Where to Find Me

Off the Page logo-sm

Off the Page Readers Theater

June 3 & 10, 2016 (Fridays), 7:30 p.m., Mockingbird Books, Sebastopol, Calif.
June 4, 2016 (Saturday), 7:30 p.m., Church of the Oaks, Cotati, Calif.

Off the Page Readers Theater – Lost & Found

Off the Page Readers Theater, dramatizing local writers’ works, presents “Lost & Found.” Features the poem “The Coming Out Waltz” by Michelle Wing, as well as work by Susanna Solomon, Sandra Anfang, Susan Bono, Susan Starbird, Robert Feuer, Amanda Yskamp, Jo-Anne Rosen, Jodi Hottel, and Gor Yaswen (in memoriam). On Fridays at Mockingbird Books, 6932 Sebastopol Avenue, Sebastopol, and on Saturdays at Church of the Oaks, 185 Page Street, Cotati.
Contact Hilary Moore at hilary@monitor.net for more information.
Tickets are $10 at the door.


The Flamingos at Four-Eyed Frog Books in Gualala, Calif.

June 18, 2016 (Saturday) 4 p.m.

The Flamingos “Meet & Greet ” at Four-Eyed Frog Books, Gualala, Calif.

Four-Eyed Frog Books presents The Flamingos! Each year, nine women writers, all published and recipients of literary awards, come from California, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Hawaii, to meet at Sea Ranch. They share their writing, good food, great wine, a lot of laughter, and a deep love of Gualala’s stunning coastal beauty. How did they meet? What makes a writers’ group a success? What can these experts in writing workshops offer the community? Why on earth are they called the Flamingos? Come and find out! The writers are Michelle Wing, Tania Pryputniewicz, Lisa Rizzo, Ruth Thompson, Marcia Meier, Jayne Benjulian, Sandra Hunter, Barbara Yoder, and Barbara Rockman.  Meet and greet on Saturday at 4 p.m., Four-Eyed Frog Books, 39138 Ocean Drive, Gualala, California, 95445. Free admission.



Past Event Highlights

Digging Our Poetic Roots Launch, Sebastopol, Aug. 29, 2015

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Group shot of most of the contributors to the “Digging Our Poetic Roots” Sonoma County writers anthology, released in 2015. That’s Katherine Hastings, our editor and Sonoma County Poet Laureate (now emeritus) in the purple with arms open wide, embracing us all. (Ripley front and center, as usual.)

As Sonoma County Poet Laureate, Katherine Hastings sent out missives each month about poetry – short essays on poetic elements such as rhyme, stanzas, line breaks, titles, and on types of poetry, like ekphrasis and cutaways. She then invited Sonoma County poets to submit poems, responding to prompts related to each month’s theme. The culmination of her term as laureate was to pull a selection of all of these together, resulting in Digging Our Poetic Roots: Poems of Sonoma County. I am honored to say that my poem, “First Gardens,” a cutaway poem based on “Owls,” an essay from Mary Oliver’s book Blue Pastures, is included in the anthology. Katherine hosted an opening launch for the book in Sebastopol, and I hosted a second launch in Cloverdale at the Cloverdale Performing Arts Center, in coordination with the Books on Stage project.


AROHO (A Room of Her Own) Retreat, August 2015, New Mexico

Mesa View

The beauty of this place is in part what drew Sabrina and me away from California, spurring us to move to New Mexico in January 2016. We left Sonoma County behind, and headed off for desert adventures in Las Cruces, in the southern part of the state.

My 2015 AROHO Master Class, "Poems of Engagement," led by Lauren Rusk of Stanford University.

My 2015 AROHO Master Class, “Poems of Engagement,” led by poet Lauren Rusk of Stanford University.


Ripley hangs out with Janet Fitch, author of "White Oleander" and "Paint It Black"

Ripley hangs out with Janet Fitch, author of “White Oleander” and “Paint It Black.” I met Janet at AROHO in 2013, and because I was emboldened by her praise of poems I read that year, asked her to “blurb” my poetry book “Body on the Wall.” And she said yes!

Maxine Hong Kingston, author of the famed "Woman Warrior," was our featured guest for the week. Ripley sat on her feet at the evening readings three nights running, making quite an impression.

Maxine Hong Kingston, author of the famed “Woman Warrior,” was our featured guest for the week. Ripley sat on her feet at the evening readings three nights running, making quite an impression.


I first attended a writing retreat at Ghost Ranch (the place in the New Mexico desert where Georgia O’Keeffe used to paint) in 2009. The retreats, sponsored by A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO), have been held every other August since 2003. I returned again in 2011, 2013 and in 2015, each time magically restored by a week in the desert with 100 women writers. I now serve on the board of directors of AROHO, as we work to re-imagine ourselves, looking to a new future, while still fulfilling our principal mission, to end the isolation of creative women.


Dining with Authors,
Santa Rosa, Dec. 8, 2014

2014-12 Michelle & Ripley

Don’t let Ripley’s hang-dog expression fool you. You should see her perk up when people start to clap. She’s an attention hound, pure and simple.

Jeane Slone’s Dining with Authors is a local favorite. Guests get to eat great vegetarian food at Gaia’s Garden, while sharing tables with authors. Then after the meal, the ecletic mix of writers each take a turn at the mic, reading from his or her work. This evening, we were reading from Cry of the Nightbird.

KOWS 107.3 FM,
Occidental, Dec. 7, 2014

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On the air with Suzanne Lang of KOWS 107.3 FM Radio in Occidental. (Can you tell what my favorite hat was this winter?)

Doing an interview with Suzanne Lang on Lit Radio at KOWS 107.3 FM in Occidental, about Cry of the Nightbird,, along with co-editor Kate Farrell. What a treat! Radio is one of my favorite places to make guest appearances. Must be some kind of secret dream job.

Cloverdale Library,
Sept. 9, 2014

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Street signage for my reading at the Cloverdale Public Library. Like having my name on a marquee on Broadway! (Sort of.)

The Cloverdale Library was the first public institution to place my book Body on the Wall on its shelves, and their librarian Phil Hoeft also went out of his way to organize and advertise a reading for me. Love having hometown support.

Poetry Flash at Moe’s Books, Berkeley, Nov. 11, 2014

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Five Flamingos at Moe’s Books! Me, Lisa Rizzo, Tania Pryputniewicz, Barbara Yoder, and Ruth Thompson.

My two biggest supporters in one place on the same night - my wife, Sabrina Temple, and friend, publisher, and writing inspiration, Ruth Thompson.

My two biggest supporters in one place on the same night – my wife, Sabrina Temple, and friend, publisher, and writing inspiration, Ruth Thompson of Saddle Road Press.


Who's taking who's picture? Usually I'm behind the camera - or at least that's what I prefer. But I was caught out at this event.

Who’s taking who’s picture? Usually I’m behind the camera – or at least that’s what I prefer. But I was caught out at this event.

Don Mitchell, the other half of Saddle Road Press, is never without his camera. He's the one responsible for creating all of the beautiful covers for our books.

Don Mitchell, the other half of Saddle Road Press, is never without his camera. He’s the one responsible for taking the photographs for all of our beautiful covers, as well as designing our books.


History in the making! This event featured three Saddle Road Press authors (our publisher Ruth Thompson, Tania Pryputniewicz, and me), reading at Moe’s Books in Berkeley as part of the Poetry Flash Reading Series. Our first scheduled reading was June, and believe it or not, it had to be cancelled because there was a power outage that affected several city blocks, including Moe’s Books. Luckily, Barbara Yoder rose to the occasion and sponsored an impromptu reading at her Berkeley home for family and friends, complete with delicious food. It took some doing to reschedule, as the three of us were travelling from Hawai’i, San Diego, and Cloverdale, respectively, but we did it. We read to a packed house, and two of our Flamingo sisters, Lisa Rizzo and Barbara Yoder, made it to the event, making it a five Flamingo night. Definitely something to celebrate. (For those of you unfamiliar with all things Flamingo, I am part of a close circle of writing friends, nine of us in all, who go by that name. It’s somewhat of a mystery as to how the long-legged pink thing all started, even to us.)


PTSD Nation,
Sacramento State University,
Nov. 1, 2014

PTSD Nation, the second event sponsored by organizer and curator Diana Bilovsky.

PTSD Nation, the second event sponsored by organizer and curator Diana Bilovsky.

Diane Bilovsky, the originator of the Creating Freedom exhibit in 2012, wanted to expand the reach of her original show. in 2014, she launched PTSD Nation: Art & Poetry from Survivors of War, Gun Violence & Domestic Abuse. The show opened at the Library Annex Gallery at Sacramento State University, and went on to travel to several other cities over the next two years. In addition to each artist’s and poet’s work and artistic statement, the show included a “Wall of Heroes,” with biographies about each participant, describing how each had battled with and, in the end, managed to live with and even triumph over, PTSD.

From the "Wall of Heroes" at PTSD Nation.

From the “Wall of Heroes” at PTSD Nation.


Ripley and me near my posting at "The Wall of Heroes" at the PTSD Nation Exhibit in Sacramento.

Ripley and me near my posting at “The Wall of Heroes” at the PTSD Nation Exhibit in Sacramento.



First Copy of Cry of the Nightbird, Sept. 9, 2014

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Holding my first copy of “Cry of the Nightbird,” just arrived in the mail!

Coordinating and hosting Changing Hurt to Hope: Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence on behalf of YWCA Sonoma County was a moving and eventful life experience for me. After four years of listening to the poems, memoirs, and short stories of survivors and others in the community affected by domestic violence, we decided that these pieces needed to have a life beyond Domestic Violence Awareness Month each year. With the help of co-editors Kate Farrell and Ann Hutchinson, our anthology Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence became a reality.

Copperfield’s Santa Rosa,
July 8, 2014

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All smiles at our Redwood Writers reading at Copperfield’s Books in Santa Rosa.

Redwood Writers hosts an event each summer called “Hot Summer Nights,” with readings each week in July, featuring writers in different genres. It was a pleasure to read my poetry on the “Love and Romance Night.”

Aqus Literary Cafe, Petaluma, April 30, 2014

Michelle, Amanda and Ripley

With Amanda McTigue at the Aqus Cafe – and Ripley, of course.

A wonderful venue in Petaluma, with the indomitable Amanda McTigue as host. I’ve had the privilege of reading at Aqus three times, and each time has been a pleasure.


Body on the Wall Launch at Levin & Co., Healdsburg, May 15, 2014

My youngest fan of the day, poet Jaden Coursey, with her mom, author Christi Calson. Local author Robin Moore looks on, and Levin & Co. owner Aaron Rosenberg stands in the background.

My youngest fan of the day, poet Jaden Coursey, with her mom, author Christi Calson. Local author Robin Moore looks on, and Levin & Co. owner Aaron Rosenberg stands in the background.

A moment of serious signing at the book launch. My wife's cousin and mother-in-law sent the beautiful bouquet from San Diego. So sweet!

A moment of serious signing at the book launch. My wife’s cousin and mother-in-law sent the beautiful bouquet from San Diego. So sweet and very much appreciated!

Body on the Wall goes out into the world! My first book, published by Saddle Road Press, with special thanks to Ruth Thompson for her wise editing, and Don Mitchell for the beautiful cover art and book design. Aaron Rosenberg at Levin & Co. offered his store as our launching pad, and we had a great reception, with many friends stopping by. What a tremendous way to start this journey.


Sea Ranch Retreat with the Flamingos, May 2013

Seven of the nine Flamingos - me (and Ripley), Lisa Rizzo, Marcia Meier, Ruth Thompson, Tania Pryputniewicz, Barbara Rockman, and Barbara Yoder. Not pictured are Sandra Hunter (holding the camera) and Jayne Benjulian, who is camera shy.

Seven of the nine Flamingos – me (and Ripley), Lisa Rizzo, Marcia Meier, Ruth Thompson, Tania Pryputniewicz, Barbara Rockman, and Barbara Yoder. Not pictured are Sandra Hunter (holding the camera) and Jayne Benjulian, who is camera shy.

Ripley is the official Flamingo mascot, of course. She loves hanging out with nine women.

Ripley is the official Flamingo mascot, of course. She loves hanging out with nine women.


Sandra Hunter captured solo - since she was behind the camera up above.

Sandra Hunter captured solo.

Each afternoon we take walks along the beautiful Northern California coastline.

Each afternoon we take walks along the beautiful Northern California coastline.


In May 2013, I went to Sea Ranch for my first annual retreat with the eight women who are my closest writing friends. We call ourselves the Flamingos, and that’s a long story, so you’ll have to ask me in person some time! We rent two or three houses on the Northern California coast, come together from miles apart (Hawai’i, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and across the length of California) to spend seven days writing, sharing our work, going for walks, cooking meals together, and catching up on each other’s lives. We met at an AROHO retreat in 2011 – that’s where it all began.


Creating Freedom, Sacramento,
Oct. 3, 2012

Standing outside The California Museum in Sacramento, host to the Creating Freedom: Art & Poetry of Domestic Violence Survivors exhibit.

Standing outside The California Museum in Sacramento, host to the Creating Freedom: Art & Poetry of Domestic Violence Survivors exhibit.

Creating Freedom


As the creator of the Changing Hurt to Hope: Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence project, I received a call for submissions to an unusual exhibit in 2012. Diane Bilovsky, organizer of the Every Fourth Woman group, a Domestic Violence Survivors’ Union, was planning to sponsor a show at the California Museum in Sacramento. The title of the exhibit was “Creating Freedom: The Art & Poetry of Domestic Violence Survivors.” She wanted to talk about the fact that leaving an abusive relationship was only the beginning of the journey. I submitted two poems, and several other women from my Hurt to Hope group also submitted poetry and art. I traveled to Sacramento for the opening of the exhibit, and was so moved by what I saw there. My poem, “Dreamwork,” received a first prize award. I also exhibited “Art Therapy,” which would eventually become “Body on the Wall,” the title poem to my 2014 inaugural book of poetry.


Teen Poetry Slam,
Sept. 2012 and 2013

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Posting flyers for the Sonoma County Book Fair Teen Poetry Slam. (Ripley helped. She’s just at my feet.)

I had the great privilege of serving as the organizer and host for the Sonoma County Book Fair’s Teen Poetry Slam in 2012 and 2013. Since I was a newcomer to the slam scene, this meant a crash course in all things slam prior to the first event. I quickly hooked into the local slam scene, attending as many events as I could, and became an avid fan. Gotta say, the slam world was extremely accepting, and welcomed me unquestioningly. I have had a blast, from Northbay Poetry Slam at Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol to Slamazon in Cotati to the National Slam event in Oakland, and met a ton of really amazing young people.



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