Saturday, April 2, 2022

No Poetry No Peace: A Reading and Celebration of Human Expression and Peace hosted by Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte

IN CELEBRATION OF NATIONAL POETRY MONTH 2022

THE MECHANICS INSTITUTE LIBRARY-SAN FRANCISCO PRESENTS

NO POETRY NO PEACE

HOSTED BY SHERYL J. BIZE-BOUTTE

Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

This event is produced in partnership with the San Francisco Writers Conference


Please register via Eventbrite and the Zoom credentials will be sent to you when you register and a few days prior to the event.

https://www.milibrary.org/events/no-poetry-no-peace-reading-and-celebration-human-expression-and-peace-apr-28-2022#tickets

QUESTIONS? CONTACT TARYN EDWARDS

 tedwards@milibrary.org

MEET THE POETS!

 


Award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte is an Oakland multidisciplinary writer whose autobiographical and fictional short story collections, along with her lyrical and stunning poetry, artfully succeed in getting across deeper meanings about the politics of race and economics without breaking out of the narrative.  Her writing has been variously described as "rich in vivid imagery," "incredible," and "great contributions to literature." Her first novel, Betrayal on the Bayou, was published in June 2020 and a poetry collection she has written with her daughter Dr. Angela M. Boutte, titled No Poetry No Peace, was published in August 2020.  An inaugural Oakland Poet Laureate runner-up, she is also a popular literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee for local events. Find out more at www.sheryljbize-boutte.com


Mireya S. Vela is a Mexican-American creative non-fiction writer, storyteller, and artist in Los Angeles. In her work, Ms. Vela addresses the needs of immigrant Mexican families and the disparities they face every day. She tackles issues of inequity and how ingrained societal systems support the injustice that contributes to continuing poverty and abuse. Ms. Vela received her Master of Fine Arts from Antioch University in 2018. She is the author of Vestiges of Courage, available through Amazon. Ms. Vela is also a visual artist. Find her on Twitter @mireyasvela; Instagram: mireyasvela; and her Visual Art is here: mireyasvela.com


Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry and the novel, The White Field, winner of the American Fiction Award. He is a regular contributor to Mythaxis, an online journal, where in addition to his fiction and essays, his interviews with notable writers, artists and musicians such as Daniel Wallace (Big Fish), Darcy Steinke (Suicide Blond, Flash Count Diary) and Tim Reynolds (T3 and The Dave Matthews Band) have been popular contributions. He also writes a regular monthly column called “Trading Fours” for Jerry Jazz Musician and has recently been named the editor for “American Poetry” in Read Carpet, an international, predominantly Spanish-language journal produced by Maria Del Castillo Sucerquia from Columbia. In addition to the American Fiction Award, he was awarded the Leslie Hunt Memorial prize in poetry, the Editors’ Choice Award for fiction by RiverSedge, and has been nominated three time for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. He lives and teaches in Seattle, Washington. His website is https://douglastcole.com/.


Grace Marie Grafton’s most recent book, LENS, from Unsolicited Press, features poems inspired by California artists, 1853-2010. She is the author of six previous collections of poetry. Her themes range from lyrical sonnets to experimental prose poems, with a concentration on response to fine art. Ms. Grafton taught for many years in the California Poets In The Schools program, for which she was awarded twelve California Arts Council grants.  She was named Teacher of the Year by the River Of Words annual student poetry contest co-sponsored by Robert Hass, United States Poet Laureate. Born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley of a Finnish American farming family, she now lives in Oakland with her husband and their extended family. Find her poems here - https://gracegrafton.wixsite.com/poems


Gini Grossenbacher, novelist, poet, certified editor, educator, publisher, founded Elk Grove Writers and Artists and JGKS Press in Sacramento County. She has thirty-six years of experience teaching English/language arts to adolescents and adults. Her debut American Madams series novel, Madam of My Heart, was a silver medalist for historical fiction in the 2018 Independent Publisher awards and received the Kirkus star; Madam in Silk was runner up for historical fiction in the 2020 National Indie Excellence Awards. Her next novel, Madam in Lace, was recently published in December 2021. Glimpses, her first poetry collection, will be released in September 2022. Gini provides developmental, copyediting, and collaborative publishing services to novelists and poets as well as offering weekly virtual fiction and poetry workshops.  A happy grandma, Gini lives in Elk Grove with her husband Karl and faithful dog, Murphy Brown. Please visit her website ginigrossenbacher.com; find her on Facebook, and learn more about JGKS Press https://www.jgkspressmystrikingly.com/


Award-winning and widely published poet, author, journalist, & activist Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross uses poetry as a catalyst for healing.  Her performative narrative pedagogy is centered around themes ranging from personal topics, religion, identity, women's empowerment, and social justice. Her work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, reviews, radio broadcasts, and 15 anthologies. She has published a book and is working on other manuscripts for poetry, memoir, and children’s picture books. Check out her book, Stop Hurting and Dance published by Pochino Press.


REGISTER HERE:

https://www.milibrary.org/events/no-poetry-no-peace-reading-and-celebration-human-expression-and-peace-apr-28-2022#tickets









Monday, March 21, 2022

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH-NO POETRY NO PEACE

JOIN US ON APRIL 28, 2022 

FOR THE

FREE

MECHANICS INSTITUTE LIBRARY-SAN FRANCISCO

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH EVENT



hosted by 

Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte

"a reading and celebration of human expression and peace"


Thursday, April 28, 2022 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

REGISTER NOW:

https://www.milibrary.org/events/no-poetry-no-peace-reading-and-celebration-human-expression-and-peace-apr-28-2022#tickets

This event is produced in partnership with the San Francisco Writers Conference

Join us and a selection of poets – some local, some far flung - to explore how "poetry provides pathways for creative and cathartic human expression and peace."  The "No Poetry No Peace series happens twice a year and the title comes from a collection written by Sheryl Bize-Boutte and her daughter Dr. Angela Boutte.


About our poets:

Award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte is an Oakland multidisciplinary writer whose autobiographical and fictional short story collections, along with her lyrical and stunning poetry, artfully succeed in getting across deeper meanings about the politics of race and economics without breaking out of the narrative.  Her writing has been variously described as "rich in vivid imagery," "incredible," and "great contributions to literature." Her first novel, Betrayal on the Bayou, was published in June 2020 and a poetry collection she has written with her daughter Dr. Angela M. Boutte, titled No Poetry No Peace, was published in August 2020.  An inaugural Oakland Poet Laureate runner-up, she is also a popular literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee for local events. Find out more at www.sheryljbize-boutte.com


Mireya S. Vela is a Mexican-American creative non-fiction writer, storyteller, and artist in Los Angeles. In her work, Ms. Vela addresses the needs of immigrant Mexican families and the disparities they face every day. She tackles issues of inequity and how ingrained societal systems support the injustice that contributes to continuing poverty and abuse. Ms. Vela received her Master of Fine Arts from Antioch University in 2018. She is the author of Vestiges of Courage, available through Amazon. Ms. Vela is also a visual artist. Find her on Twitter @mireyasvela; Instagram: mireyasvela; and her Visual Art is here: mireyasvela.com


Douglas Cole has published six collections of poetry and the novel, The White Field, winner of the American Fiction Award. He is a regular contributor to Mythaxis, an online journal, where in addition to his fiction and essays, his interviews with notable writers, artists and musicians such as Daniel Wallace (Big Fish), Darcy Steinke (Suicide Blond, Flash Count Diary) and Tim Reynolds (T3 and The Dave Matthews Band) have been popular contributions. He also writes a regular monthly column called “Trading Fours” for Jerry Jazz Musician and has recently been named the editor for “American Poetry” in Read Carpet, an international, predominantly Spanish-language journal produced by Maria Del Castillo Sucerquia from Columbia. In addition to the American Fiction Award, he was awarded the Leslie Hunt Memorial prize in poetry, the Editors’ Choice Award for fiction by RiverSedge, and has been nominated three time for a Pushcart and Best of the Net. He lives and teaches in Seattle, Washington. His website is https://douglastcole.com/.


Grace Marie Grafton’s most recent book, LENS, from Unsolicited Press, features poems inspired by California artists, 1853-2010. She is the author of six previous collections of poetry. Her themes range from lyrical sonnets to experimental prose poems, with a concentration on response to fine art. Ms. Grafton taught for many years in the California Poets In The Schools program, for which she was awarded twelve California Arts Council grants.  She was named Teacher of the Year by the River Of Words annual student poetry contest co-sponsored by Robert Hass, United States Poet Laureate. Born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley of a Finnish American farming family, she now lives in Oakland with her husband and their extended family. Find her poems here - https://gracegrafton.wixsite.com/poems


Gini Grossenbacher, novelist, poet, certified editor, educator, publisher, founded Elk Grove Writers and Artists and JGKS Press in Sacramento County. She has thirty-six years of experience teaching English/language arts to adolescents and adults. Her debut American Madams series novel, Madam of My Heart, was a silver medalist for historical fiction in the 2018 Independent Publisher awards and received the Kirkus star; Madam in Silk was runner up for historical fiction in the 2020 National Indie Excellence Awards. Her next novel, Madam in Lace, was recently published in December 2021. Glimpses, her first poetry collection, will be released in September 2022. Gini provides developmental, copyediting, and collaborative publishing services to novelists and poets as well as offering weekly virtual fiction and poetry workshops.  A happy grandma, Gini lives in Elk Grove with her husband Karl and faithful dog, Murphy Brown. Please visit her website ginigrossenbacher.com; find her on Facebook, and learn more about JGKS Press https://www.jgkspressmystrikingly.com/


Award-winning and widely published poet, author, journalist, & activist Aqueila M. Lewis-Ross uses poetry as a catalyst for healing.  Her performative narrative pedagogy is centered around themes ranging from personal topics, religion, identity, women's empowerment, and social justice. Her work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, reviews, radio broadcasts, and 15 anthologies. She has published a book and is working on other manuscripts for poetry, memoir, and children’s picture books. Check out her book, Stop Hurting and Dance published by Pochino Press.


Please register via Eventbrite and the Zoom credentials will be sent to you when you register and a few days prior to the event.

https://www.milibrary.org/events/no-poetry-no-peace-reading-and-celebration-human-expression-and-peace-apr-28-2022#tickets

Questions? 

Contact Taryn Edwards, tedwards@milibrary.org




 

Monday, January 31, 2022

SHE'S BACK! FROM STORYBOARD TO NARRATIVE AT MECHANICS INSTITUTE LIBRARY ON MARCH 19, 2022

From Storyboard to Narrative 

with 

Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte



Saturday, March 19, 2022 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

This event is presented in partnership with the San Francisco Writers Conference.


It will take place via Zoom. Please register via Eventbrite and the Zoom credentials will be sent to you a few days before the class starts.


REGISTER HERE:

https://www.milibrary.org/events/storyboard-narrative-mar-19-2022#tickets

Questions? Contact Taryn Edwards, tedwards@milibrary.org


In this workshop, author Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte will guide you from storyboard creation to story narrative.  You will become familiar with the process of storyboarding, how it helps and guides the writer, how Sheryl uses her own unique storyboarding techniques to create narrative for her writing projects, and a fun storyboarding exercise for class participants.   

Award winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte is an Oakland multidisciplinary writer whose autobiographical and fictional short story collections, along with her lyrical and stunning poetry, artfully succeed in getting across deeper meanings about the politics of race and economics without breaking out of the narrative.  Her writing has been variously described as "rich in vivid imagery," "incredible," and "great contributions to literature." Her first novel, Betrayal on the Bayou, was published in June 2020 and a poetry collection she has written with her daughter Dr. Angela M. Boutte, titled No Poetry No Peace, was published in August 2020.  She is also a popular literary reader, presenter, storyteller, curator, and emcee for local events.


"Writing can be solitary, and workshops like this are a treat! Sheryl's creativity encourages writers like me to innovate! One of her exercises in class gave me an idea that I've turned into a short story currently being submitted to contests and for publication. (Fingers crossed!) I liked Sheryl's unique approach, and the positive feedback she shared with each participant. She is a kind and helpful workshop leader." -E. Coyle Divers


For each class, we reserve the right to cancel at any time and issue a full refund. If you are unable to attend your class, please email tedwards@milibrary.org at least 10 days prior to the class to receive a full refund. All fees must be paid at the time of registration.


https://www.milibrary.org/events/storyboard-narrative-mar-19-2022#tickets

Thursday, January 27, 2022

What "Writer Advice" is Saying About "Betrayal on the Bayou"

 HERE IS WHAT 

WRITER ADVICE 

www.writeradvice.com

IS SAYING ABOUT

 BETRAYAL ON THE BAYOU

Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte’s Betrayal on the Bayou is a fascinating novel that delves into some heartbreaking issues around race, justice, and the noir code in the fictitious Louisiana town of Tassin.

In the midst of the Louisiana Bayou in the 1800s, there was a three-tiered culture: slaves, free people of color, and whites. When a young, white widower from Paris arrives with his daughter he marries a Tassin woman, who has money and power, and then takes a Creole lover. After a while he builds his lover, Margot, a house identical to his wife, Marie’s, and sets them side by side. He encourages feuds, discord, and his personal superiority. As the story unfolds we learn about the injustices a white man could perpetrate without consequences in the 1800s. Readers will be left wondering how much has changed today in this fast-paced debut novel.

Bize-Boutte is an award-winning writer, poet, and Pushcart Nominee.




Available at Amazon, Goodreads, Bookshop.org and other booksellers

https://www.amazon.com/Betrayal-Bayou-Sheryl-J-Bize-Boutte/dp/B089M615NT/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54165307-betrayal-on-the-bayou

https://bookshop.org/books/betrayal-on-the-bayou/9798642089934

Friday, December 31, 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
HERE'S TO 2022 
WITH HAPPINESS, 
GOOD HEALTH 
AND BLESSINGS 
TO ALL OF YOU!

Monday, December 27, 2021

MY INTERVIEW WITH B. LYNN GOODWIN, "HOOKED ON WONDERFUL BOOKS"

Fall 2021 ~~ Hooked on Wonderful Books


An interview with Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte by B. Lynn Goodwin


“I was a writer at 12 years old when my parents bought me a Smith Corona typewriter and I wrote my first story.”   ~~Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte


BETRAYAL ON THE BAYOU

Written by Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte and Reviewed by B. Lynn Goodwin

ISBN #:  979-8642089934

Independently published (June 3, 2020)


Let It All Out


Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte’s Betrayal on the Bayou is a fascinating novel that delves into some heartbreaking issues around race, justice, and the noir code in the fictitious Louisiana town of Tassin.


In the midst of the Louisiana Bayou in the 1800s, there was a three-tiered culture: slaves, free people of color, and whites. When a young, white widower from Paris arrives with his daughter he marries a Tassin woman, who has money and power,  and then takes a Creole lover. After a while he builds his lover, Margot, a house identical to his wife, Marie’s, and sets them side by side. He encourages feuds, discord, and his personal superiority. As the story unfolds we learn about the injustices a white man could perpetrate without consequences in the 1800s. Readers will be left wondering how much has changed today in this fast-paced debut novel.


Bize-Boutte is an award-winning writer, poet, and Pushcart Nominee. 

In this interview she talks about her experiences.


 


BLG: Tell us when you knew you were a writer. Who encouraged you to tell your stories?  


SJBB: I am from a family of storytellers and voracious readers, so writing was a natural addition to that portfolio.  I knew I was a writer at 12 years old when my parents bought me a Smith Corona typewriter and I wrote my first story.  I had imagined stories before then and wrote a few things down in pencil, but my passion was not solidified and off to the races until I was gifted that typewriter.  Incidentally, my first story was about pencils.  



BLG:  Are there real experiences you’ve observed or heard about woven into your novel? Can you give us a couple of examples? 


 

SJBB: As you know, fiction is always informed by lived reality and for Betrayal on the Bayou that is an embedded fact.  I tell people my imagination has always been my best friend and so, the combination and sometimes hybrid presentation of fact and imagination are present in the novel.   


 

As an example, one of the lead characters, Margot, is a mixture of the personalities, essences, physical attributes, occupations, and unfathomable heartbreak of several of the most important women in my life, the women who shaped me. In Margot, people who know me will see my mother who never completely overcame her tragedies and yet was a woman of incomparable substance and will, my aunt who made clothing, from the hats to the shoes, for Hollywood’s famous, my great-aunt who flourished in the Jim Crow south despite the restrictions on her very being, and me, a Black woman in America, and all that means. Those who don’t will discover my truths in this work of fiction.

 

Another example is the phrase, “the rain she come, the bisic pass on you,” from a story my father told us as children.  I took that phrase and re-imagined it as connected to my novel and gave it a new and different life with a more expansive meaning within the Creole and code noir culture I was describing and a commentary on how a myriad of things may have been in the fictional Louisiana town I built. In other words, I did what I do when I write fiction. I took a speck of something, added a dose of imagination, and blew it up into a story all its own. 


BLG: I’ve been fascinated by Creoles since I found a reference to them in a poem in my 7th grade reader. What inspired you to write about Creoles and their struggles in Louisiana? 


SJBB: My father was a Creole from Louisiana. I did not want to write a biography; I have already done many published stories and articles on my parents.  Yet, I was compelled to write something about the Creoles and one day, after ten years of procrastination, all the stories I had been told over the years, all the summer visits, all the food and the joy, and the deceptions, came together with imagination and boom, it was all just there, fully formed, the words hitting the pages like magic.   


But the book is not just about the Creoles. Far from it. There are many human and structural characters woven into the novel. In addition to the people in the story, I explore aspects of colorism, elitism, gender bias, inequality, sexism, and what I consider other “betrayals” in the world I created inspired by a culture with which I am familiar.  I put it all in.  I let it all out. 


BLG: Which characters and events were hardest to write about? Why? 


SJBB: The hardest was Margot’s heartbreak.  It is a horrifying cruelty born of racial hatred.  It was the scene that took me 10 years to be able to write.  It was extremely difficult and written through a torrent of tears. Once I knew I could write the passage, I knew the rest of the book would just fall out.  And it did. 

 

Another difficult character was Marie.  Her torment was inspired by the life of a close relative, who floated on the surface to avoid destruction.   


BLG: How did writing poetry influence your process? 


SJBB: My penchant for the poetic often results in uniquely formed prose in my story writing.  In poetry, I believe that every line is a poem, and my stories are heavily influenced by that. It also means that in my story writing, I do not always adhere to traditional grammatical and phraseology conventions, which can be misunderstood or unaccepted by some and cause “editors” to pull out the red pen and provide “corrections.”  But it is my voice, and I will always be true to it. Because the ultimate gift to me as a writer is reaching those who can “see” my writing.


BLG: I admire your confidence. Has teaching improved your writing? How? 

 

SJBB: I don’t think teaching has improved my writing, but I do feel strongly that sharing what I have learned with others is a part of the circle of writing.  By that I mean, I am comfortable with the way I express myself with words and I teach to help others feel the same and to share what I know, what I have learned and what I am still discovering. 

 

BLG: What do you hope readers will take from  Betrayal on the Bayou? 


SJBB: That there are many stories of people, particularly Black people, that some may not know.  That we are complex beings.  That colorism and racism are cruel and not always visible. That just because you don’t know about something, doesn’t mean it did not happen.  That things that went on, pairings that occurred, are not new things, but existed long ago in different and sometimes, the same, settings. That there are some very bad people in this world.  That there are angels. That we must save and nourish the angels among us.


BLG: Was it always your intention to publish the book independently or did you submit to agents first? What advice can you give readers about independent publishing?  


SJBB: When an unplanned opportunity arose to “pitch” the story to a traditional publisher, I took advantage of it, but I knew there was no interest when their eyes glazed over and they said, “Well it sounds like a story worth telling.” Since I had always wanted to publish on my own to protect my “voice,” I took that route, and I am happy that I did.  I feel I told the story I wanted to tell in the ways that I wanted to tell it, without interference or lack of understanding by an outside party. 


My advice for independent publishing is twofold: 


Make sure you carve out adequate time to market your work. People need to see you and your writing in as many venues as you can reach. 


Invest in a good editor. I thought I had, but unfortunately, I had not.  The bad thing is copies got out with mostly punctuation errors.  The good thing is, since my independently published book is print on demand, I was able to get the mistakes corrected and have the book re-posted.  But I also have to say that some of the strongest and best reviews I received were on the early uncorrected copies, proving that for some, even the worst editing job can’t get in the way of a solid story.  Even now, I suspect we did not catch all the errors, but neither did Ernest Hemingway, Walter Mosley, or Sue Grafton, and many other famous, best-selling authors.  


I consider myself to be in good company and am happy about the response to my book. 


BLG: What are you working on now and where can people learn more about you?  


SJBB: In a bit of a departure from Betrayal on the Bayou, which is, at times, dystopian, I am in the process of writing a sci-fi novel. The first chapter won an award in the 2021 San Francisco Writers Conference Writing Contest and is published in their 2021 anthology.   


You can read more about me and what I am up to at: www.sheryljbize-boutte.com. Thank you again for this interview opportunity. 


BLG: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. I agree that your voice comes through loudly and clearly. You’ve done a great job of sharing a part of the culture that many people would like to know more about.


Looking for a book that is both historical and timely? 

Looking for a fast-moving story that will grab and hold you? 

Get a copy of Sheryl J. Bize-Boutte’s Betrayal on the Bayou.

https://www.amazon.com/Sheryl-J-Bize-Boutte/e/B00MS628XQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_book_1