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Alice Pettway is the author of Dawn Chorus (2023), Station Lights (2021), Moth (2019), and The Time of Hunger (2017). Her poetry has appeared in AGNI, Rattle, The Southern Review, The Threepenny Review, and many other respected publications. She is a former Chulitna Artist Fellow and Art Omi: Writers resident. Currently, Pettway lives and writes near Seattle, Washington.

Summary of Dawn Chorus

Like the burgeoning sounds of morning from which Dawn Chorus takes its name, these poems emerge from the darkness of urban isolation into brilliant wilderness. More than half of the world’s humans now live in cities, waking to the rhythm of artificial light, lulled by the hum of machines. We sense that some important part of us has atrophied but cannot name it. Dawn Chorus is a warning and a celebration. Pettway’s lines remind us how deeply we harm ourselves when we turn away from nature and invite us to revel in the rediscovery of our wildest selves.

"The Alice Pettway of Dawn Chorus is an urban fabulist and pastoral realist—a modern-day Arcimboldo who rebuilds herself repeatedly in these poems, at the fulcrum between outworn civilization and fragile wilderness. Dawn Chorus is an escape from denial: it refuses to be cut off any longer. Even as the city shapes these poems, nature sings its way back to the foreground. Without merganser and yarrow, without a rebalancing, we’re undone." —William Pierce, Coeditor, AGNI


I have the hands my mother would have
if she hadn’t bitten her nails for fifty years.
The same gritty lines, the same awkwardness
under good jewelry.
I hated her
hands, her shortened nail beds, swollen knuckles,
bought crèmes and nail files like talismans
against becoming like her. But now,
when the rough skin of my fingertips
brushes against itself,
I think of her,
wonder if she treasures her calluses
and blisters as I now do mine, if she
despises my oval nails, beneath their dirt:
a remnant of struggle. Resentment,
like a flea in the sand
waits quietly
until bare skin presents itself, then burrows,
laying its eggs quietly, knowing conflict
eventually will hatch.
— first published in Homestead Review

Lara Gularte is El Dorado County Poet Laureate 2021-2023. Her book of poetry, Fourth World Woman, was recently published by “Finishing Line Press. Kissing the Bee, her book about her California pioneer ancestors was published by “The Bitter Oleander Press,” in 2018. Nominated for several Pushcart Prizes, find her work in national and international journals and anthologies. Her poetry depicting her Azorean heritage is included in The Gavel-Brown Book of Portuguese American Poetry. She is affiliated with the Cigarros Colloquium: Azoreans Diaspora Writers, at the Portuguese Beyond Borders Institute (PBBI), California State University-Fresno. Gularte serves as a human rights commissioner for her county. She is a teaching artist of creative writing for the arts in corrections program at Mule Creek State Prison. Find some of her student’s work published in the Colossus Press, “Freedom issue,” and in “Journal X.”

After The End Times

The hour of darkness, dirt in her eyes, pulse distant, she travels earthen tunnels,
the sod roof of the mole who rests deep in his room.
Beneath the ground, an underworld where rocks and bones are equal.
Endless night turns under the mole—
ghosts of the gone time, memories sunken into long years of loss.
Inside a raccoon carcass, a dark wing.
Deep down, still breathing, she evolves her higher self—
waits for eruption, the earth's waste to spill,
reveal germinating seeds spurred into living above ground,
seed heads opening to light.

—first published in Bitter Oleander





Upcoming Events

4.14 Simple Machines Group Reading with El Gigante
4.22 Tim Kahl book release for California Sijo
4.29 Elizabeth Robinson, Randy Prunty and Alexandra Mattraw
5.5 Maria Gillan with El Gigante
5.13 Bill O' Daly and Lois P. Jones
6.10 Terry Ehret and John Johnson reading Ulalume González de León
  Stay tuned for upcoming readings by Mary Mackey and others



March 11 Bill Gainer and Todd Boyd

February 11 Rooja Mohassessy and Tamer Mostafa

January 14 Brad Buchanan and Gary Kruse


December 10 Jeff Knorr and Jeanine Stevens

November 12 Linda Jackson Collins and Kim Kralowec

October 29 YuyutsuSharma, Katy Brown and Allegra Silberstein

October 15 S'more Poetry & Song at The California Railroad Museum

November 8 Lara Gularte and Dianna Henning

September 10 Linda Scheller and Gary Thomas

August 12 Emmanuel Sigauke and Aeisha Jones

July 21 Paco Marquez

July 9 Catherine French and Lisa Dominguez Abraham

June 11 Stan Zumbiel and Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

June 5 Poetry Picnic in McKinley Park

May 14 Jon Davis and Greg Glazner

April 27 Doug Rice, Jamil Jan Kochai, Tristan Beach

April 9, 2022 Zia Torabi and Bob Stanley

March 26, 2022 Susan Kelly-DeWitt and Albert Garcia

Mar 17, 2022 Bin Ramke (a Discussion with Joshua McKinney)


Dec. 4, 2021 Four for the Quarter: O' Daly, Halebsky, Straight Out Scribes

Sept. 25, 2021 Four for the Quarter: McKinney, Knorr, Levine, Gourdine

July 24, 2021 Evan MyQuest and Lelania Fowler

July 10, 2021 Sue Daly and Lara Gularte

June 26, 2021 Bill Pieper and Julie Woodside

June 19, 2021 D. R. Wagner reads from DISTANT LIGHTS in Sacramento

June 12, 2021 Jeff Ewing book release for Wind Apples

May 27, 2021 Lucille Lang Day Literary Lectures: Native American Poetry: Traditional and Contemporary Visions and Themes

May 13, 2021 Jennifer Sweeney [Literary Lectures] To Remain in Perhaps: A Deeper Look at the Lyric Poem

May 7, 2021 Natasha Sajé and Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

April 24, 2021 D.R. Wagner Live in Locke book release reading for DISTANT LIGHTS

April 22, 2021 Literary Lectures with Maxine Chernoff

April 16, 2021 Jennifer and Chad Sweeney

February 25, 2021 Steve Cirrone: Shakespeare as Science Fiction

February 11, 2021 Bob Stanley: The Poetry of Carolyn Forché

January 28, 2021 Karma Waltonen speaks about Margaret Atwood

January 14, 2021 Frank Stanford: A Talk by John Amen, Greg Brownderville, & John Erwin


November 31, 2020 MALDEF Reading