Susan Suntree writes poetry and essays, pesters the crowds at malls and parks with her mask and puppet street theatre, and works to save wetlands and indigenous sacred places. Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California, received an Independent Booksellers Association Award for Nonfiction, PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Poetic Narrative, a Mellon Foundation Award. Other books: Eye of the Womb/El Ojo de la Matriz (poetry in English and bilingual editions), Tulips (translations of poetry by Spanish poet Ana Rossetti), also Rita Moreno, Wisdom of the East. Poems in, among others, Prairie Schooner, ZinkZine 6, Ensemble Jourine, Piedra del Molino, REAL, Fightin’ WordsPEN Anthology. Reviews in Poetry Flash and Theater Journal.
Update on Historic District: Since I last wrote, we continue our work to establish an 11th Street Bungalow Historic District (which preserves my 106 -year-old bungalow: 1223 11th Street. A couple of weeks ago, we submitted our Community Consultants’ Report which includes, among other documents, histories of each of the bungalows and some fascinating stories about the people who lived on our block in the early decades of the 2oth Century–the people who made Santa Monica a home town.
Our hearing before the Landmarks Commission is schedule for 12 June 2017. I will send an alert letting you know when and where to send an email. Remember: even a sentence or two is an effectivevote! A district protects the houses while it recognizes our neighborhood as a place where an interconnection of people and place–the basis of community–is expressed in the design of the homes.
For those of you who might be interested, I’ve attached my short history of the block which begins with the land itself and continues with the story of the human community.
Upcoming: On 15 May at 7 PM (see flyer for map), I’m giving a presentation of Sacred Sites: The Secret History of Southern California for the Santa Susana Mountain Parks Association. Free and open to the public. Bring a book to have signed! I’ll also have a few available (cash or check) after the reading. Please join us!
The SSMPA works to preserve the unique landscape of the Simi Hills where some of the most important indigenous sacred sites are located (the Burro Flats winter and summer solstice ceremonial sites, among others, which I write about in Sacred Sites). Rocket engines that flew to the moon, among other military projects, were tested here–a complicated legacy whose remnants must be seen for the history to be grasped. And the land itself is authentic Southern California wild beauty with abundant natural life— a rarity and a treasure that must be protected.
Publications: “He Wore Hats” (attached) was recently published in a visual format. My short essay in praise of the venerable SoCal literary center, Beyond Baroque (attached) is posted on Harry Northup’s poetry blog: http://timestimes3.blogspot.com/2017/05/beyond-baroque-star-and-spur.html. I’ve nearly completed another book of poetry (The Traveler Poems) which will soon fly into the ether to find its publisher. My memoir about “going back to the land” in the early 1970s will be included in an anthology about what happened to people who responded to this dream.
Wild blooms still brighten the landscape, and pale sycamore leaves turn toward deep summer green. We had a hard rain last night, so the ground and roots won’t forget spring just yet. Traditionally Southern California Native Americans wore garlands of wildflowers during this brief and fragrant season.
Our attention to the community of life nourishes what the current political climate would starve.