Program Please

Sunday, Clover, A Literary Rag has a wonderful show at Village Books.  Garrett Sanford is coming from Reno to read with us. We celebrate Laurel Leigh — she is following a new direction and will be leaving Bellingham at the end of the month. If you have not heard her read, you better take advantage of this opportunity.   Paul Hunter joins us from Seattle — his work has been featured on the PBS News Hour.

Jim Bertolino is going to read along with Luther Allen.  Luther hosts a series of themed poetry programs called SpeakEasy in Bellingham. Jim’s books are many and worthy,  Ravenous Bliss among his latest titles. Luther and Jim’s support of Clover, amazing.  Thank you gentlemen.

Christine Kendall is coming from her home in Twisp to read. Gary McWilliams flies back from Alaska and Carla Shafer arrives from a holiday trip from (holy!) Toledo. Abbe Rolnick rolls in from Skagit County and Caitlin Thomson is in the midst of a move.  These writers are dedicated to the craft of of writing. Carla began Chuckanut Sandstone Writers in 1991.  Abbe is at work on a series of environmental mysteries based in her neighborhood. Gary has a new book called Anchor and Pick just out, and Christine’s new book, Resting in the Familiar is getting ready for press. Caitlin co-founded the Poetry Marathon which is now an international event.

Not to forget Jennifer Bullis and Susan Chase-Foster. Jennifer’s completed a manuscript of resistance poetry called The Tongue of Narcissus. Susan’s voice –her very being — allows the muse breath.

A shout out to Village Books — our wonderful hosts! You don’t want to miss out. I’ll see you Sunday, September 10 at 4 at Village Books. Stop by and say hello and prepare for splendicity.



An interesting word: KICKSHAW 1. a tidbit or delicacy  2. showy but without substance

Submissions are open at Clover, A Literary Rag until September 30, 2015. We are celebrating our 10th edition of this wonderful print magazine. Our special winter edition will be out in December. We encourage submissions for poetry, short stories (under 3,000 words unless solicited), and memoir pieces.  Get yours in.  We read carefully — send us your best.  For our Submissions page go here.



At a Glance

Submissions are OPEN at Clover, A Literary Rag.

Poetry Stories Memoir slice — For stories and memoir please keep the word count under 3,000. To submit your work go here.  Deadline is September 30, 2015.    

Everything is connected.

From Pierre de Ronsard  (who didn’t live to be all that old)

When you are old, at evening candlelit,
Beside the fire bending to your wool
Read out my verse and murmur, “Ronsard writ
This praise for me when I was beautiful.”
–Sonnets pour Helene, I, 43



clover 9 poster for conference_1Norman L. Green and I  represent Clover, A Literary Rag, and we will be in the lobby of the Chuckanut Writers Conference with goodies at our table.  Please sign up for our open mic reading.   Clover, A Literary Rag is available at Village Books in the conference lobby.  An eclectic mix of poetry and stories, Clover, A Literary Rag includes Northwest  poets and storytellers and writers from across  our country and our world.

IWS is well represented at the conference–this year over half of our members are attending. For IWS,  June means our summer edition of Clover is ready and the conference is at hand.  What an honor to take part in the conference!  The Chuckanut Writers Conference faculty includes people from all aspects of writing–editors poets novelists a blogger  and agents. Sam and Sally Green have both contributed to Clover in the past–it will be fun to see them again.

What fine motivation for all of us attending to bring our writing up a notch–to get inspired and to share our experiences in whatever aspect of writing that draws our time and energies to Whatcom Community College this weekend.

We are indebted to Village Books and Whatcom Community College for hosting the conference.

See you soon!



clover 7 coverIWS attended the writers Chuckanut Writers Conference at Whatcom Community College this weekend.  Village Books and Whatcom Community College jointly put on the  writers conference.  Hats off to Chuck and Dee Robinson who support writers at the ground level, and give them a garden to grow in.  Anna Wolff from Whatcom College and Paul Hanson from Village Books have done an amazing job again this year.

IWS celebrated Clover, A Literary Rag, vol. 7–its launch timed for the conference opening.  Among our Studio attendees  were: Janet Bergstrom and Jim Milstead from our Monday afternoon writers group and from Wednesday evening: Norman L. Green–printer and assistant editor extraordinaire–my true right arm in Clover; Shelley Muzzy, and J. Jamieson Woods.

I did not get to hear all the faculty at the conference; but I did attend Claire Dederer’s session — memoirs–fiction– memory is fiction.  The hardest stuff to reveal is sometimes a revelation in itself. I loved her writer’s exercise and plan to use it in my groups.   I also enjoyed Thor Hanson’s plenary talk about how the brain sees words based on the physical mechanics of eyeball and optic nerve–traveling information into the sea of brain matter. I found it fascinating to demystify the muse.  I loved Bruce Barcott’s Friday morning talk  — he told us all the tricks of topic selection. Ha!

Last evening Clover, A Literary Rag sponsored an open mic reading hosted by Andrew Shattuck McBride at the Village Inn right across from our favorite bookstore, Village Books.  This event was in conjunction with the writers conference.  Andy did a wonderful job as our emcee, and what fun it was to hear stories and poems from 16 conference attendees.  Delightful to have Dick Harris among us! Especially noted here was an appearance by one of Clover‘s best friend’s, Laurel Leigh, who read from her story “Dearest” in the summer edition of Clover.

Goat Mountain Pizza!  Our food truck on Friday.  I love you guys.

I came away revised and inspired–and eating muffins on a Sunday morning–ready to get on with my own novel revision.

Again thank-you Village Books!


January is a great month for submissions.  Clover wants to hear from you.  Send your poems and stories through our submissions manager or email them to this site .  Our next publishing date is June, 2014.  Officially we begin to read submissions in February, but unofficially the beat goes on!  So figure out what you want to send, and get it in.

Clover, A Literary Rag, volume 7 awaits, and I am excited to see it evolve.

May kindness be the currency for a new year.  Peace.


Mark Saturday, September 28th on your calendar! Join us.
Mark Saturday, September 28th on your calendar! Join us.

Village Books Literature Live hosts  contributors from Clover, A Literary Rag’s volume 5.  Village Books is the local writers best friend.  They form book clubs and open mikes and along with Whatcom Community College bring us  the Chuckanut Writers Conference.  Village Books partners with the Friends of the Library in the  Whatcom Writes contest, as well.  Chuck and Dee Robinson welcome authors to Literature Live that entertain and teach and motivate.  AND! You can buy books and drink tea right at the bookstore, or shop for cards next door.

Hats off to the Sue C. Boynton Contest.  This group of wonderful edgy poets sponsors an annual poetry contest.  Winning poems are seen on our buses and in front of our library — making poetry alive and available to all of us.  Thank-you goes to Judy Kleinberg who has helped me navigate through some technical aspects on Facebook and whose kindness and generosity are known quantities throughout the writing community.

And to the Independent Writers’ Studio — thank-you for your consistency in purpose and your support.  Four years ago I began the studio in hopes that my idea would work.  I had led groups through the Roeder Home, and made publications before but getting studio space was an imaginative stretch.  Each of you in the studio enabled my dream, and I am forever grateful.  Life begins whenever you want to say, “Start.”

We have a great lineup of contributors from our volume 5 of Clover, A Literary Rag ready to engage you Saturday at 7 PM.  Holly Hughes is the surprise  in our lineup, and we are delighted she joins us, then.

Join Us!

Mark Saturday, September 28th on your calendar! Join us.
Mark Saturday, September 28th on your calendar! Join us.


Clover comes to Village Books September 28th at 7 PM.   Eight wonderful readers from our fifth volume of Clover, A Literary Rag  promise a lively evening.  Returning from Seattle is Paul Hunter —PBS ran a piece about Paul a few years back and we are delighted to have him with us again.  Joining us from Portland is Jon Reitzel.  Thank-you both for making the trip.  Nancy Canyon, Luther Allen, Marla Morrow, Jim Milstead, and Caitlin Thomson round out our readers.  But we may have a surprise or two… you just never know.

Our reading is not all, Abbe Rolnick, a member of the Independent Writers’ Studio, reads from her new novel Color of Lies at 4 PM  on Saturday the 28th.  We plan to be at Abbe’s reading, and I am waiting until then for her to sign my book.  Hope to see you there.

A wonderful IWS/Clover day at everyone’s favorite home grown bookstore.  Village Books makes us possible.  Thank-you Chuck and Dee.


Remembering the Jokhang Temple


In the 7th Century, a Chinese princess named Wen Cheng agreed to marry a Tibetan warlord named Songtsan Gambo.  Songtsan expected to gain strength and more territory with this alliance with China. He was a devout Buddhist as was Wen Cheng.

Princess Wen Cheng lived in Chang’an, now called Xi’an the capital of the Tang Dynasty, approximately 2000 miles away from Yarlung, the capital of the Tubo Kingdom, and where she would live as King Songtsan’s second wife.  The journey to Yarlung took a year, and  through some fabled country and mountain passes.

The Sun and Moon Mountain marked the end of the Tang Kingdom and the beginning of the Tubo Kingdom.  From the summit of the mountain, she looked toward her future, and she saw barren mountains and icy peaks, behind her were the willow forests and gardens of her girlhood.  It is said her stepfather gave her a mirror, and advised her to look into it each time she grew homesick or weary.  As she gazed upon her future, and turned to look at her past, she drew her mirror from a silk pouch, and she saw nothing.  Homesick and distraught she did not return to her carriage, but rode a horse instead, crying all the way down the mountain.  Tears  filled a river called Daotang, which means Backward Flowing.  Today the river is known as the Weichi

Along with a caravan of servants and silks, her astrologer, and guides, she carried her dowry— Jowo Shakyamuni—a golden statue of the Buddha said to have been made in Buddha’s lifetime.  It is life size—nearly five feet tall. It bounced along just as she in its own carriage, ahead of hers.  The rough talk of soldiers mixed with the nays and whinnies of animals caravanned with them—a moving string of bright beads across the massive hump of ancient China.  The world itself was 1300 years newer, and the colors she saw must have been brighter, and the night sky pierced with brilliance that in this time might only be felt in poetry.  A mix of elements and emotions for the child bride  to consider. How the young bride might have cried as she huddled in the carriage as the night crept in, and the tapestry of stars swept over the soft bleats of horse and snores of soldiers as they made camp.  Night after night—so far from home—her small body the sentient part of the binding of China to this faraway kingdom.  What stories did her astrologer tell her?  What confidences did she utter to her maids?

Songtsan Gambo was a warrior but he had some common sense.  This must have comforted Princess Wen Cheng  The warrior and his men met her about half way where Songtsan built a temple called Baihai Palace.  It lay between two lakes at the source of the Yellow River. This is where the couple married. And all the while the Buddha rode along in an oxen-motored cart.

Songtsan revered the Buddha statue and to please his wife—and her stepfather—he intended to build a temple to house it to share it with his people. They decided to build it in Rasa. Rasa is an old name for Lhasa.  To choose a location he tossed a ring into the air.  It landed onto a pool of water—and so construction began.  However, the pool of water turned into a lake and continued to flood—which stopped the building process.

Some believed that the whole of the Tibetan plateau was a demon in repose—the very heart of which laid beneath the temple site.  This to Wen Cheng explained the flooding, and according to legend—the pool of water—now a sizable lake was ordered filled with earth, and  goats worked as beasts of burden, faithfully lugging loads of dirt onto the lake, over which the Jokhang was built  There were twelve temples inside the Jokhang—and these were built upon Wen Cheng’s insistence to stop the evil flow of energy from the joints and bones of the demon.

The largest temple room in the Jokhang temple, housed the invaluable statue of the Buddha.

The Jokhang Temple was the most sacred of temples in all of Tibet.

The Jokhang Temple is being destroyed by the Chinese government.