Loose Lips has received ten matching grants from Poets & Writers, a high honor for the series, which is dedicated to bringing a diverse array of the best contemporary poets to Topanga and provide audiences and authors with a poetic forum and community.
The next quarterly poetry reading will take place on Saturday, October 19, 2-4 p.m., and features writers Michelle Bitting and Friday Gretchen.
Bitting won the 2018 Fischer Poetry Prize; Quarter After Eight’s 2018 Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest; and a fourth collection of poetry, Broken Kingdom, was awarded the 2018 Catamaran Prize and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2018.
Her third collection The Couple Who Fell to Earth (C & R Press), was named to Kirkus Reviews‘ Best of 2016. She has poems published in The American Poetry Review, Narrative, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Review, Plume, and Green Mountains Review. Bitting is a Lecturer in Poetry and Creative Writing Studies at Loyola Marymount University.
Gretchen runs Ventura County’s “Poetry Out Loud” competition and is a founding member of the committee that established a Ventura County Poet Laurate. She was introduced to writing poetry at Moorpark College in 1990, culminating in winning the Poetry Slam at Lollapalooza, Los Angeles in 1994. Two-years later, in 1996, she teamed up with two distinguished LA poets to design, produce, and host LA Spoken, a poetry event attended by more than 300 of the most influential Los Angeles area poets.
Her poetry has appeared in ARTLIFE Limited Editions, Caffeine, ASKEW Poetry Journal, and the 2011 anthology, A Bird Black As The Sun—California Poets on Crows & Ravens. Her first book of poems, Unkindnesses (oldhatpress.org), was just recently published.
Light refreshments will be provided by Friends of the Topanga Library, and the reading always includes an open mic (one poem, please, no epics) following the featured guests.
TWO POEMS IF THERE’S ROOM
Rise Behind East Facing Windows
Early morning light comes in across
tight trimmed lawn, as over a sea—
reflections of sky
All of the trees surround you
Clouds burst their tops in darkness
then light, a rolling motion over
sprouted limbs, like cream poured
into a stirred cup of coffee
From your family room
you see a pale hill smattered
in tall mustard grass and recall
a helicopter that lifted you to safety after a
You finger the night’s sleep
from the corner of your eyes
Paul Simon sings, It was a sunny day
While, over the flame, prunes boil
for oatmeal— their plump, shiny blackness
bobs along the dark surface
He, silent and strong
She, unable to say, hold me
He provides space when it’s
the last thing she needs
She slides beneath sheets
becomes an embryo
He dresses to blow off steam
Door slams, windows shudder
She rises from her bed of retreat
just to fold his warm clothes
against her chest