Press Release: NEW BOOK “The Lifeline Trembles”

For Immediate Release

Contact Person: Lin Rolens

Phone: 643-1003



Mary Kay Rummel, Ventura County’s first poet laureate, announces a new book, The Lifeline Trembles, and a public reading and signing on October 4, 2014 at 7:00 PM in the Topping Room at the E. P. Foster Library,651 East Main Street, Ventura.



The Lifeline Trembles, Ms. Rummel’s seventh book, has received the 2014 Blue Light Prize from San Francisco’s Blue Light Press. The prolific and highly acclaimed writer underscores the importance of love and family and draws on her recent travels to Turkey, France, Guatemala and her beloved Ireland, but many of these poems reflect her life close to the sea in Ventura.


This book has been praised by many including author Diane Frank who notes that these “poems are visionary, erotic and full of light. With elegantly crafted language, these pages are filled with a love that is palpable and shines.”


Ms. Rummel’s work has been described as “luminous meditations on the nature of love in which imagery and the beauty of language shine” in The Comstock Review. Whistling Shade admires her “sustained concentration to detail, symbols and objectivity.”


Over 350 of our laureate’s poems have also appeared in national and international literary journals and anthologies over the last 35 years. She has received over a dozen poetry awards that range from a first prize from our own Ventura County Writers Club to multiple nominations for the highly prestigious Pushcart Prize.

Mary Kay Rummel says that these poems, written by the Ventura beach, reflect the her life and the lives of those she sees around her: “They are a way of paying attention every day at least part of the time to what is important, to the surface and what is beneath the surface—A way of being alive in the world.” She is “so inspired by the sea by the energy and diversity I experience in Ventura. I find that being poet laureate keeps me even more connected to poetry, to this creative energy of our diverse art community.”

As laureate Ms. Rummel, just nine months into her two-year term, has been involved in a broad range of community related poetry projects. She has collaborated with John Nichols on his Alphabeastiary; she’s worked with writers affiliated with the Ventura Country Arts Council on the “40 Under 40” project to publish poems by younger writers and to gift local libraries with oversized copies of her poems and sets of her work for their collections. She has participated in a number of readings and workshops around the county, and, through the classes she teaches at CSUCI, posted poems by Camarillo elementary school children in the windows of cooperative businesses.

Ms. Rummel’s goal for her laureateship is simply to “get as much poetry out into the community as possible and to encourage others to write and read poetry.” This fall her plans include reading in the Askew and Carnegie reading series and working with the Camarillo library on a poetry contest to correlate with their “The War Comes Home” events. Additionally she will attend the state California Poets in the Schools conference as a representative of CPITS in our county.

Mary Kay Rummel grew up in an Irish Catholic household and was a nun for some years; she has been married for 43 years and enjoys two sons and three granddaughters. The Lifeline Trembles is dedicated to her two-year old granddaughter, Sylvie Jane, in the hopes that “she will some day love having a book dedicated to her.”


From “Beach Roses, Sea Grass”


Swagged in mist, lavender froth of waves

in winds, young egrets fishing,

the path curves along the shore.

at the stone railroad bridge you cross

the river, walking the tunnel of track

until you clear the bamboo forest

see the river of lights on the 101,

turn west to pelican, palms, sunset

breaking on water and stone.


From “The Vastness Around Her”


I will stay here, almost able to live

on color alone, leaves and stems, sweet pea,

morning glory tendrils—words I’ve stored

spill out, stories that begin in whispered litanies

and end with mountain jays.

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