Cafe Society Event with Dana Johnson August 26

Dana Johnson postcard one-up Cafe Society is an ad hoc group of writers, poets, visual artists — storytellers of all kinds — who have been hosting #FourthFriday events at Cassie Cushing’s Kaleidoscope Coffee in Point Richmond since the beginning of the year.

This month we’re so happy to present the Northern California launch of Dana Johnson’s second book of stories, gorgeously entitled, In the Not Quite Dark. She’s to be joined in conversation by Victoria Patterson, whose phenomenally difficult and upsetting The Little Brother is just out in paperback. Her novel is based on the true story of a gang rape in the affluent enclave of Newport Beach in California’s tony Orange County, where Patterson grew up.

Join Dana and Tory for an evening devoted to the discussion of “Class, Race, Gender and the Push to Represent!”

Just Back from Fishtrap 2016

Fishtrap — located in the ranch lands of Wallowa County in the northernmost corner of Oregon– is remarkable for both the excellence of its teaching staff and for its commitment to serving its own rural community.

Good Ones Five Bucks
Good Ones Five Bucks

This year Fishtrap welcomes its new and visionary director Shannon McNerney, who left the Portland Symphonic Choir for this posting six hours east.


Watch this space for an interview with Shannon and how all this came to be.

Meanwhile here are a few of the place’s  blessed stats:
Joseph, Oregon
Latitude 45.355889 north
Longitude 117.254083 west
Elevation 4120 feet

Thanks Mary B!

The Place of the Physical in the Personal Memoir

Last Friday night, June 24th, Cafe Society welcomed Neal Snidow, whose beautiful memoir Vista Del Mar has just been published.

The book’s subtitle is “A Memoir of the Ordinary,” as it’s about the kind of normal family who seemed to inhabit the houses whose plate glass windows I’d gaze into longingly, wondering what it’d be like to belong to a normal family.

And by what seems an extraordinary coincidence Neal and I lived in Redondo, the same  Southern California beach town and went to the same elementary school though we didn’t meet until after his book was published.

His reading — the story of what was eaten in his childhood home — was riveting, so funny and sweet, his observations so exacting.

Neal also had several of his photographs on display at Kaleidoscope Coffee, Cassie Cushing’s new events space in Point Richmond. His work, on both the visual and the aural, displays his capacity for deep listening.

I wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on Neal Snidow’s work, the link posted here. Metering to Black

I hope you like it.

“When Grace at the Bliss Cafe Calls” Is Published in The New Yorker

NYer Jan 11 Cover ImageGrace at Bliss in The New Yorker

This week my poem “When Grace at the Bliss Cafe Calls” was published in The New Yorker magazine, a real and honest thrill. Everything about this has been exciting, from the first email from the poetry editor asking if it was  still available to working with the sound engineer to get a good reading for the New Yorker’s website. Recording with text available here: