Since its inception in 2009, the Mission Poetry Series has held readings at the Mission Renewal Center, featuring the work of emerging and established poets. This month, the series is moving over to Granada Books, the city’s newest independent bookstore, which opened at 1224 State Street in June. September Voices: Three Poets for the Autumn Equinox kicks off on Saturday, September 21, at 1 p.m. with refreshments, complimentary broadsides, and readings from three regional writers.
Among those featured are poets Emma Trelles and Michael McLaughlin. A former resident of Florida, Trelles now lives in Santa Barbara. Many of her poems drip with the cloying heat of the south, while others turn their focus to internal landscapes:
A mind needs a place to set its teeth, and grace
arrives in fixing the toilet, in water
smoothing the pre-dawn fears of possible
cysts, faulty seatbelts, the radio loop
of reasons I’m needed and belong nowhere.
In addition to publishing a novel and three poetry collections, McLaughlin has extensive experience teaching writing to incarcerated youth and adults. In a paean to the inmates he teaches, McLaughlin writes:
Sonny Kurt Enrique Jaime Animal
Dixon Dave,Kurt Woody/Neihart Lamb
You wouldn’t ‘ve kept coming if you’d hated it
Now you know
Also featured this month is the work of the late poet and memoirist Kurt Brown, founder of the Aspen Writers’ Conference. Brown lived in Santa Barbara with his wife, poet Laure-Anne Bosselaar, and died unexpectedly last June after complications from surgery. Mission Poetry Series cofounder Paul Fericano spoke of Brown as “the real deal in the poetry world; a rare breed who often promoted poetry, period, above his own work.” Among Brown’s recent poems is “Present Tense,” which ends with a vision made all the more poignant by his passing:
But isn’t that what childhood is all about,
a pre-verbal idyll without time
before the snake of language slithered in and hissed
you are dying, you will die, you have died.
Learn more about the work of these poets by visiting emmatrelles.com, mycalmac.com, and poetryfoundation.org/bio/kurt-brown. For info about September Voices, call (805) 845-1818 or visit sbgranadabooks.com.