Alameda, California

ORGANIZER:  Sharon Coleman


DESCRIPTION: Jeanne Lupton, Sharon Coleman, Rosa Lane, Kimberly Satterfield & Carla Kandinsky are organizing a reading with the theme “Backyards: Poets for Local Change.”

It will take place at Frank Bette’s Center for the Arts in Alameda, California thanks to Jeanne Lupton. (510) 523-6957

Saturday, September 24 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru at Lincoln in Alameda, CA

Ten poets who work professionally or voluntarily for local change read from their accomplished works of poetry.

Cyrus Armajani–teaches literacy in Alameda Co. Juvenile Hall

Mary J Dacorro–tutor extraordinaire at Laney College

Anita Garriott–critic of mental welfare programs

Kimberly Satterfield–social worker

Clauda Castro Luna–former Oakland school teacher

Milani Pelley–poetry workshop leader for under-served youth

Carla Kandinsky–writing workshop leader for adults on fixed incomes

Sari Friedman–former community college instructor

Lenore Weiss–union political action committee leader

Oscar Bermeo–Oakland school employee and poetry workshop leader for
under-served youth

Hosted by Sharon Coleman and facilitated by Jeanne Lupton

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15 Responses to Alameda, California

  1. Sharon Coleman says:

  2. Sharon Coleman says:


    • Sharon Coleman says:

      Cyrus Armajani teaches reading and writing to young men in the juvenile justice system and fights for their vision of and full participation in society. His students inspire him to write about the people and parts of cities historically ignored by mainstream media and the dominant political culture. He hopes to draw the public’s attention to those for whom life is a material struggle.

      Cyrus’ work has appeared in such publications as Blue Collar Review, Milvia Street, Multicultural Education Magazine and Rad Dad. If you’re interested in reading more of his poems, you can check out his blog at:

       

      Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of four poetry chapbooks, most recently, To the Break of Dawn. He has been a featured writer at a variety of institutions including the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Kearny Street Workshop, Bronx Academy of Letters, Rikers Island Penitentiary, UNC-Chapel Hill, NYU and many others. Recent poems appear in Bestiary Magazine, CrossBRONX, Generations Magazine, Milvia Street Journal, and phat’itude Literary Magazine.

      He has taught creative writing workshops to at-risk youth in the Bronx,
      foster teens in San Jose, bilingual fourth graders in Oakland, and to adults through the Oakland Public Library’s Oakland Word program.

      Oscar makes his home in Oakland, with his wife, poeta Barbara Jane Reyes. For more information, please visit: and

      Mary J. Dacorro knows that whether her poems are angry or not, they inspire a lot of people (who are not into necessarily into poetry) to write and appreciate poetry. She’s a starving student, a fabulous tutor, and currently struggling on how to write an effective essay on feminism in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Her poetry is forthcoming in the Milvia Street art and literary journal.

      Sari Friedman has spent most of her life wondering when we’re all going to just hold hands and be nice to each other. Idealist doesn’t even begin to describe her. She’s worked as a maid, computer programmer, community college instructor, and is the first person in the Columbia University MFA program to be invited into both the Poetry and Fiction tracks. She’s currently co-editor of the Fearless Poetry Series, which are anthologies of contemporary poems. Volume Two of the series won two 2011 IndieBook awards, and its e-book version won the Dan Poynter 2011 Global Ebook Award. Volume Three will be titled TURNING THE PAGE: Poems of Trauma, Healing and Transcendence. She invites everyone here to pick up a flyer with the guidelines for submitting their poetry for consideration in this collection. and (guidelines for submitting poetry to Vol. Three of the Fearless Poetry Series,)

      Sari has spent most of her life wondering when we’re all going to give up the charade that we’re separate, different, and in constant competition for resources and status. She combines her love of words and of people into working with at-risk youth and volunteering in special needs classrooms. Each classroom becomes a little heaven, a chance to co-create the caring supportive environment she wants… and suspects we all want.

      Anita Garriott has degrees in English, psychology, and nursing. She has worked as an intensive care nurse, an experience that she is exploring through writing. She’s a life-long student of literature and poetry. Her poetry reflects what she knows well. She writes with strong compassion and often strong anger about her children, her husband, her patients, and her city of Oakland, often using these personal contexts as a entry into issues concerning local community and our larger life as members of earth’s human community. Her work has been published in the Milvia Street art and literary journal, Penumbra, and Goodnews

      Claudia Castro Luna was born in El Salvador. She came to the US when she was fourteen years old fleeing the Salvadoran Civil War. She has made Oakland her home for the past 12 years working as an educator in Oakland public schools, creating spaces for children to make art and volunteering to green public spaces. She is currently pursuing an MFA in poetry at Mills College.
      Claudia’s poetry is informed by the experience of war and by her work with disadvantaged youth in Oakland who despite difficult circumstances hold within them the hope and possibility for a more just and inclusive world.

       is a Berkeley CA Native and proud of it! She’s a poet, MC, tree-hugger, educator, activist, and community organizer. Milani’s presence alone fills the room like sunshine, her poetry fills it with fire. She has been writing poetry since she was 12 and performing it since 16. Milani has performed on stages large and small, for and with activists and performers like (from the Black Eyed Peas), Jesse Jackson and Angela Davis. In 2010 she represented Oakland twice on the national level. She was the Oakland WoWPS rep (the Women of The World Poetry Slam) and a member of Team Oakland at The National Poetry Slam. Locally Milani hosts Poetic Crossroads: An Open Mic with Swagga, is a Student Teacher for June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley, works with adjudicated youth with Lyrical Minded and is a Poet Mentor for Youth speaks.. She the author of a chapbook Fuego Peligroso/Dangerous Fire.

      Kimberly Satterfield is a social worker for Alameda County Social Services. After work, as a volunteer, she helps people apply for SSI, Senior housing and provides social service information and referral and consultation to organizations.

      She often writes reflections about what she experiences and witnesses in the field, as well as about the day to day relationships she has with clients, colleagues and the system in which she works. It’s a humbling process to write about these complexities while suspending judgment; this opens to the possibility for transformative learning.

      Lenore Weiss edited From the Well of Living Waters: Voices of a 21st Century Synagogue (2011). Her chapbook Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail (Finishing Line Press)will be released this October and West End Press will publish I Tell My Mother How I Found Love, early next year. Her work has been widely published online and in journals.
      Formerly a coordinator of Kehilla Community Synagogue’s Middle East Peace Committee in Piedmont, California, Lenore has served throughout the years in different editorial capacities, including as an editor for an online literary publication, the November 3rd Club, as Technical Literacy Director of the East Bay Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication for which she won a Distinguished Chapter Award and the InterCom, City of Oakland employee newsletter for which she won a CAPIO (California Association of Public Information Officials) award.

      Organized by Sharon Coleman Hosted by Jeanne Lupton

      A Special Thank You

      Hannah Chauvet for her filming expertise

      Oscar Bermeo for his computer expertise

  3. Sharon Coleman says:

    There are several open mikes on September 24. There are also many open mike all year round in the Bay Area. Poetry Express holds one every Monday night. Start going, share your work, ask to be featured. There is also Saturday Night Special in Berkeley on the last Saturday of the month. For this event, the “theme” is more than a theme. Many of these writers–all of them accomplished and published and under-recognized–do work that creates huge changes in people’s lives. I could have given lots of publication and award credit, but the focus is on change. Real change. Change that transforms people’s lives. “Poetry does nothing” is an accusation I often reflect upon, not because I believe it, but because one needs to deeply consider what one’s poetry does. George Oppen left poetry to work as a political organizer. When he went back to poetry, he wrote at depths he never wrote before. As an educator in one of the most democratic of institutions, the community college, the work I do has helped to develop the poetry I write immensely. As for accusation of elitism, these poets are so under-recognized for their work. This is one poet’s first reading!!! In crowd? A call for submissions was widely circulated among regulars to Frank Bette. Everybody was welcome to read a poem on the theme.

    It’s a shame when writing public accusations comes before investigation. “Is this really true?” is what I constantly ask my students, so they write from real knowledge and not from automatic play back.

    There are many venues. You can even create your own venue. I’ve done that a lot. I’ve dedicated tons of my “writing time” to promote other poets and bring new poets into the community.


    Sharon Coleman

  4. Paul Belz says:

    Please let me know if there will be an open reading either on the 24th or at another time.

    • Jeanne Lupton says:

      response to Paul Belz, we have open mike at Frank Bette almost every 2nd and 4th Saturday (except for Sept. 24). 1601 Paru at Lincoln in Alameda, CA. Hoping to see you there soon. Jeanne

  5. Janet Butler says:

    Hmmmm. I think poet Vince Storti has a point. I myself would have thought publications and chapbooks would have been a better qualifier than “serving underpriviledged youth” as a bona fide poet. With perhaps a theme to possiblity offer (not required)? And, I found this site very deviously – I was sent a group email from a group in Wisconsin and, as it goes, a click here, a click there, click click everywhere, and I found myself back in Alameda! Wow. Small world. I too thought it might have been (notice the past tense hypothetical) interesting to attend, and read, of course, but ’tis not in the stars.

    Janet Butler

    Replies will not (sob!) be read, as I doubt I’ll take the virtual tour to get here again!!)

  6. Vince Storti says:


    well…it seems that we have again resorted to “less is more”, when I’m sure there are a lot of other poets who desire to be included in the small change. Oh, well, nickle and dimmed again. If I don’t make it, it might because the event sounds elitist at the least. The “in crowd” again. Shame!


  7. Paul Belz says:

    Please send details. Will this be an open reading, or a performance by featured readers? Thanks!

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