Poetry for Southern California

 

Mifanwy Kaiser

 
  

 

"As publishers go, she is pretty cool" | by Larry Jaffe

 

Mifanwy and loving husband John

I dearly love Mifanwy Kaiser.  You can put that up in lights.  She and I have fought like cats and dogs but in the end we both know our true feelings for each other and the relationship between us gets stronger and stronger. 

And Mifanwy is a strong woman.  Her voice carries and echoes throughout the southland but throughout the world. It is like she has this poetic ministry and she serves the people of our community with unabashed enthusiasm and delight.  She is outspoken yet polite and caring.  You don't want to be on her bad side (but that only lasts a moment).  She lives and breathes poetry not just for herself but everyone she comes in contact with.  Without her there would be no Poetix.  Many a time I have wanted to throw in the towel.  And it is not that she talked me out of it.  It's just that I did not want to disappoint her.  And lest you think I am fawning over her, think again.  We are both rather stubborn folks and like I said have butted heads many a time.  But it is like this - Mifanwy is pretty unassuming.  She would never expect to be on the cover of Poetix or perhaps any other publication.  I just want to honor the poet, the publisher and the woman.  She is a Queen Bee willing to get her hands dirty...

Mifanwy's Story

Mifanwy Kaiser founder and CEO of Tebot Bach, Inc., retired after 32 years of teaching grades 7-college and in menís prisons.  Mifanwy was a nominee for the Kentucky Teacher of the Year, received The Kentucky Secretary of Corrections Award for Outstanding Service (her students set then broke the state record twice for the number of GEDís issued through the prison system.  They would have continued their run, but love got in the way and she married John Kaiser, not an inmate, in 1985 and moved to California).  She won the Cable in the Classroom Instructional Unit award (the English/Social Studies unit on the Vietnam War developed by Mifanwy and her teaching partner at Costa Mesa High School was sent to Russia for teachers to use), and was a language arts teacher trainer for the California Department of Education. Mifanwy has written poetry since she was in the first grade and  used poetry as a teaching tool since 1970.   The founding of Tebot Bach comes out of her Welsh background, her love for poetry and her proven belief in the power of poetry to transform life experiences, regardless of age or socio-economic standing.  Tebot Bach publishes and Spillway, the yearly California poetry anthology, Southern California Poetix,  and books by single poets.  She hosts the Five Penny Poet reading series, a Tebot Bach program, with Paul Suntup, Mindy Nettifee, Steve Ramirez, and Dima Hilal.

Mifanwy's Poem

I selected the following poem of Mifanwy because in its beauty and simplicity, it just simply reminded me of her.

Blue Vase

She brought flowers
to my classroom
early this morning
arranged in a royal blue vase:
the stargazers among the ferns,
petals arched back
toward their stems
stamens curled upward
open mouths
waiting for things
unimaginable
terrifying or sweet.

 

© 2003 Mifanwy Kaiser