12May2018 Meeting Minutes

San Joaquin Valley Branch
California Writers Club
Saturday, May 12, 2018

Call to Order: June Gillam
Due to UOP's graduation on this day and extremely poor parking, our attendance was at an all time low; therefore we postponed everything on the May agenda to the June Meeting, including the election. 

Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman
Approximately 10 in attendance, including one newcomer.

Speaker: Poet Laureate of Davis, Dr. Andy Jones offered a delightful presentation centered around the private and the public value of poetry, noting the irony that his private practice as a poet, now a laureate, must needs be shared in the public sphere, particularly to deliver an original three-minute poem just before the fireworks on July 4th. He works to bring poetry to an audience at public events in Davis and he includes in his own writing what his city is known for. 

Addressing the tension between the practical and the impractical in terms of the value of poetry for students wanting to get a job, Andy pointed to the practical first and said there is a new focus on the value of studying subjects fostering creative skills for work that cannot be done by robots. He referenced A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, in which Daniel Pink proposes that three big As affect us now as job seekers of all kinds, including writers trying to sell their wares.

Abundance -- trillions of products and activities, including books
Automation-- robots taking many of the current jobs
Asia -- many more English speaking workers than in US, so cheap wages

Degrees and accomplishments in poetry/humanity/liberal arts prepares people for the new jobs that robots cannot do.

Regarding the impractical, Andy said in poetry we can find emotional truth; it can connect us in an immediate way to important things, crucial things in our lives that hit us in the heart; poetry connects disparate images and ideas, and even a bad poem can still provide a therapeutic function available to all of us.

The poet can step forth and say what others know to be emotionally true but have not have expressed it in a specific and touching way. Ambitious and precise, poetry tries to communicate using the perfect word and do interesting things with the language such as use puns (sparingly) like this example Andy saw in front of a church: "Exposure to the son can prevent burning."

A poem starts with a disturbance of the status quo--the poem's speaker has had an occasion that generated the speech/poem. A poem enacts an emotion, does not need to have a logical meaning, not to be read as an essay or article.

Dr. Andy also offered some marketing tips: "association marketing" works--people who bought this also bought that, and direct "content marketing" works too, such as at events where writers connect with people. It's a good idea to offer something of value such as portions of a nonfiction book in a blog at first to get people to know you and want to support your book later when it comes out.

Ask yourself, how do I offer value in order to grow an audience before my book comes out? For example, medium.com writers help readers solve problems. 

For a schedule of Dr. Andy's poetry and related events in Davis, see
and on Facebook, see Dr. Andy's Poetry and Technology Hour

We took a break for networking

Adjournment: June Gillam

Manuscript Critiques followed.


June Gillam,
Secretary                        Date of approval