Nancy Scott Campbell

pass the salt

so I examine the grains  pure
and bridal white though
forced together by more than convention
I imagine molecules
bonded by initial electro-wrench
somehow all at peace among themselves
waiting to be shaken
darkly dissolved or
as some would suggest  divorced

beyond our crystal shaker I picture
the life cycle of salt
a vast residue  flat and
leisurely forsaken by perhaps a lake
dregs left to etch this nude swath of desert

heat  vertical blur of earth
hoards a body’s brine
parched the human reservoir for tears
dry breath holds a blind sky
no horizon
here no creature grazes
no plant can be seen by a mind looking
for anything ground breaking
such as a formula making clear
secrets of together

Palm Springs Workshop Special Guest: Linda Troeller

Sorcerer, Mother.

Linda Troeller Visits the Inland Empire, Inlandia Institute Workshop, Palm Springs, March 2011, Self-Portraits in Shadow and Light

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself/ And what I assume, you shall assume/For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you…” Whitman’s “Song of Myself” invoked the spirit of the afternoon’s workshop wherein visiting photographer, Linda Troeller, asked participants to look within a hand-held mirror and describe what they saw. Troeller, author of Healing Waters, Erotic Lives of Woman, and The Chelsea Hotel Atmosphere, shared with workshop participants a collection of self-portraits, a journey of self documentation which began accumulating with a Leica camera in 1976.  Troeller is known for her use of color, emotion, blur and mood and utilizing portraits and self-portraiture.  Her collection highlights a career which embraces the lives of all whom she has encountered from family, to touchstone photographers, and highlights emotional transitions.

As each participant explored themselves in the mirror, noting the images conjured through self reflection, Maureen Alsop, workshop instructor, and Linda Troeller discussed the exploration of “self” through image and language. The development of a sense of identity, internal power, and a deeper connection with living can manifest through the creative process of self portrayal.

Participants were asked to record five statements on themselves and share this with the group.  From the raw energy of these drafts Alsop and Troeller, a collaborative photo team, helped each student evolve their presentation into unique portraits based on impressions from the written summations.  One participant expressed morose on mortality, and subsequent portraits were set against the backdrop of a black refrigerator to capture the shade in his eyes.  Backlighting one writer’s face against the room’s incandescent bulb captured the idea of “soullessness.”  Another writer wrote of herself as motion, and through group discussion it was determined she should run against a garden setting to illicit the sense of air and movement within her written piece.  Each writer received a copy of art-directed photo via email, and was asked to continue to write, exploring in greater depth the uniqueness of their portraitures.

You were the threads of a song long flightless, scatter-briar through counties.  And you, with your veiled names, she who had seen—O, you’d seen the teeth of a few men’s mind.  More dry the air.  Mirror leaked confessions. And fewer notes. The subtlety of water.  – Maureen Alsop

Linda Troeller is an international photographer and artist with books including Healing Waters, Aperture, Spa Journeys, powerHouse Books, Chelsea Hotel: An Artist’s Memoir among others. She has exhibited at many museums including the Ludwig Forum for Contemporary Art, Aachen, Fotogalerie Forum, Frankfurt, University of the Arts, Philadelphia to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in the USA.  Her photographs of water, women and fashion are commissioned for hotel décor and by private collections from Toskana Therme, Bad Sulza, Bad Orb to the Musee de L’Elysee, Switzerland. Her photographs are in publications from Art Forum, Marie GQ to the New York Times.

She won Pictures of the Year, 1992 for her world-famous spa image, “Jacuzzi, Calistoga Hot Springs, Ca.” She has a MFA from School of Art, and a MS from Newhouse School, Syracuse University and a BS in Journalism, West Virginia University. She was a professor of photography at Indiana University, Stockton College, New Jersey, Bournemouth College, England and Parsons School of Design. She lives and works at her studio in at the Chelsea Hotel, NYC.

Her websites: (Self-Portrayal)

Contributor Biographies

Cynthia Anderson is a writer and editor living in Yucca Valley, CA. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she has received poetry awards from the Santa Barbara Arts Council and the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Her collaborations with photographer Bill Dahl are published in the book, Shared Visions.

Lee Balan was the first editor and art director for Beyond Baroque Magazine in Venice, CA.  His poems and stories have been featured in several magazines including Phantom Seed, Sun-Runner, and Storylandia. He was the facilitator for the Tenderloin Writer’s Workshop in San Francisco. His background in mental health has been a major influence on his work. Lee has been the featured poet at several events and venues including the Palm Springs Art Museum.  Recently, Lee self published his first novel Alien Journal.

Nancy Scott Campbell has been a desert hiker and resident for more than twenty years.  She has been a mediator, has taught English as a second Language, is a physical therapist,  and is delighted with the workshops of the Inlandia Institute.

With their girls grown and independent, Marcyn Del Clements and her husband, Richard, have more time to pursue their favorite activities: birding, butterfly and dragonfly watching, and fly-fishing. Marcy is published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Appalachia, Eureka Literary Magazine, Flyway, frogpond, Hollins Critic, Literary Review, Lyric, Sijo West, Snowy Egret, Wind, and others.

Mike Cluff is a fulltime English and Creative Writing instructor at Norco College. He has lived steadily in the Highland and Redlands area since 1998. His eighth book of poetry “Casino Evil was published in June 2009 by Petroglyph Books.

Rachelle Cruz is from the Bay Area but currently lives and writes in Riverside, CA.  She has taught creative writing, poetry, and performance to young people in New York City, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Riverside. She hosts “The Blood-Jet Writing Hour” Radio Show on Blog Talk Radio. She is an Emerging Voices Fellow and a Kundiman Fellow, she is working towards her first collection of poems.

Sheela Sitaram Free (“Doc Free”) was born in Mumbai, India and has spent equal halves of her life in India and in the United States. Her BA in English Literature and Language, MA in English and American Literature and Language, MA in Hindi, PhD in the Contemporary American Novel-novels of John Updike-and her twenty four years of teaching all across the United States in Universities, colleges, and community colleges reveal her lifelong passion for the power of words, especially in the context of world literature and writing. Her collection of poetry entitled “Of Fractured Clocks, Bones and Windshields was published in February 2009 and nominated for the Association of Asian American Studies as well as the Asian American Workshop awards in 2010. She has been writing for over 20 years, but it was the Inland Empire that inspired and motivated her to publish; she has simply loved being a part of it for 9 years now. It is home to her and she draws a great deal of material from it in her poetry.

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a clinical psychologist in Claremont, California. She has been writing since she was nine. In another life, she was a German Literature major and read poetry for credit. She has placed poems and photographs in many publications, including Off the Coast, Umbrella, Abyss & Apex, qarrtsiluni, Poemeleon, Lilliput Review, In Posse Review, and Sow’s Ear Poetry Review. She was nominated for the 2010 Pushcart Prize. Her first chapbook, Eggs Satori, received an Honorable Mention in Pudding House Publications’ 2010 competition, and will be published in 2011.

Valerie Henderson is an MFA Fiction student at CSUSB. More of her work can be found in The Sand Canyon Review.

Edward Jones is a graduate of UC Riverside’s MFA program and has been published in Faultline, Crate, Mosaic, and Inlandia: A Literary Journey.

Judy Kronenfeld is the author of four poetry collections including “Ghost Nurseries,” a Finishing Line chapbook (2005) and “Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths”, winner of the Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize (2008). Her poems, as well as the occasional short story and personal essay have appeared in many print and online journals including Calyx, Cimarron Review, The American Poetry Journal, Fox Chase Review, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Natural Bridge, The Hiram Poetry Review, Passager, Poetry International, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, The Women’s Review of Books, and The Pedestal, as well as in a dozen and a half anthologies or text books, including Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California (Greenhouse Review Press/Alcatraz Editions, 2008), Beyond Forgetting: Poetry and Prose about Alzheimer’s Disease (Kent State University Press, 2009), and Love over 60: An Anthology of Women’s Poems (Mayapple Press, 2010). She is a lecturer Emerita—after twenty-five years of teaching in the Creative Writing Department at UC Riverside. Her new poetry collection, “Shimmer,” has just been accepted by WordTech Editions.

Associate Fiction Editor Ruth Nolan, a former wildland firefighter and native of San Bernardino and the Mojave Desert, teaches Creative Writing and Literature at College of the Desert in Palm Desert. She is a poet and prose writer with works forthcoming in New California Writing, 2011 (Heyday, 2011) and in Sierra Club Magazine. She is editor of No Place for a Puritan: The Literature of California’s Deserts (Heyday, 2009) and a contributor to Inlandia: A Literary Journey (Heyday, 2006) She has collaborated on two film projects, “Escape to Reality: 24 hrs @ 24 fps” with the UCR-California Museum of Photography (2008), is a writer for a film in progress, Solar Gold: the Killing of Kokopelli (2011), and represents our region’s deserts in the “Nature Dreaming: Rediscovering California’s Landscapes” public radio series sponsored by Santa Clara University and the California Council for the Humanities (2011) She lives in Palm Desert.

Cindy Rinne has lived in the Inland Empire for 29 years. She is an artist and poet. Her poetry includes nature inspiration, parts of overheard conversations, observations on walks, life events, and her response to her own artwork and the works of others.

Except for a short-lived adventure to Long Beach, CA, Heather Rinne has lived in the Inland Empire her entire life. She grew up in San Bernardino and attended college at Cal Poly Pomona where she received a BFA in 2008. She  loved and still loves exploring the art community in the downtown Arts Colony. A fire took her parents’ home, the home where her childhood memories lived, in the fall of 2003. Even with the unexpected chance to move, her parents decided to rebuild on the same lot. Back in the place where she grew up, she makes new memories. She currently works as a Graphic Designer and Photographer out of her home office and dances at a studio in Redlands. She enjoys Redlands because it has a lot of history and is only a short trip to the desert, the city, the mountains, and the ocean.

Ash Russell is an MFA candidate at CSUSB. She has been telling stories since she learned how to speak and writing since she learned to string the alphabet together. She relearns regularly that the magnitude of space is emotionally devastating.

Mae Wagner is firmly rooted in the Inland Empire area and sees Inlandia stories everywhere just waiting to be told. She says, “writing has always been a passion, but was largely relegated to the back burner while she focused on raising a family, earning a living, and going to school.” Over the years, as a longtime Inland Empire resident, she has written for a public relations firm, the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, The Chino Champion newspaper, and had several columns published in the Op-Ed page of the Press-Enterprise when it was locally owned, including a noted investigate journalism series focused on a landmark environmental case involving the Stringfellow Acid Pits in Glen Avon, just west of Riverside. She currently writes a column for her home town paper in Hettinger, North Dakota and is enjoying being a member of the Inlandia Creative Writing Workshops, which she has attended since its opening session in the summer of 2008.

As a child, Rayme Waters spent some time each year at her grandmother’s house in Rancho Mirage and watched the desert cities grow up around it. Rayme’s stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Dzanc Best of the Web and have been published most recently in The Meadowland Review and The Summerset Review.

Special Guest Matt Henriksen Reading for the Inlandia Palm Springs Creative Writing Workshop

Preeminence, Pulchritude: Ordinary Sun, Matt Henriksen Ordains the Inland Empire–Inlandia Institute, Poetry Reading Palm Springs, CA March 7, 2011

By Maureen Alsop

The earth is not large enough.

And among a sea of pink cafe chairs the conversions of language imperceptibly distill above the urbane traffic’s hum.

Here less staunch poets would wane against burnt lashings of muzak, that dormant elevator spindle, as if through a blurred supplication of Hell’s hallway mirrors, but Matt Henriksen’s words spiral, showering ash as an immunity against snow-capped San Jacinto peaks.

And we (listeners or windows) are held less into being in a place as we are are held toward a swarming.  Gathering continuity as perfection’s gloss.

Allowance is given as if we are again seeing someone in what we know.

And time connotes a new form of conclusion. Vacancy is befuddled. O witness: inner possession, connectivity as a medium, is razed.

At last.

Beyond my inexplicable control, in trying to record Matt’s reading, and exclusive trek through the desert, this was the only poem which remained available from that evening. Matt reads the poem “Insomnia” from Ordinary Sun (Black Ocean, 2011):

by Matthew Henriksen

I had the busted leg of a plastic chair
to pillow a highway sign’s dream.
Once a person on his roof begins to think
about saying fuck you to the particulars,
the only blessing is a stagnant block
in the middle of a dead neighborhood
in a city that has been nowhere since
before you or I were born. And who
and what are we, after words, but
mourners signing a petition at someone’s
grave, for better dreams, better meals, better
orgasms, though most of us would rather just
sleep well more often. Jesus, why must it
be so late, so bright and so early?

Also found at:

Matthew Henriksen is the author of Ordinary Sun (Black Ocean, 2011) and the chapbooks Another Word (DoubleCross Press, 2009) and Is Holy (horse less press, 2006). Some recent poems appear in Fence, Realpoetik, Raleigh Quarterly, Alice Blue Review, Sink Review, The Cultural Society, Handsome Journal and Two Weeks. He co-edits Typo, an online poetry journal, and publishes Cannibal Books, a book arts poetry press. From 2005 to 2008 he organized The Burning Chair Readings in Brooklyn and now hosts irregular readings throughout the country. A special feature of Frank Stanford’s unpublished poems and fiction, selected by Henriksen, will appear in Fulcrum #7. He lives and teaches in the Ozark Mountains.

Lee Balan

Ars Umbilicalis Poetica
(The Art of the Connection to the Poem)

A folded napkin could be blamed
          When an accidental tug on the napkin’s edge
              Caused a wine glass to tip and spill
This small misdeed
          Led to snark remarks about stumblebums
             And revelations about indiscrete behavior
          Someone yelled “fire”
              Which fed a full scale panic

Cosmologists tell us
          Space is folded like the napkin
              Within each fold there is more space
Each fold could be a new dimension
          An alternate universe
              Where there is another version of Earth
              Of you     Of me
                  Acting upon different decisions
                  Leading in new directions

Here I am
          In the emergency room
              With an IV in my arm
              Feeling nauseous
There I am
          Writing a prologue to a poem about accidents
I could be dead somewhere else
          Yet still be alive

Folded napkin     Folded space
          A small misdeed could lead to catastrophe

Lee Balan was the first editor and art director for Beyond Baroque Magazine in Venice, CA.  His poems and stories have been featured in several magazines including Phantom Seed, Sun-Runner, and Storylandia.  He was the facilitator for the Tenderloin Writer’s Workshop in San Francisco. His background in mental health has been a major influence on his work.  Lee has been the featured poet at several events and venues including the Palm Springs Art Museum.  Recently, Lee self published his first novel Alien Journal.