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Former Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Sally Ashton is a poet, writer, teacher, and editor-in-chief of DMQ Review, an online journal featuring poetry and art. Publishing in three genres, she is the author of five books of poems including the just-released Listening to Mars (Cornerstone Press, 2024) and The Behaviour of Clocks (WordFarm, 2019). She taught writing at San José State University for ten years and continues to teach workshops locally and online. Her prose poem “4.6 Billion Years” will go to the Moon as part of the Lunar Codex project via the Griffin/VIPER mission in 2024.

Sky Writing

What remains to be written of this year will need a cloudless sky and the acrobatic courage of a stunt pilot twisting through runes to wrestle language from smoke. It will need a still afternoon, one from September, with that kind of blue that snaps to attention. Make it something a child can read, good news instead of threats—surrender Dorothy—that darkened other skies. No tornado, no wind. Use words that make amends.

from Listening to Mars, Cornerstone Press 2024

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Cami DuMay (née Rothmuller) is a writer from Davis, California. She is in her final quarter of undergraduate studies at UC Davis, and will begin her MFA studies at the Michener Center for Writers this fall. Cami’s work has appeared in Hare’s Paw, Burningword, Red Rock Review, and others. Her first chapbook, This Canyon Has a Thousand Names, came out earlier this year. While Cami writes about myriad aspects of life, from intimacy and trauma to nature and insects, her work most often returns to an intersection of nature, madness, and secular worship.



I don’t know who built it or when, but the beams,

raw with aging and near-stripped of pigment,

suggest a timeless worship.


We still take our shoes off and set them

reverently on the stones, perhaps wondering if this place

could tell more to our bare skin


than our godless eyes, and we step inward

looking for warmth, tracing our toes

along the scars that line the floorboards


where pews once were, in a time

that our bruising knees long for. The windowless frames

suggest an inside and an outside,


but the ceiling is open like a chest

letting all the sunlight in, and the forest

is asking endlessly, sending trails of ivy


and ushering the moss and lichen to decorate the thresholds,

to find the faint rancid oil of human touch

in the woodgrain, to amend it,


taking God back from the pages

that molder behind the pulpit. Thrown stones

lie in their guilt on the floorboards, summoning


memories of flight and purpose, the gifts

of worthy hands. And the wreckage

of the windows they found lies


in entropic mosaics, chiming scree unsettling itself,

assembling its stains to form a picture of redemption,

quivering in the sunlight,


babbling of its thousand rifts. A wonder

that something broken so long can gleam so lovely

and cut so finely the soles of our naked feet.



Poem published in Red Rock Review Issue 51: Idolatry - Red Rock Review



Upcoming Events

6.8 Sally Ashton and Cami DuMay (née Rothmuller)
8.10 2024 VOICES reading
8.17 Alice Templeton and Christina Lloyd
9.14 Jamil Jan Kochai and Torsa Ghosal



May 11 Rick Robbins and William O' Daly

April 13 Luisa Giulianetti and Terri Dawn Kent with Frank Gioia

March 16 Danny Romero and Nancy Aidé Gonzalez St. Clair

February 24 Frank Gioia and Beverly Parayno

January 13 Dan Rounds and Richard Lopez

February 24 Frank Gioia and Beverly Parayno

March 16 Danny Romero and Nancy Gonzalez St. Clair


December 16 Matthew Cooperman and Aby Kaupang

December 9 Molly Fisk and Tricia Caspers

November 11 Paul Aponte and JoAnn Anglin

October 14 Gail Entrekin and Stewart Florsheim

Septermber 30 Camille Norton and Stella Beratlis

September 9 Mary Mackey and Joshua McKinney

August 12 Judie Rae and Ensemble

July 22 D.R. Wagner and Dave Boles

June 10 Terry Ehret, John Johnson and Susan Cohen

May 20 Lois P. Jones and William O' Daly

April 29 Elizabeth Robinson, Randy Prunty and Alexandra Mattraw

April 22 Tim Kahl and Eugene Berson

March 25 Alice Pettway and Lara Gularte

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 Yuyutsu Sharma, Katy Brown and Allegra Silberstein

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

October 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