Alameda Poet Andrena Zawinski

     On Thursday, March 15, at 7:30pm The Third Thursday Poetry & Jazz Reading Series at 215 Main in Point Arena will feature Alameda poet Andrena Zawinski. The reading will begin with live improv jazz and an open mic with jazz improv; the reading will conclude with more live improv jazz.

     Andrena Zawinski is an award winning poet and educator. Landings is her latest poetry collection (Kelsay Books, Hemet, CA, (2017). Her previous book, Something About (Blue Light Press, San Francisco), is a 2010 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award recipient for excellence in literature. Her first collection, Traveling in Reflected Light (Pig Iron Press, Youngstown, OH, 1995), was a Kenneth Patchen competition winner. She has additionally authored four chapbooks. Zawinski compiled and edited Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women’s Poetry (Scarlet Tanager Books, Oakland, CA, 2012).

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     Her poems have won awards for free verse, lyricism, form, poetry of social concern and have appeared in numerous literary journals and magazines including Quarterly West, Gulf Coast, Nimrod,  Blue Collar Review, Paterson Literary Review, Progressive Magazine, Pacific Review, and others. Her poetry has been widely anthologized in American Society: What Poets See, Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland, So Luminous the Wildflowers Anthology of California Poets, Veils Halos and Shackles, Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence, Raising Lily Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workplace, and in many more.

     Zawinski has contributed as Features Editor to PoetryMagazine.com since 2000, showcasing emerging and celebrated poets with equal attention. She is on the Poetry Board for The Literary Nest. She also founded and runs the San Francisco Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon since 2007, a social group that brings together a diversity of talented and accomplished poets.

     Zawinski has a long legacy of feminist organizing consciousness raising and direction action groups in the Women Against Violence Against Women Movement. She co-founded Women Against Sexist Violence in Pornography and Media along with the Radical Feminist Organizing Committee. She was a founding collective member of the Gertrude Stein Memorial Bookshop and worked as manager of the cultural feminist collective, Wildsisters, Inc. Zawinski remains committed to poetry and the condition of women and the working class worldwide.

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     Before becoming a widely published poet, Zawinski taught at Allegheny Community College, in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, for the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project and International Poetry Forum, for the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and at the University of Pittsburgh from which she holds degrees. She recently retired as a popular English composition and creative writing instructor at Laney College in Oakland, CA.

Of her work, Len Roberts described her poetry as “strongly imagistic and tightly rhythmical” while Lynn Emanuel characterizes her writing as "an articulate, urbane, sophisticated voice ...[that] seethes with savvy...packed with a bristling ironic intelligence.” Grace Cavalieri calls Zawinski “the poet we find when we’re in luck.” Of her latest collection, Landings, Marin, CA Poet Laureate Rebecca Foust has deemed the collection as “...Part paean and elegy to what was, part lyric and dirge to what is, Landings asks the question of what remains—where we land—after great loss, then answers the question in poem after glowing poem...a book that offers wisdom and solace and one you will take comfort in reading again and again.” Author and Editor Carolyne Wright has said that “Zawinski knows that the missing are never wholly gone, and despite the frequent harshness of human interaction, in these Landings, she embraces the richness of human experience, and praises the courage of those who go on living as if they could do anything. Jan Beatty, Creative Writing Program Director at Carlow University, has said: “...Zawinski’s is the necessary voice of the truth teller, speaking trouble among the beauty. These poems breathe compassion with no borders... In these brave poems, the blood moon blazes red-orange/sunbeams at its edges—as we feel the fire of brutality, the heat of desire and great loss, and the colors spreading out onto our fragile, beautiful lives."

 

Third Thursday Poetry & Jazz is supported by The Third Thursday Poetry Group, many anonymous donors, and Poets & Writers, Inc. through a grant it has received from The James Irvine Foundation.

 

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