Sarah Webb's Poetry

My poetry collection, Black, from Virtual Artists Collective was published in 2013.  It can be ordered through this website (best for me—Paypal) or at independent bookstores (the site can direct you to these), Powell's, or Amazon.

It is in stock in Austin, TX at BookWoman and Malvern Books. In Oklahoma City it is carried by Full Circle Bookstore.

The best for me is if you will order from this website or buy at a reading.

The poems in Black come in large or small ways from the peoples of all the major religions and shamanism. Poems call on the traditions of every continent as well as from ancients living before times in memory. I made up modern myths too and told stories from science and everyday life.

My aim in all of it was to find the root beneath the hints and stories. What is it that we all share, that we sense beneath the surface?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Places to Read Poetry in Austin

I'm back in Texas from a year spent mostly in Oklahoma preparing a house for sale and two summers on the road.  Now the big question, how often to drive into Austin for its fabulous readings and open mics?  It's an hour and a half each way, driving back in the dark dodging the deer, but I want to be part of the community of poetry.

Sunday I attended a small open mic, Recycled Reads, on Burnet Road in Austin.  I'd never been there before, and it was fun to get to know Louise Gail Richardson and Ralph Hausser better.  Thom Woodruff I knew pretty well and having been keeping up with on Facebook, but it was great to see him again.  Excellent writing, small group, reading together around a table. This Sunday was narrative writing (though we really could read whatever we wanted). Two other Sundays are poetry, I think, and one Sunday there's not a group.

Tuesday I went in to Austin again for the Just This writing group at the Austin Zen Center. It meets at 7:30, and people sign up to attend through Meet-up.  I'm a co-leader with Donna Birdwell and Kim Mosley.

We wrote to the prompt:

The world isn't the way I want it to be.
The world is just as it is.
What am I going to do about it?

We read the questions in a circle, each person taking a line, a little like what people do in a musical round, going round the circle several times.  That worked great.  I wish we had a recording of it.  Then we did our usual short meditation, twenty minutes of writing, and sharing what we wrote.  The responses, as usual echoed each other in some themes and brought out new ideas.  I love to hear what people come up with.  Some of the responses will be posted on the Just This site later this week.

I was going to go in to Austin again tonight because several people whose poetry I love read tonight at the New World Deli for the Austin Poetry Society (Cindy Huyser, Gordon Magill, & Brady Peterson are among the group of featured readers) but I couldn't face the drive again so soon.  So I rested and swam with my hound dog Rex and began to feel more human.  Marie Cossa hosts that reading.  There are often songwriters and poets accompanied by music at the reading, and a lot of people have supper.  It's once a month the 4th Thursday of the month 7 PM.

Saturday, though, I'll go to the Georgetown public library for Poetry Aloud, the group that used to meet at Cianfrani's on the square.  It meets the 2nd and 4th Saturdays at 12:30 in the afternoon. (not quite so far for me and daylight)   Mike and Joyce Gullickson are hosting.  Or is it Mike Jones?  Joyce sent me the e mail.  Leaving aside the Just This writers, the group in Georgetown is my home group, though I've been gone so much that they might be surprised to hear that.  The theme will be Homeless, but people don't have to write to the prompt.  The group usually reads poetry but we have at least one songwriter, Ron Kewin, and a couple of people write memoir.  I feel very at home with these kind folks.

And when I'm in town I always try to make Bookwoman on North Larmar in Austin on the second Thursday evenings of the month--about 7 PM.  Fantastic poets! A big group that reads round robin one poem at a time after a featured reader. Sometimes they might have 30 or more people there, though some come just to listen. A lot of energy in that reading.  Cindy Huyser hosts it.

And festivals are coming up in October--Waco Wordfest and the Georgetown Poetry Festival.  More about the later.

Publication Links

Other publications I am associated with

Just This (Zen arts magazine and writing group at the Austin Zen Center):

Just This primarily publishes poetry, essays, and visual art by the members of its
writing group, the Austin Zen Center, and associated Soto Zen centers, but will consider
submissions from others. Its weekly writing group writes to a prompt each Tuesday at 
the Austin Zen Center, Austin, Texas, and is open to the public through Meet-up. I
am a co-leader of the group and a co-editor of the blog format magazine.

All Roads Will Lead You Home (journal for Virtual Artists Collective):

All Roads welcomes poetry, visual art, music, and reviews.  It is a magazine of poetry
and poetics, which welcomes mixed genre.  It welcomes submissions all year round
from anyone, not just members of the collective. I am a member of the editorial
advisory committee.

Crosstimbers: A Multicultural and Interdisciplinary Journal (University of Science 
and Arts of Oklahoma)

Crosstimbers published its last issue in 2013, completing 12 years of publication.  
Writing and art from it can be accessed at the website.  It is no longer accepting 
submissions. I was its Poetry Editor for the 12 years and in its later years its Poetry 
and Fiction Editor.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Upcoming readings

I'm back from my time in Oklahoma and on the road and am doing some readings here.

October 1,  7-9 PM    Waco Wordfest, Wordfest anthology reading

October 7   6 PM       Georgetown Poetry Festival, Enigmatist Reading
October 8  10 AM      Georgetown Poetry Festival, Texas Poetry Calendar 2017 Reading

October 16  1 PM       Awesmic City Expo, Palmer Events Center, Austin  Poems of the Spirit
                                    (with  Thom Woodruff, Louise Gail Richardson, Ralph Hausser)

October 22  4 PM       The Twig, San Antonio,  Texas Poetry Calendar 2017 Reading

December 10 4 PM     Malvern Bookstore, Austin Texas Poetry Calendar 2017 Reading

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Black Finalist for Writers' League of Texas 2013/2014 Book Awards

I just heard Black was selected as a Finalist in Poetry in the Writers' League of Texas 2013/2014 awards.  That feels great!  Submissions were accepted from current and former Texas writers.

I recognized the name of one of the other finalists, Sarah Cortez, who writes poems about her life as a police officer in Houston (maybe another South Texas town by now, not sure).  I love her poetry, so I feel I'm in good company.

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Friend Ingrid

Note:  This entry is also on my other blog, 55 mph.

I had reached Oklahoma and was staying with my daughter.  I had things to attend to--a reading, friends to get together with, the sudden funeral of a poet friend, and--something I had been thinking about all summer--the memorial for my good friend Ingrid Schafer, who died this spring.  The family  asked the college to host her remembrance ceremony since USAO had been Ingrid's community for most of her adult life.

Ingrid was my editor for our college's interdisciplinary journal, Crosstimbers.  I handled the poetry and fiction and helped with whatever she asked me to do, but Ingrid was its heartbeat, as once Cecil Lee had been.  She loved the magazine, the way it brought people together from all over the world, the way it wove disciplines together, the process of creating it--content and sequence and making it into a beautiful object.  It was good to share that ongoing project with her, and we had become much deeper friends as we worked on it together.

I wrote something about her but found myself saying only part of it and other things coming out.  I'll put what I planned to say here, but I think the basic thing about Ingrid was that she saw the world as one. Very few people do that.  For most people the world is divided into you and me or I and it or we and they.  We are separate, atoms that do not join.  Ingrid saw us joined.  I loved her for that and honor her for it.  

From the memorial:

 You may hear people today praising Ingrid Shafer's scholarship, her intelligence—and, yes, she was a brilliant scholar. What I remember most about Ingrid, however, is not her intelligence but her heart.  
When Ingrid moved to California to be with her son's family, she took over a little house by the pool and filled it with her books and her bed and her desk and many objects full of memory. It was a little space but mysterious, rich and dark, like her homes in Chickasha. Outside her door under the overhang she set up some plates with food for the birds and for her cat. I had to laugh when she sent me photos of what happened at the feeder—it was the Peaceable Kingdom—skunks ate alongside raccoons and possums and the cat—often at the same time. That was Ingrid. She set up a table and invited everyone in.

When I think about Ingrid, it is hard to find words. She was a person, of course, with her own quirks and interests—her fat dog Shiva and her cats, her delight in the Internet, her love of languages and ideas, the way she'd go without sleep carried on by her enthusiam for a project, her fractals, websites, and poetry. But she was something else too, a force, I'd like to say, though words may play me false here. That force was Oneness. Some might call it love. More than almost anyone I know Ingrid knew we were one—that all people, in different cultures, religions, skin colors, circumstances, are one people. She knew all the world, even past people, was one. And that understanding played out in so many ways.

We saw it in the students who lived in her house, in her patient counseling of anyone who came with a problem, in her faith in students who wanted to change their lives for the better. Given a chance to create courses, what did she create? World Thought, multi-cultural, interdisciplinary. Her childhood horror at the Holocaust—an evil diametrically opposed to oneness—led to work to reduce anti-Semitism. She advocated for interreligious and intercultural dialogue. She worked for a Christianity that is more loving, more flexible, that sees God as  unconditional all-embracing universal love .”

Ingrid was a loyal and deeply feeling friend, from her childhood friend, Bernadean, to Andrew Greely with whom she shared a vision of a loving church, to Larry Magrath here at USAO. She and Larry team taught in World Thought together, and students mentioned how their disputes enlivened the class. They discussed ideas out of class too, and wrote together. She organized Larry's memorial after his death, and even in the last year of her life she told me how much she missed him.

I always wanted to be friends with Ingrid too, and we were in a minor way while I was here, but our friendship did not really deepen until we worked together to put out Crosstimbers, which we did for seven years or so. There is nothing like an ongoing project to show you another person. You make decisions, you deal with problems, you communicate with a host of people, you create—all of it together. What I saw working with Ingrid was her respect for other people—how she listened to writers, how she helped them patiently—far more than most editors would, how she went past the formalities and established relationships. What she calls “seeds of loving-kindness”--small actions of acknowledging other people, giving to them--were clearly present in the way she went about her work as an editor. I believe Ingrid followed what she called the “Prime Directive,” of being “gentle and generous and caring.”

Ingrid shared a poem about an experience she had as a child. Here is part of it:

In 1944 when I was five
I had a friend,
a girl from the Ukraine, about
nine years older than I, doing
forced labor on a farm
where I used to play.

When the sirens stopped screaming
and we sat huddled
in the thick-walled kitchen
with the smoke-blackened vaulted
ceiling, waiting for the
hiss of the bombs, she
would hug me close
and talk softly of her home
and family
mixing German with words
I did not know,
and yet I understood.

I felt her thin frame shiver
beneath the flower print dress
and apron
as she told me of her father,
crippled with arthritis,
a gentle, scholarly man
a school teacher
who needed her to be his
hands and fingers.
"Who is tying his shoe laces now?"
she asked, and her hot tears
washed my face and mingled
with mine,
in that thick-walled kitchen
with the smoke-darkened ceiling
at Gerersdorf 1.

Ingrid has always been a force for love in this world.  She still is.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fall Readings

Readings Coming Up Soon

September 12-13 Reading and Workshop, Chickasha, OK (Chickasha Arts Council)

September 21 Malvern Book Store, Austin, TX (with Carol Hamilton, date firming)

October 3-4  Reading and Workshop, Georgetown Poetry Festival, Georgetown, TX

October 26  Full Circle Bookstore, Oklahoma City

November 20, Benedict Street, Shawnee, OK