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May 20, 2011 > Poetry at Paddy's

Poetry at Paddy's

By Suzanne Ortt

Beat poetry is still alive, as evidenced by the April Poetry Open Mic. Organized by the Fremont Area Writers (FAW), the evening featured readings by current Beat poets, the literary offspring of the original group. At the most recent reading series on April 21 at Paddy' Coffee House in Union City, an audience of 20 or more poetry lovers gathered to hear poetry and prose, and to honor Poetry Month.

Tony R. Rodriguez served as emcee for the evening and read from his new novel, "When I Followed the Elephant." The book is a fascinating look at Desi Marquiso, a rather befuddled conservative teacher at a liberal Catholic high school in 2007.

Then Rodriguez introduced poets David King, Marc Olmsted, and Peter Marti. Their work touched on varied geographical spots, including Hawaii and Los Angeles. King, involved with the Iowa City Writers' Workshop in 2010, entertained the crowd with a poem, "The Trip to Venice Never Taken," and Olmsted shared "The Trip to L.A." Marti, a close friend of Beat legend Allen Ginsburg, read several poems, including a thoughtful piece written in 1960 entitled "My Great Uncle Fred."

Poetry lovers of the Beat era will likely want to peruse "Beatitudes: Golden Anniversary 1959 - 2009" edited by Latif Harris and Neeli Cherkovski, published in 2009.

Members of the Fremont Area Writers concluded the lively evening as Bill Ballew recited a clever work, "T.V. Keeps the Lid On." Bob Garfinkle, President of the California Writers Club, read selections from the anthology, "California Writers Club Poems 1932," and Darwin Mathison treated the audience to a few of his innovative rhymes. Dawn Armstrong, FAW vice president, concluded the readings with an excerpt from her poetic novel, "Sensations," leaving us with this thought: "Inspiration is a precious gift. Who do you inspire? Who inspires you?"

FAW's Open Mics are ongoing, meeting the third Thursday of each month. While past events have been held at Barnes & Noble and the Union City Historical Museum, Paddy's has recently become the new venue. Both writers and listeners are invited.
FAW also has regular meetings which are open to all who like to write. The FAW is the Centennial Branch of the California Writers Club, and has been a recognized member since 2009; growing membership includes writers of all genres. Meetings are held at DeVry University, 6600 Dumbarton Circle, Room 204, in Newark on the fourth Saturday of every month from 2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

The next meeting on May 28 will feature novelist and poet Tony R. Rodriguez (emcee of the last Open Mic) who will read from his latest novel. He will also address finding a publisher and discuss the current status of Beat poetry. All writers, published or aspiring, are welcome to join the informative fun. Discover all the happenings on May 28.

Another monthly meeting is the critique group, which meets the fourth Wednesday at Mission Coffee on Washington Boulevard in Fremont. Here six to eight members gather to critique each others work. Contact Jay Swartz, the Ink Spots editor, at for more information.

Fremont Area Writers Open Mic
Third Thursday of every month
7 p.m.
Paddy's Coffee House
3900 Smith Street, Union City
(510) 324-8572

Fremont Area Writers meetings
Fourth Saturday of every month
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.
DeVry University
6600 Dumbarton Circle, Room 204, Newark

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