Hola Amigos: A hearty welcome to my website. I try to write in an accessible (understandable) style. I consider myself a "blue collar" writer meaning I wish to write for those who may not have a college education, those who work getting their hands dirty by harvesting produce, using saws and hammers, shovels, paint brushes, screwdrivers, and trowels. I write for domestic workers who serve meals and wash dishes, people who wear work boots, jeans, and uniforms. Please don't get me wrong, I hope that those with higher education will appreciate the work of one who has done hard physical labor for many years, one who has made mistakes in his life, one who loves passionately and is willing to share what he has learned.
I invite you to take a look around the website. If you would like to see a piece of my writing then click on the Poetry Sampling button (poems are changed frequently), or if you'd like to see where I'll be doing the next presentation click the Appearance Calendar button. Gourmet Poet tells of my moonlighting gig preparing memorable meals and reciting my poetry. If there is anything I can answer that is not addressed on this site, give me a phone call: (707) 591-0595.
Life does not have to be a chore. Yes, we have responsibilities to the world and to each other and sometimes they can feel a bit heavy, but we also have the ability to laugh and have fun. We have the ability to follow our passions, develop our talents, and share them. We owe it to ourselves and others to live good lives and love each other and have a hell of a lot of fun doing it! - Armando Garcia-Dāvila, January 20, 2004
Poems Recited at the Sonoma County Book Festival is a limited edition - only 100 copies were produced in celebration of the 2006 Sonoma County Book Festival. English only. The book will be autographed if purchased through the website. Click here for information on how to buy this book.
At the Edge of the River (Al Lado del Rio) is a mixed collection of prose and poetry printed by Running Wolf Press. This book is printed in Spanish and English. Click here for information on where to find this book.
In Out Of My Heart (De Mi Corazon) Topics wander from philosophical musings to lamentations, verses to the seasons, and even anger with The Almighty. First published by Thumbprint Press in October 1999, the third edition was released December 2002. The book is printed in Spanish and English. Click here for information on where to find this book.
Armando's latest CD is an English translation of his popular "El Gran Viento" CD, which follows the experiences of Mexican people who crossed the border into the United States, legally or sneaking across.
Armando's original El Gran Viento CD is all in Spanish. The opening track is the first third of the poem "El Gran Viento" (The Great Wind). The wind is a metaphor for the Mexican migration north. One cannot stop the wind no matter how much one might try. The subsequent tracks speak of a man standing at the river's edge considering crossing illegally; of a man working in the fields; of being a lonely man; of a man wanting his children to receive an education so that they will be spared a life in the fields.
The final track is the entire poem "El Gran Viento." The poem speaks of people who have come to this continent from other places and hints at warning North Americans to be careful because "this fickle wind may change its course one day and blow from the North to the South." Click here for information on where to find these CDs.
In 2002 Armando released his first CD: YES! Thirteen tracks of his love poetry set to the music played by jazz saxophonist Michael Bolivar. All in English, each track is read by the poet together with a host of others. Their voices and moods reflect each piece. Click here for information on where to find this CD.
Armando Garcia-Dāvila was named Healdburg's Literary Laureate for the year 2002-2003 adding to his distinction as Poet Laureate of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Sonoma County. A landscape contractor by profession, Armando started writing in 1990 - an impassioned letter to a dear friend who was killed in VietNam. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat ran the letter as an OpEd piece entitled "Vow to a Fallen Comrade." When the war ended, he continued writing. A poem, "No Time: Lamentations of a Contractor," was recorded by Latino USA radio, and broadcast on more than 200 stations nationwide in 1995. Catholic and Protestant ministers asked permission to use it for their Sunday sermons.
Encouraged, he spent the next few years writing short stories about his childhood when he and his twin were mischievous students in a Catholic grammar school in San Diego -- not "bad kids," Armando says, but "born clowns [who] loved making our classmates laugh." Two of the stories, "First Communion" and "The Pendulum," were published by Thumbprint Press in Marin County, California in its Bust Out Stories magazine. That was 1998. "First Communion," and "If I Could" (a poem) were awarded first-place ribbons at the Marin County Fair the same year.
At that time Armando saw short stories as his genre, but when his marriage of 23 years fell apart and he found himself living alone for the first time in his life (he came from a family of nine) he found that everything he wrote fell onto the page in verses and stanzas. A friend told him he was writing poetry! "How could that be?" Armando said. "I've never liked poetry. I don't understand it." But there it was, complete with metaphor, symbolism, and imagery.
Referring to himself as a "blue collar poet" Garcia-Dāvila's literary life today consists of readings at cafés, bookstores, libraries, and radio stations along with presentations at elementary, middle, and high schools. Garcia-Dāvila's short stories and poems are a monthly feature in La Voz bilingual newspaper and can be found at libraries and various newsstands in 12 Northern California counties. In addition to organizing and leading "poetry slams," Garcia-Dāvila gives seminars at colleges and universities. As a featured presenter for the Arts and Lecture Series at Santa Rosa Junior College, he has demonstrated to ESL students of varying nationalities the art and craft of "building" a poem. He was also invited to be a feature presenter for the Dia de Los Muertos celebration at the Petaluma campus of SRJC. Garcia-Dāvila is enormously effective with all his audiences, he especially enjoys seeing youngsters suddenly wake up to the power and satisfaction that comes with letting buried thoughts see the light of day in the form of poetry and prose. He has had much the same experience in his volunteer work with inmates of San Quentin State Penitentiary in a program designed to assist them in their rehabilitation.
Armando is currently at work on short stories and reminiscences of his Catholic grammar school days with twin brother Fernando. He has also had much success as "The Gourmet Poet," marrying his writing and cooking skills. Dr. David Anderson and his wife Cathy said of their Gourmet Poet experience: "It was a beautiful presentation, a delicious dinner, and a night of inspired and romantic poetry." Click here for more information about the Gourmet Poet.
Armando Garcia-Davila a local published poet and writer will be the Sonoma County Arts Council representative in a unique, Fall, 2009 program that is designed to bring the literary arts to a segment of our population who would not normally have the opportunity. Click here for more info.
September 16, 2006 Sonoma County Book Festival
July 14, 2006 Eastern Oregon University
July 11, 2006 Sonoma County Regional Library Petaluma
April 5, 2006 Two Lectures: "Writing, What's the Point?", El Molino High School, Forestville, Calif.
April 25, 2006 Poetry and Music: An evening of poetry and music, hosted by Armando. Readings by poets Terry Ehret, Jodi Hottel, Arlene Mandell, and Sonoma County's Poet Laureate Geri Digiornio. Zebulon Cafe, Petaluma
May 19, 2006 "Grand Slam" Poetry event: hear the works of monthly "Poetry Slam" winners from the popular county library program: hosted by Armando. Santa Rosa Central Library, 3rd and E Streets, downtown Santa Rosa
November 9, 2005 ,Mendocino College in Ukiah, Armando read and recited from his short stories, prose, and poetry. Question and Answer period followed.
November 1, 2005 Downtown Santa Rosa (Courthouse Square), Armando read a humorous story of skeletons having a fiesta in celebration of "Dia de los Muertos."
October 27, 2005 Copperfield Bookstore in Petaluma, Armando presented with several local poets in celebration of "Dia de los Muertos."
October 20, 2005 At Sonoma State University Armando read with local poet Lilith Rogers in the county wide celebration: "Arts United Day".
August 12, 2005 , Northlight Books and Cafe in Cotati, hosted a CD release party featuring a live reading of: "El Gran Viento." A poetic, cultural, and culinary convergence featuring a reading of the CD. The poems relate the epic tale of one who comes to "El Norte" seeking his fortune. A dinner of "Chile Verde" prepared by Armando was available.
June 5, 2005 Quercia Gallery in Duncan's Mills. Poems of those who come to the US looking for a better life with paintings of vineyards and field laborers as a backdrop. Carlos Augilar played acoustical guitar.
May 23 and May 14, 2005 Armando on Neruda; Elizabeth on Poniatowska, Poet Armando Garcia-Davila spoke about and read from the works of Pablo Neruda, and Professor Elizabeth Martinez spoke about and read from the works of Elena Poniatowska. Neruda and Poinatowska comprise two divergent voices in Latin American literature of the 20th Century: Neruda, male, very famous, a poet, Chilean; and Poinatowska, female, not as well known, a cosmopolitan mix of Polish and Mexican, a journalist and novelist. Neruda remains the better known: the flamboyant lyric poet, the socially committed man of action as well as letters, who lived as romantically as his lyric poetry. Poinatowska enjoys renown among the literati, but her novels, biographies and journalism, championing those without a champion, without a voice, deserve a wider audience.A completely bi-lingual program presented by The Sonoma County Library at the Healdsburg Regional Library and the Sonoma Valley Regional Library.
May 1, 2005 - Santa Rosa's Cinco de Mayo Celebration, I presented three times throughout the afternoon at the Santa Rosa Finley Center
April 16, 2005 - "The Power of Poetry", seven present and past poet laureates from Northern California presented their work and offered friendly writing workshops at the Friendship Hall in Kelseyville.
April 15, 2005 - "Five Hombres" presented Poetry, Music, and Plays - Vince Pedroia, Guy Biederman, Ken Rogers, Terry Mills, and Armando Garcia-Davila at the Sebastopol Area Senior Center
2005 St. Valentine's Day readings: John Bagley Jewelry Gallery-Bistro in Windsor and Mi Arte Es Su Arte in Santa Rosa
November 19, 2004 - Armando shared the stage with Jonah Raskin author of a humorous collection called "More Poems Better Poems" at Juice and Java in Santa Rosa.
July 31, 2004 - Napa Valley's literary organization "Poets in the Cellars" invited the "Healdsburg River Poets" (Penelope LaMontagne, Healdsburg's current Literary Laureate, Doug Stout, Healdsburg's first ever Literary Laureate and Armando G.D. Healdsburg's second Literary Laureate) to do a round robin reading, going from poet to poet and covering a myriad of themes, at the Napa Valley Museum
March 19, 2004 - Copperfield's Bookstore. Acoustic guitarist and composer Ivan Rane, poet Armando Garcia-Dāvila, and friends, performed their newly released CD "El Gran Viento." The bilingual spoken word presentation contained some of Dāvila's most beloved poems set to Latin music and in an order relating the epic tale of a man who crosses the border in his life-long search for opportunities. The readers included men and women from Latin-American countries including Guatemala, Peru, Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico.
April 1, 2004 - El Molino High School (Forestville) Three presentations for "Diversity Day".
April 3, 2004 Writer's Workshop - Armando led a workshop titled "A Day in the Life of Healdsburg." The writing exercise brought together beginning, intermediate, and advanced writers in a relaxed and supportive environment. The workshops were held one or more days each season of the year (spring, summer, fall, and winter). The writers gathered and were given choices as to where in Healdsburg they would like to go to observe and write then meet to share and get feedback on their musings. At the end of the year they will edit and publish selections.
April 7- Elsie Allen High School (West Santa Rosa) 12:00 noon.
April 16 - Sonoma State University (At the Cooperage) open to the public.
February 13, 2004 At Sweet Rosebuds Coffee Shop, Cloverdale. The poetry readings were under the auspices of the Cloverdale Arts Alliance. Armando presented his love poetry in observance of Valentine's Day.
February 9, 2004 At Point Health Club in Santa Rosa. Armando presented his love poetry in observance of Valentine's Day.
November 14, 2003 Armando's work was the topic of a symposium at the Hutchens School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University.
November 1, 2003 - Dia de los Muertos celebration at SRJC Petaluma in the Mahoney Library. Armando was the guest presenter.
October 14, 2003 Rohnert Park - Cotati Regional Library. One of four presenters celebrating the opening of the new library.
September 13, 2003 - Sonoma County Book Fair - Led a panel discussion on bilingual writers and emceed the poetry slam.
August 3, 2003 Featured reader at Bird and Beckett Books and Records in San Francisco.
May, 2003 - Sonoma County Book Fair Referred to by La Voz bilingual newspaper as a "locally prominent Hipanic figure," Armando was in attendence at this event together with Isabel Allende (see photo with Armando) internationally acclaimed author of House of Spirits and My Invented Country, and niece of Salvador Allende, the former marxist president of Chile. The photo is from La Voz.
April, 2003 - Poetry Month Live readings of love poetry set to the music of jazz saxophonist Michael Bolivar from Armando's CD "Yes!" were performed for the Sonoma County Libraries in honor of Poetry Month. Readings were at the Sebastopol, Cloverdale, Santa Rosa and Healdsburg Libraries.
March, 2003 At the Edge of the River/Al Lado del Rio was again chosen for use in Santa Rosa City Schools as supplementary literature for the Title 1 English as a Second Language (ESL) reading program. This is the second year the book will be used in the program.
March, 2003 Appeared at the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce Trade Show at the Villa Chanticleer helping staff the Healdsburg Arts Council table and selling my books and CD. Led the program off as the guest reader for the "Writer's Read" series for the Ukiah Saturday Afternoon Club. Discussed and presented my work for The Friends of the Library at the Healdsburg Library.
February, 2003 A writing workshop A Day in the Life of Healdsburg. The seminar was designed for beginning as well as advanced writers and resulted in a publication available through Toyon Books in Healdsburg.
December, 2002 Presenter (as a writer and author and Healdsburg Literary Laureate) at the Latino Book and Family Festival sponsored, in part, by Mr. Edward James Olmos (see photo with Armando).
November, December, 2002 CD release parties with Michael Bolivar for the Sonoma County Library with presentations at Windsor, Petaluma, Sonoma and Rincon Valley Libraries.
April, 2002 Featured presenter at the Arts and Lecture series for the Sonoma County Regional Library, Petaluma.
December, 2001The subject of a half-hour profile produced by Michael Matthews of the West Coast Live nationwide radio show and aired on PBS station KRCB.
October, 2001 Featured presenter for the Dia de Los Muertos at Mahoney Library at the Petaluma campus of Santa Rosa Junior College. Featured presenter in the Arts and Lecture Series at Santa Rosa Junior College.
March, 2001 Reading from At the Edge of the River/Al Lado del Rio at Copperfield Books, Santa Rosa, Northlight Books, Cotati, Borders, Santa Rosa, Coffee Catz Café, Sebastopol, Sonoma State University Library, The Flying Goat Coffee House, Healdsburg, Sonoma County Regional Library Windsor (bilingual reading).
Presented at a fund-raiser for the Phoenix Theater in Petaluma in 2000 sharing the stage with the Poet Laureate of San Francisco, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and the poet laureates of Healdsburg (Doug Stout) and Sonoma County (Don Emblen.)
One of the presenting poets in "Real Men Write Poems," a production of Pierrette Montroy, Sebastopol, December 9 and 10, 1999.
REVIEWS & KUDOS
Collection of poetry printed in English and Spanish by Thumbprint Press, Marin County, California October 1999. Third printing in progress. Armando read from Out Of My Heart/De Mi Corazon at Borders, Copperfields, Northlight Books and Café, Readers Books in Sonoma, and Oliver's Books in Marin County. The book was placed on the Staff Recommendation list at Copperfield's Books.
His collection Out of My Heart/De Mi Corazon received a flattering review in the national journal Hard Row to Hoe featuring the poem "El Otro Lado"
Armando's works have been printed in numerous newsletters and periodicals. His poems are regularly featured in The Sonoma County Peace Press, The Hispanic Image (newsletter of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce), and La Voz, a bilingual newspaper serving the English- and Spanish-speaking communities of Northern California.
"First Communion," a humorous short story published by Bust Out Stories magazine, Thumbprint Press, Marin County, California February, 1998.
"First Communion" and "If I Could"(a poem) awarded first place blue ribbons at the Marin County Fair 1998.
"The Pendulum," a humorous short story published by Bust Out Stories magazine, Thumbprint Press, Marin County, California, September, 1998.
"No Time," a poem recorded by Latino USA radio and broadcast on more than 200 stations nationwide, 1995.
"Vow to a Fallen Comrade," Denouncing President George Bush's decision to send combat troops to the Persian Gulf, Op/Ed Essay, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 11/18/90
TELEPHONE/FAX: 707 591 0595