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Orange County Book Events

September 23, 1993

It's being billed as a "major Orange County book event."

The release Friday of "Five Orange County Poets" by Lightning Publications of Fullerton heralds the first collection of performance poetry written by Orange County poets to be published in book form.

The poets--familiar names on the county's performance poetry circuit--are Mary Andrews of Orange, Catherine Spear of Fullerton and Santa Ana residents Rita McMahon Mitzner, Francisco Ortega and Gary Lee Tomlinson.

The book's release will be marked with a publication party at 7:30 p.m. Friday before the Calliope: Three-ring Poetry reading at the Fullerton Museum Center, 301 N. Pomona Ave., Fullerton. Cost: $3.

The event will feature the debut of a Reader's Theater created from the poetry by the book's editor, Nancy Brooks Rayle, who has arranged the works thematically into a 40-minute reading to be performed by the five poets.

The poets' works vary significantly in style and subject matter. Poems such as "Specimen Orange Grove," "Day Labor," "Newport Ladies" and "San Onofre" address Orange County concerns, while others deal with love, memories, the creative process and other universal topics.

"I think these five poets have already proven themselves in poetry venues throughout the county, and yet each one is so individual, so unique, that they make a very exciting combination in the book," says Rayle, a professor of English and creative writing at Cypress College.

Says poet Lee Mallory, who has taught three of the book's poets in his poetry class at Rancho Santiago College in Santa Ana: "They're wonderful new voices, all highly diverse, working off different themes, but all serving to illuminate, elevate and explain the human condition."

Plans are under way to distribute the book through independent bookstores, but it currently may be ordered ($15, including tax) by calling Lightning Press at (714) 879-8300.

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