POETRY WITH MARY LOU TAYLOR at the Montalvo Writer Series: Sunday, November 8, 2015

Join me on Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 4:30 p.m.at the Historic Villa at Montalvo Arts Center, where I’ll be reading from my new book, Bringing Home the Moon, published Aldrich Press, 2015. This event is FREE! Books will be available for purchase; beer and wine will be for sale, and light refreshments will be served. But first—please RSVP at the Montalvo site. All MUST RSVP at the Montalvo site. You can click the button to reach the Montalvo website.

Hope all of you can attend. See what some of my poet friends have to say about my new book, Bringing Home the Moon: Cover Art: Chuck Drew.

Bringing Home

“Mary Lou is one of my favorite poets,” raves Grace Cavalieri, radio host of The Poet and the Poem. “In Bringing Home the Moon, we have her past experience turned into poems boldly planned and implemented through the prism of memory….These are beautifully proportioned recollections you will read and then revisit.”

“We float through moments formative or formidable, touching or frightful, but all…lit with generous spirit and a graceful love of language” —Harry Lafnear

“This is THE poetry collection of the year!” —David Denny, first Poet Laureate of Cupertino

MLT at Montalvo



Bringing Home Two days ago two boxes appeared on our front porch. Inside were copies of Bringing Home the Moon, a poetry book that’s been ten years in the making. I finished much of it at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga as an artist in residence. But sometimes illness interferes, and this past year I’ve worked on the book sporadically, set it up, chosen the poems, and sent it to a couple of presses with time to spare. I’ve been pretty well housebound.

It was Dave Denny, first Poet Laureate of Cupertino, who made the difference. He suggested a press down south that he thought might be interested. They were. It took several months and some tough proofreading and editing (I still can’t figure out how to number pages.), but the book looks good and reads well. I thank Karen Kelsay, my editor at Aldrich Press, for going out of her way to work with me.

One poet friend talked of what we hoped to get from a writing group. I have three: Peerless Poets, Poetry Salon, and Poetry Circle. And I learn from all each time we meet. My friend’s strategy for structuring a poem is what I ended up using in the new book. The book provides a set of stepping stones for readers to follow as they make their way from the opening to the ending. I used some of the poems from my first book to make the new book flow. It has three sections. The first deals with living in Chicago and moving finally to Los Angeles. Then the big move to what now is called Silicon Valley. The last section is a gallimaufry of this and that. It ends with a few poems on Space, big in Silicon Valley.

Blurb Back Cover Art: Chuck Drew

Published by
Kelsay Books, Aldrich Press, 2015

Photograph of Moon: WebMaster


Peninsula Volunteers keeps many of the senior citizens of Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton who are in need (and you’d be surprised how many that is) going strong. They fund Meals on Wheels, Rosener House (relief for caregivers), Little House (senior citizens’ classes, workshops and exercise spots), and two apartment complexes with low income prices. The pictures below are: the Meals on Wheels delivery truck (along with many of the PVs own cars, of course.) And the second picture is of Jack, my husband, our daughter Linda (who will head up Meals on Wheels this coming year), and me.

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We are at the dedication of the inner courtyard do-over named for one of the Peninsula Volunteers, Ann Griffith, who has done so much for the organization. This was funded by John Arrillaga, the philanthropist, and Mervyn and Roz Morris. Now diners and meeting attendees will be shielded by a huge tarp-like structure to keep out the sun and can enjoy the flowers that are everywhere in the courtyard.


On April 27th The National League of American Pen Women heard their Northern California president, Dorothy Atkins, speak on Sarah Breedlove, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is regarded as the first female self-made millionaire in America. She made her fortune by developing and marketing a successful line of beauty and hair products for black women under the company she founded, Madame C.J.Walker. A fascinating talk about a life well lived. Dorothy Atkins brought hats to the luncheon left to her by her mother-in-law, who was a seamstress at I. Magnin and made all her own clothes.

Mary Lou & Audry Lynch
We were enjoying the company of members of the San Jose Women’s Club and trying on hats. Audry Lynch and I are busy looking over all the color at the table.


Madam C.J. Walker was born Sarah Breedlove on December 23, 1867, on a cotton plantation near Delta, Louisiana. Her parents, Owen and Minerva, were recently freed slaves, and Sarah, who was their fifth child, was the first in her family to be free-born.

Sarah married a man named Moses McWilliams. On June 6, 1885, Sarah gave birth to a daughter, A’Lelia. When Moses died two years later, Sarah and A’Lelia moved to St. Louis, where Sarah’s brothers had established themselves as barbers. There, Sarah found work as a washerwoman, earning $1.50 a day—enough to send her daughter to the city’s public schools. She also attended public night school whenever she could. While in St. Louis, Breedlove met her second husband Charles J. Walker, who worked in advertising and would later help promote her hair care business.

During the 1890s, Sarah Breedlove developed a scalp disorder that caused her to lose much of her hair, and she began to experiment with both home remedies and store-bought hair care treatments in an attempt to improve her condition.
hair grower scalp

In 1905, Breedlove was hired as a commission agent by Annie Turnbo Malone—a successful, black, hair care product entrepreneur—and she moved to Denver, Colorado. While there, Breedlove’s husband Charles helped her create advertisements for a hair care treatment for African Americans that she was perfecting. Her husband also encouraged her to use the more recognizable name “Madam C.J. Walker,” by which she was thereafter known.

[Biographical text and images of C.J. Walker obtained online and from the Wikipedia.]


VILLAGE HOUSE OF BOOKS at 21 Main Street, Los Gatos, CA hosted the launch party for (AFTER)life: Poems and Stories of the Dead published by Victoria Johnson’s Purple Passion Press at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, 2015. The cover painting, ‘The Grass Bends’, is by local artist Lacey Bryant. The anthology is edited by Renée M. Schell, Barbara Froman, and Marta Svea Wallien.

The reading was great fun. Can you imagine getting paid for your poem, two free books, and a T-shirt? My poem is called “Remains”, which I unearthed from some notes I took when I lived near the Coquille River in Oregon.

Village Houselaunch photo



Here’s a beautiful poem for the close of 2014.

by Nils Peterson

A low morning sun threw fluttering
shadows against my window.
I thought, the angels have come.

Maybe it was just small birds, feasting
on winter berries, but I thought angels,
and thought they’ve whispered

in our ears, for something grows inside.
Our walks change with the weight of it.
Our eyes reach out for what is small, tender,

or shining. Something wants
to be born into this world,
and we grow inward and heavy with it.

William lives in Chengdu, China, on the road to Tibet.

(Also by Nils Peterson, from a poem in For This Day II

…he stayed around
watching, and humming
a new song almost to himself.

Be still enough.
You will hear.