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Cheryl Chaffin
Writer, Poet, Thinker, Teacher
Writer, Poet, Thinker, Teacher


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See Cheryl's new book, After Poland: A Memoir Because of Primo Levi, at:

In If This Is a Man, Italian Jewish writer Primo Levi wrote an ethical treatise on how to regain humanity after atrocity. His need to write developed at Auschwitz. Upon return to Italy in late 1945, he began to compose his first testimonial work. In After Poland, a story written as both a biography and a memoir, scholar Cheryl Chaffin travels to Poland because of her love for Levi’s writing and his story. As a student in Italy in the 1980s, she first discovered Levi’s work. Years later, his words accompany her through sites of memory and modern streets of rebuilt cities and towns. She turns to Polish art, poetry, photography, and politics to make sense of interconnected histories. This is a literary love story of one woman’s confrontation with the trauma of history. In deep engagement with Levi’s writing, she discovers her own ethical response to the world and learns how to live in response to the histories that haunt us.

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Hi Friends,

I have an essay appearing in this anthology. It's a wonderful collection of essays on the mom-daughter relationship.


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Subject: Send a letter: Winners and losers under the GOP tax plan



I wrote a letter urging my members of Congress to oppose this Trump/GOP tax scam.

Donald Trump and the GOP leadership are laser-focused on pushing through their so-called tax reform plan. And, they took their first step when the House voted 227-205 to pass the bill. What’s in their plan? Well, if you listen to them, they will sometimes tell you this is the greatest plan ever devised and that it will give huge tax breaks to working families. Other times, even stalwarts like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell will admit that this is going to raise the taxes of a large number of middle-class families.

Can you join me and write a letter? Click here:


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Community College League of California
Statement on Trump Administration’s
Decision to Rescind DACA

SACRAMENTO, CA – The Community College League of California (League) issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s announcement to end DACA:

"The callous decision by the Trump Administration to end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is antithetical to American values and abandons the promise made to over 800,000 individuals pursuing the American Dream. This shortsighted political calculation inhibits the aspirations of 222,795 Californians. The Community College League of California reiterates its unyielding commitment to fostering and supporting a safe and welcoming environment for all students, regardless of immigration status. At the core of our values is the ideal that educational opportunity should be afforded to all, regardless of race, ethnicity, language, culture, national origin, socio- economic class, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religious beliefs, national status, or economic status. This commitment is manifested in California state laws and regulations promulgated by the State Legislature and Board of Governors.

California Community Colleges were founded with the goal of fostering excellence and guaranteeing educational access and opportunity for all. The vitality and success of our state and nation depends on having a well-educated and civically-engaged citizenry.

The League urges Congress to build upon the success of DACA by preserving the program and working to implement a long-term solution that will continue to permit Californians to achieve their educational dreams.

The California Community Colleges take great pride in being the pathway to opportunity for Californians of all backgrounds. We remain steadfast in our commitment to these objectives and will fight with Dreamers to protect quality public community colleges for all Californians."

Resource for college leaders and students, Know Your Rights:


The Community College League of California is a nonprofit public benefit corporation with a voluntary membership of the 72 local community college districts in California. The League promotes student access and success by strengthening colleges through leadership development, advocacy, policy development, and district services.

Please join me at Cabrillo College in Aptos for:

Poetry Workshop 12B/14B
Tuesdays 6-9 pm
August 29-December 12, 2017
Room 315

In this poetry writing workshop new and experienced poets will engage creative and critical discussion of new poems written over the course of our semester. We will study and critically discuss the work of published poets. Students write, revise, and edit short and long poems, create a portfolio of workshopped poems, and share poems in a final shared reading of our work. This course will help poets of all levels of experience to create (or reengage) and sustain a daily writing practice and to revise and deepen work in progress. Together we will generate and share new and revised poems every week. This course provides space to create poetry community and to explore the dynamism and necessity of poetry in our contemporary moment.

Prerequisite: ENGL 1A/1AH/1AMC/1AMCH. Recommended Preparation ENGL 1B/1BH/1BMC.

Transfer Credit: CSU; UC, WITH LIMITS: ENGL 12ABCEF maximum credit-6 units per college.

Instructor bio:

Cheryl Chaffin has published essays, poems, and book reviews. Her work has appeared in The Sun, Poesy, Porter Gulch Review, Literary Mama, InPrint, Mothers and Daughters, and Penumbra. Her poetry has been featured online with Muse-Pie Press. Cheryl has an MFA in Writing from Goddard College and a Ph.D. in Humanities from Union Institute and University. She is a professor of English composition, literature, and creative writing at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. In 2014 she travelled to Poland on fellowship with Auschwitz Jewish Center Fellows. Her auto/biography manuscript entitled, After Poland: A Memoir Because of Primo Levi, is currently in peer review with University of Illinois Press.

Required books: (all prices Cabrillo Bookstore)

The Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
Buy: New - 14.00 Used - 10.50
Rent: New - 9.50 Used - 6.60

How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry by Edward Hirsch
Buy: New - 15.95 Used - 11.95
Rent: New - 10.85 Used - 7.50

Ordinary Genius by Kim Addonizio
Buy: New - 16.95 Used - 12.70
Rent: New - 11.55 Used - 7.95

For questions, please contact Cheryl at 831.479.6350 or

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Hello Friends,

I just signed the petition, "Join me in standing with one of the last doctors in Aleppo: call world leaders to act now to #SaveAleppo.."

I think this is important. Will you sign it too?

Here's the link:



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Hey --

Last week, Representative John Lewis led a historic sit-in on the House floor, just days after Sen. Chris Murphy held a filibuster on the Senate floor.

Our leaders are finally listening. And when our leaders stand up for gun sense, we've got to let them know that the American people have their backs.

I just sent these gun sense champions a thank you for their leadership. Please consider sending a message, too:


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Ask for sane gun laws now.

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Porter Gulch Review 2016 is online! I have a poem "On the Way to Treblinka" published in the journal (page 94) and feel honored to be published with many artists, writers, and poets of the Santa Cruz County community (not to mention many of my amazing Cabrillo College colleagues).
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