I am an editor, ghostwriter, writing coach, and award-winning narrative poet who especially likes to work with people doing memoir and poetry writing. I have ghostwritten and edited memoirs, as well as fiction, poetry, and various sorts of nonfiction.
Below are samples of my narrative poetry and writing, as well as my editing and coaching work and work-related projects.
Published Work: Samples
I have published over 100 poems in various literary journals over the past 25 years.
I have also published various articles in newspapers and magazines such as the San Francisco Chronicle and The East Bay Monthly. Most of these articles have been profiles of people.
To view each portfolio piece in its entirety, please click on the TITLES, found below the place of publication.
Memoir Writing, Editing, & Coaching Work
I helped Michael Ivkov finish his partially written memoir about bird watching. I interviewed him and then wrote additional sections of the book to fill in the gaps. Also, I did several edits, working on sentence structure, word choice, punctuation, transitions, and organization to make the book come together as a coherent whole.
It's a remarkable story about a high school student joyfully pursuing his passion from New York City to Ecuador to Maine.
A Childhood Without Amenities: The Will to Survive
I coached Myrna Lovett to write her gritty memoir about her poverty-stricken childhood in the Philippines. I also edited the memoir, giving her suggestions for revision after she had written each chapter. Then, at the end, I did the line editing to make the writing clearer and more flowing.
Myrna's story is inspiring because of her indomitable spirit, holding onto her dream of a better future in spite of a horrific childhood.
The Cruel Silence
I went over each poem with Iranian writer Fae Bidgoli, turning awkward phrases into smoother ones. I also helped her add evocative, sensuous detail to make the poems more vivid.
It's a heartbreaking poetry collection about an Iranian teenager's forced marriage to an older, abusive husband.
Kitsuge: The Golden Journey of Henry Yoshihiko and Alice Fumio Kasai
I edited Una Nakamura's family memoir focusing on the lives of her Japanese activist parents in mid-20th century Salt Lake City. I suggested places where Una needed more information or explanation and smoothed out the writing, sometimes rewriting awkward or unclear sentences.
A compassionate, closely observed portrait of two dynamic, complex people.
Poetry Editing -- Flo Oy Wong
Every month Flo sends me three poems, which I edit for conciseness, clarity, flow, and evocative detail. Then we discuss the poems over the phone. Also, I give her suggestions for magazines to send her poems to for possible publication. Recently, she had her first three poems accepted for publication.
Flo writes vivid poems, often about her family's restaurant in Oakland Chinatown during her youth.
Beyond and Back
I took Tammera Ring-Gjerde's journals focusing on her husband's life-threatening illness and her love and commitment to him and used them as a starting point to write a memoir. I emailed and interviewed Tammera for additional information to fill out the story of two resilient lives, then combined this with selected material from the journals. An inspiring and poignant story of love and of courageously dealing with adversity.
For My Mother, Gladys Banda
Tamara Banda asked me to write a poem honoring her mother, who had died nine years previously and had been a strong positive influence on Tamara during her early years in Zambia. Gladys Banda was a courageous single mother who, through her NGO, reached out to families devastated by AIDS.
A friend read the poem at Tamara's wedding, and Tamara said this was her favorite part of the wedding.
It's Always Okay to Be Me: A Journey To Recovering Lost Hope
I edited a memoir by transsexual, Danielle Marie Bergan. I worked on word choice, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, etc. to make the writing clear and flowing. This is a moving and sometimes funny story of Danielle's painful struggle to live authentically and become her true self.
A Training Ground for Love: A Couples Relationship as a Path to Light
I edited Lee Embrey's manuscript, rewriting many sentences to make them clear and flowing so that his deep, mystical concepts could more easily be grasped. Also, I encouraged him to add more personal stories to make the book more engaging. This is a valuable book showing how couple relationship can be a spiritual practice, leading the couple to greater love and consciousness.
Harvesting the Light: Stories of Love, Wisdom, and Inspiration at the End of Life
I edited Mary Ann Konarzewski's inspiring collection of stories about her experience working with elders as a massage therapist and activities director. I worked on sentence structure, word choice, and punctuation to make her writing clear and flowing. This is a heartwarming story of Mary Ann's love for the elders and the light she brings into their lives through passion and creativity.
Five pages illustrating my editing process and work.
Reading series coordinator and book clerk at Walden Pond Books, Oakland, California
I organized bi-monthly prose readings at Walden Pond involving many well-known writers, such as Isabel Allende, Ishmael Reed, Gary Soto, Terry McMillan. I wrote the PR, introduced the authors, and made them feel at home amidst the large audiences who came to hear them.
Co-editor of four faithful fools street ministry poetry anthologies, "living in the land of the dead."
I sought poets and artists to submit work to be considered for inclusion in these anthologies, published by the Faithful Fools in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco and dealing mainly with issues of homelessness and social justice. In collaboration with my co-editors, I selected appropriate works for inclusion. Then we proofread the issue before the final version appeared. The anthologies provided a creative outlet for many street poets in the Tenderloin.
I did various oral histories documenting and honoring the lives of the people I interviewed. I started with my parents and later did several oral histories of residents of Piedmont Gardens retirement community in Oakland, California, where I worked as a volunteer. This was a gratifying experience for people, as they got to reminisce and reflect on their lives.
Volunteer poetry coordinator
I am one of four coordinators who run a monthly poetry series at Nefeli Cafe in Berkeley. I select the feature readers for my monthly segment and then introduce them during the reading and host the open mic portion.
Publications & Awards
The Woman Who Knocked Out Sugar Ray, Arrowhead Press, Berkeley, CA, 1982
A collection of stories written in different styles, some realistic, others more fantasy-like. It also has two chapters from an autobiographical novel.
Voyeur of the Heart, Archetype Associates, Berkeley, CA, 1997
A miscellaneous collection of poems written in different styles and about varying subjects: dreams, my mother, artworks, unusual experiences, childhood memories, spiritual themes, etc.
Sunday Ritual, Liquid Paper Press, Austin, TX, 2000
First prize winner in Nerve Cowboy's 2000 chapbook contest, this poetry chapbook chronicles my experiences working in bookstores in Oakland, CA.
The 25 poems are snapshots or vignettes about my often upbeat, unpredictable interactions with customers, shoplifters, fellow employees, and the boss.
Green Leaves for Hair, 2003, Oakland, CA
This poetry chapbook is a collaboration between Therese Baumberger, a Unitarian Universalist minister, and me. Each of us contributed 15 poems based on dreams recollected from sleep.
Tenderloin Voices, Spruce Street Press, 2005, Oakland, CA
This chapbook consists of a series of poems based on my volunteer work with the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. I hung out at St. Anthony's Dining Room and on the streets, listening to people and engaging in conversations, and the poems reflect these vivid, often heartbreaking experiences.
A New Life, Rose Press, 2014, Oakland, CA
This collection of 76 poems captures the mystery and wonder that lie behind the surface of everyday life. The poems offer a compassionate view of what it is to be human.
Love in Unexpected Places, Quelquefois Press, February 2017, Berkeley, CA
I typeset 10 of my poems by hand for a limited edition letterpress chapbook.