The SLO Down Pub on Brisco Road and East Grand Avenue in Arroyo Grande is the home of the new South County Poetry Reading, which started Nov. 29.
It’ll continue on the fourth Sunday of every month, from 5 to 8 p.m., resuming in January.
Evelyn Cole of Arroyo Grande has put together this new venue for poets, making it the first South County poetry event of its kind. There are monthly poetry readings in Atascadero, Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo, but there have been none in the South County.
The SLO Down pub seems like the perfect location, with its display of local arts, wines and beers and the recent addition of Ellie’s SLO Down Cafe.
Cole is herself a published poet and writer, belonging to SLO Nightwriters and Poets on the Edge. She has published three novels, “For the Sake of All Others,” “A Tough Journey” and “Good Mail,” and is polishing her latest, “The Underbelly,” subtitled “Dr. Jaquelyn and Mrs. Hyde.”
Seven male poets and Cole read their mostly humorous poems. David Ochs, the leading poet of the evening, is from Brooklyn, N.Y. He read poems such as, “Life’s too Short,” “Self (a disease of self),” “God Calling,” and “Take Your Kayak and Shove It.”
Jerry Smith read “Invisibles,” about field workers and their 12-hour days. Other poets included Ken Solomon, Ivan Brown Otter, Don Wallace, Ben Lawless, Jerry Smith and Michael McLaughlin.
Cole began making up stories in her head as a small child and wrote poetry from a young age. She has degrees in psychology and English literature, a teacher’s credential and a master of fine arts in creative writing. A creative writing workshop in Orange County fired up her passion for writing again and started her on her career as a novelist and poet.
Cole grew up in Northboro, Mass. Her latest novel is set in nearby Worcester and centers on a brilliant young Puerto Rican woman from the slums surrounding Clark University. The heroine engineers her way into the household of a wealthy woman who has two distinct personalities — Dr. Jacquelyn and Mrs. Hyde — one of them a professor at the university.
Cole has two Web sites — www.coles-poetic-license.com and www.write-for-wealth.com. The latter encourages people to tap the power of the unconscious mind and includes her online book, “Brainsweep.” This is an e-course of directed writing designed to sweep your mind clean of traps that have kept writers from their goals.
The SLO Down Pub celebrates two years of business this month. Mark London and his partners, who have owned the building for about five years, settled on the pub idea after trying an art venue for a few years. The pub has been much more successful, and London has kept the art influence by exhibiting paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, metal arts and lighted art (interesting handmade lanterns and lights) by local artists.
London believes strongly in “sustainable business” and uses recycled art and materials for the pub. The wine bar is made from a fallen tree out of Cambria. The giant colorful fish on display behind the bar is made from broken surfboards by Arroyo Grande artist Aaron Lloyd.
The lanterns hanging in the pub are made from handmade paper and recycled metal by Steve Bewley of Arroyo Grande. Bewley also made the chandelier hanging above the tables out of wine bottles and a collapsed barrel.
Ellie’s SLO Down Cafe opened in the same building about four weeks ago, operated by owners Ellie and Darrell Ross. Ellie’s Cafe had been open for two years in Grover Beach before it relocated to the pub.
Ellie Ross’ food is mostly organic, with no processed meats and all fresh vegetables and fruits, and she does all her own baking. They serve lunch, dinner and brunch on weekends.
The next South County Poetry Reading will take place at the SLO Down Pub, 1200 East Grand Ave. in Arroyo Grande, on Jan. 24.