Spotlighting Pleasanton poets laureate

Film screening, readings, open mic session set at Firehouse

The Pleasanton literary arts community is coming together next week to celebrate city poets laureate, past and present, at the Firehouse Arts Center.

The event, set to run from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, includes readings, guest speakers, an open mic session and the premiere of the new documentary "8 Shots of Ink," which highlights the work and accomplishments of Pleasanton's previous poets laureate.

"I wanted to create something I wished was available to me when I became poet laureate, and I wanted one convenient visual means for people to put a face with a name, with a voice, for our poets laureate," documentary co-creator Sandra Harrison Kay, Pleasanton's current poet laureate, said in a statement.

Wednesday's event is scheduled to be Kay's final official program as poet laureate. Her two-year term as Pleasanton's eighth-ever poet laureate ends in May.

"8 Shots of Ink" includes interviews with prior Pleasanton poets laureate Kirk Ridgeway, Martha Meltzer and Deborah Grossman as well as the city's second poet laureate Jim Ott, who founded the program. Ott pays tribute in the film to the late Charlene Villella, who was the first person to hold the position in Pleasanton.

The documentary, also co-created by consultant Jane Berry and Foothill High videography student Casey Boyden, features the poets' answers to questions such as "who inspires you," "what is your perfect writing environment" and "where can I go to share my work."

Kay pointed out that the subjects' "common passion is for words and writing, but otherwise each writer, each poet, is entirely unique in voice and style."

Following the film screening Wednesday, Ott, Ridgeway and Grossman will present readings as will Pleasanton's current teen poets laureate, Maya Lyubomirsky and Nicole Tsuno.

Deborah "Jordan" Bernal, president of the Tri-Valley Writers of Northern California, is also scheduled to speak about local literary groups in the Tri-Valley, including the evolution of opportunities to read, discuss, improve, critique and publish a wide variety of writing genres, according to program organizers.

Bernal will then host an open mic session, allowing present or aspiring writers the chance to share pieces of prose, poetry or songwriting. Open mic sign-ups will begin at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, in-person only, and there will be 12 spots available.

Tickets for the entire event are $10 adults, $5 students. They can be purchased in advance by visiting, calling 931-4848, going to the Firehouse Box Office at 4444 Railroad Ave.

We can't do it without you.
Support local journalism.


Like this comment
Posted by AlamedaCountyNative
a resident of Foothill Farms
on Apr 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Just wondering, why does Pleasanton have a poet laureate? What Is the cost to the city?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Don't be the last to know

Get the latest headlines sent straight to your inbox every day.

Sandia Livermore continues growing
By Tim Hunt | 1 comment | 1,028 views

Couples: Mirror, Mirror on the . . . Fight?!
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 647 views