October News & November Announcements

POETree at the 7th annual Day on the Bay Multicultural Festival at Alviso Marina County Park 

Thank you to Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors’ President Dave Cortese, Santa Clara County Parks and all the staff, volunteers and participants for a great day! We had so many poets of all ages create with us on this gorgeous day on the Bay. 

Over 10,000 residents attended throughout the day on Sunday, October 9th to enjoy live performances, kayak rides, a rock climbing wall, and 140 vendor and resource  booths including the POETree Pop Up.  Looking forward to this again next year!

POETree creations will be shared soon!


REED at LitCrawl San Francisco

The rain didn’t stop people from packing the house at Accident & Artifact on October 15th for LitCrawl.  It was an honor to read with Cristina Garcia, Andrew Lam, Nick Taylor and Andrew Tucker, with the fabulous Cathleen Miller as emcee! 


Friday, November 18, 7pm

Come celebrate Janice Sapigao’s new book of poetry, microchips for millions 

Hosted by Lorenz Dumuk with readings by Arlene Biala, Suzy Huerta and Janice Sapigao. We will have the POETree ready for you, too!

Details on the Facebook event page


Sunday, November 6, 11am

Details on the Facebook event page


SUNDAYS, 6-8pm

Please come check out the weekly open mic! 


Monday, November 7, 7pm

Details on the Facebook event page


Tuesday, November 8, 7pm

Details on the Facebook event page

More November events from Poetry Center San Jose

Visit Poetry Center San Jose website for more information.

More November events from Mighty Mike McGee & his Sweet Home San Jose event list:

Details on the Facebook event page


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September News & October Announcements

San Jose Poetry Festival on September 18 at History Park San Jose

This was a phenomenal day of poetry events with over one hundred poets and poetry lovers participating throughout the day. 

Congratulations and gratitude to Poetry Center San Jose and the stellar crew of volunteers and event coordinators for such a tremendous lift in making it happen!

If next year’s festival encounters the same hot weather, it’s been suggested that the theme could be “Poets in Heat” (pun intended!)


The Spoken Word Lounge at Anne & Mark’s Art Party on September 24-25

Thank you Flash Fiction Forum, Lita Kurth, Caesar Kent and all who managed the stellar line up of readers, Sunday workshops and Poetry On Demand! 


Santa Clara County and South Bay Area City Poets Laureate (former & current) met to share poetry, food, wine, projects, project ideas and lots of laughter. Thank you, Sally Ashton, for hosting us! Looking forward to the next gathering.

(Clockwise from back row, left): Nils Peterson, Sally Ashton, Erica Goss, David Denny, Stan Garber, Ann Muto, Arlene Biala and David C. Perez 


New Stuff!  SUNDAYs, 6-8pm

Please come out to the new weekly open mic! This Sunday, October 2nd, it will be hosted by the fabulous Lorenz Dumuk.


POETree Pop Up Project will be at Day on the Bay Multicultural Festival from 10am to 1pm, Sunday, October 9th. Come out and create the POETree!

Here’s one poem seeded by Summer POETree participants:


October 6th – 9th

Los Gatos Listowel Writers’ Festival

OCTOBER 6-9, 2016. In the tradition of Ireland’s famous Writers’ Week in Listowel. Enjoy readings, speaker events, panel discussions and in-conversation events with some of today’s top writers in the charming town of Los Gatos.


 Tuesday, October 11, 7pm

Details on Facebook event page.


Meet Cupertino Poet Laureate Ann Muto and check out her poetry happenings!

Ann will be reading next on Thursday, October 13th, 7pm at the Cupertino Library:

She is also leading Poetry Memoir workshops:


Saturday, October 15, 6pm

REED Magazine at LitCrawl SF 

If you will be at LitCrawl SF, add us to your list of stops! I’m honored to be reading with Cristina Garcia, Andrew Lam, Nick Taylor and Andrew Tucker, with editor-in-chief Cathleen Miller as emcee.


More October events from Poetry Center San Jose:


More October events from  Mighty Mike McGee & his Sweet Home San Jose event list:

Details on the Facebook event page

A Few Light Poems Media Poetry project led by David C. Perez 


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Reminder: Upcoming events this week!

San Jose Poetry Festival this Sunday

Don’t miss the San Jose Poetry Festival this Sunday, September 18 at History Park San Jose. All details of workshops, readings and activities on the Schedule.


Tonight at Works/San Jose

Well-RED presents Scorpiana X and Tshaka Campbell

Visit the  Facebook event page for details.


Thursday night at Willow Glen Library Third Thursday’s presents Erin Redfern


NEW STUFF! Mighty Mike McGee and Friends invite you to San Jose’s new weekly poetry + story open mic 

Saturday, September 17  Erica Goss at The Burning Tale


Coming up on September 24-25, Literary events at Anne & Mark’s Art Party opening gala weekend!

Spoken Word Lounge events listed here.


EVERY month is Poetry Month 💜

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August News & September Announcements

Some August highlights:

ICA Live! at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art on August 5th

During the August First Friday Art Walk I had the chance to collaborate with visual artist Peter Foucault, poet Yaccaira Salvatierra and musician (and my niece!) Brittany Biala for some spoken word/music/audience-song generated drawing by Peter and his artbot. Thanks to Patricia Cariño and Cathy Kimball at the ICA for having us!

Go check out the Next New Paper and This Is Not a Book exhibits at ICA.


Willow Glen Poetry Project – Third Thursday Poetry Readings

My thanks to Christine and Dennis Richardson, co-hosts of the popular and long running monthly reading at Willow Glen Library, for inviting me to feature on  August 18th. Great participation during the Open Mic and for the POETree!


California Poets in the Schools – Annual Symposium at The Presentation Center in Los Gatos/Santa Cruz Mountains

On Friday, August 19th, I had the honor of reading alongside 12-year old poet Greer Nakadegawa-Lee and Ellen Bass at the annual conference of California Poets in the Schools. Thank you, Erica Goss and Tina Areja-Pasquinzo, for inviting me to share the stage with these inspiring poets.


Upcoming August & September Events

Friday, August 26, noon-1pm at St. James Park, Noon Arts & Lectures presents


Sunday, August 28, 3-8pm at School of Arts and Culture @MHP

Facebook event page here.


San Jose Poetry Festival on Sunday, September 18 at History San Jose!

Full schedule and details at Poetry Center San Jose event page.


Poetry Center San Jose presents



Saturday, September 24, 6pm at Santa Clara County Fairgrounds (includes Poetry/Literary Arts events)

Anne & Mark’s Art Party


Got Events?   Sweet Home San Jose is a new monthly event calendar created by Mighty Mike McGee!

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July News & August Announcements

LitLumpiaFest on July 17 at the School of Arts and Culture @ MHP

Kiana and Arlene

Jimmy Biala and Bloco del Sol

Bloco del Sol opens the party!

Clockwise from top left: Mahcic, Tomas amd Serafin Riley; Leticia Hernandez, Ann Sherman, Tony SantaAna, Bill Cozzini, Yaccaira Salvatierra

Clockwise from top left: Asha Sudra, Jarvis Deangelo Subia, Lita Kurth, Caroline Goodwin, Kimy Martinez, Quynh-Mai Nguyen

Clockwise from top left: Q&A, Lorenz Dumuk, Mighty Mike McGee, Arlene Biala, Poetess Kalamu Chache, Pushpa McFarlane

One word: MEDICINE 💜
We needed it (still do), you brought it, shared it, refueled us to pay it forward. 

Please know how grateful I am for all of you.  

Special shout outs:

Aunty Mercedes Pasag and cousin Rose Cabato who fed us with their lumpia!

Jimmy Biala and Bloco Del Sol, Brittany Biala, Blake and Serena Biala for saxophone magic and music!

Lorenz Mazon Dumuk and Quynh-Mai Nguyen for offering art/heart creative activities, and my girl Kiana for woman-ing the POETree! (Poems will be posted soon.)

Phillip Pasag Pasag Photography for his talent in capturing the spirit of it all in these photos!

Ira Jones, sound man extraordinaire and fellow Bloco braddah! #22jobsmon

For stellar makers of Kuwento/poesia/magic who shared the mic:

Kai Del Rosario

Kiana Del Rosario

Leticia Hernandez

Tomás Riley

Serafin, 6yr old Poet Laureate of the Universe

Olga Loya

Ann Sherman

Caroline Goodwin

Poetess Kalamu Chaché

Mighty Michael Matthew McGee

Asha Sudra

Quynh-Mai Nguyen

Kimy Martinez

Tony SantaAna

Pushpa MacFarlane

Jarvis Deangelo Subia

Yaccaira Salvatierra

Lita Kurth

Bill Cozzini

Lorenz Dumuk 

Q & A Music

Robert R. Ragazza for general fabulousness, tending bar & desserts #nodessertuntilsecondset

and all of you who came, brought food, drink and energia to share.


Carry each other, fam. ONE love.

LitLumpiaFest photos by Pasag Photography


Upcoming Events

Saturday, July 30 – Poetry Center San Jose presents Write an Ode workshop with Sally Ashton Facebook event page for details.


Friday, August 5, 8pm – San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art presents ICA Live!

Please join us for this unique collaboration with artist Peter Foucault, poet Arlene Biala and guest artists Yaccaira Salvatierra (poet) and Brittany Biala (musician). We will perform two ten-minute sets at 8 and 8:30pm.

Facebook event page for details.

Tuesday, August 9th, 7pm – Well-RED at WORKS San Jose

Facebook event page for details.

Wednesday, August 10, 8pm at Cafe Stritch – Go! Go! Gong Show with Mighty Mike McGee

Facebook group page with details.


Wednesday, August 17, 7pm – Flash Fiction Forum at WORKS San Jose

Flash Fiction Forum details.

Thursday, August 18, 7pm – Third Thursdays Poetry Reading

Willow Glen Poetry Project Facebook page.

Friday, August 19, 7pm – I will be reading at the annual symposium for CA Poets in the Schools. This is a full weekend of workshops and activities. Please see the Facebook event page for details.


Save the Date!

Sunday, September 18h  – San Jose Poetry Festival 

Details: San Jose Poetry Festival


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June News & July Announcements 

Happy Summer!  I hope you are able to find and create some peace amidst the daily hype and charade parade. On Summer Solstice I celebrated my 50th year (in this life form)! I am reminded that what we all do to win with LOVE is our greatest force.

Right at the end of the school year, I had the honor of leading a poetry workshop and sharing the POETree with students of The College of Adaptive Arts (CAA) in San Jose. The vision of CAA is “to provide a college campus for adults with differing abilities where they will have opportunities to learn from a diverse and rich curriculum that will enable them to live full and empowered lives as successful, contributing members of the community.”

The students shared amazing energy, stories and poetry written during the workshop. Thank you to Suzanne Williams, DeAnna Pursai and the students for an incredible time!

Here are some poems from the students:

What if my cancer comes back?
I wish all the military men and women would come home safe.
If I could rule the world, I would have no more poverty.
My name is Aine,
I am from San Jose.
I am a person who likes many things,
like Disneyland and coffee.
I am a person who loves my Irish heritage,
roses, and Thai and Filipino food.
I am a person who wishes there was a cure for cancer.
My name means “splendor, radiance, and brilliance”
My family is a funny cultural mix.
The color of my happiness is pink,
the color of my sadness is deep blue.
The city where I live is Half Moon Bay.
When I grow up I want to be a singer and an actress.
Before I die, I want to travel, get married, still have no cancer.
by Aine Kline

What if I could walk?
I wish I could go to Fiji for Christmas.
If I could rule the world, I would be a president.
My name is Daniel.
I am from California.
I am a person who likes volunteering.
I am a person who loves helping the community.
I am a person who wishes to go home to Fiji.
My name means “God is my Judge”
My family is Fijian.
The color of my happiness is green,
the color of my sadness is black.
The city where I live is Sunnyvale.
When I grow up I want to work at a Fijian radio station.
Before I die, I want to go to the North Pole.
by Daniel Stickney

What if money grew on trees?
Would we all be much more greedy?
I wish stars could be collected and stored on a shelf.
If I could rule the world, I would make gas less expensive.
My name is Danie.
I am from San Diego or Escondido.
I am a person who likes architecture.
I am a person who loves sappy TV shows.
I am a person who wishes chocolate was okay to eat
at every meal.
My name means “God is my Judge”
My family is Christian American mutts.
The color of my happiness is purple,
the color of my sadness is black.
The city where I live is Morgan Hill.
When I grow up I want to be a mom.
Before I die, I want to publish three books.
by Danie Weaver

What if Princess Anna went with me to Disney on Ice?
I wish I could teach dance.
If I could rule the world, I would help everyone learn ballet.
My name is Renee.
I am from San Jose, CA.
I am a person who likes school.
I am a person who loves dance recitals.
I am a person who wishes December 14th
can be every day (25 years old!)
My name means “Born again. First”
My family is Mexican.
The color of my happiness is grey,
the color of my sadness is pink.
The city where I live is San Jose, CA, 95148.
When I grow up I want to be a dancer.
Before I die, I want to be a teacher.
by Renee G.

What if I did dishes and laundry?
My name is Steph.
I am from San Jose.
I am a person who likes mom love.
I am a person who loves dogs.
My name.
The color of my happiness is red silk.
The color of my sadness is San Jose, CA.
by Steph

I wish everyone around me could make their dreams come true.
My name is Earl.
I am from California.
I am a person who likes cold weather.
I am a person who loves to sing.
I am a person who wishes he could go back in time.
My name means “nobility”
My family is wonderful.
The color of my happiness is black,
the color of my sadness is orange.
The city where I live is full of life.
When I grow up I want to travel the world.
Before I die, I want to have children.
by Earl



Please join us on Sunday, July 17, 4-6pm for LitLumpiaFest!

Instead of a formal Poet Laureate reception (I completely lagged on that anyway), come to a celebration of poetry, lumpia, music, art, kuwentos/talk story, friends and FUN. 
Flor y Canto style, lots of guest artists performing! Line up TBA. Art activities, all ages.
Oh, and I’m turning Five-Oh so it will be a birthday bash, too 🙂

Please visit the LitLumpiaFest Facebook event page for details and to RSVP.

Two Miles East – Summer Garden Event Series presents

Visit the Half Breed Facebook event page for details and ticket information.

Call for Submissions to Caesura!

Cæsura Call for Submissions is open now! Poetic Games: The World Versus Silicon Valley Issue. Visit Poetry Center San Jose’s page for Submission Guidelines.

Deadline for submissions:  August 5th, 2016 for general public.  August 21st, 2016 for PCSJ members.


Call for Submissions to Border Cantos Poems: Call and Response

Border Cantos by Guillermo Galindo and Richard Misrach is still on exhibit at San Jose Museum of Art until July 31st. Nine poets created new work in response to the exhibit (along with poems in response to the Tabaimo exhibit that is open through August) and shared their poems at the annual Poetry Invitational in April. The poems and the event inspired many people.  I am planning a print collection of these poems, along with other poems selected through this call, to be published in late 2016/early 2017.

Submission Guidelines: I am inviting you to submit ekphrastic poetry: 1 or 2 poems (no longer than 250 words maximum per poem) written in response to your viewing and experience of the Border Cantos exhibit. Please send in Word doc to me at abiala@yahoo.com along with your name, email, address and phone number. Deadline for submissions is August 30, 2016. **You must visit the exhibit before it closes on July 31st**


Save the Date – August Event, more details coming soon!

ICA Live!

Peter Foucault and Arlene Biala along with guest artists TBA, Friday, August 5

Performance times: 8pm and 8:30pm

Free and open to the public

NextNewPaper artist Peter Foucault will collaborate with Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Arlene Biala for August’s ICA Live! program. Biala will be reading new poems inspired by the exhibition and Foucault’s custom-built robot, armed with drawing tools, will respond to the sound of Biala’s voice, as well as voice/music of guest artists, to create a new, abstract piece.

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May News & June Announcements

May was a fantastic celebration of poetry, art and community at numerous events.  Some highlights:

Legacy of Poetry Day  on May 5

Under the direction of Alan Soldofsky and San Jose State University, this annual event went big at the Hammer Theatre Center with poetry, music, dancing and theatre.  Thanks to all who made it happen!

With poet Lorenz Dumuk and U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

My family with Juan Felipe

Pachanga on the Paseo!

Hanging in the lounge before the event.

L-R: Arts Commissioners Richard James and Ramona Snyder, PLOTUS, Arts Commissioner Ron Muriera, me, SF Poet Laureate Alejandro Murguia


PLOTUS and Lorenz exchanging artwork!


Out of Our Minds with Rachelle Escamilla

Thank you, Rachelle Escamilla, for having me and Darrell Dela Cruz on your show on May 4th!

If you want to listen in, here it is: Out of Our Minds

ImagineSJ Showcase #8: Poetry

May 12th at Anno Domini was a gathering of spoken word poets talking craft and sharing work with a full house in the gallery. Panel moderated by the amazing Mighty Mike McGee.  Thanks to Future Arts Now!, Anno Domini, Kooltura Marketing and Silicon Valley De-Bug. Check out this Pop Up Editorial by Silicon Valley De-Bug.

Lips Uncurled, Eyes Forward 

Congratulations to Quynh-Mai Nguyen for creating a beautiful community space for poetry, art, activism, dialogue, food and music. The May POETree was created at this event. Here’s part of it: 

be careful with your wings. 
tiempos suaves. swaying in and around me

all the dancers come to one, two three

my everything, everything

is nothing

for once
scars are beautiful. they mean you survived. 
in navigating these grey waters

what if i knew what i was doing?
for community, for vulnerability

for full and complex brilliance

i would build a bullet train

to connect the continents
freedom will rise

justice will cry

heart will shine

my lips are uncurled
lift your head or the crown falls.

a better world is coming.

welcome home,

familiar faces.
the color of my sadness

paints the mountain mist

that surrounds you
the color of my sadness

is the headstone 

of hospital tile white,

the sallow green curtains

that did not give back

my godmother’s name.
ghost hugs. 

you will get them

when you are feeling down.

you won’t feel them,

but they will be there.

you know it’s love

when its light fills an entire community

and everyone wants to play 
in san jose, city by the bay

that gets little play,

but, hey . . . that’s okay
the color of my happiness

is my velvet coated sleeve,

and all the words 

i would bleed for you,

if my mouth knew how 

to sing your name
thud. a sharp violet

the violin sharp

enter the woman in white.

twelve minor chords.

perhaps a b sharp.

the linoleum sings a dirty song

of freedom
wings, arms, legs, heart, mind


don’t let me be hurt.

is it safe?
the pressure of approval

is debilitating

how could i have traveled

so far with you
before i die, i want to feel your warmth.

the color of my sadness

leaves footprints from your front door.

~ POETree, May 2016

Upcoming Events

Saturday, June 11 at Studio Bongiorno

Tuesday, June 14 at Works/San Jose 

Media Poetry Studio summer day camp

Also coming up:

June POETree will take place along with a poetry workshop for students at College of Adaptive Arts.

Stay tuned for other summer activites, including workshops in collaboration with Santa Clara County Public Library, announcement of call for poetry submissions, POETree at summer events, and LitLumpia Fest on Sunday, July 17! 

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