

GiGs-Prelude KKUP-Len

[In case you were wondering, last week’s “Out of the World” program KKUP was cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances. However, Diane Lee Moomey will also be part of the conversation tomorrow.]