Barbara Saxton had some surprises at the last Third Thursday reading (Feb 2016) at Willow Glen. We were well aware of her poetic side and her humor, but see what else she has up her sleeve.

What a fabulous performance! The young man is David, Barbara’s son, another accomplished Saxton who juggles between strings and percussion. There’s more to come soon. In the meantime, here is a poem Barbara read before she had us mesmerized.


MARCH 2014
Everything We Call Ordinary: “And I thought, all these things don’t seem that much like life, when you’re doing them, they’re just what you do, how you fill up your days…” – Alice Munro

This is Mark Heinlein’s first book of poems published by Tourane Poetry Press. Mark was the honored featured reader in March 2014 at the Willow Glen Poetry Project Series held on the third Thursday reading at the Willow Glen Public Library in San Jose, CA.

BookCover sm

It was a full house, with barely standing room—quite an occasion! The first copy of Mark’s book was hot off the press that very day. But Mark undeterred, and being the sport he is, took orders for his book and grandly displayed a framed book cover on an easel. He thanked Nick Crawford for taking pains in designing the book cover, and showed his immense gratitude to Vuong Vu, the publisher. It was obvious that this was a very touching moment for Mark’s parents, who were in the audience in the front row, and mighty proud of their talented son.

With Vuong

If you haven’t had a chance to hear Mark Heinlein’s wholesome monologues, please take a few minutes to sit back, put your earphones on, or not, and listen. What you hear will probably sound like your own story—one you never told anyone, or even spoke aloud to yourself. Well, that’s the difference—Mark has the gift of telling a story—everything we call ordinary—really well. There is value to that. Listen. Enjoy. Then take pride in whatever you do.  Mark can show you how. 

Here are some of the recordings of Mark’s poems from the Willow Glen reading. You will agree that Mark Heinlein’s reading is totally unabashed, genuine, and quite extraordinary.

You can keep up with Mark Heinline via his blog at http://markheinleinpoetry.wordpress.com/.


HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, dear Readers.

There’s nothing more befitting a Mom’s pride and joy than those memorial words by Billy Collins in his poem, The Lanyard.

Personally, I’m a sucker for all those pre-school and kindergarten scribbles framed for Mother’s Day cards, first scrawls of my children’s names, paper dolls, and finger paintings.

These, for sure, are the ingredients to sweeten our memories—the memories we need to thrive in our golden years.

So here’s Billy Collins to remind us how good we are as Moms.

The Lanyard – Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

(From “The Trouble with Poetry; And Other Poems”, a Random-House publication.)