Celebrate Nat’l Poetry Month Locally

Clive Matson

Celebrate Nat’l Poetry Month Locally

The Alameda Island Poets will celebrate National Poetry Month Wednesday, April 3, at 7 p.m., at the Frank Bette Center for the Arts, 1601 Paru St. Featured poet will be Emily Dickinson played by Chetana Karel-Michaan from her one-woman show, Old Fashioned, Naughty, Everything: A Glimpse of Emily Dickinson. The reading is hosted by Nanette Deetz and Alameda Poet Laureate Cathy Dana. Admission by donation, light refreshments served. An open mic follows the featured poets.

Chetana Karel-Michaan
Karel-Michaan holds a bachelor of arts degree in dramatic art from the University of California, Berkeley, where she minored in tear gas evasion. She also trained at the British American Drama Academy at Oxford, London, in 1987. As a member of the Subterranean Shakespeare Theatre Company, Chetana played the catatonic Sara in Mimzibim! She appeared as Charlotte Bronte in the Bronte Cycle, both written by John O’Keefe. She has created a poetical collage with music juxtaposing the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Dorothy Parker.

Clive Matson
Special guest poet Clive Matson will discuss an Alameda Island Poets Workshop set for Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m., on political poetry and activism. Matson, who earned an masters in fine arts at Columbia University in 1989, began his writing career as a poet among the Beat Generation in 1960s Greenwich Village. 

He was mentored and influenced by Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners and Herbert Huncke. His first book of poetry, Mainline to the Heart, was published by Diane di Prima’s Poets Press. Matson has published nine volumes of poetry and has two more books in production. He has been a creative writing teacher for more than 40 years and is the author of a popular textbook on writing, Let the Crazy Child Write

He was awarded the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles National Literary Award in 2003 and the City of Berkeley Lifetime Achievement Award in Poetry in 2012.

Saturdays with Clive
Over the course of the next several months, The Frank Bette Center for the Arts will host “First Saturdays with Clive Matson.” The complete reading of his epic poem Hello, Paradise. Paradise, Goodbye will be given in sections on succeeding first Saturdays of the month in its entirety. The reading began earlier this month. 

Treating the subject of climate warming and the state of the world today, it is a poem with a global as well as local viewpoint. It asserts everyone is in the same leaky boat, with the threat of sinking imminent, and little is being done about it. Matson addresses that issue in poetic form with the use of familiar language, direct treatment and no punches pulled. It is the first epic poem since the publication of William Carlos Williams’s Paterson in the 1950s and stands on the shoulders of the Modernist poets who are its predecessors.

The poet acknowledges “The material here is well-known to most of humanity: the world is collapsing around us. Can something be gained by seeing it clearly? This poem is a collaborative construction of ads, clichés, lyrics, laments, nursery rhymes, street slang, speeches and more.”

For more information, call 205-2375 or email cathydana@gmail.com.