As part of this year’s Spring Arts issue, Arts Editor Ashley Schwellenbach scoured the county’s public spaces for words, and found thousands—in storefronts, on plaques and menu boards, etc. The purpose of the exercise was to discover narratives of space, tales that can’t possibly exist elsewhere because these words are our own. Also, we wanted to create something beautiful from all of the words bombarding us with commercial commands on a daily basis. So, we gave the word photos to four local poets and asked them to re-assemble these narratives using only the words from the photos we had given them. The four wordsmiths who embraced our
challenge were Arroyo Grande-based poet Bonnie Young, a former elementary school teacher whose work has been published in Flyway, The Midwest Quarterly, Rattle, Thema, Café Solo, and Women’s Press, along with several newspapers; painter, photographer, poet, and former art instructor Nixson Borah, who now resides in Atascadero; Los Osos resident Dian Sousa, a founding member of Code Pink and poet laureate of SLO County in 2008, whose work includes the anthology Lullabies for the Spooked and Cool; former San Luis Obispo resident Rachel Kann, an instructor for UCLA’s Extension Writers’ Program who performs her poetry with daKAH
Hip Hop Orchestra. Her accolades include a James Kirkwood Award in Fiction and a Backstage West Critic’s Pick Garland Award, among others.