What a Great Reading!

Last Sunday, we drove to Santa Barbara for the kick-off reading for A Bird Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. The reading took place at the Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library. The book features just about ninety-nine poets, and it looked as though they all showed up! Many people attended. Paul Fericano hosted the event, having beaten out Russell Crowe for the gig.

Every poem in the book seemed very worthwhile, and it was a treat to hear many of them perform their pieces for the assemblage. The reading, like the book, was organized according to particular aspects of the corvid family:


  • Jim Natal, “Early Morning Crow”
  • Edwin Shaw, “Crow Song”
  • Abigail Brandt, “I’m Listening, Crow”


  • Patrick Daly, “Another Crow”
  • Sylvia Alcon, “Meditation Hall”


  • Mary Brown, “Wheatfield with Crows”
  • Bettina Barrett, “A Passing Feast”
  • Charlotte Muse, “Who Knows Crow?”
  • Doris Vernon, “Crow and the Artist”
  • Noreen Lawlor, “Tempo”
  • Jackson Wheeler, “Crow Sings Jazz”


  • Katie Ingram, “The Eye in the Beak of the Mind”
  • Mary Fitzpatrick, “Journey Through Night”
  • Lois Klein, “After the Wedding”


  • Ron Alexander, “The Felling”
  • Rochelle Arellano, “Modern”
  • Glenna Luschei, “Bird of Paradox”
  • Katherine McClung, “Nephew, Blurred”


  • Robert Evans, “Borel Hill”
  • Peg Quinn, “The Crow’s Calling”
  • Melinda Palacio, “disconcerted crow”
  • Sheila Golburgh Johnson, “After the Fire”


  • Jeanette Clough, “Into the Fourth Gate: Dialogue with Birds”
  • Halle Rosenberg, “The Company of Crows”
  • Enid Osborn, “I Knew Two Crows”
  • Ellaraine Lockie, “Encounters with Crows”


  • Perie Longo, “Crows’ Feet”
  • Paul Fericano, “Curly Howard Misreads Edgar Allan Poe”
  • John F. Buckley and Martin Ott, “Thirteen Ways of Looking by a Black Bird”
  • Andre Levi, “Hermes Plays Poker with Raven”
  • W. K. Gourley, “Crow Advises Claude, the Bird Hunter”
  • Friday Lubina, “blackest bird obsession”
  • Joan Fallert, “Eating Crow and Other Thoughts”
  • Cathryn Andresen, “Pass the Salt”
  • Cynthia Anderson, “A Parable”


  • Sojourner Kincaid Rolle, “The Pallbearers”


  • Greg Karpain, “becoming this”
  • Frances Pettey Davis, “Last Crow”

Afterward, we all helped put chairs away and signed one another’s copies. We were so enthused and energized by the proceedings that we chattered and planned all the way back to Venice. It was really an exceptional event.

About poetsguide

A former altar boy and a former U.S. Army interrogator, respectively, John F. Buckley and Martin Ott were born and raised in Michigan, meeting each other at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before separately migrating to California in the early 1990s to attend graduate schools, their friendship evolving into a writing collaboration – what they refer to as poetic volleyball. They both currently live in Southern California, John with his wife, Martin with his wife and two children. John teaches English composition at several local colleges, while Martin works as a marketing strategist for a global company. John still affects a strange piety; Martin still finds himself asking a lot of questions. Individually and together, their writing has appeared in over 150 periodicals and anthologies, garnering three Pushcart Prize nominations for Martin’s poems “India Ivy” and “When Bridges Fall” (available in his collection Children of Interrogation, which has been a finalist or semi-finalist in eighteen poetry prizes) and John’s “Poem for Christy’s Daughter” (available in his collection Kinks in the Hose). Martin has also optioned three screenplays. His chapbook Misery Loves was published on Red Dancefloor Press. John’s chapbook Breach Birth was published on Propaganda Press.
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