Poet Ina Coolbrith’s Love of California Wildflowers  Speaker: Aleta George
Wednesday, April 22, 7:30 pm
Location: Garden Room, Orinda Public Library (directions below)

The California poppy was still ten years away from being named California’s official state flower when poet Ina Coolbrith wrote “Copa de Oro” in 1893 and described the flower as being “brimmed with     the golden vintage of the sun.” In 1816 the orange poppy had been given the Latin name of Eschsholzia californica, but Ina preferred the older Spanish name, la copa de oro, the cup of gold. In 1915, the year Ina was crowned California’s first poet laureate during the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, botanist Luther Burbank told her he had hybridized a poppy and named it ‘Crimson Eschscholzia Ina Coolbrith’. She replied that when she wrote “Copa de Oro” she hadn’t known she would become a member of the family.

Aleta George is the author of Ina Coolbrith: The Bittersweet Song of California’s First Poet Laureate, a new biography released in 2015. What better time than April, National Poetry Month, to learn about Coolbrith’s love of wildflowers found in the Oakland hills and San Francisco’s sand dunes? “For California is a poem,” said Coolbrith.

Aleta George is a San Francisco Bay Area–based journalist who covers nature and culture in California and is a frequent contributor to and Bay Nature. This is her first book and she’s thrilled to celebrate Coolbrith’s centennial with us on Earth Day!

East Bay CNPS membership meetings are free of charge and open to everyone. This month’s meeting takes place in the Garden Room of the Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way (in Orinda Village). The Garden Room is on the second floor of the building, accessible by stairs or an elevator. The Garden Room opens at 7 pm; the meeting begins at 7:30 pm. Email or call 510-496-6016 if you have questions.

Directions to Orinda Public Library at 24 Orinda Way:

From the west, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda/Moraga exit. At the end of the off ramp, turn left on Camino Pablo (toward Orinda Village), right on Santa Maria Way (the signal after the BART station and freeway entrance), and left on Orinda Way.

From the east, take Hwy 24 to the Orinda exit. Follow the ramp to Orinda Village. Turn right on Santa Maria way (the first signal) and left on Orinda Way.

Once on Orinda Way, go 1 short block to the parking lot on the southeast side of the two-story building on your right. There is additional free parking beneath the building as well as on the street.

From BART (4 blocks): Exit the Orinda station, turn right and cross a pedestrian bridge, then cross a second pedestrian bridge on the left. Go 1 short block on the sidewalk to the third pedestrian bridge. Go 2 blocks on Orinda Way to the Orinda Library.

Next Month’s Meeting
May 27, 7:30 pm
Bart O’Brien, Director, Regional Parks Botanic Garden