Welcome to The Club!

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The Berkeley Branch is the founding branch of the oldest professional writers’ club West of the Missisippi.

CWC Berkeley Branch welcomes all California Writers Club members and guests to our monthly speaker program and affordable workshops on the art and business of writing.

Join us April 15th at 2pm at Preservation Park for

The Art of Giving Live Readings

by haiku poet Amos White.

Click here to commit to your writing career.

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Featured Member: Poet Fred Dodsworth

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Fred Dodsworth will open for Amos White’s The Art of Giving Live Readings tomorrow. We asked him a few questions… this is what he said!

What’s the most important piece of writing advice that you could give to other writers? It’s hard to start writing but if you don’t start everything anyone might tell you about writing become wasted words.

What one thing has helped promote your writing most? Actually taking the time to promote yourself. That means submitting everyplace you can. I learned this in sales. You don’t make a sale unless you make a pitch and if you make enough pitches you’re guaranteed to make a sale.

What are your writing habits? I really learned to write in a newsroom. At the time I was pulling down about $70,000 a year as an editor and my new boss, the Executive Editor wanted to fire me but he couldn’t so he tried to drive me out by making me a front page columnist [column one above the fold, six times a week]. I liked the money so I worked in the middle of the complete madhouse of a major daily, folks on the phone shouting, several TVs running, people standing around chatting about their work or this sex lives, and did what had to be done. A year later I took my first creative writing class. My writing habit is simple. I type on a computer anywhere I can but only when I have a goal. I know I need to write everyday and I write whenever I sit down to write, whether I’m on a computer in an office or on a composition note book (I buy them on sale for 50¢ to $1 each) but .

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I wanted to grow up. As I grew older my goal became moving away from home. I first moved out when I was 15. I had my first salary job at 14 and shortly thereafter I moved out.

If you could truly be the writer you wanted to be, what would your career look like? I’d be Joyce Carol Oates, able and willing to write every day relentlessly. When I do that it scares me. I lose touch with everything else for days at a time.

What other writers inspire you? George Elliot, John Gardner, Virginia Woolf, Aimee Bender, Haruki Murakami, Alain Robbe-Grillet (le voyeur), Miguel de Cervantes, Mary Gaitskill, Julie Otsuka (Buddha in the Attic), Leslie Marmon Silko (Ceremony), so many.

Come hear Fred read his poetry tomorrow!

An Interview with This Sunday’s Guest, Amos White

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amos-white-thumb.jpgFive Questions for Haiku Poet Amos White

Amos White is an awarded American haiku poet and author, producer and activist, recognized for his vivid literary imagery and breathless poetic interpretations. Amos is published in several national and international reviews and anthologies. He is Founder and Host of the Heart of the Muse creative’s salon, Executive Producer and Host of Beyond Words: Jazz+Poetry show; Producer of the Oakland Haiku and Poetry Festival; President of Bay Area Generations literary reading series.

Member and book publicist Cristina Deptula interviewed him for the California Writers Club.

Meet Amos this Sunday, when he is our featured guest for our April monthly meeting at Preservation Park.

CD: Out of all possible forms of poetry, what drew you to haiku?

AW: In 1987, my haiku was referred to Assistant Professor. Shelly Fenno, a visiting professor in Wittenberg’s East Asian Studies Department. Word was, she had studied under the foremost US authority on haiku at the time. I had just graduated and was working at The Ohio State University as Assistant to the Dean of Humanities. I had dreams of getting published in the New Yorker or Playboy (the highest paying magazine at the time).

After an arranged meeting to discuss a focus on the Japanese art of haiku, Professor Fenno encouraged me to read the works of Matsuo Basho. She also let out that a haiku contest was being held for the Department and the winning entries were to be published in The Witt, the University literary periodical.

I drove 55 minutes from Columbus to Springfield with those three haiku to personally submit them at 5 p.m. on the day they were due. The result some days later lay indelibly on me for years thereafter. The phone rang to inform me that The East Asian Studies Journal had published my haiku and I had been selected its contest winner.

Amos White will be speaking at our April event

CD: You mentioned that you want a poet elected president. What sort of unique approach to governing do you think a poet would bring? And how do you think that poetry and art speaks to the practical issues our country faces?

AW: It is my deepest belief that one who presides over others in governance is best served, and best serves, when they have the poetry of their people and of the stories that compose their land’s narrative at heart. Poets know this best. They can carry a kernel of hope in but a metaphor and feed the hearts and souls of millions with the feathered edge of their words. Such empathy begets a selfish humility—not to parrot the fears of the misguided, nor to pimp the most vulnerable, nor preen when satellites watching, nor crow in Capitol columns, but to reflect without hubris or reflex in times of crisis or great national stress, and to draw upon the image of the institution to frame one’s thought and policy, as a sound of the commons.

CD: I know that you’re a runner as well as a writer. Annie Dillard wrote about running in her memoir and linked it to her writing as a parallel form of discipline. I was a runner myself for a few years—do you notice that it helps your writing, helps you think? Do writers tend to be drawn to running?

Amos White pull quoteAW: I last ran the week my first son was born. Time to time now, I find myself buying a new pair of joggers and thinking about the throb of thighs and pangs of cold air pulled tween pursed lips.

I do not know if writers or poets are drawn to running. I do hear often that many take walks, and since we live in the most beautiful place on earth, here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we can find ourselves, bay side on sandy encinal lined beaches of Alameda to the salmon flecked creeks of Sausal and Dimond and Strawberry Creeks, to the peaks that bear spent lava and amaze those who dare lose themselves if but for a few hours wrapped in a Redwood’s embrace.

CD: Do you prefer to write pieces to be read aloud, or read silently, and why?

AW: I have never contemplated this. I write because an experience from without has moved me within, and that feeling within I want to share so precisely shape that you know where I’ve been.

CDIt’s become a cliché that poetry can’t sell, that poets have to have day jobs, that people don’t often read and think they can’t understand poetry. So in today’s world, how and where can a writer who’s primarily a poet have an influence? Or should a writer just write and not worry about their influence?

AW: Poets have influence because they are poets. To be a poet is our point of differentiation. Poet means “maker.” We make worlds from words and we make futures when we fashion and code our images to page or mindful listeners. We capture time to memorialize an occasion or celebration or to give rise to our eyes cast low from forgetting the meaning of horizon, it is a gift to be able to share so little that can mean so much to so many in so few words. To write *is* to influence: the world, and yet the universe itself has changed, and Heidegger’s cat rolls twice on pages and screens with every dappled character that only we poets dreamed to be that was not there moments before.

 

Join Us This Sunday, April 15, When Amos Speaks to the Berkeley CWC on The Art of Giving Live Readings

Come hear this engaging and educational speaker to learn how the subtleties of tone and time can move an audience with but a word. Find out how to find open mic readings and learn to perform like a pro. Amos will teach us the dos and don’ts of reading etiquette and even how to host your own literary readings. Bring a small poem or a written paragraph of fiction, nonfiction, etc. to practice reading aloud.

Learn more or Say you’re coming on Facebook.

About Amos White: about.me/amoswhite or follow him on Facebook.

 

April 21st Location for Our Five-Page Critique Group

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Improve your writing - Critique Group April 21st

Don’t forget our members have access to a five-page critique group!

Later in the summer they will meet at the Rockridge library, but for the April meeting on April 21st they will meet at the Fourth District HQ Building. Please RSVP if you want to attend  by this Saturday, April 14th, by contacting Bob at newsjazz4@aol.com.

Participating in the Five-page Critique Group

You do not have to bring writing to participate, you may attend and critique the work of others if you prefer. If you bring writing, you may bring up to five pages of any kind of prose, double-spaced manuscript style, text no smaller than 12 pt. Times New Roman, 1-inch margins, no extra spaces between indented paragraphs, except for change of scene. Let readers know if you’re offering fiction or nonfiction. Add a short synopsis if your writing is from a longer work. Bring 13 copies.

Only eight submitters are reviewed per meeting, first come, first served. So RSVP now!

Participants read silently on-site, marking pages, and discussion follows. Readers sign the drafts they have worked on. For more information contact Ann at writefox@aol.com.

Directions to the April 21st Critique Group

The address is 111 Grand Avenue in Oakland, at the corner of Grand and Webster. Parking is limited to street parking and one corner garage.

The #12 AC transit bus stops right at the building. Depending on where you live in the East Bay, you should be either close to the #12 or close to another bus that intersects with the line. The #12 is also right next to 12th Street/Civic Center BART station.

The building is four blocks away from 19th Street BART station. AC Transit’s NL bus also stops at 19th Street BART. Several buses run up and down Broadway, which is just one block away, and Telegraph, which is two blocks away.

The location is near bicycle racks and a Ford GoBike station.


If your draft is finished and ready for the world, consider our next meeting on the Art of Live Readings. Get your writing out there!

April 15th: The Art of Giving Live Readings with Amos White

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Amos White will be speaking at our April event

amos-white-thumb.jpgAMOS WHITE, Haiku poet, author and speaker
on The Art of Giving Live Readings

Sunday, April 15
1204 Preservation Parkway,
Oakland, CA 94612

Come hear this engaging and educational speaker to learn how the subtleties of tone and time can move an audience with but a word.

At the presentation you will learn:
* How to perform like a pro
* How to find open mics readings
* The dos & don’ts of reading etiquette
* How to host your own local literary readings

Bring a small poem or a written paragraph of fiction, nonfiction, etc. to practice reading aloud.

About Our Featured Guest, Amos White

Amos White is an awarded American haiku poet and author, producer and activist, recognized for his vivid literary imagery and breathless poetic interpretations. Amos is published in several national and international reviews and anthologies. He is Founder and Host of the Heart of the Muse creative’s salon, Executive Producer and Host of Beyond Words: Jazz+Poetry show; Producer of the Oakland Haiku and Poetry Festival; President of Bay Area Generations literary reading series.

Learn more about Amos White at: about.me/amoswhite or follow him on Facebook.

 

But Wait, There’s More!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…

Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this.

MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Group
2:00–2:30 – Break, Book Sale
2:30–3:00 – Announcements

Featured Speakers

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member Fred Dodsworth
3:15–4:00 – Featured Speaker Amos White

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

Our meetings are right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

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Save the date for our April 15th Event on Giving Live Readings

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Amos White will be speaking at our April event

For poetry month we welcome Amos White to speak to the Berkeley CWC on joining and succeeding at giving public readings. Amos White will share with us tips on securing public readings, as well as how to make a big splash once you walk on stage.

If you’ve ever met Amos White, you’ll know why we asked him to speak for poetry month. He’s active in the Bay Area literary scene, and he’s a charming guy who lights up the room. Don’t know Mr. White? Come join us this April and find out how you to can become the kind of reader who owns the stage and the room. As usual, we’ll also have support groups to discuss craft and marketing issues. Snacks, coffee, and plenty of networking opportunities at every meeting.

Our meetings are the third Sunday of every month, so mark your calendar for April 15th. If you use Google Calendar, you can subscribe to our calendar so you get notifications for every meeting. Our meetings are at Preservation Park, from 12-4. More info to come!

Say you’re coming on Facebook!

See You Sunday! Bookstore Owners Panel

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No one knows the book biz like the people who handle books every day. Come and hear what local bookstore owners have to say about their life behind the counter, in the stacks, reading the industry rags and catalogs catalogs catalogs. How does YOUR book fit in to the bookstore universe? Bring questions and be prepared to take lots of notes! Now here’s President Kristen’s column from this month’s newsletter….

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Wind in Your Sails

Some words from your president

One of my happiest moments as a writer was my first book launch at Laurel Bookstore. There were so many lumps and bumps to the process, but Luan was so encouraging. “Fun will not be denied,” she declared! I learned so much from her, and continue to learn. Now you can, too!

Instead of having one speaker at our March 18th meeting, we’ll have three local bookstore owners. Our speaker chair, Kymberlie Ingalls, will be moderating a conversation between Luan Stauss of Laurel Bookstore, Kathleen Caldwell of A Great Good Place for Books, and Bob Fisher of Walden Pond.  All of these beloved business leaders are incredibly supportive of local authors!

We’ll be talking about their roles as bookstore owners/buyers, and their relationship with authors. They will offer tips and advice for writers who wish to cultivate a relationship with a bookstore, how they deal with Amazon authors, and much more.

Then mark your calendars for Saturday, June 16th, when all of our club authors will celebrate recently published titles at our end-of-year party at Laurel Bookstore!

Between now and then, we will continue to grow our club in leaps and bounds. (Did you know we started the year with 60 members and now have 90?) It’s time to select the new leaders who will help our branch work smoothly and happily next year. What are your skills and how can they help the club? What would you like to learn? Hosting events? Talking to people? Are you any good at writing? There are lots of jobs for that! Contact Nomination Committee chair Christine Volker for information.

Sail On,

Kristen Caven

Kristen at the Helm… hang on!

 

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