Reading at the Old Mission Santa Barbara

The Mission in 1876

I had a wonderful time reading poems alongside Barry Spacks and Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer this afternoon as part of the Mission Poetry Series. The series is a collaborative labor of love between Sr. Susan Blomstad, osf and Paul Fericano, who provide gorgeous free broadsides, homemade snacks, and a magnificently serene setting to unite poets and poetry-lovers in “Clare‘s Place,” the library nestled in the heart of the Mission.

Rosemerry is a force to reckon with, effortlessly interspersing a cappella folk songs with dramatic poems spoken from memory. Barry was the first poet laureate of the city of Santa Barbara and is a much-loved teacher. He is avuncular and charming, savoring poems that dance between whimsy and pathos, encouraging us all to look forward to our seventies. (“It was a good decade for me,” he twinkled.) I was filled to overflowing with admiration for them both.
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