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"A Dog Face”
Shelby Graham


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Dear friends of phren-Z,

The first issue of this new year, Winter 2018 - Issue 22, is now live. As always, our online magazine postings are paired with live readings featuring the authors of the issue. For those of you have been following phren-z for a while, we have been experimenting with inviting existing writing groups to publish their work and showcase our readings.

This issue we're thrilled to announce that Jenny Kurzweil, Irene Reti, and Sarah Rabkin, who have been members of their writing group for 10 years, who focus on an ecclectic mix of work including poetry, essays, memoir, and other forms of nonfiction, will be our featured readers at Bookshop Santa Cruz at 7:00 pm on Thursday, January 25.

Come early to get a good seat. Refreshments will be served.




Congratulations to Elizabeth Dutton for winning the $1,000 prize for the 2017 Morton Marcus Poetry Contest! Elizabeth will be reading her winning poem "Native Daughter of the Golden West" at the Eighth Annual Morton Marcus Poetry Reading on Thursday, November 16, at 5:30 at UCSC's Humanities Lecture Hall Room 206. For more information on the reading visit UCSC's Institute for Humanities Research web site. For more information on Morton Marcus, visit the Morton Marcus web site designed and maintaned by Mort's daughter, Jana Marcus.

  Morton Marcus Poetry Contest Winner: Elizabeth Dutton

Elizabeth Dutton was born and raised in California. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Davis, in English with a minor in Film. She was fortunate to study Poetry Creative Writing under both Gary Snyder and Sandra McPherson. After a number of years working in offices with fluorescent lighting, she pined for foreign shores and a future of uncertain employment, which prompted a move to Scotland and enrollment in the prestigious University of Glasgow Creative Writing Graduate Program. While in Glasgow, Elizabeth began work on what would become her first novel, Driftwood. She received her Master’s Degree with highest distinction and also made off with a marvelous diploma written completely in Latin. In 2011, Skyhorse Publishing released Dutton’s 1,033 Reasons to Smile (a humor title), followed by Driftwood in 2014. Skyhorse requested and then released 1,047 Reasons to Smile in 2015. The paperback edition of Driftwood was published in 2016, and the novel has since been adapted for the screen. Elizabeth Dutton is working on a second novel and a collection of poems. She is currently an English Instructor at Northeastern Technical College in Cheraw, South Carolina. She can be found online at

  Native Daughter of the Golden West


In the Morcom Rose Garden,
(they call it something else now)
It is 1937 again.
It is 1937 always.
Lines are sleek and features grand, dramatic.
Everything in its right place.

“Thought upon the living tree”
It says so on that plaque.
I memorized it once.
It’s gone from me like so much else.

The living tree so secret in winter,
A stubborn machine working under leafless cover of gray skin.
The living tree so alive in spring,
So alive with fragrance and colors obscene
So alive to draw a heart from inside a chest
Send it soaring
Send it up
Send it back and forth in time or understanding.

These roses. All these roses.
From one to almost eight thousand.
The own-root, the bud union, the ramblers.
The sweet rotting mulch of protective decay.
The spray I want pinned in my hair.
The sucker to be ripped away.
The sucker to be ripped away.

When the benches are cold, like
Cliché tombstones
When the sky is coated
In the dense gray flannel of fog
And the roses
The roses
Run riot underneath,
Electric eddied current in acres of cupped earth all its own.
When this happens
Almost every day
When this happens
I’ll put your hand in mine
Wait patient
For electric current to show itself
Go leafless to plush jagged green
Wait patient for our basal break
Our growth determined.
I’ll wait.


Featured Artist: Shelby Graham


  Shelby Graham is currently the Director/Curator of the Sesnon Art Gallery at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). She has collaborated on projects with the Museum of Art and History in Santa Cruz, CA; the San Jose Museum of Art; Gallery Ef in Tokyo, Japan; galleries in Tenerife, Canary Islands; The Center for Photographic Art, in Carmel, CA; and the Craft & Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA. Graham has been director of the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery since 1999 and is on the planning committee for a new interdisciplinary Institute of the Arts and Sciences at UCSC. She has taught courses in photography, contemporary art and museum practices at the University of California, Santa Cruz; San Jose State University; Cabrillo College; and Seinan Gakuin University in Kyushu, Japan. A selection of her curatorial works include: Raymond Saunders: Black is a Color, 2015; Tom Franco: Co-Lab, 2015; Alternative Lineage, 2014; The Dinner Parties: art and agriculture; The Harrison Studio: On Mixing, Mapping and Territory, 2013; Katerina Lanfranco: Natural Selection, 2012, Lewis Watts: New Orleans Suite, 2012; Xiaoze Xie: Resistant Archeology, 2011; Some Assembly Required: race, gender and globalization, 2009–2010; Interruptions of Hierarchies, 2008; Image as Object, 2006; Hank Willis Thomas: Signifying Blackness, 2006; and The Rhetoric of the Pose: Rethinking Hannah Wilke, 2005; Binh Danh, Immortality, The Remnants of the Vietnam and American War, 2002. See curatorial page for more details.


The editors.

Irene Reti
Jenny Kurzweil
Sarah Rabkin

Featured Artist
Shelby Graham

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