Sagebrush & Cactus Poetry Group

The Art Corner

By Judith Brooks-Strickland and Erline Heard

The Art Corner

Do you have an artistic voice or have you been writing poetry, stories, memoirs, essays, or narratives? Come join the Sagebrush and Cactus Poetry Group of Pahrump Community Library. They would like to meet you.

These poets, writers, and artistic voices meet every 1st Saturday of the month at 10:00 am. at Pahrump Community Library, 701 East Street, Pahrump, NV 89048. They gather to share original poems, short writings, those of a favorite author, favorite song, music, or other artistic endeavors.

The group started in 2005 with the guidance of poet/ librarian, Vivian Owen, under the name of Tumbleweed Tales Society and continued for 10 years with George and Judith Strickland. In 2015, Lyn Pizor led the group, adopting a new name: Sagebrush and Cactus Poetry Group, honoring Nevada’s State flower, the sagebrush. It is also a tribute to Mark Twain’s Sagebrush writers’ group of Nevada and the metaphor of the cactus is a plant growing and flourishing in the desert, which inspires growth and strength through poetry.

The name of the group itself is unique just like the uniqueness of each participant in the library poetry group. Tumbleweed Tales Society published two group anthologies: 2009 Volume 1 Art Edition with colored plates, 14 poets with featured artist Paul Freidin; and 2012 Volume 2 Art Edition with colored plates, 17 poets with featured artist Charlise Butler. Today, Erline Heard volunteers to head the group. She has participated from 2005 to 2019. It might be said that she was born to gather poets.

Born in 1933, (seventh of nine children), she grew up writing and sharing poetry for family gatherings. After moving to Pahrump, she gathered poets in her living room (at age 62). Then she joined the library group. She is a published poet, writing mostly lyrical poems, and focusing much of her work on love for little animals. She is known for astrological birthday poems published in this magazine.

Dianne Poland is a published poet. At an early age, she was encouraged by her mother, an English teacher, to study classics and to write poetry. She studied dance at Temple University and performed “Little Theater,” and played several instruments in high school bands. She was a leader/trainer for Girl Scouts, Red Hat Queen for several years, and enjoys travel. Her poem, “The Deserted Pier,” was published by The Lantern, her college literary publication for serious poets. In the group, she cultivates the art of artistic enunciation.

Billie Polkosnik is originally from Kentucky, then Indiana and California. She taught high school Language Arts for 40 years, has a BA from Morehead State University, KY, and MA from Long Beach State University, CA. She is a gifted and published poet who has won and judged poetry contests for the Pahrump Fall Festival, a charter member of Desert Star Reading Guild, Red Hatter, and hosts poetry/writing gatherings at home. She published a wonderful memoir of her life in Kentucky.

Marianne Brown is a newcomer from small-town Illinois and Wisconsin. At 80 years young she has been writing casually for 30 years, working in non-fiction and nostalgia about life in the ’40s and ’50s. She is working on her memoir of high school days (1952-57), the story of a “kinder gentler” time to share.

Allen L. Hill, the fairly new attendee, promises to unpack so he can share his many artistic works. He is a prospector, miner, and historian, and writes poetry to inspire others to connect to their own creativity through the expression of their own inner self. Though his occupation and poetic interest may seem, unusual companions, they may well be suited for each other, since both are digging for what is truly worth finding.

Ronald G. Wayne is uniquely famous for his work at Atari in close association with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. As one of the original three founders of the first Apple Computer, he achieved international acclaim and published Adventures of an Apple Founder. As a collector of coins/ stamps, he researched and published: Insolence of Office, research into monetary corruption in government systems and has become an icon for an online gaming company in England. His Collected Poetry of Ronald Wayne is published by/with artistic plates created by John Salacan (poet/ artist/publisher) of White Raven Press.

Left to Right: Dianne Poland, Billie Polkosnik (seated), Ronald G. Wayne, Allen L. Hill, Leroy (James) Anderson, (Roberta) Robin Niedecker, Glenda Harvey (seated), V. Lea Deist, Marianne Brown, Erline Heard. – Photo by Andrew Z. Baranciewicz (of Fenton, MO, and Pahrump).

Leroy James Anderson is softspoken and a deep thinker who published Deep Thoughts with online co-author Rob L. Young. The work features 20 of his poems. Born in Bakersfield, he also lived in Fresno and Madera, CA. He comes from a tight-knit family and bowls, but he has dreamed of being a writer since 3rd grade. His teachers encouraged his talent and imagination. His courage prevailed, overcoming learning and speech difficulties. Today, he writes stories, plays, fantasy/science fiction, and poetry. “All of it comes from my heart and soul. It is a passion I have had forever. I am a visual writer. . . . There is no better feeling than sharing my writing.”

Robin “Roberta” Niedecker is a published poet and yearly participant in the Pahrump Fall Festival with haiga (a combination of Japanese Haiku poetry and Sumi-e paintings). Born in Pennsylvania, she lived in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, attended San Francisco College for Women; lived in Milan, London, traveled throughout Europe, Thailand, and was always interested in art, archaeology, and history. She was docent at the Pacific Asia Museum.

Theresa Tranquillo, a traveling poet/writer, has fascinating viewpoints, using poetic-artistic gymnastics. Her talent won top-winning creative writing submission at Pahrump Fall Festival. She was published as a featured article in this magazine. Wherever she goes, she finds her artistic voice.

Left-Right: Theresa Tranquillo, Billie Polkosnik, Robin Niedecker, Glenda Harvey: Pahrump Fall Festival winners in narrative, poetry, haiga, story.

Glenda Harvey is an award-winning short story writer and has participated in the poetry group for three years and has penned four-five novels, and is working on publishing them. A sample of her gift is her unique turn of the phrase and clarity of words that paint larger than life stories. An example: Wandering Ways of Life: A gust of wind caused strands of hair to flutter next to my ear. I tilted a tin can to my lips. Chunks of ice shifted, cold water spread into my hot mouth. Mama’s weary voice whispered, “Save some for your sister.” I lowered the can, passing it to Darlene, the ice rattled. . . . From under the wagon, I lay there watching other people in the field gradually rise to their feet. Their heads covered with hats and rags, for some relief from the scorching Texas sun. One by one shuffled back to their row, to pick more cotton. . .

V. Lea Deist, published poet, is from Pennsylvania with responsibility travels to Orlando. She is quite content to write and draw strange things with an eye to “alien-ology.” Her tone is always exquisitely eclectic with creative humor, all the while critically assessing our world. Her poetic charm is spontaneous, spirited, sprinkled with musical composition and refreshing “ink” brain challenges. Each poet has his/her own thought about poetry: “Poetry is the keeper of humanity,” said Billie. Lea ventures: “Poetry is an outlook so I don’t have to go to anger management.” Dianne said, “Poetry, I love to recite it.” Erline: “Poetry is an opportunity to believe in the truth.” Come share your thoughts with the group at the library. Visit www.PahrumpLibrary.org or phone: 775-727-5930.

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