Book Bash in Neighboring Minnesota a Huge Success!

Marianne Murphy Zarzana (left) and Ruby Wilson (right)

Last Saturday night Trev’s Kitchen in Lynd, MN, was packed to hear area poets read from Poetry of Presence. Our thanks to contributing poet Marianne Murphy Zarzana for organizing the event, to all the poets who graced the stage, and to everyone who turned out to listen. It was a great way to start the New Year!

Click the play button below if you’d like to hear a radio interview with Marianne and us editors that helped promote the Bash.

“Bashers” Offer Heartfelt Wish for the World

The Poetry of Presence Book Bash was held at the Brookings (SD) Arts Council this past Saturday. In addition to great music by Green & Snow and delicious food, we enjoyed poetry readings from the book and the drawing of whimsical door prizes. Contributing poet Marianne Murphy Zarzana joined us from Minnesota for the occasion. She not only shared her anthologized poems but had a vital role in a wonderful experiment.

Marianne Murphy Zarzana (photo credit: James Zarzana)

During the Bash we invited everyone to jot down a wish for the world and drop it into one of the many collection bowls around the room. With about twenty minutes left in the event, we gathered all the wishes that had been offered. Marianne retreated with them to a quiet place and creatively assembled them into a community poem, which she read to conclude the Bash. It was a very powerful experience.

We want to thank Marianne for her willingness to engage in this adventure. Thanks, too, to those “Bashers” who contributed to the making of the poem, which Marianne titled “Our Wish for the World.”

We’ll be finding various ways to share this poem with the public. For now, we’re happy to share it with you. Feel free to download your own copy here. Maybe share it with a friend? Remember: “The end of the poem is just the beginning.”


Our Wish for the World

We wish the world would turn
from force toward feeling,

that everyone could be fed—
body, mind and soul.

We wish we could approach
our problems and conflicts
by tapping deep into our creativity.

We wish that all could feel the sun
of friendship warm upon their faces,

that we could see and speak of the beauty
around us and within all people.

We wish that we could put ourselves into the shoes
of those around us, walk at least a mile,

that kindness, compassion and peace
received more attention than
hatred and greed.

We wish our skin color and gender did not
matter, that we could all be accepted
for exactly who we are.

We wish the stuff that is no longer alive
could come back to life, resurrect.

We wish that we could learn to create
common ground rather than standing
only on our own ground.

We wish that we could transform
terror, watch it disappear,

that we could let go of all the distractions
that keep us separate and lonely.

We wish we could be grateful
for everything, and be kind
to every living creature.

We wish we could forgive ourselves
and others, and we could all
be free.

SoCalPoFest to Feature “Poetry of Presence” Ensemble Reading

The second annual Southern California Poetry Festival (SoCalPoFest) will be held on October 28th and 29th on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College, one of the largest junior colleges in Southern California.

Some highlights of this year’s event include readings by out-of-towners Kaveh Akbar, Rachel McKibbens, and Maggie Smith; a reading under the canned stars in the Randall Planetarium featuring local luminaries; professors and students reading from the grad programs at USC, Chapman, Cal State Long Beach, and UC Irvine; an ensemble reading of poets featured in the new anthology Poetry of Presence, including special out-of-town guest, Barbara Crooker; and so, so much more. There are approximately sixty local and visiting poets participating in this year’s event. Read the full schedule, or learn more bout this year’s participants.

Tickets for the event are free to the public; however, the planetarium reading includes a $3 admission fee, which goes towards its upkeep as well as their public outreach events. The most direct way to order your tickets is to visit our Facebook page, which you can do by clicking here. We’d love it if you could spread the word to the poetry lovers in your circle.

–submitted by Sonia Greenfield
Editor, Rise Up Review
Co-Director, Southern California Poetry Festival

Southern California Poetry Festival to Host POP Reading

Plans are in the works for a major Poetry of Presence reading at the Southern California Poetry Festival. The Festival will be held October 28-29 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA.

The reading will feature a number of POP authors and be the culminating event of the Festival. More details to come as we learn them. Our thanks to the Festival organizers, Donna Hilbert and Sonia Greenfield, for their generous support of mindfulness poetry.