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The Sacramento Poetry Center will welcome Mary Mackey and Sharon Coleman on Monday as part of its ongoing weekly reading series. Tim Kahl, local poet and longtime poetry center board member, will host the free reading at the gallery space at 1719 25th Street at 7:30 p.m.
Mary Mackey is a poet, novelist, screenwriter and professor emeritus who is always working on at least one new project. Her latest book of poetry, “Sugar Zone,” was released by Marsh Hawk Press on Oct. 1, and has received great praise. In addition to this sixth book of poetry, she’s authored 13 novels and five screenplays.
Mackey helped found the Sacramento State women’s studies program, the Sacramento State graduate creative writing program with former Sacramento poet laureate Dennis Schmitz and novelist Richard Bankowsky, and the Feminist Writers Guild with Adrienne Rich, Susan Griffin and Valerie Miner.
Mackey has also served as the president of the West Coast Branch of PEN American Center, whose mission is “to stimulate and maintain interest in the written word, to foster a vital literary culture, and to defend freedom of expression domestically and internationally.”
New projects include a novel she’s outlining, and “a series of poems inspired by the works of Brazilian poets and novelists.” She’ll combine Portuguese and English and create “poems that use Portuguese as incantation to evoke the lyrical space that lies at the conjunction of the two languages,” she said.
Several of her books have been released as e-books, but Mackey said that the most exciting news is that her “long out of print first novel ‘Immersion,’ which is arguably the first eco-feminist novel ever published, is being re-released as an e-book in the very near future, which means it will be available for the first time since 1972.”
Coleman also teaches poetry and composition at Berkeley City College and is the faculty coordinator for the college’s art and literary journal, Milvia Street. Additionally, Coleman is a member of the Northern California Book Reviewers, which presents annual book awards to northern California authors.
In addition to writing, teaching and reading, Coleman also co-curates the reading series at Pegasus Books in Berkeley. The year-old “Lyrics & Dirges,” which features writers at various stages of their careers in order to showcase the Bay Area’s diverse literary community has also featured several Sacramento area poets at this third Wednesday series.
Coleman studied translation and women’s studies at the Université de Paris 8 after completing her studies in comparative literature with a focus on French literature at UC Berkeley. Her poetry, reviews and translations have appeared in a variety of publications, and a recent fiction piece in Blink has been nominated for a Pushcart.
“I'm still working on / finishing a poetry chapbook manuscript entitled ‘Half Circle’ and am working on a manuscript of blink fiction (50 words each) entitled ‘Paris Blink,’” said Coleman.