The Sacramento Poetry Center has been a literary resource since 1979.




The Sacramento Poetry Center’s mission is to promote and advance the practice and application of poetry and the literary arts in our community, to enliven and extend the cultural boundaries of Sacramento’s literary arena by creating and maintaining forums for local writers; to support and empower emerging and established poets, and to bring the best practitioners of the craft into the community.

Sacramento Poetry Center
1719 25th Street
Sacramento, CA 95816

Membership form is available here: Sacramento Poetry Center

B O A R D   O F   D I R E C T O R S

Bob Stanley, President
Tim Kahl, Vice President, Hosting Coordinator
Rhony Bhopla, Treasurer, Editor Poetry Now, Thu Workshop
Allie Gove, Secretary, Membership, Assist. Editor Poetry Now
Linda Collins, Membership
Lawrence Dinkins, Co-Host Third Thursday Poetry
Nancy Aidé Gonzalez, Assist. Editor Tule Review, Host Mosaic of Voices
Frank Graham, Editor, Tule Review
Dennis Hock, Host
Bethanie Humphreys, Host, Gallery Curator
Penny Kline, Host, Digital Publicist
Phillip Larrea, Host Sacramento Voices
Jennifer Pickering, Board Member at Large
Alex Russell, Real Poets
Emmanuel Sigauke, Host
Wendy Williams, Host
Mary Zeppa, Archivist, Co-Host Third Thursday Poetry


Alysa Joerger
Rachel Rosenbaum

Poetry Now Editors

Rhony Bhopla, Editor
Allie Gove, Assistant Editor, Digital Archivist
Mary Zeppa, Advising Editor
Tim Kahl, Advising Editor
Alysa Joerger, Guest Interviewer

In this issue, are the words and sentiments of many creative voices.  They come to you in various forms: poem, homage, photo, color, emotion, reverence.   These voices share something abundant; and, I hope that your experience here is timeless and valuable.

                                           —Rhony Bhopla, Editor


It’s hard to believe that Annie Menebroker, who passed on July 9, won’t be in the audience at poetry readings around Sacramento this fall, this winter, and in the years ahead. A true poet’s poet, Annie was always there for everyone else. She was an early member of SPC, always a great supporter of readings at SPC, at Luna’s, and wherever poets gathered. Her wise and gentle spirit will not be forgotten. Thanks to Mary Zeppa for sharing her memories of Annie in this issue of Poetry Now.

California Poet Laureate Dana Gioia provided a wonderful evening for local poetry fans at the Crocker on June 26th. Reading from his new book, 99 Poems, Gioia’s blend of stories and poetry was truly masterful. SPC was fortunate to have help from SMAC, which included this program as part of its Remarkable Artists Series. Chigozie Maduchukwu opened the event with his fine recitations from his Poetry Out Loud presentations. Thanks to all who attended, and everyone who helped us present this big poetry event for Sacramento.

On September 24th we will celebrate the annual international program 100,000 Poets for Change with a reading at SPC – at 10am we will feature high school poets, and there will be readings going on all day. Check the SPC website for details!

SPC Board members are working on many projects – Dennis Hock is hosting a fundraiser Monday, Aug 29 at Wellspring Women’s Center. It is Penny Kline who now sends your email blasts (email address), and she will begin a regular hosting gig on September 19. Allie Gove now assists Kara Synhorst with the details of membership – (don’t forget to join SPC – you can do it online from our website!) New board member Jennifer Pickering will be filling in as a host. There’s more, but since you don’t have all day, thanks to all the board members and volunteers who keep our programs going!

SPC’s Poets’ Gallery, thanks to curator Bethanie Humphreys, continues to fill our space with colorful artwork. Here’s a look at the upcoming gallery schedule:

August – Photography by Michael Kelly-Dewitt

September – Women’s Wisdom Art

October – Treasures from the SPC Archives – posters, articles, photos.

November – The Artwork of Tule Review – with the annual reading by contributors!

Some notable readings coming up: Monday, October 3, Wendy Williams hosts the poets of Women’s Wisdom Art. On Saturday, November 5, Frank Graham hosts Tule Review’s annual contributors’ reading. Don’t forget we also offer free Tuesday poetry workshops at the Hart Center, and Thursday poetry workshops at North Laguna Library!



SPC is proud to announce that Juan Felipe Herrera will be reading in Sacramento on the evening of Saturday, November 12 at the Crest Theater. Tickets are available at brownpapertickets.com for $15 each. Electropoetic Coffee will open the show. Don’t miss this very special event by our national poet laureate!

Order Tickets


And if you’re interested in the inner workings of the Poetry Center, or if you want to get involved, please come to our annual General Board Meeting at 6pm on Monday, September 12. We’ll elect officers from our volunteer board for our 38th year of bringing poetry to Sacramento. All are welcome – we hope to see you there!


President's Message_photo_PN


“Oh, a babe called Menebroker
has just turned three score and ten.
She is one delicious woman.
Manna flows out of her pen.”**

And indeed it did: manna, wisdom, wry and lively humor and the kind of plainly spoken home truths all too seldom set down in a poem. When Annie Menebroker died on July 9, our poetry community lost both a unique poetic voice and one of the warmest hearts it’s ever been my pleasure to meet.

Full disclosure: we were friends. Friends–through thick, thin and everything in between–of nearly four decades. I often say that I was “not quite present at the creation” of the Sacramento Poetry Center. While Annie wasn’t one of the original crew (who held readings in coffee shops and people’s houses, who helped take-down-to-the-walls-and-create-anew our first “home” at Sierra 2), she got there before I did. And she’d been on the “poetry scene” for quite awhile before that. Annie and Joyce Odam met in a poetry class in the ‘60s. To quote Joyce’s recent reminiscence in Medusa’s Kitchen: “She is my ‘original poet’ friend. We were fledglings together.” 

By the time I met Annie (sometime in the ‘70s), she was fully fledged: already both a widely published poet and an experienced editor and publisher. But so low-key and unassuming, so modest—Jane Blue once (if memory serves) called her “the most egoless poet I’ve ever met”—you’d never know it. We became fellow SPC volunteers and Board Members. Annie served as, among many other things, our Librarian. She also (with Doug Blazek and C. K. Dobbs) edited our first anthology (a much bigger deal in pre-computers-everywhere days) Landing Signals. She was with us when Robert Bly came (twice) to read. With us for our first conference (held at CSUS) featuring William Stafford, Sandra McPherson and Dennis Schmitz. And she was with us (ah, the vagabond years) when we moved out of Sierra 2 and into a much less settled future.

Even after Annie left behind Board membership and active volunteering, she was a steady and supportive presence in our poetry (our arts) community. In the last decade, after her 8+ years ago diagnosis with liver cancer, Annie was a wonder. She decided that if she was going to live, she was going to LIVE. And she was everywhere, taking it all (poetry, music, theater, art) in, cheering us all on.

Annie never stopped writing and publishing. In recent years (far as I know) she never “submitted”. But plenty of people asked her for poems. A chapbook, intended to commemorate her 80th birthday, arrived the week after her death. Now and again, she’d get up at an open mic. Once in a great while, she’d succumb to somebody’s blandishments and take a brief spin as a featured reader.

Early in 2013, I persuaded Annie we should start taking regular walks in McKinley Park. First once, then twice, a week, for three years, we circled the park proper + the Garden and Arts, walking and talking, laughing and condoling, finishing it off with more talk on “our bench” facing the duck pond. We talked, no holds barred, about anything and everything. It enriched and deepened, beyond measure, our friendship. Each of us wrote poems about that park, those walks. Just before I left for a February-March writer’s residency in Illinois, we celebrated our third anniversary with breakfast at Orphan and a victory lap. We were incredibly pleased with ourselves.

Like so many people in our community, I loved Annie very much. I’d like to say we had a special friendship. I imagine many people reading these words would say the same. And we’d all be right. Because, as Jane Blue so perfectly said, “Annie had a talent for friendship.”

“When our history is written,
there’ll be more than one doyen
but there’s only one Miss Ann.”**
–Mary Zeppa

Celebrating the Landing Signals launch at On Broadway Bar & Café are (L to R) Joyce Odam, Julia Connor, D. R. Wagner, Mary Zeppa, Ann Menebroker and Patrick Grizzell. Grizzell is waving the first dollar Landing Signals earned.  Photo and caption from Keepers of the Flame: The First 30 Years Of The Sacramento Poetry Center.


And we’ll celebrate her on at California Stage (25th & R) on 8/28, the last Sunday in August, from 5:30-8:30. Mostly poetry + a little music + light refreshments. Want to know more? Get in touch with Pat Grizzell or Mary Zeppa.


** From Glory, Glory Menebroker! my custom lyrics (to the tune for The Battle Hymn of the Republic) for Annie’s 70th Birthday.



P O E T R Y    N O W

2016 – 3

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My Inspiration —Nanci Lee Woody

Belfast Coast_Skinkle
Coastal Travelers Overshadowed, Northern Ireland —Heather Rose Skinkle


The Wall —Robert Grossklaus


Pacifica wave
Pacifica —Katy Brown


Enshrouded Napa Color —Jason Stephen Shapiro


Temple of Karnac, Egypt —Nick LeForce



P  H  O  T  O  G  R  A  P  H  E  R  S

Nanci Lee Woody‘s “Tears and Trombones”, won an IPPY medal for “Best Fiction in the Western Pacific Region.” She loves drawing, painting and photography. Her art has been shown in various local galleries and on the KVIE on-air art auctions. Nancy found one of her favorite birds, black-necked stilts with their gorgeous, long pink legs, at Anahuac NWR (NE Texas) on a birding trip. She takes photographs in her spare time of anything striking or beautiful.

Heather Rose Skinkle does Public Relations for the Sacramento Public Library and serves as a military photojournalist. Heather’s an avid reader, writer, photographer, and traveler. She’s working on publishing her fiction writing and has spent the last couple of years on the American River Review‘s editorial staff.

Robert Grossklaus enjoys nature and photography.  His subject matter can emerge unexpectedly, and his camera often tells the story that he himself was not seeking.  Currently, he’s looking for someone with a boat interested in salmon fishing along the Pacific coast. 

Katy Brown met Alfred Eisnestaedt when she was a freshman in college. He told her that her work showed great promise. She’s been trying to live up to the promise ever since.

Jason Stephen Shapiro has a background in theater, photography, and radio. He served on the American River Review as a fiction editor in 2012 at American River College.  He graduated cum laude from CSU Sacramento, and is working on his MA in creative writing, while serving as executive editor of Calaveras Station.  His work appears in the ARR and The Gapped Tooth Madness literary journals. 

Nick LeForce, known as the Transformational Poet, has enjoyed a lifelong love of words. He has published five books of poetry. He often enjoys taking “poetry walks” with camera in hand, capturing pictures that inspire poems. A collection of these picture-poems was published in his fourth book, The Poetry of Life.


Sponsored by Sacramento Theatre Company and Sacramento Poetry Center in honor of STC’s 2016 production of Twelfth Night.  Congratulations to winners, Alysa Joerger (Adult Division) for “Learning to Play” and Megan White (Youth Division) for “My Heart Will Wait”.  STC held a blank verse writing contest with two grand prizes: the winner of the youth division received a $50 honorarium, and the winner of the adult division received a $100 honorarium. 


LEARNING TO PLAY   by Alysa Joerger – Adult Division

The heartfelt chords of clarinets never
could complement the modern pop rhythms
inside my head. Remember when you once
had played for me in sunset blues and pinks?
I still recall those earthy sounds – so brave.
I did not know that music could become
substantial like a flooding rain after
a year of drought – or fire scarring homes.
The fractured reeds now play off-key. Forget
the classical; I miss the easy days
of pop. Our rhythms are always out of time;
my forced rhymes and your clarinet always clash.



MY HEART WILL WAIT   by Megan White – Youth Division

I hear the bells ring, taking you away
My love, this country that is my heart longs for you
For how long must I wait for your return?
In this city of our eternal love
Even a short absence is hard to endure
Fight for this land as you fight for my heart
It waits here at home until your victory march
I wait back home willing to play my part
You must go your way and I must survive
Come home to me soon, do not wait too long
This flag of our country flies in my soul
Your name always on my lips in a prayer
Take my heart as a compass to lead you home
It is yours now, my soldier, to protect
Love it like you love this land of the free
But do not forget to come back home for me



Patricia Wentzel‘s two poems, “The Scent of Dandelion” and “I wait for you” were both published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

JAMA has a potential readership of 340,000 worldwide.  Patricia encourages other writers to submit up to 5 poems by simply e-mailing them to jamapoems@jamanetwork.org.

Patricia Wentzel lives in Sacramento with her family. She’s been published here and there: poetry, a short story, some creative non-fiction. Her young adult fantasy novel is nearly complete. She participates in many writing groups around town including the SPC Tuesday Night Poetry Workshop and the Women’s Wisdom Art Poetry Group.

To read her poems, please enlarge by zooming in, or subscribe to the edition.  

The Scent of Dandelion

I wait for you

The Writer’s Almanac  with Garrison Keillor shared the poem, “Still, I give Thanks” by Marie Reynolds, and the poem, “Tomatoes on Interstate 5” by Albert Garcia.

Marie Reynolds’ poems have appeared in journals including Prairie Schooner, Ars Medica: A Journal of Medicine, the Arts, and Humanities, Tule Review, Ekphrasis, Rattlesnake Review, Cosumnes River Review, The Writer’s Almanac, and the anthology Late Peaches. She has work forthcoming this fall in Poet Lore. She is a registered nurse who lives in Sacramento where she facilitates an expressive writing group for individuals coping with illness and loss.

To listen to, or read her poem please click on the title  Still, I Give Thanks

Albert Garcia is the author of three books of poems, Rainshadow (Copper Beech Press), Skunk Talk (Bear Star Press), and most recently A Meal Like That (Brick Road Poetry Press).  Individual poems have been published widely in journals across the country, and he has taught workshops and given readings both locally and nationally.   He serves as Dean of the Language and Literature Division at Sacramento City College.

To listen to, or read his poem please click on the title  Tomatoes on Interstate 5

~ Congratulations ~