Monday, April 29, 2013

Poetry & Art

Poetry & Art 4/26/13
Charlene Baldridge at Poetry & Art
all photos by Liliane Choney

A report on my appearance to introduce my late daughter, poet Laura Jeanne Morefield. I began with introduction of blowup photos of Laura and of Laura and me.
 “How can she possibly do that?” was the question most frequently asked of my friends, stalwarts who accompanied me and helped me though my first live, aloud in public presentation of Laura’s chap book, The Warrior’s Stance.
It was my 79th birthday, and, as a gift, my best GF Liliane Choney gave me an hour-plus with a make-up artist named Meleah, who transformed my clean but sere and weathered face and hair into something beautiful. Feeling that way certainly buoyed me up for the Friday presentation at Poetry & Art at the Museum of the Living Artist in Balboa Park.
The evening of poetry started late and host Michael Chung Klam decided to plow right ahead, with my presentation coming last, prior to what would have been the interval. 
With Michael Chung-Klam, our host

I sat there listening to others read, and it took me back to vocal competitions when I was a young woman, sitting through maybe 25 other lyric sopranos singing  the same aria I was about to sing. By the time it rolled around to me I was insecure and heavy of voice, and, sure enough, I never did well.
Last night, though, I was determined to lift the audience up with Laura’s words. Something magical happened. I introduced Laura and her story and as I read her works I found new music, drama and meaning in each of them, For the first time, ever, I realized that her poem “Selah,” ostensibly about blowing bubbles instead of praying that day, really concerns her tendency to be a control freak. In the poem she has no control: the bubbles go where they may and last not as long as the poet intends; but she finds beauty in their fragility. “….Some pop before they/ leave the wand and some wander to heights that amaze me so that I watch them ascend/until they are no longer visible or simply/no longer are.”
Rob and Charlene
Kay and Sharyn Lyon

Friends and I discussed the reading at a post mortem at The Crest Café. Those present were my stalwarts: girlfriends Liliane Choney and Kay O’Neil and my best friend Rob Wesley. I told them about the discoveries I made as I was reading. They felt them, too; as I read they discovered the revealed meanings,  a sign that Laura was definitely there, making herself clear to me, and, through me, to others.
Other poems I read were “Rain,” “Another Day,” “I Invented Body Surfing,” “If They’re Right,” “Living with Cancer,” “I Am Not My Cancer,” “I’ve Been Waiting” and “The Work at Hand.”
Poetry & Art attracts a large audience
How could I do that indeed? How could I possibly float my immense grief on a series of breaths and not melt into a blubbering puddle? I know only that I have told the story so many times that each time it becomes easier. Laura’s poems are universes of their own, explored differently each time they travel through my mind, escape my lips and fly on my breath. As I once wrote, “We breathed each other’s breaths.” Apparently that continues.
Next up, my friends, is the presentation of “our” theatre piece, The Warriors’ Duet, to be produced by the San Diego Fringe Festival It will play the weekend of July 5,6,7 at 10th Avenue Theatre. Casting and times TBA.
Susan Hertzog and Charlene
Meanwhile, I will see if my feet bring me back to earth.
Charlene, baby Chung-Klam, Jennifer Chung-Klam and Christian Hertzog

Charlene Baldridge

"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" -- Mary Oliver

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Welcome to the world

Laura Morefield and Charlene Baldridge
Christmas 2008


Here are photos from the March 25 launch of Laura Morefield’s poetry chapbook, The Warrior’s Stance. All party images were made by New York-based photographer Ken Howard, who took time from his busy San Diego schedule to be there in honor of Laura.

With editors  Anthony King and Morgan Hurley
of San Diego Community Newspaper Network

Thanks to all who stopped by for refreshment and picked up a book, to Jen Sparkman for the food and to Rob Wesley and graphic designer Patty Kevershan who both pitched in to help. Also thanks to ion theatre’s Glenn Paris and Claudio Raygoza, who made their beautiful URBN CENTR4THEARTS available. It looked gorgeous.

The event was a fundraiser, of course. The entire proceeds of every book sale went to the Colon Cancer Alliance in Washington, DC. They’re still busy posting donations at
Retired Globe carpenter Tom Hammer, and actor TJ Johnson 

Writer Shari Lyon and Charlene
With Performances Magazine Editor Sarah Daoust

With noted author/grief therapist Ken Druck
With music critic David Gregson
Updated news: I’ll present The Warrior’s Stance at 6:30 pm Friday, April 26 at Poetry & Art:

On Friday, April 26, Poetry & Art Series 2013 features arts writer and poet Charlene Baldridge, poet and executive director of San Diego Writers, Ink (SDWI) Amy Locklin, and Poetry International’s managing editor and poet Jennifer Minniti-Shippey. These renowned authors will read with select Poetry International MFA poets and select poets published in SDWI’s 2013 anthology A Year In Ink, Vol. 6
This arts and culture event takes place in the Museum of the Living Artist, 1439 El Prado, Balboa Park. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for treats, refreshments and live music by Ben Chung. Members are free; $5 at the door, or guests may bring wine to share and get in free.

Theater critic Charlene Baldridge is an award-winning poet, journalist and columnist.  Her poetry has been set in two song cycles by American opera composer Jake Heggie (Moby-Dick and Dead Man Walking). Most recently, Charlene edited and produced The Warrior's Stance, luminous post-diagnosis poems of her late daughter Laura Jeanne Morefield, a lifelong poet who seldom sent her work out. Thanks to the generosity of Daniel Morefield, the entire sales price of this chapbook goes to support the Colon Cancer Alliance.  Poet Laura Jeanne Morefield (10/8/1960-7/17/2011) graduated summa cum laude from Pepperdine University, was married to Daniel Morefield, and enjoyed a career in banking. She wrote short stories, poems, screenplays, and a political column. Her poems are incorporated in The Warriors' Duet, a piece of theater to be produced in the San Diego Fringe Festival in July. 

Amy Locklin edited the anthology of speculative short fiction Altered States and has begun to edit a second anthology, Law and Disorder. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in journals including Clementine Magazine, Quarter After Eight, Maize, and Main Street Rag, as well as the anthologies And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana and Dots on a Map: Stories from Small Town America. Her work has won honors in the Robert J. DeMott short prose contest, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Associated Writing Program’s Intro Journal Project, and the Lois Davidson Ellis Literary Award. A recipient of Indiana Arts Commission grants, she earned her MFA at Indiana University, where she directed the IU Writers’ Conference for four years. She teaches writing and literature, writes and performs music, and is executive director of San Diego Writers, Ink. Her poetry chapbook The Secondary Burial is available from Finishing Line Press.

Jennifer Minniti- Shippey is the Managing Editor of Poetry International literary journal, and an adjunct professor at San Diego State University.  Her previous chapbook, Done Dating DJs, won the 2009 Fool for Poetry Prize, sponsored by the Munster Literature Centre of Cork, Ireland.  Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Jackson Hole Review, In Possee Review, Pure Francis, and San Diego Poetry Annual, among others.  She teaches horseback riding and co-edits the football blog Halftimes with Dean & Jenny.  She lives in San Diego with a wonderful German shepherd and a patio full of potted plants.
Poetry International is an annual literary journal published by SDSU with Ilya Kaminsky as editor-in-chief.
San Diego Writers, Ink is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that offers classes, groups, workshops, readings and other literary events at The Ink Spot and other locations throughout San Diego County.  SDWI publishes A Year In Ink, an annual anthology of poetry and prose by regional authors.
Following the reading, there will be open mic for writers or painters who would like to share a few pieces of their work.
Ben Chung will provide live music.  There will be treats and beverages as always. Please contact host Michael Klam with any questions: 619-957-3264 (cell) or 619-236-0011 (museum).
Writers/artists who would like to read on the open mic can sign up ahead of time at or sign in on the night of the show.