Malibu Spring Jubilations: Connecting with friends through Poetry

(From left) Shifra Wylder, Malibu Poet Laureate Ann Buxie, and Tracy Katz pose together at the latest Spring Jubilations on Thursday, April 21, at The Malibu Library. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

The gathering featured selected poets, open mic, and conversation 

“Jubilations is a shout for joy, and I kind of felt that at these times — we needed that,” Malibu Poet Laureate Ann Buxie said, welcoming the guests to the Spring Poetry Workshop last Thursday at the Malibu Library. “I noticed that sadness and joy expose us to extremes of feelings.”

The gathering took place outdoors underneath shade and sunshine. The small but mighty group included a few writers and authors themselves. 

The poetry theme was to celebrate the joy in a time of whelming possibilities and to give voice to the true nature of vitality modeled on the natural world.

The event is part of the city’s free poetry workshops in partnership with Malibu Library, the Malibu Poet Laureate Committee, the Malibu Arts Commission, and the Friends of the Malibu Library. The workshop offers community members an educational opportunity to engage and find expression through poetry with a renowned local poet.

Shifra Wylder and Tracy Katz read a few individual poems and a particular poem they made in a collaboration called “The Gift.”

“We sat down at the beach one day and came up with this,” Wylder said. “This is kind of the nutshell of our friendship.”

Katz and Wylder shared the process of creating the braided technique in their poem. A braided piece uses three separate storylines or topics, alternating topics sequentially between each of the three lines.  

“It was a fun process to do that, a braided piece, I would call it more of a French braid — a ‘friends braid,’” Katz said.

“I think it’s just so important to spread the love of poetry, the love of words, I think it brings intimacy, and community to people and it takes courage, but it’s a healthy courage, it creates community,” Wylder said. “And doing the piece with her, [Katz] was a gift.” 

Katz said it was wonderful to see people come out for poetry.

“For me, poetry is about being authentic and vulnerable and putting feelings into words,” Katz said. “Sometimes there aren’t no words for feelings, but to be able to do that, you’re not alone.”

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(From left) Shifra Wylder, Tracy Katz, and Malibu Poet Laureate Ann Buxie, are shown at the latest Spring Jubilations on Thursday, April 21, at The Malibu Library. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Katz also teaches in Calabasas and will also be teaching a class at the Malibu Senior Center, which begins in June. Running Tuesdays from 2:15 to 4 p.m. and called “Bring Out Your Inner Writer,” the class will be a fusion of creative wring and autobiography. 

“No experience necessary, just willingness, paper, and fast pens,” she said.

Buxie said nothing is as important as friendship, and Wylder and Katz have shared that in their poetry.

“We need that with someone because it’s a place where we can feel safe with someone, we’re not going to be judged, and it’s so wonderful to feel that way,” Buxie said.

Join Buxie and Ericha Scott to explore different forms of poetry, inspire poetry approaches, and encourage new works on Saturday, April 29, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Malibu Library. 

The next Malibu Library Speaker Series is the annual poetry summit on Saturday, May 6, at 4 p.m., at Malibu City Hall hosted by Buxie. Poets and artists of many disciplines, from students in the city’s Arts in Education program to other features, will share their wonder in movement, music, painting, and word. The event is free to attend, and an RSVP is not required. For more information, please visit the Library Speaker Series webpage at