Expressing Gratitude

To the Poet Laureate Program of Cupertino:

I am Flo Oy Wong, a Sunnyvale-based artist, writer, and educator. I am writing to express my gratitude for the outstanding Cupertino Poet Laureate Program. It is my pleasure to have studied with Amanda Williamson and now with Ann Muto.

I am pleased to share this news – a poem, “At the End of Her Day,” that I wrote in one of Amanda’s workshops has been published in the fall 2016 Blue Collar Review. Amanda was highly inspirational in introducing her workshop participants to the lyric voices of many established poets.

Now, I continually look forward to taking Ann Muto’s workshops, many of which are offered at the McClellan ranch park. Ann demonstrates that nature is a powerful source from which to write poems. Ann is also introducing us to established poets who are inspired by Nature.

I am also a member of the Cupertino Poetry Circle shepherded by Ron Miller @ the Cupertino Y.

To be able to learn from these two outstanding community literary programs is a blessing. For that and more I am grateful.

Flo Oy Wong

A Joining of Bilingual Poets

Hear a dozen Bay Area poets recite poems in English and Hindi-with translations-at Confluence.  This is a joint presentation of the Poetry Center San Jose and Inner Eye Arts, Saturday March 4, 2017 at the Shiv Durga Temple, 1170 Kern Avenue, Sunnyvale, 3:30-5:30. $5 Donation. For more information on participating poets go to

Make poetry a priority in 2017

Start your year with these creative opportunities. Join Cupertino Poet Laureate Ann Muto for a series of poetry sessions the first quarter of 2017.  To reserve space, please send a message with your contact information to:

NATURE POETRY SESSIONS at McClellan Ranch Preserve – Environmental Education CenterStarts on February 1, culminates on April 8. All sessions are at no charge, thanks to our sponsors.

  • Feb.1, 2017– 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – ages 18 and up.

The first session begins with a nature walk led by Naturalist Barbara Banfield who will bring McClellan Ranch Preserve (MRP) to life as she shares her love and knowledge of this unique preserve in Cupertino. Poems about nature’s allure and power will be the content of the workshop which will include time to write and share in small groups.

  • Feb.15, 2017– 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – ages 18 and up.

Facilitated by Poet Laureate Ann Muto, participants will emulate William Stafford’s posting of poems along the Methow River in Washington State in the form of a McClellan Ranch Preserve Poetic Record – a collection of poems documenting winter turning to spring in MRP. The workshop will include time to write and share in small groups.

  • March 11, 2017– 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – Haiku workshop – ages 14 and up.  Maximum of 15 participants / Registration required. Patricia Machmiller of the Yuki Teikei Haiku Society will lead an interactive workshop offering another form of poetry for the McClellan Ranch Poetry Record.
  • Mar. 22, 2017– 10:00 am to 12:00 pm – ages 18 and up.

A working session to put together the McClellan Poetry Record to be “gifted” to McClellan Ranch Preserve on Sat. Apr. 8th.

  • Apr.8, 2017 – 10 am to 12:45 pm Children’s Nature Walk/Poetry Workshop/ Open Mic – ages 10-14. Maximum of 12 children / Registration required.

Naturalist Barbara Banfield and Cupertino Poet Laureate Ann Muto team up again to provide a nature walk/poetry workshop for children to be followed by a reception and an Open Mic to be shared with readings from the McClellan Poetry Record.

  • Apr, 8, 2017– 11:30 am to 12:45 pm – all ages

Reception shared with the children’s workshop followed by readings from the McClellan Poetry Record, Open Mic and the presentation of McClellan Poetry Record to McClellan Ranch Preserve. Announcement of city-wide poetry contest.

 THURSDAY EVENING SESSIONS –7:00 to 8:30 pm @ Cupertino Library Story Room

  • JANUARY 26 – Poetry Circle @ Cupertino Library

One of the local ongoing poetry groups which typically meets at the Northwest YMCA moves their meeting to the library on this day to introduce themselves to Cupertino residents interested in poetry.  Ron Miller will introduce the group to attendees and invite all to participate in a lively reading and appreciation of poetry.  Attendees are asked to bring a favorite poem or one of their own poems to share with the group; please bring copies to distribute to those present. Limited to 25 attendees.

  • MARCH 30 – “Write to the End” @ Cupertino Library

Another of the local writing groups that typically meets on Tuesday nights but will make this special effort to introduce themselves to Cupertino residents interested in writing. Keiko O’Leary will introduce the group to attendees. All will be invited to participate by writing poetry or prose in 20-minute segments and to share what was written with the group. Limited to 25 attendees.

Poetry Memoir Class-MakeYour Own Book

It’s not too late!

Poetry Memoir Sessions Conclude in November

The well-attended poetry memoir series, led by our own Poet Laureate, Ann Muto, ends on November 16. Consider attending that final extended (10:45 am to 1:00 pm) session even if you did not attend any of the others. You will be able to make your own book guided by local book artist Keiko O’Leary. Whether you have one poem or 16, you will still be “published.”  Even if your first poem is eluding you at this moment, you will take home a unique art book, a gift for yourself or for someone special. For more information about Keiko’s talents, go to

The final memoir sessions are held in the Story Room at the Cupertino Library. If you have not attended before, please indicate your interest by emailing

November 2, 10:45 am to 12:15 pm, Wednesday “Holidays”–Writers can look at their family holiday traditions, exploring the uniqueness of their family celebrations and exploring similarities and differences of family history, ethnic identity and family origin.

November 16 , 10:45 am to 1 pm, Wednesday “My Poems, My Book” – Poets will walk out of this last session with their own book of poetry or at the very least a unique art book in which their poetry will find a home in the future. Poets will be invited to share one of their memoir poems with the group.


Three CPLs Reading!

On April 28 at 7:00 p.m. in the Cupertino Library’s Story Room, you can be dazzled by the poetry of not ONE, not TWO, but THREE Cupertino Poets Laureate!

Please join me for a very special evening.  We will celebrate Poetry Month by celebrating our excellent city, a city that honors poetry.  Dave Denny, Cupertino’s first Poet Laureate; Jennifer Swanton Brown, our second Poet Laureate; and I, our third Laureate will read together.

We’ll also share the podium with community members for some open mic time.  And we’ll discuss our inspirations and writing methods, which is something new that I’d like to offer in the readings I organize.  I’d like to save a little time to hear from our poets and take questions from audience members.

Bring a friend.  All are welcome.  We hope to see you there.

An Evening at the San Jose Museum of Art

This Thursday, April 21, nine Bay Area poets will take part in a special evening of ekphrastic poetry at the San Jose Museum of Art.  Ekphrasis, you may know, is an artistic comment on another work of art.   Thursday at the SJMA, visitors can travel through the exhibits in the company of poets who will read their poems about the artwork.  I’m going to be reading a poem about a video installation by Japanese artist Tabaima called yudangami.  

Other participating poets are Arlene Biala, Lorenz Dumuk, Asha Sudra Finkel, Mike McGee, David Perez, Nils Peterson, Janice Sapigao, and Ann Sherman.

The show starts at 7:00.  Tickets are $5.00 after 5:00.  For members, the event is free.  Come join us!

Rotary Poetry Contest extends invitation to more students

Hi, young poets,

Our Cupertino Rotary Club’s Poetry Contest is open to middle schoolers in the CUSD and high schoolers in the FUHSD.  HOWEVER, we forgot to say that it is also open to students who RESIDE in those districts but attend a private school or are home schooled.  If that’s you, then please send us your poems!  Each student may submit up to three poems.

Remember, the deadline is April 15.  Entries must address the theme, “Be a Gift to the World.”  See the previous CPL blog post about that.  Send entries to Irmgard Lafrentz, member of the Rotary Youth Commission at


Two Cupertino Poets Laureate to Read in Pacifica

Hello, Poetry Lovers!

Two of Cupertino’s Poets Laureate will read at Florey’s Book Company in Pacifica on Saturday, March 26, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.  The bookstore is located at 2021 Palmetto Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044.

Jennifer Swanton Brown, Cupertino’s second Poet Laureate, and I, our third and current Poet Laureate, are excited to read together.  I’ll be sharing poems from my poetry memoir project about growing up in rural Ohio.  Many of these poems are hot off the press (of my computer printer under a table in my living room) and you may be the first listeners to hear them!

There will be time for open mic readers as well, so bring your poetry to share.  I hope to see you there.  Hey, that rhymes….  Hmm….  I know!  Don’t be square.  Let down your hair.  Dance yourselves on down there.  If you can’t get a partner, use a wooden chair.

I’ll stop now.  You’re welcome.

A Poetry Contest!

In conjunction with Cupertino’s Rotary Club, I’m excited to announce that organization’s first poetry contest.

Please help us spread the word and encourage students to enter.  This is an exciting opportunity.  In each age group, three prizes will be awarded.  First prize is $100.  Second prize is $50.  Third prize is $25.


Students from Homestead, Lynbrook, Monta Vista, Fremont, and Cupertino High School (grades 9- 12) as well as Middle Schools Kennedy, Miller, Hyde, Lawson, and Cupertino Middle Schools (grades 6 – 8) are invited to submit poems for the first annual poetry contest hosted by the Rotary Club of Cupertino.

Award ceremony and reading:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 12:00 – 1:30 pm at Quinlan Center, Cupertino


Students may submit poems that address “Be a Gift to the World” which reflects Rotary’s core values of service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. For example, poems about giving to others, connecting with community members, valuing our differences, and remaining true to our principles would be appropriate. The subject matter may be broad in scope, or it may be as narrow and precise as one moment of two people understanding one another with a look or handshake.

Write the poem that comes from your truest heart and your unique identity. Write the poem that no other person could write!

Poet Laureates Dave Danny, Jennifer Swanton Brown and Amanda Williamsen are the judges. Mayor Barry Chang and Vice Mayor Savita Vaidhyanathan will award prizes on behalf of Rotary Club of Cupertino.


March 15 – April 15, 2016
Submissions to be sent to Irmgard Lafrentz, Rotary Youth Counselor,

April 15, 2016 Submission Deadline

May 13, 2016
Judges declare 3 winners from High School students and Middle School students

May 20, 2015 Winners will be contacted and must commit to June 15 award ceremony

Rotary International
Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated human rights purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services and to advance goodwill and peace around the world