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Poetry reading continues at Watsonville Library

Posted: Thursday, Apr 11th, 2013

WATSONVILLE — While out hiking recently, Monterey poet Patrice Vecchione discovered a dead mole on the trail.

“I squatted down to look at the dead mole, and noticed it’s paw was facing up,” she said. “It looked like a hand waving goodbye.”

There was something poetic in that scene, which inspired her to go home and write.

Vecchione will bring her imagistic poetry to the Watsonville Public Library today for the Poets’ Circle series, just in time for National Poetry Month.

Vecchione, who has taught poetry along the Central Coast for more than 25 years, recently released her first book of poetry since 1998, “The Knot Untied.”

She gathered all the work that she had written for the past 15 years, choosing the strongest pieces and combining them into one collection.

Although each poem could stand out on its own, Vecchione said, the book is not a loose collection of poems. The poems address Vecchione’s relationship with her “very difficult” mother.

The title of the book speaks to this.

“Things are connected to one another, and as a result of that connection, they get intertwined to a point that is beyond connection and becomes a knot,” she said. “I attempted to, and succeeded in, untying my relationship with my mother.”

Vecchione attributes her passion for poetry partly to her mother, who read poems from Robert Louis Stevenson and other poets to her when she was a child. That interest blossomed when she was a student Santa Cruz High School, thanks to a “great teacher who really guided me to write poems,” she said.

Like the encounter with the dead mole, Vecchione said poetry allows her to describe life in a unique way.

“You can say things in a poem that you can’t say in any other way,” she said.

Vecchione describes her poems as “grounded in image and emotion,” and none of them rhyme.

To fund her new book’s publishing, Vecchione started a campaign on the crowdsource website Indiegogo. Within three months, she was able to raise enough money due to the contributions of the donors.

Everyone who donated at least $25 received a signed copy of the book. The one person who donated more than $1,500 received a writing workshop from Vecchione.

The fundraising campaign actually exceeded it’s goal, she said, which allowed her to hire a publisher and a designer to create the book’s cover with her art.

The Poets’ Circle reading series began in August. The monthly readings, produced by Santa Cruz poet Magdalena Montagne, have had strong attendance, typically averaging about 20 people.

“Attendance has been generally very good for a Thursday evening event,” she said.

Each month, a featured poet reads for about 20 minutes. Afterword, an open mic session allows members of the audience to read from their own poems or another’s.

The readings are funded in part by a grant from the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County. Although the grant’s funds end this month, it doesn’t mean the end of the reading series, Montagne said.

She applied for a grant from Poets & Writers, Inc., a nonprofit literary organization, and is currently waiting to hear back on the result.

Poets are already lined up for the next six months, Montagne said, including Neal and Elaine Whitman, Dane Cervine, Maggie Paul, Kate Hitt, Adela Najarro and herself.


Vecchione will read today from 6-8 p.m. in the upstairs meeting room at the Watsonville Public Library, 275 Main St., Suite 100.

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