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Brandon Cesmat is the author of Driven into the Shade (Poetic Matrix Press). Cesmat began his writing career as journalist and won several San Diego Press Club awards. After earning his MFA from San Diego State University, he switched to creative writing and won San Diego Book Awards in both poetry and fiction while also working as an educator for California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) and Cal State University San Marcos. He is also the poet-vocalist in the performance ensemble Drought Buoy.

As a member of CPITS, Cesmat edited Classrooms of Poets, an anthology on the efficacy of bringing living writers into K-12 classrooms. He also designed CPITS state-wide program Laureates in Training (CPITS-LIT), which recognizes student-poets who have demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the poetry-writing process and poetry in the community. In November of 2003, he was elected president of CPITS, the largest artist residency program in the United States. He currently teaches the Family Writing Workshop for EvenStart at the San Pasqual Indian Reservation.

Red River Review nominated Cesmat’s poem “New Light” for the Pushcart Prize.


The symmetry from my heart of dust
branches out as a snowflake.
This is the shape of my love
that I can't explain and you don't understand
but the mirrored evidence shows
I am enigmatically whole for you.
In this dry cold I have pulled all nearby moisture to me
for one moment. Quick, see me, this one side of me
that rings in the quiet, then melts into the rushing hum.


First, take one valley,
          take it south and call it "San Pasqual,
          take the people north with the same name.
Add 96 years of survival.
Sprinkle oaks where they can 
reach water
even during dry years.
Bake in summer.
Chill in winter.
Stir in no questions or
we go back to step one.
Shake in the presence of elders.
Listen and enjoy whenever possible but
be prepared to add tears
when your tears are due.
Don't deny the bitter.
We can't start from scratch, but
with music we can sweeten to taste, or
add laughter when in season, but
swallow the knowledge we have made.
It should be bitter with the truth.

© 2004 Brendon Cesmat

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