Posted in Social Justice/Activism


img_3718BEST PRACTICE: “FAITH & HOUSING WEEKEND” One of the reasons “The Poet by Day” FB page and this blog are on hiatus and I haven’t been online much is that I am helping with this county-wide effort to address the housing crisis in our area. Between 2010 and 2014, San Mateo County produced 2,100 new housing units and 54,600 jobs. It’s not hard to imagine the resulting decrease in affordable housing and increase in homelessness and other stressful conditions. “The Faith and Housing Weekend” was born of a recent Clergy Housing Summit. At the Summits clergy and county officials unite to understand the crisis and to target solutions for ultimately achieving “Homes for All.”

I am proud of area clergy representing many faiths who have gathered with prayer and intention at the Clergy Housing Summits and are planning collaborative efforts (in numbers there’s strength) that can be implemented by them and their synagogues, mosques and churches to better serve our community. This weekend – “Faith and Housing Weekend” – many of our faith organizations will host educational sessions to provide information to their congregations on the housing crisis, resources, the local ballot initiatives for November 8th, and the ways individually and together members can help resolve the shortage and affordability challenges.There will also be sermons, homilies, music, and prayer. Bravo!

I’ve posted this info because there are many communities around the world where people are homeless for a variety of reasons.  This is “a best practice” and one that I suspect could be implemented pretty much anywhere.

Posted in Poem/Poetry

Gentlemen of the Old School, poem

The Madonna in Sorrow Giovanni Battista Salvi (1609-1685)
The Madonna in Sorrow
Giovanni Battista Salvi

gentlemen of the old school
those devotees of Mary …
Mother of Christ, Handmaid of the Lord
seeing her in every woman
….. generously
even me – daughter, mother, niece, friend –
protagonist, antagonist,
on-again off-again wife
simmering slowly in the broth of the cosmos
never quite done, never quite done
…..but they were …
………they were
gentlemen of the old school

dedicated to the real men in my life from whom you will not hear “locker room” talk

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved Photo ~ via Wikipedia and in the U.S. Public Domain

Posted in Wednesday Writing Prompt, writing prompt


Eel River, Humboldt County, California
Eel River, Humboldt County, California

The Wiyot lived in the Humboldt Bay area of Northern California and they live in my dreams. For about a year-and-half we made our home in Humboldt County, an area about 200 miles north of San Francisco on the far North Coast. It’s a place dense with redwood forests, wild rivers, and creeks that run dry in the summer and overflow in the winter. If you live in a rural area or grew up in one, you might take such things for granted. Having lived in paved-over cities all my life, they seemed magical to me.

Our four acres were rich with sequoia, madrone, oak, and twenty-eight fruit trees. Blue jays flew in to feed in the morning. Quail families visited at night. They marched down our drive in orderly formation. Hawks and hummingbirds put on air shows. Rosemary thrived unattended. There was a beautiful lush 100-year-old rosebush. There were wild roses too. They gifted us hips for homemade cough syrup.

Scotch Broom
Scotch Broom

The colors there were brilliant and varied: smog-free blue skies (you could see the stars at night!), rich brown earth, a population of purple iris in a grove of California bay laurel, orange cosmos and red dahlias, yellow scotch broom lining our creek-side in the company of cascading Japanese quince. The Japanese quince provided ample housing for Rufus hummingbirds. Nearby, Queen Ann’s lace stood unbent by the wind. When it went to seed we collected the seeds for cooking. They have a taste somewhere between carrot and caraway.

The spread of blackberry bushes was both wonder and wealth. They seemed never to run out of fruit. I gathered some almost every morning for breakfast and every morning I thought of the women in buckskins who preceded me more than a century ago. Perhaps there was a mother who stood on this spot, picking blackberries for her son too.

I think the peace, quiet and simplicity of that place made it easy to imagine the first peoples as they might have lived there in other times. I could see them tending fires, boiling and drying acorns and then grinding them for flour, bathing in the river, raising their children, gathering wood, hunting and enjoying sacred ceremony. I knew the very same ancient sequoia that watched over us had watched over them.

Humboldt Bay near Eureka, traditional Wiyot lands
Qual-a-wa-loo (Humboldt Bay) near Eureka, traditional Wiyot lands, The 1860 Wiyot Massacre happened on Indian Island

Finally, I did some research. I was sad but not surprised to find that the area was once inhabited by an indigenous people –  the Wiyot people – who were decimated in a genocide ~

Wiyot Mother and Child
Wiyot Mother and Child

“Eureka newspapers of the time exulted at the night massacres conducted by the “good citizens of the area”. Good haul of Diggers and Tribe Exterminated! were 2 headlines from the Humboldt Times. Those who thought differently about it were shut up by force. Newspaper publisher and short story writer Bret Harte called it “cowardly butchery of sleeping women and children” — then had to flee ahead of a lynch mob that smashed his printing presses.” MORE [Wiyot Tribal Council Page]

Note: Originally written in 2012, I’ve posted this today as a an acknowledgement of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, October 12. More than 40 US jurisdictions celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day; the majority of these have replaced Columbus Day with this holiday, but some jurisdictions celebrate both Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

In addition to reading here, please also treat yourself to Michael Watson’s post Silence, Story, and Healing, a short and thoughtful piece.

© 2012, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Photo credit ~ Eel River by Jan Kronsell and released into the worldwide public domain; Scotch Broom by Danny S. – 001 under CC BY-SA 3.0; Humboldt Bay near Eureka by Tony via Wikipedia and Licensed under CC A 2.0 Generic; Wiyot Mother and Child, Humboldt State University


Perhaps you too grew up in a time and place where the history books taught a one-sided view of the land you live on and the people who originated there. Perhaps, like me, you had to get out of school and meet new people, read books that weren’t sanctioned by academic authority and do your own research to learn about the devastation that was  and is rained upon indigenous people all over the world … the violence, the slavery and the genocide. Perhaps you are a descendent of the original people who suffered so and know the truth from the stories of your elders. Perhaps your roots are in the nations of empire and you are saddened that they perpetrated or were complicit in such unimaginable injustice.

We can’t change what happened in the past but as writers and poets we can make sure that lies aren’t propagated and that the truth is told and shared. Write a poem, short story, essay or article that illustrates some aspect of colonialism, racial bias and stereotype, or the modern complications of colonial history.

Posted in news

STILL TIME to enter your collection for the University of North Texas Rilke Prize

Bohemian-Austrian Poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)
Bohemian-Austrian Poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.” Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

The deadline for submission of a book for this prize is November 30, 2016. This is an annual competition with “a $10,000 award recognizing a book that demonstrates exceptional artistry and vision written by a mid-career poet and published in the preceding year.” Details are HERE. This particular award is for books written in English only by citizens of the United States.

Let everything happen to you
Beauty and terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final
– Rainer Maria Rilke

Rilke’s photograph is in the public domain

Posted in The Sunday Poesy




Opportunity Knocks

RATTLE MAGAZINE says its mission is “to promote the practice of poetry.”  The full mission statement is HERE. Submission guidelines are HERE.  This month it sponsors an Ekphrastic Challenge. Deadline October 31. Details HEREIt extends an invitation to “Poets with Mental Illness” to submit poems for the Summer 2017 issue. The poems don’t have to be about mental illness. Deadline January 15, 2017. Details HERE.

THAT Literary Review, an annual online publication affiliated with Auburn University at Montgomery, recently debuted its first issue HERE.  The editors have extended an invitation to submit fiction and poetry. No deadline is indicated. Details HERE.

THE LITERARY REVIEW published by Fairleigh Dickinson University (Madison, New Jersey) has been closed to submissions but will open again for submission shortly.  Keep it on your radar.  Details HERE. It publishes essay, fiction, interviews and poetry.

THE AMERICAN LITERARY REVIEW, a publication of the creative writing program of the University of North Texas, publishes fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Nonfiction includes “essay, memoir, literary journalism and experimental nonfiction.”  Its reading period is from October 1 through May 1. A fee of $3 is charged “to cover administration and IT costs.” Details HERE.

HARPER’S MAGAZINE does not consider unsolicited poetry. However you may submit a query for fiction and nonfiction. They will consider submissions at any time from artists, illustrators and photographers. Details HERE.

KENYON REVIEW, one of American’s premier publications, has a reading period open through November 1st. Submit prose and drama, poetry and short fiction, excerpts from larger works and translations of poetry and short prose for consideration.  Details HEREYou may also submit your published book for review.

THE BeZINE, a publication of The Bardo Group Begins in the process of pulling together the October issue and will continue to consider submissions until midnight (PDT) on October 12. Submit poetry, essay, nonfiction, creative nonfiction, photography, music videos and art or photography.  The theme for October is Rituals for Peace, Healing, Unity. The Rev. Terri Stewart (Beguine Again and The BeZine) hosts the October issue. Submission guidelines HERE.  Submit to

The November issue’s theme is Caritas/Chesed/Metta (in other words, loving kindness).

The December issue’s them is The Healing Power of the Arts.


Opportunity Knocks

AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW / HONICKMAN FIRST BOOK PRIZE 2017 is judged by Gabrielle Calvocoressi (The last time I saw Amerlia Earhart: Poems and Apocalyptic Swing Poems) and the reading period doesn’t end until October 31, so still time to submit your first published collection.  Details HERE


SECOND LIGHT NETWORK OF WOMEN POETS Autumn Festival 2016 Thursday 17th & Friday 18th November @ The Art Workers Guild, 6 Queen Square, London, WC1N 3AT, and, for Fri 7pm reading only, 5–10 mins walk: Enitharmon Gallery, 10 Bury Place, London, WC1A 2JL

The Song of the Earth WORKSHOPS with Jemma Borg, Kate Foley, Hannah Lowe and Myra Schneider

Poetry Readings feature RV Bailey, Alison Brackenbury, Kate Foley, Wendy French and Myra Schneicer, all of whom have been featured and/or had their poems featured here at The Poet by Day. Key names into the search function on this site to find these poets.

+ 2 OPEN MIC sessions with Guest Readers. Workshops are for women only Men welcome at readings

Details HERE.




Submit your event, book launch and other announcements at least fourteen days in advance to Publication is subject to editorial discretion.

Posted in Poem/Poetry

Paradigms Shift, a poem

10551085_264625727060668_8470137909788891197_nwho are you?
The person you inherited from your parents
or the one you bequeath to your children?
Are you and you one or two?

Or have you merged like eggs and milk
into a pudding, not one or the other,
but something quite different

Do you have to break the mirror
to open fresh eyes?

Are you and you one or two?
Something more or something less.
Are you more or less than one?
Your heart is not broken,
though sometimes it feels that way.
The cells of your body are separate
but collaborative and reciprocal.
Your sight is lighted by the
ground of being, but . . .
the question remains

who are you?
Caught between the generations
their different cultures,
perspectives, values.
Their expectations are at odds
and the older made promises
the younger could never keep …
Times change.
People evolve.
Paradigms shift
and you are you, adapting.

© 2013 poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

Posted in Flowers, Writers/Poets

I’m going out like a meteor …

img_5835“I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes–everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor!” Audre Lorde


Celebrating American She-Poets (10): Audre Lorde, “My mother had two faces and a frying pot.”

Posted in Humor

VOTE FOR THE BAX – or not! – but whatever you do, get out and vote



Baxter Dedes, Office Manager
Baxter Dedes




Food in every dish.

Homes for all.

A critter for every home.

Play nice.

Quotable Bax

“Darn humans always forget: what you seed is what you grow.”


© 2016, photo, Jamie Dedes