We are having a zoom meeting May 21st at 2pm

followed by an open-mic.

Dorothy Gilbert


A Program On Poet Marie de France

The poet Marie de France has been called "certainly the creator of the finest medieval short fiction before Boccacio and Chaucer;"  John Fowles called her "the first woman writer of our era." 1 She is a mysterious figure, with several candidates for her identity; one favored by many scholars is that she was the illegitimate daughter of Geoffrey of Anjou, the founder of the Plantagenet line of English kings, and thus the half-sister of Henry II of England, who became the powerful Abbess of Shaftesbury.  Whoever she was, she flourished around 1170; she appears, from geographical references in her work, to have lived in both France and England for a time. She was probably in the Church. Her Latin learning was extensive; she knew her Ovid; she knew the learned traditions of Catholic clergie. She also knew a great store of popular tales, some centuries old; and she knew the high-fashion aristocratic practice ofcourtoisie or fin amors, refined, courtly love between men and women. She is known for twelve Lais or short romances, full of magic and supernatural figures, but also often displaying a worldly astuteness; 103 Fables, some Aesopian, some drawn from folklore or Roman stories; and at least one, probably two, saints' lives. In some of the  Aesopian tales Marie supplies her own comments on social ills of her time, chiefly abuses of power. Others have a Roman flavor of bawdiness. She wrote in the Anglo-Norman dialect of Old French, in beautifully rhymed,deft, turn-on-a-dime octosyllabic couplets.

    1 The Lais of Marie de France, translated and introduced by Robert Hanning and Joan Ferrante (NewYork: E.P. Dutton, 1978)  1;  in Hanning and Ferrante, ix.                                                        

Dorothy Gilbert is the author of Erec and Enide: Chretien de Troyes: Translated with an Introduction (University of California Press, 1992), a rhymed verse version of the first known Arthurian romance; also of Marie de France: Poetry: A Norton Critical Edition (New York: Norton, 2015). also in rhymed verse. Her recent volume of original verse, Fox Woman, was published in 2020 by Sugartown Publishing (Crockett,CA, 2020). Her edition/translation of Marie's work won a Northern California Book Reviewers' Award in 2016, for a translation of  poetry, and an MLA Honorable Mention by the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Literary Work in 2017. Her original verse has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Iowa Review, The California Quarterly, The [London] Spectator and other print journals; also in the online journals Tattoo Highway and Persimmon Tree. She was for many years secretary for the West Coast Branch of PEN, the writers' advocacy organization, and taught in the Fall Program for Freshmen at UC Berkeley.

Marie de France: Poetry:  A Norton Critical Edition can be acquired from the publisher, at wwnorton.com, or W.W. Norton and Company, Inc, 500 Fifth Avenue, New York 10110, or ordered from any bookstore. It is also available on Amazon.

An open-mic will follow the feature.

The first 15 poets to respond with an interest to read at the open mic should let Deborah Schmidt (deborahbschmidt@gmail.com) know of their intent. It is recommended that they also send her a copy of the poem they will read (one page only please). 

The deadline for submitting poems is May 20, 2022 at 8:00 p.m. Remember, this is a first come, first serve sign-up.

Deborah Schmidt will be sending out the zoom link for the meeting the morning of May 21st and will be co-hosting the meeting. Please let Deborah Schmidt know if you will be attending with or without reading at the open mic. (deborahbschmidt@gmail.com)

On June 4th the Ina Coolbrith Circle will sponsor the 95th Annual Poets' Dinner Contest!
The Contest will be held in the open at Benicia City Park, 150 Military West, Benicia, CA 94510.
Bring a chair, a lunch, drinks (water, sodas, wine or beer), sun hat, title and first line of the poems submitted.
Contest deadline is March 31, 2022.

See below for the Contest Rules.

          95th ANNUAL POETS’ DINNER/CONTEST– Awards at Benicia City Park 

Entry Fee  $20         Open to All Poets 

All Ages           

Presence Required to Claim Awards 

Lunch: Sat., June 4, 2022  Noon to 4 p.m. 

THEME: “DISCOVERY”        (ICC website: https://coolpoetry.org)           

 GUEST SPEAKER: devorah major 



Poems must be original, unpublished in any “juried” way, in English, not previous cash prizewinners (Honorable Mentions OK). (Grand Prize & other winning poems may be included in a future anthology. Others will be destroyed after 6/4/22.) 42-line maximum, any form, any style. NUMBER OF ENTRIES: Up to four (4) per person; one (1) per category 

1. Type entry on ONE side only of 8 1⁄2 x 11 white paper.                                                 

2. Type category topic in upper right-hand corner of each page.

3. DO NOT put your name, etc., ANYWHERE on any entered poem. 

4. Send three (3) clear copies of EACH entry (with no illustrations). 


6. BRING: a Chair, a Lunch, Drinks (water, sodas, wine or beer), Sun Hat, Title and First Line of Poems Submitted.  

MAIL ENTRIES and FEE ($20 checks made out to POETS DINNER) TO OUR  CONTEST CHAIR:   

Judy Bebelaar, 3027 Hillegass Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 

Questions? judy@judybebelaar.com or Dinner Committee member Johanna Ely jelyabc13@yahoo.com 

PRIZES: One POETS DINNER GRAND PRIZE: $100 -- To be chosen from among the first three prize winners in each category. For each CATEGORY: Three Prizes --- $50, $25, $15, plus three Honorable Mentions.

Last Year’s Grand Prize Poem will be read by the author, Robert Eastwood

AWARD PROCEDURE: Winning entries will be read and awards presented ONLY at this 6/4/22 lunch. On slips provided at thelunch, write your name, the title and first line of each poem submitted. Use the slip to claim a winning poem after it is read. If there is NO CLAIM, the prize will go to the next ranked submission. Judges’ decisions are final. 

NOTE: The Ina Coolbrith Circle invites all those interested in poetry to its September meeting (place and date TBA) where all winners are invited to read their winning poems. 

DONATIONS: Books and monetary contributions to sustain awards may be sent to AWARDS CHAIR, Natica Angilly - 1515 Poplar Ave., Richmond, CA 94805-1662. (Donor calls only, please): (510) 235-0361. 

POETRY BOOK TABLE: Please pre-arrange sale space for your books by contacting BOOK TABLE CHAIR, Sandra Anfang, before May 31, 2022, at wrdpntr51@gmail.com – SPACE LIMITED. Our 75th Anthology, Remembering, will be available.

LOCATION: Saturday, June 4, 2022. 12:00 p.m. at Benicia City Park150 Military West, Benicia, CA 94510 

Tear off this slip and enclose with entries and entry fee check

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