Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - July 23, 2010

Poetic Pleasanton

Playing with children, playing with words

Ready for some summertime fun? Consider attending "Laugh Out Loud Poetry," an afternoon of humorous poetry at Century House on Aug. 1. Pleasanton poet, author and blogger Sandra Kay will lead off the event with her perspective on the tradition of laughter in American poetry. After reading her own humorous poems, she'll introduce John Barry of Danville and Marilyn Slade of Pleasanton, who also display a natural talent for the funny side of poetry. At the Open Mic, following light refreshments, the public is invited to read a poem trending toward the humorous, or on any subject they choose.

Summertime is also the time when kids have time to play. On Monday, Sherry Weaver Smith of San Ramon led several dozen kids "Around the World with Poetry" at the Pleasanton Library as they wrote about fish in coral reefs around the Philippines and about monsters inspired by Africa. Jellyfish danced, dolphins rippled, and monsters stomped across the page.

Here are two poems that I've enjoyed over the years from kids writing about their fathers.

Isabel Brooks wrote the first poem at my house in February 2006 at age 7 when she lived a few doors away and attended Valley View. A few months later at the Pleasanton Poetry, Prose and the Arts Festival, her poem won first place in the Youth Poetry Contest. She is now a top student at Felsted School in Essex, England, and continues to show her talents in writing, drama and many school subjects.

The Husky in Colorado

By Isabel Brooks

Like my Dad does in the morning,

resting sometimes in bed,

the Husky laid down when I stopped the sled.

The Husky was dark brown and white,

handsome just like my Dad.

I wish I could be with that Husky

who was brown and white.

So maybe in a year or two

I could go there again.

Oh, please bring back the wind on my face.

I hope that will bring me back.

My grandnephew and science-buff Charlie Rutberg was only 5 when he wanted to dictate this poem to me about Ardi the fossil. He had recently heard about Ardi, who is the most human-like fossil ever found.

Ardi at Sunset

By Charlie L. Rutberg

I was in the jungle one evening in Africa

It was warm and toasty.

I stood by the campfire cooking dinner

and stirred the pot with pasta.

I looked up and saw Ardi standing there.

They I heard her squeal.

It was high-pitched and very loud.

She was hairy like my Dad.

She was tall and muscular

like my Dad.

I asked her what her name was

and she didn't know.

She was not very smart

which is not like my Dad.

Laugh Out Loud Poetry!

When: 2-4 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 1

Cost: $5, students free with I.D.

Where: Century House, 2401 Santa Rita Road, Pleasanton

Information: Contact Michelle Russo at the city of Pleasanton at 931-5350 or; or email Pleasanton Poet Laureate Deborah Grossman at

Deborah Grossman is Pleasanton's Poet Laureate. Email her at


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