Rochelle Brener Weis
(February 27, 1945 - March 19, 2008)
From, AZ - March 29, 2008

2007 Arizona Senior Poet Laureate

Rochelle Brener Weis, celebrated poet and writer, Senior Poet Laureate of Arizona, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, March 19, at home in Sedona/Village of Oak Creek. She was 63 and a valiant warrior against her long illness, miraculously outliving more than one prediction.

Rochelle moved to Sedona almost six years ago from Albany, New York, where she was founder and director of the Mandala Center for Creative Wellness. In 2004, she fulfilled a life dream opening Write here, a sanctuary for writers, in a room in Sedona Books and Music, Basha’s Plaza in West Sedona. Write here offered writing workshops by noted poets and writers like Christopher Lane, Greg Lilly, Lynn Ruth Miller, Marge Hahn, Jill Williams and many others, as well as her own. The writing sanctuary was home for NORAZ poets, when that young cultural service organization sponsored exciting poetry slams at Canyon Moon Theatre.

Rochelle won the Writer’s Digest International Award for the best volume of self-published poems under her professional name, Rochelle Brener, in 2004. That book, Snap Shots: Photo Op Poems from an Everyday Life and other volumes of her poetry, Calling the Night Away and The Magnitude of Red, are available at Sedona’s Well Red Coyote. She was named “Woman of the Year” by the American Biographical Institute, a publisher of Who’s Who books, in 2004. The highest honor, Senior Poet Laureate of Arizona, 2007, was awarded by the Amy Kitchener Angels without Wings Foundation.

She authored frequent book reviews and articles for Kudos, the area arts and entertainment magazine, based upon interviews with artists, poets, writers, musicians, etc. She is beloved by many in the greater Sedona community. Her publishing company, Crystal Wings, published volumes of poetry by young and emerging creative talents, including Kira Bonner, David Ward and Karen Squire. She is editor and publisher of Women Dancing Free, voices of women poets escaping oppressive situations. She was southwest representative of the International Women’s Writing Guild.

Rochelle was an artist and mask maker, a member of the Sedona Visual Artists Coalition and contributed art work to several recent SVAC exhibitions. She has given poetry readings as part of “Sirens of Sedona,” SVAC events, Poets Corner First Fridays at the Sedona Arts Center and the Earth Day celebration at Sacred Earth Images/Michael Fatali Gallery. She was a regular and revered participant in the Wednesday night NORAZ Poetry Salon at the Well Red Coyote. She was also a Friend of the Sedona Public Library and a member of Sedona Arts Center and a supporting member of Canyon Moon Theatre. Earlier in her life she had spent thirty years designing costumes for community theatre productions.

Rochelle was a perpetual student. Her degrees include a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Vermont College/Norwich University and Doctor of C.O.R.E. Education from the Institute of Transformational Studies, Gloucester, MA. She holds the B.A. degree in philosophy from Russell Sage College. She was a certified expressive arts therapist and a Minister of the Universal Life Church. She also held certifications in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Hypnotherapy and was a Reiki Master.

She was born in Syracuse, NY, only child of Eugene Seymour Brener and Evelyn Grossman Brener. She is survived by her devoted husband, Carl Weis, of 365 Verde Valley School Rd., Sedona/VOC, her son Barry Evan Squire-Jones of Sunshine, FL, and her daughter, Karen Lee Squire of Sedona/VOC. A granddaughter, Samantha Squire, resides in Albany, NY. Other close family includes Greg Weis, of Gage, CA; Carl Cervini, of Sedona/VOC, close friend of Karen; Catherine Squire, mother of Samantha; a sister-in-law, Karen Weis of Brewster, MA; Rosalyn Squire, of Philadelphia, PA, a sister-in law by previous marriage; John Squire-Jones, partner of her son and Hannah Weis, granddaughter-in-law, of Huntington, MD.

A Celebration of Rochelle's life will be held on April 28 at 7:00 p.m. at Canyon Moon Theatre, Village of Oak Creek Mall, Highway 179, Sedona, AZ. Donations may be made to or to International Women's Writing Guild.