The Third Thursday Poetry & Jazz Reading Series Features Sonoma County Poet Ida Egli
On Thursday, September 21, at 7:30pm The Third Thursday Poetry & Jazz Reading Series at 215 Main in Point Arena will feature Sonoma County poet Ida Egli.
The descendant of Gold Rush immigrants, Ida Rae Egli has always enjoyed the comfort and intrigue that is California—except when traveling the world. Raised in Potter Valley, in Mendocino County, she owned a business in Ukiah for a decade before returning to university to finish her masters and move into community college teaching at Mendocino College and finally full-time at Santa Rosa Junior College, where she was chair of the English Department.
She became interested in women writing in early California while researching her Master’s thesis, drawing from local resources, historical society archives, and Bancroft and Huntington libraries the long-forgotten stories, poetry, and journal sketches of women living in California during the gold rush period. She turned her research into No Rooms of Their Own: Women Writers of Early California, 1848-1869, and Women of the Gold Rush: "The New Penelope" and Other Stories, published by Heyday Books in Berkeley. She promoted her books and the literary history of California through book tours and speaking engagements up and down the state.
Egli was inspired while on sabbatical for a year in Greece to create a novel from the stories she uncovered in months of interviews with World War II survivors. The novel, Krisanthi’s War, is now being readied for publication. The story of three women whose men are away fighting the war, the novel chronicles the struggles of a trio of Greek women left to face Hitler’s Wehrmacht army and protect their families with only kitchen knives and their combined wit. Love of family and one another brings them through the violent struggle, but not without each of them facing death and incurring lasting scars.
For three decades Egli has also written short fiction and poetry, poetry being the medium that has kept her soul together. It is poetry she retreats to when world politics and humans disappoint. It is poetry she goes to, reading it and writing it, when she wants to know what is happening inside, when she needs a lift or a reality check, when she must feel in her whole body-mind the music, harsh or melodic, the concise language, of poetry.
Egli teaches literature, creative writing, poetry, and memoir workshops and is a developmental book and revision editor. She lives with her Greek husband on the Sonoma Coast and has two grown children and three grandchildren. You can learn more about Ida Rae Egli by going to www.idaraeegli.com.
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.