Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Poetry Lights Up Stockton

By  0 Comments

By Paula Sheil

The City of Stockton has recently selected a new poet laureate, Jazmarie LaTour, and retitled our four-term poet laureate, Tama Brisbane, our poet laureate emerita. And Tuleburg Press is proud to announce that both poets are represented in its new anthology, Center of Attention: Poems on Stockton & San Joaquin. The two official poet designees share the table of contents with another 51 local poets, writing about all things Stockton.

There are poems about growing up in a wide variety of neighborhoods, about the San Joaquin Delta waterways, and some reference Stockton’s notable literary figures such as Leonard Gardner and Maxine Hong Kingston. The anthology includes 80 poems in Spanish and English.

These are poems of place that help us connect to our community and the environment in which we create an identity. The concept for the book was inspired by and dedicated to poet and filmmaker Catherine Webster (1944-2012), who wrote poems about the ranchlands and farming east of Stockton and edited a book of poems called Handspan of Red Earth: An Anthology of American Farm Poems.

Joshua Gill-Sutton, who served as the book’s assistant editor, celebrates “the mystery of this place /keeps me company, /as I cruise backroads of my own personal mythology.” In his introduction, Gill-Sutton lets readers know that the anthology contains “seasoned Stockton poets, professors and laureates, and poems by young writers who have only begun to stake their claim. These new writers are inevitably shaping its future at every open mic and writing workshop with their diversity of perspectives.”

A second book of poems published by Tuleburg Press, Sorry I’m Late, by a singular poet, Melchor Sahagun III, launched recently. His 80-page collection of poems has wowed advance readers. Bradley Buchanan, English professor emeritus, California State University, Sacramento, says Sahagun’s work “is a virtuoso exercise in disarming, fantastical self-definition by a true poet—one who can only live authentically in his own carefully chosen yet sometimes reckless words. If, as his book’s title implies, Sahagun has arrived late to the party, he is sure to be its life (or death) when his unmistakable voice is heard.”

And in time for holiday shopping, Tuleburg Press also plans to launch William Maxwell’s Booklegger: Anecdotal Recollections of a Skid Row Bookseller in early December. Maxwell’s bookselling career spans four decades of retail and online book sales and considerable expertise in rare books and ephemera. He began his career by buying the Harvard Book Store on Market Street and concluded in-person sales at Maxwell’s Bookmark on the Miracle Mile. Today he sells online and at book fairs.

All three publications boast covers designed by local artists. Angela Maxson’s assemblage of faces graces the poetry anthology; musician/artist/photographer Snap Jackson did the cover art for his brother Melchor’s book; and artist Robert Kelley has been tapped to design Booklegger. They are available at

Paula Sheil is editor and founder of Tuleburg Press, Stockton, California.