CWC-Sacramento Network Meeting
Friday, March 1st from 9 am to 11 am at
CH Cafe & Grill 6215 Sunrise Blvd (just off Greenback)
Ina Coolbrith—whom she was, and tougher than we
So fair the sun rose yester-morn, begins Ina’s poem, “The Mother’s Grief.” She was born into a time and place where there was no use for such a poetic expression of maternal sorrow. How did she make the transition from daughter of a frontier and most paternalistic family in which schooling was a luxury, to woman of independent financial and intellectual means?
Ina’s biography is intriguing, if written a bit inconsistently over time. The sources I’ve found agree on most aspects of her life: Ina Coolbrith was California’s first poet laureate. She was the first librarian for the newly incorporated Oakland Public Library. She was a founding member of the California Writers Club and San Francisco’s Bohemian Club. She was one-third of the, “Golden Gate Trinity.” Along with Bret Harte and Charles Warren Stoddard, she was considered a premier judge of good literature. She influenced several famous California writers, including Joaquin Miller (to whom she suggested this nom de plume) and Jack London (who referred to her as his literary mother).
She meant to write a memoir, according to one source, until the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire put that idea to rest. Such dead ends abound, but I’ll put her world into the context of the greater world from the beginning to the end of her life. There’s so much more than can be covered in a few minutes. If you want to really get into the weeds, here are links to some sources:
Karen Durham was born and raised in The San Francisco Bay Area of California. When she’s not writing she loves to swim, hike, and run on the coast. She came to appreciate poetry late in life, when in the late twenty-teens she attended a writing workshop at Tomales Bay. There she first heard current US poet laureate Ada Limón read from her book, “Bright Dead Things.” She was hooked. Karen’s had two poems published in anthologies. Like most poets, she doesn’t always understand what questions she’s asking when she writes, but hopes to, someday.
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Meeting ID: 854 8155 1153