No high resolution image exists...
The Sacramento area was well-represented by local writers and presses last month at the 31st Annual Northern California Book Awards held in San Francisco on June 10.
Each year since 1981, a volunteer group of people who love books – including book reviewers and book review editors – have met and presented awards to Northern California writers in the areas of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, general nonfiction, translation (fiction and poetry) and children’s literature (young adult and younger readers).
Poet, screenwriter, novelist and professor emeritus of the California State University, Sacramento, English department, Mary Mackey, faced tough competition with her recent poetry book “Sugar Zone” (2011, Marsh Hawk Press). Mackey’s book has received considerable praise and attention, all well deserved, and her ability to blend the Portuguese language with English in “Sugar Zone” makes this book one to return to again and again. This is a book to read aloud “in the hot lands nas terres tórridas” where “ the Milky Way hovers / over us like a great white osprey.”
Other finalists in the poetry category (Jane Hirschfield, Lorna Dee Cervantes and David Meltzer) are favorites in the Sacramento area.
Hirschfield’s latest book, “Come, Thief” (2011, Alfred A. Knopf), is filled with poems that ask us to reflect and listen to “the mandarin silence of windows before their view, / like guards who nod to every visitor.”
Cervantes keeps her poems to one hundred words in “Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems” (2011, Wingspress). Cervantes has visited Sacramento several times to share her poetry, often hosted by Los Escritores del Nuevo Sol – Writers of the New Sun. In this book, we join the poet and “wonder at the synchronicity / of you, at the planetary shift that shot your face / into view.” Each poem is a story about love – its silence, noise, passion and tenderness.
Meltzer’s book “When I was a Poet” (2011, City Lights) reflects his beat background. Sound is important, and these are poems that need to be taken from the page to understand what he means when he writes “When I was a Poet / Passion was a Wire / plugged into Nerve Ends.”
These books are winners in any competition, as is “My Naked Brain,” from the local Swan Scythe Press. This bilingual edition features the poetry of Leopoldo María Panero in his native Spanish, and the English translations by local favorite Arturo Mantecón. A finalist in the translation category, this book deserves to be read in both languages “on the sea sands of the night, / en la playa de la noche.”