Don’t Blame the Ugly Mug – Thus is the title of a poetry anthology featuring the work of poets from So Cal and across the country who have graced the stage of the Ugly Mug Cafe´(in Orange, California), home of a 10-year weekly poetry reading hosted by Steve Ramirez and Ben Trigg (who call themselves ‘two idiots peddling poetry’). It’s a major achievement, this anthology, a labor of love, and yours truly is honored to be one of more than 200 poets included in the collection. Thanks to Steve and Ben for all their hard work! Go to and order a copy today.

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August found our poet traveling to Ashland, Oregon, as Scholar in Residence for The People of the Book Series, sponsored by Temple Emek Shalom. Latif’s program touched on the integral relationship between politics and art, how poets stand as witness, and how this informs her own process. She shared poems of Denise Levertov, Carolyn Forché, Langston Hughes and Gil Scott Heron, finally reading a few of her own works available in a handmade, limited-edition book of selected poems produced for the event. Here are the comments of one attendee:

“As a member of the acting company of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, I have spent many years performing the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare. Thus I have fairly high expectations when attending literary events. When I attended Cheryl Latif’s reading of her recent work, I was not disappointed.

“Cheryl’s poetry was enlightening and moving. I enjoyed hearing about her sources of inspiration and how she sees the place of the poet in our social fabric. The idea of poet as witness resonated with me, as I believe that is an important aspect of the work of artists in our culture: to be witnesses for social issues and the emotions that accompany our passions.

“I was particularly moved by her poem, Makom, which speaks to the importance of ‘place.’ “…the beauty of this place is the beauty of our hearts……” is an example of the evocative imagery with which I connected. This poem made me feel at home. To have someone be so articulate while reading her inspiring work was very moving to me, and a lovely way to spend an afternoon.”

Catherine E. Coulson
Actor, Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Truman state university’s highly respected green hills literary lantern is now an online journal! (See the Poetry link for Latif poems published by GHLL). This annual journal had a long-standing Web presence featuring selected poems and fiction, which complemented their printed journal. After sixteen years, the publication found itself, like many others, facing funding concerns. As such, they took the leap with their seventeenth issue as an online literary journal. Check them out at:



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