I entered my new book of poems, Bringing Home the Moon in the 2016 San Francisco Book Festival. Came in second in Honorable Mention. A good feeling because this competition has so many entrants.

2016 SF Book Fest

I am so pleased to share this with my friends.



Mary Lou Taylor will be at the Martin Luther King Jr. Library for yet another reading of her book of poems, Bringing Home the Moon. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, April 19th, 2016—meaning, TOMORROW, at 5:00 p.m. The reading will be at the Schiro Room 550, at the King Library, on San Fernando and 4th Street. Check the flyer for further details about dinner following the reading. RSVP at mltpoet85@gmail.com.

Make this your special event for April—Poetry Month.

MLT flyer-sm


pink blossoms

MARCH beckons attention to the 2016 Blossom Festival in the town of Saratoga, a free event reminiscent of the original Blossom Festival that debuted in the 1900s and has stayed popular and celebrated each year, for over 40 years. Edwin Sidney (Everlasting Sunshine) Williams organized a celebration when the drought ended and called it the Blossom Festival. Wanting people to enjoy the orchards blossoms, invitations were issued and hundreds responded. The day was filled with food, games, and a blossom and garden tour. Each succeeding year, the event grew in popularity with 20,000 attending one year.

Produced by the Saratoga Historical Foundation, this free event will be celebrated this year on Saturday, March 19 from 10:00 a.m.– 4:00 p.m. in the Saratoga Heritage Orchard and Civic Center area.

Warren Hutton House I will be reading at the Festival at 11:00 a.m. along with past Poet Laureates, Parthenia Hicks (Los Gatos), Nils Peterson (Santa Clara County), and Dave Denny (Cupertino). The reading will be held at the Warren Hutton House on 13777-A Fruitvale Ave.in Saratoga.

Please do attend and partake in the music of the 30’s and 40’s, vintage motors, a variety of foods, arts and crafts that will bring back memories of yesteryear. Check out my previous post about the 2014 Blossom Festival to get a feel for this celebration.

orange blsms

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


My friend Calder Lowe got after me to enter my “old” book, The Fringes of Hollywood, in the 2014 Hollywood Book Festival. I thought why not.


The news came today. Can’t believe it, but Jack and I will be staying at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood on the 26th of July, 2014.


My book, The Fringes of Hollywood, got into the Wild Card awards as an Honorable Mention. So that goes with an invitation to mingle with the other winners at the Awards ceremony, to accept the award, and to say a few words.

Here are the WILD CARD winners:

WINNER: Down One Side and Up the Other – Peter Shikli
RUNNER-UP: Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel – Louis L’amour (adapted by Charles Santino, et al)


• Private Svoboda – Steven R. Roberts with Alexander von Svoboda
• Adventure Inward – Jonathan Wunrow
• 8 Keys to Wholeness – Donna DeNomme
• The Undiscovered Goddess – Michelle Colston
• Swanson at Sundown – Jack Ryan
• L.A. a la Cart – Richard Asperger
The Fringes of Hollywood – Mary Lou Taylor
• The United States of Theocracy – Janet K. Humphreys, Ph.D
• Murder in the Haunted House – Carolee Russell
• Time and Forever – Susan B. James
• Surveillance on the Down-Low – W.M. Sanguine

Another winner is Audry Lynch for her book on John Steinbeck and James Dean, The Rebel Figure in American Literature and Film: The Interconnected Lives of John Steinbeck and James Dean.

The Rebel Figure

I was fortunate enough to review it, and the reviews were published in Pen Woman and in Steinbeck Gazette. 
Steinbeck Remembered



Belonging to the Saratoga Foothill Club has given me opportunities (maybe forced me) to delve into Frances MayesThe Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems, to read up on images, and to offer an hour-and-a-half class through the Foothill Club’s Public Lecture Series titled Introduction to Poetry. Two weeks later I worked with a memoir class to present the two types of images Mayes suggests. I also joined the memoir class a week later to hear poems they chose to read, theirs or others. And enjoyed a potluck lunch without having to contribute. Delicious.

Another opportunity arose when Erica Goss and Mari L’Esperance taught a one-day class on images at the Markham House in History Park. What a relief to discover that literal images exist and are as acceptable as figurative. A more-than-useful day. My figurative images are few.

One of my students at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino was talking with me about poetry. What he said was: “It’s pretty easy to write a good poem. It’s almost impossible to write a great one.” I’ve never forgotten those words. An Introduction to Poetry must begin with Billy Collins and his poem of the same name. Not a great poem, but a good one that tells a true tale in his usual clever style. Billy Collins is a favorite of mine for his use of humor.

It’s been said that a poem needs POWER AND PUNCH. If that’s the type of poem you plan to write, you’ll need images. And where do they come from? SIGHT, HEARING, TOUCH, SMELL AND TASTE—the five senses. A figurative image likens an object or experience to something else, often something surprising. The poet intends to do one or all of these:

• Go beyond the literal meaning to the senses.
• Give pleasure or surprise to the imagination.
• Impart vigor by the inclusion of a sensory detail.
• Intensify the deeper intention in the writing by adding a figurative image as a new dimension.

Here’s part of a poem, “Pleasures of the Exotic,” from my book, The Fringes of Hollywood. Note the figurative images.

fortress all its own
spiked at each leaf’s tip
refusing to reveal its secrets
unless uncovered one by one
like Salome’s veils

its greenness snug in the palm
press it, feel it give, cut through
firmly to open its halves.
Some skin peels away
like an opening curtain;
some must go under the knife.

shaped like a Rubens woman
its color the warmth of the setting sun:
inside, firm flesh, smooth, slippery
its womb black pearls
full of promise

And what are literal images? : A literal image aims to replicate in words the object or experience. The writer tries to reproduce the subject realistically without comparing it to anything else. Literal images take the flatness from your writing. No more “there are” beginnings. Many fewer is, are, was and were words. Use lively verbs. Be spare with adjectives and make them count. Even more spare with adverbs. And choose a noun that goes deep into description.

Another poem from The Fringes of Hollywood, this one without figurative images. Does it work?


I fixed a peach for you, he says, coming in
to wake me. I know that at the table bowl and plate
await me, sit royally on the blue mat

knife and spoon in place. The rich aroma of coffee
follows him down the hall. I push the covers back, thrust
my feet into padded slippers, paddle

to the kitchen. We sit behind our papers in unspoken truce, broken
only by the click of the microwave door. While his coffee
heats again, he kisses me,

microwave kisses and the toot of his horn at the foot
of the driveway. Sometimes I peer through shutter slats
to watch him drive away, linger

on the front porch to wave goodbye, happy
to have ended up after all these years
breakfasting with Jack.

And so many other ways to make a poem sing—alliteration, internal rhyme, repetition to name a few. You already know most of this, but I found that a quick review of the definitions of both literal and figurative images changed my writing.