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Alley Presents Poetry: VC Faculty Event 4/23

April 23, 2015


Tonight Thurs. April 23,  I will be presenting a short set of poetry as part of the Second Ventura College Faculty and Staff Professional Colloquium.

In addition, several students from one of my classes were interviewed by Jaclyn Walker for her presentation which examines student voice in the college classroom. So I am excited (and a little nervous!) about what is said in that one! I may post the video here when I can access it.

Also in the program are Business Professor Jim Spencer, English Professor Deborah Pollock, Political Science Professor Robert Porter, and District Marketing expert Dina Pielaet.

The free event starts at 6pm in Guthrie Hall near the gym. The college is located at 4667 Telegraph Rd, Ventura, 93003. A reception sponsored by the Ventura College Foundation follows. Hope to see you there!

PS Need more poetry? Every Thursday there’s poetry from 730-9pm at EP Foster Library located on Main in downtown Ventura. Usually there’s a feature followed by an open mic; as always students of mine can get extra credit by attending and writing about it and we may even be showing up with work of our own in the coming weeks! Future features are:

April  23        Stan Brown’s birthday reading
April  30        OPEN Mic
May 6          Christine Kravetz
May 14        Lisa Sewell and Andrea Carter Brown
May 21        Amy Uyematsu (love her work!!)




Get Wild For Earth Day

April 22, 2015

11182325_10153769264009746_5926494025178080058_nToday April 22, 2015 is Earth Day. People all over the planet are celebrating the earth, our earth, our one only home planet, in myriad ways.

Myself? I loaded up on vegetables from the Farmers Market (thanks to Lucas!) and I am preparing to speak at Ventura College at 3:30pm today about my experience hiking the Pacific Crest Trail thirty years ago.  Then from 6-9pm, Luis Rodriguez will speak in Guthrie Hall. All in all, it should be a great Earth Day (and a lot easier on me than last year’s event at Ventura College that I organized!)


Thirty years ago, this is how my day started:

“Hold still, there’s a tick on your cheek!”

That was my greeting the first morning backpacking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada: April 22, 1985.

Getting water from the gutter of the interstate, climbing Mt Whitney a few weeks later, hiking 12 miles on a cough drop and half a bar, wrestling food from a bear in Yosemite, crossing blue-white glacial streams in Oregon, hiding from rain in pit toilets in Oregon and rest areas in Washington: these memories from completing all 2600 miles of the PCT are etched permanently into my synapses to make it an adventure that informs every day of my life.

Believe it or not, I hiked some 2000 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail in these Asolo Yukon boots which I am bringing to the talk.



You would not believe how heavy they are! After 1600 or so miles, we had them resoled. And then after another 400 or so miles, we gave up the heavy leather boots for good. These days PCt hikers, for the most part, wear trail runners; many of them specifically love the Brooks Cascadia for their comfort level –especially if they are a nice roomy half or full size larger than usual and worn with “toe” socks to reduce friction.


And next to the boots is the backpack I used to hike Oregon and Washington in 1987; for California in 1985, I wore a Kelty external frame pack. That pack was really comfortable and easy to stay organized but it didn’t stay as close to my body as the internal frame pack which was better for really moving fast and for crossing creeks and other situations.

Each night on the trail, my former husband Ken and I took turns writing down what happened that day in a journal. I used those journals extensively when I wrote a 300 page novel based on my experience hiking the PCT. Pictured is a copy of the novel –this is the one that was mu mom’s and still has her handwritten notes suggesting changes for the revision I never did. I had several editors of major publishing houses interested in the book –but I never sent it off to them because I wanted to revise it first. Big mistake.

I am considering posted the novel here on the blog–what do you think? Are you curious? Interested? Would you subscribe so you could stay on the trail with the narrator? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, you watch someone who took a selfie every mile or read about my 30th anniversary hike PCT here and here. Have a wonderful Earth Day!


“Always Running” author, LA Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez at VC Earth Day

April 21, 2015


On Earth Day April 22, 2015 and during April’s National Poetry Month,  Los Angeles Poet Laureate Luis Rodriquez will speak and read from 6-9pm at Ventura College, 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura CA 93003 as part of a free One Book One Campus Celebration from 6-9pm in Guthrie Hall located on the west side of campus. Parking by the gym is $2; Guthrie Hall is the octogonal shaped building almost directly east from the gym.

This semester, a number of my students in both classes chose to read his memoir about gang life,  Always Running. Students then gave presentations about their books and had the option to make a trailer or to create a blog. The point of their presentations was to convince their classmates to read their book, and in the case of Rodriguez, to be enthused and interested in attending this event. Which they are!

Here’s a trailer students made for Always Running which does a wonderful job of catching the spirit of the book and shows a lot of creativity:

Here’s the review of Always Running this group wrote.

I will add links to the other students’ websites they created ASAP; each group took a different approach, but they were all great and I am proud of the work they did as groups as well as individually.

As you can imagine, we are very pleased to have Luis Rodriguez visit us, read, speak, and sign books on Earth Day!

We expect a full house so overflow will be in the library classroom for a live feed.

Here’s a pdf of the Luis Rodriguez flyer.


Get “Wild” with Gwendolyn Earth Day 2015

April 20, 2015

getwildAlleyOn April 21, 1985, at 23 years old, Ken Alley and I set off to backpack from Mexico to Canada. In 1987, we completed the trail and I became one of the first 20 women to hike the 2700 mile long Pacific Crest Trail. On my 30th anniversary, I am on the trail again; from March 28-31 I did the first 53 miles from the border to Pioneer Mail Picnic area.

Join me on Earth Day to hear stories from my adventure and watch the R rated film Wild based on Cheryl Strayed’s 1995 1100 mile journey on the trail. The event is free and open to the public. Find us in the Ventura College library classroom from 3:30-6pm Weds. April 22, 2015.

Ventura College is located at 4667 Telegraph Road, Ventura CA 93003. From the 101, take the Victoria exit and head for the hills; turn left on Telegraph. The library is the tall imposing building in the middle of campus and the library is on the second floor with the classroom in the back. Parking is $2.


53 Interesting Facts About the Number 53 #14: Ringo Starr’s 53 Beatles Postcards

April 19, 2015


This week’s Interesting Fact About the Number 53 is inspired by Ringo Starr’s induction last night April 18, 2015 as a solo artist to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:

  • Ringo Starr’s 2003 book Postcards From the Boys contains 53 postcards from fellow Beatles


Read more…

Spring Sparkles in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties with fun events

April 18, 2015

Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator:

It’s our 12 wedding anniversary and we’re going to Santa Barbara’s Earth Day! Read on to read why!


Originally posted on wine predator:

As the weather warms, wine predators everywhere are headed to outdoor wine festivals, tastings, and activities as well as picnics in the park on the beach.

As luck would have it, today is a Saturday and my 12th wedding anniversary –which means silk, linens, and pearls! Oysters anyone? Plus it’s Earth and Poetry month. So how should a wine predator poet celebrate?

Fortunately, I have several wonderful wine options!

View original 821 more words

Montes Alpha: Sustainably Dry Farmed Wine for Earth Month (every month!)

April 16, 2015

Gwendolyn Alley aka Art Predator:

Three great affordable wines that are sustainably produced and dry farmed–just what you need for Earth Month!

Originally posted on wine predator:

Looking for an Earth friendly and budget friendly red wine? Recently Que Syrah Sue and I tasted the 2012 Syrah, Carmenere, and Cabernet Sauvignon from Montes Winery which dry farmed (note the cobwebs on the water spigots?) and is certified under the Wines of Chile Sustainable Code. These wines retail for under $20 making them perfect candidates for Earth Month festivities. Look for the distinctive angel iconography on the Montes Winery label which began when owner Douglas Murray survived two near-fatal automobile accidents;
the angel symbolizes the winery’s philosophy to be a positive force and influence.

View original 796 more words

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