Archives for posts with tag: Hollywood

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Found poems based on lines from celebrity interviews. This could be a celebrity you admire or one you’d like to poke fun at in a lighthearted way.

WHAT: Find a celebrity interview on-line and grab phrases from it to create a “found” poem, or create an erasure poem from a page of text. For erasure poems, also send jpg of original erasure. (Note: The poem may only include statements/quotes from the celebrity — not commentary by interviewer or author.)

WHEN: We’ll feature the poems on the Silver Birch Press blog during the Celebrity Free Verse Poetry Series from September 1-30, 2014.

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email the poem (give it a title) to as an MSWord attachment, along with your name, contact info, author’s bio, and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about the celebrity you chose. Provide a reference for the original text (publication, date, and link to website where you found it). PLEASE — put all of this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name. Thanks!

DEADLINE: Friday, September 26, 2014

Congratulations to fellow blogger Vickie Lester at Beguiling Hollywood on the May 2013 release of her first novel It’s in His Kiss.

BOOK DESCRIPTION (FROM AMAZON): Hollywood. The Dream Factory A camera-ready world of fantasy fulfilled, artifice and bone-deep glamour — or a place of dark reality, depthless closets, failed love, false prophets and untimely death. Anne Brown must find where the truth lies. Truth. Lies. It’s in his kiss. Vickie Lester has written the ultimate Hollywood insider murder-mystery with gasp-worthy plot twists and plenty of delicious, naughty moments. It’s in His Kiss roams from the dark underbelly of Palm Springs to the power canyons of Hollywood. Everyone has a secret: once-wealthy moguls, studio executives with double lives, wry East Coast novelists plunged into intrigue, uneasily blended families and a certain church that likes to keep its movie colony types in check. A must read that you won’t want to put down until its final brilliant conclusion.

Find It’s in His Kiss by Vickie Lester at

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Ruby Sparks (2012) and finally got my hands on a copy. Starring and written by Zoe Kazan, the movie is smart, entertaining, and thought-provoking — especially for writers.

In the story, Calvin Weir-Fields, played by Kazan’s real-life love, the always fascinating and appealing Paul Dano, is approaching 30 and 10 years past his breakthrough novel written when he was a teenage wunderkind. Now he’s afraid of failure and can’t write. His analyst, Dr. Rosenthal — in a charming cameo by Elliott Gould — tells Calvin to write about someone who will love him unconditionally. Calvin asks whether it’s okay if he writes “badly” — and Rosenthal gives him permission to write “very badly.”

Freed from his inhibitions, Calvin creates his dream woman — Ruby Sparks (Kazan) — and a novel begins to flow out of him. He falls in love with his creation to the point that she becomes real — appearing one morning in his kitchen. At first, he thinks he’s lost his mind — but when other people can see Ruby, he realizes he has dreamed her into existence.


After the first blush of romance, problems crop up — until Calvin figures out he can get Ruby to do anything he desires, just by writing a new page in the novel, which he types on a vintage Olympia typewriter (nice touch!). The movie is at its best in the darker passages when exploring relationship dynamics — and how couples engage in power struggles and negotiate truces.

I enjoyed the film’s literary references and antecedents — Pygmalion, Frankenstein, Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland — but Ruby Sparks has an original point of view with new things to say. I also enjoyed the L.A. locations — especially Calvin’s minimalist home near Griffith Park and several scenes at Skylight Books.

Writers are always faced with philosophical, moral, emotional, and intellectual dilemmas related to their creations. As we write, our characters take on lives of their own, and when finished the book takes on a life of its own. What is the writer’s part in the equation? Ruby Sparks helps us explore this question and many more.

Hats off to Zoe Kazan for a terrific screenplay and winning performance!

Find Ruby Sparks at

by George Green

His cowboy Hamlet death scenes are the best.
He flops, jerks, and blabs beseechingly,
then flops, imploringly, and dies. John Wayne,
even, is stunned by so much hamminess.
(He kills him twice: True Grit and Katie Elder.)
Now Dennis sells investments on TV
blabbing away to boomers who have bucks
enough to golf all day, enough to die
of boredom in the sun. Dennis is cool, though,
and still the hippest actor on the scene.
A poet and a painter, and, what’s more,
a recognized authority on Andy.


SOURCE: “Warhol Portraits: Dennis Hopper” appears in George Green‘s collection Lord Byron’s Foot, available at  Lord Byron’s Foot is the 12th winner of the annual New Criterion Poetry Prize — recognized as one of the foremost contemporary venues for poetry that pays close attention to form.

IMAGE: “Dennis Hopper” by Andy Warhol, acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, 40×40″ (1971).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: George Green‘s poems have appeared in various journals and in the anthologies Poetry 180, 180 More Poems, The Best American Poetry 2005 and 2006, Bright Wings: An illustrated Anthology of Poems about Birds, and The Swallow Anthology of New American Poets. He teaches at Lehman College, CUNY, in the Bronx.

We’re celebrating all things May during the month of May — and how can we forget Mae West (1893-1980)? Here is the inimitable Ms. West singing the Doors‘ hit “Light My Fire,” from an album called Great Balls of Fire (MGM Records, 1972), available at

May the force be with you in May and all the other months of the year! In this short clip, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) bids bon voyage to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) in Star Wars (1977).

You say tomato, I say tomato…Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers sing “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” (music  by George Gershwin and lyrics by Ira Gershwin) in the 1937 movie Shall We Dance. In this clip, Fred and Ginger not only sing, but also dance on roller skates. A classic!

by Laurel Ann Bogen

Aberration of weather studs
the sloe eyed city where change
gels in ripples after due process
I could go deeper
pry open the locked vault
below, combustible fossils bubble
in tar and petroleum beneath
Wilshire Blvd. — the jacaranda’s roots
divide the house
Los Angeles
erupts in violet blossoms
each spring the profusion
is uncontained by stucco

Nature needs tending, or course
every few years the plates shift
the photogenic councilman is arrested
and somebody takes a fall
That’s how I came here — by a calling
as surely as the devil herself
cloaked in the need to be seen
in filtered light
latticed with faultlines
and an underground whirlpool
as profligate as oil.

“Hollywood Hills Noir” appears in Laurel Ann Bogen‘s collection Washing a Language (Red Hen Press, 2004), available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laurel Ann Bogen is the author of 10 books of poetry and short fiction, and from 1996 until 2002 was literary curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She has been an instructor of poetry and performance for the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program since 1990 and received the Outstanding Instructor of the Year in Creative Writing in 2008. Selected “Best Female Poet/Performer” by the L.A. Weekly in their Best of L.A. issue, she is well-known for her lively readings and is a founding member of the acclaimed poetry performance troupe, Nearly Fatal Women. The recipient of the Curtis Zahn Poetry Prize from the Pacificus Foundtion and two awards from the Academy of American Poets, her work has appeared in over 100 literary magazines and anthologies.

Photo: “The Famed Hollywood Sign from Bronson Canyon” by Corey Miller, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


who knows if the moon’s
by e.e. cummings

who knows if the moon’s
a balloon,coming out of a keen city
in the sky—filled with pretty people?
(and if you and i should

get into it,if they
should take me and take you into their balloon,
why then
we’d go up higher with all the pretty people

than houses and steeples and clouds:
go sailing
away and away sailing into a keen
city which nobody’s ever visited,where

                   Spring)and everyone’s
in love and flowers pick themselves

Photo: “Hollywood Moon” by Barbara Linkevitch, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by Gerald Locklin

My son has kept his Sunday afternoon
Free to go hear jazz with me.
I swim from noon to two,
Lift a few weights,
Pick him up at quarter-to-three.
I put Sketches of Spain on the
Tape deck of the Taurus as we
Head north on the San Diego Freeway.
He reads his Hemingway—mine too.
Coming over La Cienega, haze and
Glare rise from the whitened basin
But the hills of Hollywood still
Catch one’s breath. Miles moves
Into Solea and my son puts down
His book, broad boulevards almost
Deserted, a corner taco stand,
The side street rows of California
Bungalows: at times L.A. is still
The town of Philip Marlowe,
James M. Cain,
Nathanael West if he had not
Been a New Yorker.

“Not Sunday Afternoon” appears in GERALD LOCKLIN: New and Selected Poems (1967-2007) (Silver Birch Press, 2013), available at

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gerald Locklin is a professor emeritus of English at California State University, Long Beach, where he taught full-time from 1965-2007. He has published fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews prolifically in periodicals and in over 150 books, chapbooks, and broadsides. Recent books include a fiction e-Book, The Sun Also Rises in the Desert, from Mendicant Bookworks; a collection of poems, Deep Meanings: Selected Poems, 2008-2013, from PRESA Press; three simultaneously released novellas from Spout Press; and a French collection of his prose, Candy Bars: Le Dernier des Damnes from 13e Note Press, Paris. Event Horizon Press released new editions of A Simpler Time, A Simpler Place and Hemingway Colloquium: The Poet Goes to Cuba in 2011; Coagula Press released the first of two volumes of his Complete Coagula Poems; and From a Male Perspective appeared from PRESA Press.

Photo: “The Famed Hollywood Sign from Bronson Canyon” by Corey Miller, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED