In Marin / READING LIST
MM: Give us an abbreviated version of your
path to poetry.
AFD: During my second year of grad school,
my teacher (Bill Berkson, also a poet) sent
me to an anthology reading for the Norton
Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry.
And I heard this poem that night, well it
was really a line, that caught my attention.
The reader was quoting the great Berkeley
Renaissance poet Jack Spicer, who said, “The
poet builds a castle on the moon/Made of dead
skin and glass.” I just thought that was the
coolest thing I’d ever heard.
MM: And your path to meditation?
AFD: Shortly after the reading, a friend invited
me to Spirit Rock Meditation Center. He said,
“Hey, let’s go to this Monday night thing, this
guy Jack Kornfield is giving a talk and you
should come check it out.” I’d never meditated
or anything. And so we went to that sitting
group, and during his talk, Kornfield shared at
least three or four poems, and I just saw into
this whole sense of writing and poetry as a
spiritual kind of gateway. I started meditating
soon after, so the love of poetry and meditation
became parallel paths from that point for ward.
That was about 20 years ago. Meditation pre-
pares the mind and sets the groundwork for
creativity to happen.
MM: What was your favorite part about being
the inaugural poet laureate of Marin?
AFD: The Poetry Chair’s a giant chair made
out of books that was built by my friend, Todd
Pickering, and he designed it so we could
wheel it around. We ended up taking it up to
Mount Tam, out to Stinson Beach — we just
took it all over the place. We would just plop
it down and hang out. It was so spontaneous
and unscripted, so it was kind of like immersing with the segments of society that were
stumbling across poetry. We bought it to the
county fair one year and these punk dudes
from East Bay came over, and they were sort
of making fun of it. But the next thing I knew,
they started rapping, and we started writing it
down. We ended up writing their raps on balloons and hanging the balloons from the chair.
MM: What is it about poetry that grips you
more than other genres?
AFD: You don’t have to make logical sense
with poetry. It’s really driven by heart-sense,
or a mysterious kind of prerational, post-rational expression that’s about emotionality,
and emotions aren’t always rational, they’re
not always logical. So poetry becomes that
language of possibility, that language of
mystery, that language of curiosity and
unexpected magic. CALIN VAN PARIS
Author Talk Writing as a Path to
Awakening by Albert Flynn
DeSilver (Woodacre), Sounds
True, $16.95. In this book
renowned poet, writer and
teacher Albert Flynn DeSilver
shows readers how to use
meditation to cultivate true depth in their own
writing. With a mixture of engaging storytelling
and practical exercises, DeSilver invites readers
to enhance the writing experience through the
practice of meditation, while using the creative
process to accelerate spiritual evolution. Signed
copies now available at Book Passage.
Eat Like Walt by Marcy
Disney Editions, $35.
Two decades before the
California food revolu-
tion, Walt Disney was
planning a revolution of his own. The concept
of families eating and playing at the same time
was an innovation in mid-20th-century America.
Eat Like Walt is a culinary tour of Disneyland’s
six lands. With food as the lens, Disney’s
private and work life are explored, including
recipes from his home, his studio and his Magic
Kingdom. Appearing at Book Passage Corte
Madera December 5, 5: 30 p.m.
The Art of Flavor by Daniel
Patterson and Mandy Aftel
(San Francisco, Berkeley),
Riverhead Books, $28.
Michelin two-star chef
Daniel Patterson and celebrated natural perfumer
Mandy Aftel are experts at orchestrating
ingredients. Yet in a world awash in cooking
shows and food blogs, they noticed, home
cooks get little guidance in the art of flavor. In
this trailblazing guide, they share the secrets
to making the most of ingredients via an indispensable set of tools and principles. Appearing
in Book Passage’s Cooks with Books series at Alta
Restaurant in San Francisco December 9, 12: 30 p.m.
Local Page Turners
Reviews by Book Passage Marketing
Manager Zack Ruskin.
We sat down with Albert
Flynn DeSilver to discuss his
new book, Writing as a Path to
Awakening: A Year to Becoming
an Excellent Writer and Living
an Awakened Life. Beginning
in January, DeSilver will be
offering a yearlong series of
workshops in conjunction with
this book at Marin Magazine’s