February 24th, 2007

Egrets Reading

Griffith Observatory Workshop

back: Debbie Kolodji, Greg Stewart, Lois Jones
front: Samantha Henderson, Kendall Evans

The Southland Poets of the Fantastic held its very first poetry workshop at the Griffith Observatory.

It was a very fun day. After the tram ride, photo ops, and coffee refueling, everyone was given an index card and given 45 minutes to explore the observatory and write down three poem prompts on the card.

Then we sat in a circle on the grass (in front of the statue of James Dean) and shared poetry we had brought with us, exchanged index cards, and then gave everyone an hour to go off and write a poem or poems using one or more of the prompts on the index cards.

I was given a card which said:

1. Look up to where Mercury swoops with Caducecus
2. No one steps into room of seasons tending more to tide and pause
3. The camera obscura shows the Hollywood sign - is that irony...or something else?

So, I wrote a poem about the camera obscura and the Hollywood sign. I sat on the outdoor patio outside the Cafe at the End of the Universe, a cool place to write because the view is spectacular. I could see the Hollywood sign and a bird's eye view of Los Angeles.

After the writing time was up, we gathered on the patio and read the poems we had written. I was impressed with the quality of our freshly composed poems. Greg got extra points in everyone's mind for writing three poems, one for each prompt. Kendall also managed to go shopping in the gift shop, purchasing a solar sail which reminded him of one of his poems.

Then, we just hung around, watched a deer on the side of the hill, talked more poetry, workshopped a poem, and otherwise had an excellent time. After Lois and Greg left, Kendall, Samantha, and I had dinner and were joined by Karen Romanko and her husband, Bob.

After Kendall, Karen and Bob left, Samantha and I did a round of all the telescopes (the observatory telescope plus the telescopes brought by amateur astronomers set up all over the lawn). It was an exceptionally clear day having rained two days ago. Because it was only a week after the new moon, the sky was a bit darker so the view through the telescopes was better than normal.

I was very, very excited to distinctly see the A and B rings of Saturn as well as some of Saturn's moons. I'd seen Saturn's rings through a telescope before but never a separation of rings.

I also saw a lot more of the Orion nebula cloud than I've ever seen before, another highlight of my stargazing.

no more clouds --
I see the A and B rings
of Saturn