Kelly Cressio-Moeller: Journal Submissions

Kelly Cressio-Moeller will be presenting Journal Submissions at the San José Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders, on Sunday, September 18, 2016, at History San José, from 10:00 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

Kelly will present how to start submitting to poetry journals for publication. Time permitting, the presentation will explore basic do’s and don’ts when submitting to a poetry journal: cover letters, bios, guideline terminology, journal selection, and submission organization. Also hoping to have time for a Q & A.

Kelly CM

Who best to present this Journal Submissions, but Kelly Cressio-Moeller, whose poetry can be seen at Boxcar Poetry Review, burntdistrict, Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Poet Lore, Rattle, Southern Humanities Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and ZYZZYVA among others. She has graced the Willow Glen Poetry Project anthologies with her poems, including the anthology, First Water: Best of Pirene’s Fountain.

Kelly’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net. She is an Associate Editor at Glass Lyre Press. She shares her fully-caffeinated life with her tall husband, two ever-growing sons, and their immortal basset hound in Northern California. Visit her website at

for my father

Quiet as night
Twisting in the breeze of stars,
You place feathers for me to find:
In the garden, my book bag, a desk drawer.
These soft blades of mourning
Carve a space in the air for us to meet.
Sweet silence. Sweet stillness.
Tonight, on this cliffside path,
My flashlit footsteps make
The small stones speak.

I cannot see it but the ocean is here
Like the heaviness your absence leaves,
An anchor sinking, unraveling its chain.
There is beauty in this—a merciful peace
That disrobes the shadows around me,
Steadies my gait.

As I wander among the cypress in the dark,
You are stones painted white, marking my way
Home to a place I’ve never lived,
Under constellations fixed in skies
I’ve yet to know.

(First published in Valparaiso Poetry Review,
Volume XV, Number 1, Fall/Winter 2013-2014)


Charlotte Muse: Sharpening the Senses

Charlotte Muse, a well-known poet from Menlo Park will be coming down to San José to present “Sharpening the Senses” from 9:00 a.m. – 9:50 a.m. at the San José Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders, on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at History San José.


She received both her MA and MFA from San Francisco State, where she taught poetry. Charlotte was also the Peninsula Instructor in Poetry for UC Berkeley Extension for many years, and has taught writers of all ages at many different venues. Her most recent books include Violin (Blurb Books, 2013), a series of poems illustrated by the artist Joyce Savre, and A Story Also Grows (a Main Street Rag Editor’s Selection. A handmade letterpress edition by the Chester Creek Press is in both the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress rare book collections.)

Awards include the 2011 Allen Ginsberg Award, the 2011 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize, the Yeats Society of New York’s Poetry Award, two Atlanta Review International Publication Awards, and prizes in the Joy Harjo Poetry Award contest, the Foley Prize, and Ireland’s Feile Filiochta, among others. Her work has appeared in magazines and anthologies including Room to Breathe (Heyday Books) A Bird Black As The Sun (Green Poet Press); and The Place That Inhabits Us (Sixteen Rivers Press). Her website is at

for Jennifer

Hurry. The redbud won’t wait, or the freesia,
or the silver-bark cherry. All the new webs,
shining and floating like unrounded bubbles
won’t wait. They’ll be gone even faster. Hurry.
Let’s lay down heaviness and watch.
If we find ourselves asking whether this is the last spring,
it’s not because we want to know.
It’s only that asking makes us look.

I know of a walk to a waterfall,
past smaller streams wetting the path,
past butterflies flashing
and banana slugs oozing blindly towards
a heaven of pink-flowered sorrel.
There’s the sound of the stream, a distant woodpecker,
and the falls themselves, where water pours down
spreading like hair over the rock.

We don’t owe everything to madmen who think
we’re only empty shoes in their jig with death.
We don’t owe everything to sorrow.

Workshop: Revising a Poem by Dean Rader

Poet Dean Rader will provide a workshop on Balance and Proportion: Revising the Poem at the San José Poetry Festival 2016: Breaking Borders on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at History San José, CA. This workshop will be held from 2:00 p.m.- 3:50 p.m.

How fun is writing that first draft? How hard is turning that mediocre first draft into a good second draft? And how hard is turning the slightly better fifth draft into that even better sixth draft. When does it end? What if you make it worse? This workshop will focus on the least sexy part of poem-making—the act of revising. It will use as its compass the ultimate goal of poetic proportionality.


Dean Rader’s Works & Days, won the 2010 T. S. Eliot Prize, and Landscape Portrait Figure Form (2014) was a Barnes & Noble Review Best Poetry Book of the Year. He is the editor of 99 Poems for the 99 Percent: An Anthology of Poetry and the winner of the 2015 George Bogin Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is a professor at The University of San Francisco, where he won the university’s distinguished research award in 2011. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Kenyon Review, Southern Review, Zyzzyva, Best American Poetry, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day and dozens of others. Two new poetry collections are forthcoming: Self-Portrait as Wikipedia Entry (Copper Canyon Press, 2016) and Suture, collaborative sonnets written with Simone Muench (Black Lawrence Press, 2017).


SOMETHING THAT MELTS can also burn, like a
Thicket of ice in the pond, the cold net
Of stars, even the hard white ax of the
Heart. A man can freeze without getting wet

Just as he can lose without being lost,
But winter finds everyone, even though
We spend our whole life eluding it. Frost
Reminds us of what is to come—the snow,

the sky, the trees, the skin, the sleet, the sleep.
How often have I woken in fear, blind
In my unknowing? The woods are dark and deep,
Even in the day; still the mind will find

Its way into the light, into the bright
Thaw of this life, where we, both flake and flame,
Fire and fall through. Let sun daze, let night
Show day how to blaze, let death drop its name.

Workshop: Surreal Poetry by Tresha Haefner-Rubinstein

Tresha Haefner-Rubinstein is an ideal person to teach a Surreal Poetry workshop at the San José Poetry Festival 2016. Tresha holds an M.A. in the Psychology of Creativity, from Saybrook University, and has studied with such poets as Kim Addonizio, Matthew Dickman, Sally Ashton, and such notorious surreal poets as Brendan Constantine, Sarah Maclay, and Hannah Gamble (recipient of the Ruth Stone Lily Prize). Tresha’s own work has been published in many journals and magazines, most notably, The Cincinnati Review, Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle. She currently teaches advanced creative writing in Los Angeles.


How are surreal poems both similar and different from other types of poems? In this workshop you will learn a little bit about the history of surrealism, its goals and aims as well as its aesthetic principles. You will discover new techniques for reading surrealist poetry and alternative methods for writing it on your own. Even if you are not a “surrealist” poet, you will discover creative new ways of using “surrealist” techniques to enhance your more traditional verses, and spark original ideas.

Here is a poem by Tresha  Haefner-Rubinstein.


Map: Something sepia-toned, full of sea monsters. It tells you where you want to be, everywhere you are afraid to go.
Cartographer:  A boy, looking out a window, dreaming about sex and butterflies.  He is looking for the right passage. He is looking for lost keys. He is looking for you.
Isthmus: In a large body of water, two narrow strips of love with death on either side. Cross at night. Cross at morning. Sleep long sleeps in the gusty afternoon.
Ocean: Something for whales to swim in. The eye of the same boy looking out the window, dreaming about sex.  A large body of water. A large communication network for whales who sing to each other from entire hemispheres away.
Hemisphere: An imaginary line.
Imaginary Line:  All lines are imaginary. Even the map is an invention, a basket we wove to hold the entire world.
Continents: What holds the body, holds the mountains. A place to find moose and lizards, tea-roses and butterflies, about which a boy is dreaming when he looks out the window, imagining the seas parting for the clean slicing bow of his ship.
Compass Rose:  A flower. The blossoming of discovery. The first boat broke through the water like a floret cutting the soil. Wherever way it was pointed, that was the way home.


Poets Laureate Read: Sally Ashton

Poet Sally Ashton, Emeritus Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County ( 2011-2013) will read at the San José Poetry Festival on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at History San José, CA. Sally will read some of her poems in our Poets Laureate Read segment at the Markham House porch from 1:00 p.m.- 1:50 p.m.

Sally Ashton is the author of Some Odd Afternoon, Her Name Is Juanita, and These Metallic Days. She is Editor-in-Chief of the DMQ Review, an online journal featuring poetry and art. Honors include a fellowship from Arts Council Silicon Valley and a residency at Montalvo Arts Center. Ashton earned her MFA at Bennington Writing Seminars. She teaches at San José State University and has taught a variety of workshops including Disquiet: International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal.


As the County Poet Laureate between 2011-2013, Sally Ashton created several reading events at various cities within the county.  She also created thematic events, where poets from the community, as well as, non-poets were encouraged to read a poem by their most favorite published poet. These events were very well attended. Poetry on the Move was another of Sally Ashton’s projects where she collaborated with VTA, Santa Clara County’s Valley Transport Authority to display winning poems of the contest inside the Light Rail. Moreover, she collaborated with local poet laureates and made available to the public, anthologies of poems read at the respective events. Local Habitations and Good Talk are two anthologies published as a result of this collaboration.


Poets Laureate Read: Arlene Biala

Arlene Biala, the current Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County will read at the San José Poetry Festival on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at History San José, CA. She will read some of her poems in our segment Poets Laureate Read at the Markham House porch from 1:00 p.m. – 1:50 p.m.

Arlene Biala, is the current Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County (2016-2017).  A Filipina poet and performance artist, and born in San Francisco, California, Arlene is the author of bone, continental drift, and her beckoning hands, published by Word Poetry, WordTech Editions in July, 2014. Her beckoning hands recently won a 2015 American Book Award. She received her MFA in Poetics & Writing from New College of CA, and was the recipient of an artist residency at Montalvo. Performances and workshops include POETS UNITE! with current United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC; Kuwentuhan curated by Barbara Janes Reyes with Poetry Center SF; University of Texas at El Paso, Writers’ Week at UC Riverside, DiVERSEcity in NYC, San Francisco Asian American Jazz Festival, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Manilatown Center at the I-Hotel, La Pena Cultural Center, APAture at Intersection for the Arts, Santa Clara University, and SOMArts Center in San Francisco.


Arlene has also performed for and taught creative writing workshops with elementary and high school youth. She lives in Sunnyvale, CA with her husband Carl, (blue) Queensland Heeler Pepper, and their three children: Kai, (aries) 16; Josh (scorpio) 13; and Kiana (scorpio, again) 11.

how loudly have you met her in the wind?

today like all other days she will chant
bleed this hymn into the mist until she is sure to be cured.
she places the bamboo jaw harp at her lips, asks you to recall

how many people in the philippines will have to eat toxic yams
instead of starving?
how many here will watch the news and rush to pack to balikbayan box
with old clean bed sheets packets of top ramen clothes
nestle crunch bars last year’s shoes
letters to nanay so that she won’t feel alone
here is a picture of your great granddaughter. here is our wedding picture.

how many boxes, how many letters beating
of the drums gongs listening tonight to this music
how many tunes sung into full moon waves lapping against the shores
of her lake a door, small something tapping against her leg

if you could understand her, she would be singing hip-hop funk
and drinking san miguel beer from a dusty warm bottle,
smoking a cigar and spitting brown tobacco juice into the crowd
of laughing comadres who have come to remember who they are

if you could keep up with her, the beating of the kulintang
the colors of her voice a dance she is challenging the drummer
she is challenging the drummer to respond she is scooping
twirling frenzied wrist neck feet into a dance all hair bracelets
beating the screams out of the slow lapping of the lake.



Keynote Speaker: Alejandro Murguía

We are pleased to have Poet Alejandro Murguía as our Keynote Speaker at San José Poetry Festival on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at History San José, CA. He will read at the Markham House porch from 11:00 a.m.–11:50 a.m.


Alejandro Murguía is the Sixth San Francisco Poet Laureate and the first Latino poet to hold the position. He is a professor in Latina Latino Studies at San Francisco State University and the author of the short story “The Other Barrio” which first appeared in the anthology San Francisco Noir and recently filmed in the street of the Mission District. Based on “The Other Barrio,” this San Francisco independent film, is about a man from the neighborhood wrongfully accused of arson. “I have nostalgia for the future,” he says.

In poetry he has published Stray Poems, and a new collection Native Tongue. His other works include, Southern Front and This War Called Love (both winners of the American Book Award). His non-fiction book The Medicine of Memory highlights the Mission District in the 1970s during the Nicaraguan Solidarity movement.

Alejandro  Murguía is a founding member and the first director of The Mission Cultural Center, and the founder of The Roque Dalton Cultural Brigade. He has co-edited Volcán: Poetry From Central America.

Quoting from the SFGate, “A poet, literary organizer, editor, professor and community activist, Murguía finds inspiration in the forgotten indigenous Chicano history of California, writing about the Ramaytush who once lived in the Mission District. His work weaves in the 20th century heroes of the Spanish Civil War, as well as today’s characters found walking the streets and riding the Muni trains. . . . He is more than a poet, being an activist with a social conscience and a great voice to express it,” said poet and City Lights co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of many people who nominated Murguía.”

Photo: Lance Iversen, The Chronicle