Speechless the Magazine

 To render. Be rendered. Awestruck. Awesome.
A magazine of poetry and related arts straight from L.A.




Poems by

Jamie FitzGerald

Cheryl Klein

Larry Maurice

Ryan Tranquilla

Susan G. Woolridge

Guest Star


Cheryl Klein Presents Writers and Poets of Poets & Writers

“I would never have entertained the idea of arranging this reading if I could not count on the support of Poets & Writers. Community support waxes and wanes. Poets & Writers supplies the star by which ships (and [poetry] venues) are guided through otherwise unpredictable waters.” — Kern County Library’s Lee McCarthy after a reading in Bakersfield by Peter Everwine and Judith Vollmer

P&W California staff members Jamie FitzGerald and Cheryl Klein

Founded in 1970, Poets & Writers, Inc., (P&W) believes in contemporary literature’s indispensable value to our national culture. Its mission is to foster the professional development of poets and writers, to promote communication throughout the U.S. literary community, and to help create an environment in which literature can be appreciated by the widest possible public.

In addition to publishing Poets & Writers Magazine, a bimonthly publication featuring author profiles and practical advice for writers, P&W supports literary events in California, New York State, Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, and Seattle through its Readings/Workshops grant program. The Readings/Workshops program provides small matching grants for writers who present their work or teach creative writing workshops at community venues. In the past, the Readings/Workshops program has sponsored events at libraries, bookstores, cafes, interdisciplinary arts centers, community centers, prisons, churches, and universities. More information about the Readings/Workshops program is available at the P&W Web site.

Since 1989, P&W has been conducting programming in California, where we are the only statewide literary service organization. Currently our office is in Los Angeles. Supporting literary events in most of California’s 58 counties, we reach out to rural areas through TumbleWords, a rural residency program, and Carried Voices, a touring partnership with the Mountain Writers Series in Oregon and the YMCA Writer’s Voice in Montana. We also sponsor the California Voices contest, which awards one poet and one fiction writer from California with a trip to New York to meet with editors, agents, and other members of the literary community. We update California writers on arts news and opportunities with our monthly e-newsletter, "Focus on California". (To sign up to receive the newsletter, e-mail Jamie FitzGerald at P&W.)

We also convene regional literary roundtable meetings in cities including Los Angeles, Nevada City, Riverside, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco. These meetings provide a forum for those involved in various aspects of literature—from presenting to publishing—to share resources and discuss issues pertinent to their communities.

Most of the literary presenters we work with are writers, as are almost all of P&W’s staff members. P&W recognizes that literature is dependent on and linked with a larger community of people who are invested in writing, a connection we hope will continue to thrive. In this spirit, we present work by P&W’s three California employees: Cheryl Klein, Program Manager and fiction writer; Jamie FitzGerald, Program Assistant and poet; and Ryan Tranquilla, former Director of California Programs and current consultant to P&W, also a poet. We’ve also included poems by two writers who have participated in many Readings/Workshops events over the years, Larry Maurice and Susan G. Wooldridge.

Cheryl’s short excerpt is from “Amor Sin Leche,” a story that will appear in The Commuters: A Novel of Intersections (forthcoming from City Works Press in Spring 2006). It was inspired by her experience living in a Hancock Park-adjacent neighborhood and working as a camp counselor for kids in the foster care system.

Jamie says of her poem “The Turtle”, “This poem is the result of my taking instruction from the turtles who held class in and near the pond on the San Diego State University campus.” Of “Dégagé [Disengaged]”, she says, “In classical ballet, a dégagé is a relatively small movement, yet infinitely complex and requiring concentrated effort. I wanted to capture the kind of intellectual activity that goes along with physical activity. Dancers have always had to fight the stigma that they use their bodies and not their brains. There’s also the stigma of the dancer just being the tool of the choreographer—the choreographer being the true creative force. But every movement the dancer does, no matter how small—as in a dégagé—is an act of creation all its own. The dégagé seemed like the perfect movement to focus on because mid-way through the movement, the foot leaves the floor. From there, anything can happen. And that is what creation is all about. Lift off.”

Ryan, whose poems “Caught” and “Crossing the Lethe” are included here, began writing poetry seriously after moving to L.A. in the spring of 2002. While rarely a confessional poet, most of his work reflects the flora and fauna he encounters daily in the city’s West Side.

Larry Maurice’s poem “I Wish I Could Have Seen It” was commissioned by the NEA for the City of Santa Clarita’s Cowboy Poetry and Music Festival. The piece recalls images and events that will be familiar to many Californians.

Susan G. Wooldridge describes the inspiration for two of her poems: “‘Everything Breaks’ was written in a small writing group I met with weekly for awhile in Chico’s Upper Crust Café. My long-term marriage was coming apart at the time and this poem helped me express the sadness and futility I was feeling. I wrote ‘An Interview with the Baal Shem Tov’ when poet Dorianne Laux gave a workshop at a California Poets in the Schools statewide conference. She asked us to choose any person from the past or present and create an interview. The poem could only include responses, no questions. I’ve always been intrigued with the joyful, mystical Jewish Baal Shem Tov, and I loved imagining this interview.”


Speechless Spring 2007
Copyright © 2007 Published by
Tebot Bach