father was a military leader. The author lives in Benicia and has captured his time in that town and the home where the Benet family lived in the beginning of the story. His education, family, and his frail health, as well as his financial struggles throughout his life are all part of the story.
A very patriotic person, Benet was unable to serve in the military because of his poor eyesight, he tried by memorizing the eye chart, but was caught and dismissed. In World War II, he wrote various articles for the war effort and was unwilling to take payment. When he did win a Pultizer Prize, it was in 1929. He invested it in the stock market, shortly before the crash.
With regrets, in 2018, we announced the death of Donnell Rubay, the author of "With a Dream So Proud, the Life of Stephen Vincent Benet". She will indeed be missed.
The Long Blue Room
Paperback - Jan 31, 2014
by Joan Gelfand
"The Long Blue Room, is a splendid powerful collection of poems. Gelfand invites us to see things that we usually overlook... Her mature poetry inspires chuckles (the Parisian returning home to kiss his wife after having just enjoyed a cassoulet and a crisp Sancerre) and will resonate with contemplative souls in her poetic Sangha. After reading William Saroyan years ago, I wanted to meet him, shake his hand and drink a beer with him. I feel the same way about Joan Gelfand." Joel Fallon, Poet Laureate of Benicia, CA (Emeritus)
The Capital That Couldn't Stay Put, The Complete Book of California's Capitols Paperback – Original copyright 1983
by June Oxford
The author, June Oxford, received the Award of Merit from the Conference of California Historical Societies for "The Capital That Couldn't Stay Put, The Complete Book of California's Capitols." The award states that this book, "...with a rich vein of newly discovered and rediscovered historical gems is written with verve, insight and narrative skill. This tome, with 68 rare illustrations covers the period from the Constitutional Convention through details of the monumental restoration of the present capitol building in Sacramento." The background information includes such tidbits as the report of Governor-Elect Leland Stanford and his inaugural party who were rowed to the capitol on January 10th, 1862. The city was in the throes of the worst flood in its flood-prone history.
THE BOOK OF JOEL
IS AWARDED THE GOLD!
The Book of Joel, published by Benicia Literary Arts, recently received the Artists Embassy International gold seal, their highest literary award! The gold seal was awarded on September, 28th, during the Dancing Poetry Contest Celebration, an annual event held at the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum. Don Peery, Benicia’s fifth poet laureate, who compiled the poems of Joel Fallon, Benicia’s first poet laureate, was there to receive the honor.
The book was a labor of love, and a group effort. Don Peery did the design and layout, and Editor in Chief Mary Eichbauer and Don worked together on the editing. Sherry Sheehan was the proof reader, and the cover was designed by Tom Stanton and Don.
Many thanks to Artists Embassy International for honoring The Book of Joel.
Postcards From a Dream
Paperback – January 28, 2020
by Johanna Ely
It's a stunning act of courage when Johanna Ely manipulates twenty-six letters and spells out a depth of pain, yearning, and everyday contemplations from the alphabet soup of her mind.
Carquinez Review 2020
Writings from the Carquinez Strait shoreline communities
Stories by: Merrilee Cavenecia, Judea Cavoto, Grant Cooke, Tamar Enoch, Frances Fields, Nancy Freeman, Deborah Fruchey, Carol Gieg, Beth Grimm, Marty Malin, Bruce Moody, Aletheia Morden, Deborah Morrison, Carolyn Plath, Lois Requist, Rob Rogers, Nicky Ruxton, Irene Sardanis, Stephen Schelling, Marilyn Tavlin, Teresa Van Woy, Becky Bishop White
Edited by: Project Editor, James White; Editor-in-Chief, Mary Eichbauer; Editor and Author, Marty Malin; Editor and Author, Lois Requist.
Other contributors: Jan Malin, Book Design; Beth Grimm, Cover Photo and Author.The submissions were blind-reviewed by a selection panel: Ann Kamoe, Ken MacLennan, Kristine Mietzner, Toni Morgan, Bob Stanley.
Bruce's diverse and colorful poetics present common, daily experiences imbued with contemplative possibilities. We can enjoy reflective, meditative nuggets addressing desire, death, struggles, uncertainty. We chuckle at the playful politics, and we sigh at the traumatic events featured in several poems. We apprehend the personae's encounters, identify with the personae's sentience, and celebrate with the personae's resolutions. A collection we will visit repeatedly for renewed agency and inspiration."
Marjean D. Purinton, Ph.D. Affiliated Faculty, Women's Studies; Professor of English, Texas Tech University
This book can be purchased through ekphrasticexpressions.com or by contacting Suzanne Bruce: Scbruce@sbcglobal.net
This is an Award-winning book that has earned acclaim from the prestigious Next Generation Indie Book Awards as a finalist in General Fiction/Novel (Under 80,000 words) and Ebook fiction."
The Book of Joel
Paperback - May 19, 2019
by Joel Fallon
A wonderful collection of Benicia poet laureate Joel Fallon's poetry compiled by Don Peery, Benicia's fifth poet laureate (2014-2016). Joel Fallon was Benicia's first poet laureate, and he died in 2016.
This book is available at Bookshop Benicia
This book is available on Random Lane Press
After the Opera
by Mary Eichbauer
Mary Eichbauer’s After the Opera brings together her finest poems from her long and varied career as writer, teacher, mother, and community organizer. Mary’s poems confide in the reader, as she explores themes of family, friendship, love, loss, and travel in this carefully crafted collection. Random Lane is proud to include After the Opera in our poetry series!
roguish younger brother. The book begins with Chassy trying to get through law school in LA. He makes the mistake of getting married to his not-so-nice girlfriend and quickly runs afoul of her and her parents. Chassy escapes them by joining the border patrol, where he gets into all kinds of adventures chasing Mexicans trying to slip into the US while battling his own demons and bad decisions. Chassy eventually ends up in the army and involved with people and in a scheme that leads him into a dark and dangerous place. This book is extremely well-written, particularly the dialogue. And I found myself laughing at the interactions between the buttoned-down, responsible Juno and the carefree, self-absorbed Chassy, and also between Chassy, his bride, and her obnoxious friends. Droll Mama Gaines and buoyant little sister Anita (“Neet”) add splashes of humor and color that only made reading this book even more pleasurable. A good story that balances the dark and the light. I highly recommend Borders in Paradise."
Matt Bloom. Author of Salt of the Nation.
The Great Grandpa Chronicles cannot be assessed by its title. It contains humorous sarcastic stories about family reunions involving a father (Great Grandpa) whose business acumen and drive, coupled with his refusal to see women as equal human beings, and need to control things, all of which were peppered with his narcissistic qualities, caused his daughter to admire and loathe him at the same time. It was not until she could change her lens to Great Grandpa
“This collection of poems, written over a span of thirty years, includes early poems showing the influence of dada, and surrealism and later poems of a more beat influence. They deal with the joys, pains, discoveries of an everyday life infused with Azure.”
“Azure floods me with excitement I can’t contain. I fear tomorrow, when I become a chalk outline on the sidewalk where I fell into the gulf of your blue eyes.”
Several poems in the collection have previously appeared in literary magazines and journals. Graphics in the book were supplied by the author....Kenneth Weichel
Buy this book on Amazon
Benicia First Tuesday Poets third Anthology available on Amazon
Benicia First Tuesday Poets second Anthology available on Amazon
Benicia First Tuesday Poets fourth Anthology available on Amazon
Benicia First Tuesday Poets fifth Anthology available on Amazon
YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE—A Community Journal of 2020
2020 was a year like none other. Viral pandemic with no cure in sight. Economic hardship. Embedded racism not budging. Climate crisis undeterred. Democracy threatened.
As the world closed down, people in Benicia, California, started writing about these strange and frightening times. Poets and writers of prose from nearby and far away, folks who had never before written for publication, contributed their poems and essays to a column in a hometown newspaper. Yearning
The 50s and 60s come alive in this episodic memoir set in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The drug culture, the Vietnam War, and the music of the time provide a vivid context for the story of a family united by love but torn apart by an unspoken secret. At the book's center lies the deep bond between Glenn and his sister, Carolyn, who uses multiple points of view to tell the tragic story of her brother's brief life with insight, understanding, and wry humor.
yours. Perhaps not. It doesn't really matter.
These stories will capture your imagination. The grandmothers will steal your heart!
Praise for Grandmother's Devil
Finalist, 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
27th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards
"The author composes with literary flair and has a knack for description while being efficient with words—the mark of a strong short-story writer. … Readers who prefer story collections with a quirky edge will find much to love in Grandmother’s Devil.”
Benicia Literary Arts member, Lily E. Espinoza launches her new book called Nurturing Our Self: During college, everyday life and the job search (Alive Book Publishing, 2022). This book provides a framework for discovering your personal roadmap for a life well-lived. Her book will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble beginning July of 2022.
Borders In Paradise
"Borders in Paradise charts the triumphs and travails of the Gaines family, Texas transplants living in Los Angeles but not quite fitting in there. The story takes place as America’s entry into WW II looms. It is told mainly from the viewpoint of the oldest son, Juno, but the story focuses on Charles (“Chassy”), Juno’s charming,
From the pen of fiction writer Marty Malin comes a collection of unconventional stories about six imaginary grandmothers doing what they do best: caring for their loved ones and trying to keep them out of trouble.
These are not the author's grandmothers. Perhaps they are
Her voice, attuned to brilliant imagery, is both subtle and striking as she wields her palette of pinks, greys, and metallic threads over each page of this collection. She's a language artist who travels through dappled sunlight and bleak shadows to bare her gifted essence.
human condition. The past informs the present: what people remember, what they forget and forgive, how experience forms them. At the center of the book is the mystery of connection—how people form attachments, and how fragile these become in the face of loss or trauma, how some people thrive despite great loss, while others crumble under it. The characters are deeply and finely wrought. I felt as if I knew them as real people. Like Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Late Harvest Green conjures up a unique time and place. The unchanging mountains, the taste of a ripe peach, the scent and heft of the soil—all act as talismans to draw us deep into a vanished world whose riches are fleeting, and very real.
Nurturing Our Self explores ways to bring nurturing of the self, front and center into our everyday life. The first part of the book is a foundation for developing programs, services, and policy that help nurture students’ minds, bodies, spirit, and community. The second part builds on our sense of nurturing in the everyday life from the power of sleep to practicing gratitude. The last section is a collection of tips for nurturing the self during a career transition.
Dr. Espinoza says this about her latest project, “the book is a collection of educational research, essays, and personal reflections that make it the perfect post-pandemic job changer survival guide.”
Lily works as the Director of Career Services at CSU Maritime Academy in Vallejo, CA. Dr. Espinoza is also author of the book Not Getting Stuck: Success stories of being Latina and transferring from a California community college (Alive Book Publishing, 2017).
Her Visions Her Voices
"Her Visions Her Voices brings together the visual and verbal from a female perspective and with female energy. The ekphrastic poems personalize their accompanying visual objects with emotional subjectivity, giving life to the material and concreteness to the abstract.
that she was able to overcome her ambivalence. As the book unfolded over a five-year period, she experienced an emotional metamorphosis. Once past journaling cathartic rants that released some anger and frustration, she made a conscious decision to try and overcome her ambivalence towards him. Her new perspective took shape, and the stories unrolled one by one. As she wrote about the reunions, the author discovers she’s in the middle of the tug of war between Great Grandpa who acts out to hold everyone’s attention and the great grandchildren who can’t be corralled. She captures the essence extending to both ends of the rope. The idea that Great Grandpa wants everyone to feed on Krispy Kreme donuts first thing in the morning, his “breakfast of champions”, and then wonders why the children won’t sit still as he outlines his plan for events of the day, is but one example of the push-pull that goes on in the stories. This book has made readers laugh, cry, get angry, and then soften and laugh again.
This book may be purchased on Amazon as well as the author’s website at bethgrimmcreativearts.com.
To Breathe Free is the collection of those columns from April through Election Day 2020.
These sometimes raw, in-the-moment reactions and reflections provide a day-by-day accounting, a journal. Now we can look back to those early days of the pandemic and acknowledge what we went through and what we’re still going through. The losses mourned, the celebrations put on hold, the wariness and well-founded fear that linger.
Acknowledging what we went through, we can tell the stories of how we’ve overcome and of what still needs to be overcome. Of how isolated voices can come together to sustain a community. Of hope that reaches beyond the return to “normal” and breathes compassion, justice, peace, and wellbeing into the future of this planet and its inhabitants.
With a Dream So Proud: The Life of Stephen Vincent Benet
Paperback – July 29, 2016
by Donnell Rubay
This young adult book portrays the Life of writer and poet, Stephen Vincent Benet. He lived from 1888 to 1943. During that time, he was well known especially for John Brown's Body and The Devil and Daniel Webster.
He lived as a young child in Benicia, California, where his