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Pleasanton Weekly

Arts & Entertainment - January 28, 2011

Poetic Pleasanton

The hero's journey

The Firehouse Arts Center was once home to some of Pleasanton's finest heroes. On Friday evening, Feb. 18, come hear some of the best Bay Area writers speak at our Literary Evening on "The Myth & Reality of the Hero & the Anti-Hero." Cher Wollard, Livermore Poet Laureate, and I are hosting this event, which begins with a cheese and no-host wine reception from 7:30-8 p.m. followed by the reading from 8-10 p.m. and then an authors' book signing.

Narrator Robert Eastwood, award-winning poet from San Ramon, will weave his original and other writings on the heroic and anti-heroic traditions with those of a dozen highly-acclaimed writers invited to contribute to the theme.

Highlights of the Literary Evening will include poetry and prose by Pleasanton writers such as Fred Norman, writer and a founding member of the Tri-Valley California Writers Club; Liz Fortini, poet, prose author and publisher of www.languageandculture.net; Kirk Ridgeway, Pleasanton's third Poet Laureate (2003-05) of Davis, who led many Literary Evenings in Pleasanton, and the Pleasanton Teen Poets Laureate (2010-11): Mitch Grimes, Noelle Malindzak and Vivian Tsai.

Other acclaimed writers include Lynne Knight of Berkeley; Connie Post, Poet Laureate Emerita of Livermore; Lee Rossi of San Carlos; David Alpaugh of Pleasant Hill; Jannie Dresser of Crockett, publisher/editor of the Bay Area Poets Seasonal Review (http://bayareapoetsreview.com); freelance journalist Aleta George of Suisun City, who is authoring a book about California's first Poet Laureate, Ina Coolbrith; and Las Positas College student Samantha Kennedy of Livermore.

Andy Jorgensen, former Pleasanton Civic Arts Manager, retired at the end of 2010. Andy was a true hero to the Poet Laureate program. Given that Andy was a huge supporter for the city's six Poets Laureate, we each wrote him six lines to honor his achievements to keep the literary fires burning in the city. We also chose six lines from a poem by Pleasanton's first Poet Laureate Charlene Villella, who is deceased. Here is my mini-sonnet contribution to Andy with reference to the new chapter in his life with his wife Hope.

Ode to Andy Jorgensen

Oh, A.J., how you've played the role of Sun,

warming Lilliputian planets by your orb's light.

Your rays, a bastion of common sense and fun,

coaching poetic and thespian stars to stages bright.

May the Sun now warm your dreams and days

with Hope and universe of wondrous ways.

Cost: $5; students, free, at the Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave., Pleasanton. Visit www.firehousearts.org.

Deborah Grossman is Pleasanton's Poet Laureate. Email her at pleasantonpoetry@gmail.com.

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