Stan Zumbiel and Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

Saturday June 11 at 4:00 PM

The Library of Musiclandria

1219 S Street

Sacramento, CA

Stan Zumbiel taught English in middle and high school for thirty-five years yet doesn’t have the slightest idea how he got to be old. He served on the board of the Sacramento Poetry Center for 25 years. In January 2008 he received his MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Random Lane Press published his first book, Standing Watch in 2016. His most recent collection, Hat Full of Leaves, was published by Cold River Press in January. His poems have appeared in Nimrod, Primal Urge, Convergence, Sacramento Voices, Medusa’s Kitchen, and others.

from A Hat Full of Leaves:

Eating Lunch at Dante’s Tomb

Light, straight and hot, projects shadows directly beneath
where a couple sits under an even row of olive trees
on a white stone bench carved to look old.

She wears sandals and a long, loose denim skirt,
her hair in a single braid down her back. He sits
in profile, gray hair escapes in thin wisps from his straw hat.

They break out a narrow loaf of bread, a small round of Romano,
a half liter of red wine in a green bottle with a screw top,
and two plums. She spreads a paper napkin between them,

sits cross legged, skirt stretched tight across her knees
and puts small pieces of white cheese on the bread. The Comedy
sits open on his lap: St. Bernard begins to pray in the Ravenna sun.

Looking for the knife edge of the light, Dante walked
these same streets, felt the same straight sun, searched for words,
found the stars and filled the vast emptiness of heaven.

She offers the last of the wine, opens the dark mouth
of each plum, preserving the hard clean seeds.

Her sweet fingers give him a glistening half.

—Stan Zumbiel

Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas is a recent graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA in Writing program. She is the author of sixteen poetry collections, including several chapbooks. Her latest full-length collection Alice in Ruby Slippers was a grand prize finalist in the 2021 Eric Hoffer Book Awards. In 2019 her book Epitaph for the Beloved was nominated for the Northern California Book Awards. In 2018, her book In the Making of Goodbyes was nominated for the CLMP Firecracker Award in Poetry, and in 2011 her chapbook Before I Go to Sleep was the winner of the Red Ochre Chapbook contest. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming in some of the following journals or websites: Verse Daily, Redactions: Poetry and Prose, Talking River Review, The Coachella Review, The Comstock Review, and many more. She has served as Editor-in-chief for The Orchards Poetry Journal, Tule Review, and is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Sacramento Poetry Center. She is an eleven-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a seven-time Best of the Net nominee. She lives in the Sierra Foothills with her husband, her little dog Zuzu and a twenty-year-old cockatoo named Sugar Pie.

A Chance of Memories

Have you ever slept naked in the moonlight
or opened your legs to a stranger under
the shadow of trees or shut your body
one thigh over the other when a lover
tried to adore you, or slept under an arbor
with ants crawling over your stomach
a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in your hand,
or threatened to break the mirror holding
an imperfect reflection having assumed
you were more beautiful than that or peed
on yourself in the middle of a movie that was
too good to wait for intermission—
or almost drown while surfing in the ocean
the memory of breakers still thrashing
you at night, or picked the scab on your knee
deliberately to watch the fresh blood drip
down your shin bone all the way to the curve
of your ankle and had the sweetest memory
of your mother being there to bandage you
kiss your cheek and say everything will be,ok?