Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Deborah P Kolodji and William Scott Galasso Present Haiku Anthology on February 25, 2018

Lilac in Descanso Gardens

The Village Poets  are pleased to invite poets and poetry lovers to their next Monthly Reading to be held on Sunday, February 25, 2018  at 4:30 p.m., at the Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042. The reading will feature Deborah P Kolodji and William Scott Galasso, the co-editors of the 2017 edition of the Southern California Haiku Study Group anthology, entitled Eclipse Moon.  

The reading will include also two open mike segments and refreshments, with finger food and sandwiches provided by Lydia Grant. At the reading, $3 donations collected for the cost of the venue, the second historical landmark in the City of Los Angeles, that celebrated its centennial in 2013.  The Museum is managed by the Little Landers Historical Society.

Deborah P Kolodji and William Scott Galasso read from Eclipse Moon in Pasadena
November 2017

The Southern California Haiku Study Group was founded 20 years ago by Jerry Ball, and has met on the 3rd Saturday of the month, at 2 pm, ever since.  It currently meets at the Hill Avenue Branch Library in Pasadena, 55 S. Hill Avenue, Pasadena.  Each year, the group publishes an anthology of Southern California Haiku voices.  The most recent anthology, Eclipse Moon, was edited by William Scott Galasso with Deborah P Kolodji.  It was named after a haiku by Diana Ming Jeong:

  eclipse moon
  an abyss forged
  over time

     - Diana Ming Jeong


Deborah P Kolodji is the California regional coordinator for the Haiku Society of America and moderator of the Southern California Haiku Study Group. The former president of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, Kolodji is also is a member of the Haiku Poets of Northern California , the Yuki Teikei Haiku SocietyHaiku Canada, and the California State Poetry Society. Author of four chapbooks of poetry, her first full-length book of haiku and senryu is Highway of Sleeping Towns, from Shabda Press. Debbie has published more than 900 haiku in publications such as Frogpond, Modern Haiku, the Heron’s Nest, Bottle Rockets, A Hundred Gourds, Acorn, Rattle, and Mayfly.  Debbie co-organized the 2013 Haiku North America conference about the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, and joined Haiku North America as a director in 2016.


William Scott Galasso is the author of fourteen books of poetry, including Silver Salmon Runes published 2016 on Createspace. Eclipse Moon, in which he appears as contributing editor, and that came out in November 2017,  Mixed Bag, a new collection fof Haibun, Haiku Sequences, Tanka and Short Poems is due for publication in March.

one breath
the difference between
I am and I was

Friday, January 12, 2018

Susan Dobay's Book, Her Art and Her Poets - January 28, 2018

To start the year 2018 Village Poets present the book "An Incessant Search for the Essence of All Art" by Hungarian American artist Susan Dobay, including slides of the paintings and digital art, as well as poems from the book ready by California poets, including Peggy Castro, Pauli Dutton, Lois P. Jones, Joan Stern, Maja Trochimczyk, Kath Abela Wilson and a guest from Japan, Mariko Kitakubo.

The event will place at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga (10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, CA 91042) on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 4:30 p.m.  The reading will also include Open Mike segments (preferred poems about Dobay's work) and refreshments. The George Harris Hat will be passed around to collect suggested donations of $3 per person for refreshments and to make a donation for the upkeep of the Bolton Hall Museum, Los Angeles Historical Landmark built in 1913.


Hungarian by birth, Susan Dobay resides in California. After studying graphic arts both in Hungary and the U.S, she served as an illustrator for advertising agencies, magazines, and newspapers.  Wanting to explore more creative options, Susan Dobay moved from commercial to fine art, and in 1968 she was invited to join and exhibit with the Alliance of Hungarian Artists both in the United States and abroad.
In Los Angeles Dobay helped found the Arany Janos Hungarian Literary and Cultural Circle. Dobay’s art is represented in collections in London, Switzerland, Hungary,  Transylvania, Canada, New York and Los Angeles.

“Although I derive inspiration from various sources –e.g., music, nature, the human condition -I try to find the balance between mind and spirit. My goal is to involve viewers in a creative game where both the mind and the heart are stimulated.”

Hungarian Painters and Graphic Artists 1988
California Art Review 1989
Contemporary Hungarian Lexicon 1999
International Women Artists 1997
Who's Who in America
Who’s Who in the World

Deri Museum, Debrecen, Hungary
San Diego Museum, California
Hungarian National Museum, Budapest
Szepmuveszeti Museum, Budapest
Vasarely Museum, Budapest
M.H. de Young Memorial Museum. San Francisco, CA
The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington D.C.
Long Beach Museum of Art, CA

2015 Museum Gallery  Science Center, Debrecen, Hungary
2014 DVD presentation Hungarian House Los Angeles
2014 DVD presentation Bolton Hall Museum CA
2014 DVD presentation Altadena Public Library
2014  Shumei Hall Art Gallery, Pasadena, CA
2013 Interview of Susan Dobay Krickorian Movie Theatre
2011  Shumei Hall Art Gallery, Pasadena, CA
2010  Art Center of Ferencvaros , Budapest, Hungary
2010  Scenic Drive Gallery, Monrovia, California
2009  Scenic Drive Gallery, Monrovia, California
2007  Tibor Erno Galeria, Nagyvarad, Transylvania
2006  Szatmarnemet Museum, Transylvania
2006  Museum of Mateszalka,  Hungary
2006  2B Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
2006  Wall Art Gallery   Fermandia Beach, Florida
2005  2B Gallery Budapest, Hungary
2004  Zemplen Galeria, Satoraljaujhely, Hungary
2003  Gateway Plaza, Pasadena, CA
2002  Sumitomo Building, Los Angeles
2002  Glendale City Center, Glendale, CA
2001  Lurdy House Gallery, Budapest
2001  Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, CA
2001  Pincetarlat Gallery Budapest
1999  Deri Museum, Debrecen Hungary
1996  Invitational guest artist at the Millecentenarium of Hungary. The exhibit travels to: Budapest, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Israel, Japan and the USA.
1995  Three Palms Gallery at Sterling Vineyards, CA
1995  Featured Artist Allied Arts Association, Richland, Washington
1994   Featured Artist, Joslyn Arts Center, Torance, CA
1993 Vasarely Museum, Budapest
1993 Vroman’s Gallery, Pasadena
1992 Jozsef Varos Gallery, Budapest
1990 Fine Art Publisher’s Building, Budapest
1989 Style Connection Gallery, Encino, CA
1983 Teeblat Gallery, Freiberg, Germany
1983 Arcadia Public Library, Arcadia, CA
1981 Collector Showcase Gallery, Los Angeles,
1980 Pocket Stage Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1979 Ma Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1978 Dorog Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1977 Open Studio, Monrovia, CA
1974 Qraz Gallery , Seattle, Washington
1973 KFAC Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1972 Au Petit Jean, Beverly Hills, CA
1968      Bognar Gallery, Los Angeles

Madame Butterfly (based on Puccini Opera) by Susan Dobay

2010      The Pico House Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
2010       Art Center of Thousand Oaks, CA
2006 Museum of the American Hungarian Foundation, New Brunswick, NJ
2004 2B Galeria, Budapest
2001 Sushi Performance and Visual Art, San Diego
2000 Galleria Adonis Woodridge, Ontario, Canada
1999 Priory Gallery Swiss Cottage, London, England
1998 Museum of Arts Downtown Los Angeles, CA
1996 Art Exhibition Galleries Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, CA
1996 Galerie 101 Corte Madre, CA
1996 Zantman Galleries, Palm Desert, CA
1993 Luthar Gallery, Budapest
1994 Invitational guest artist at the Milicentenarium  of Hungary. Exhibit travels to :Belgium, Germany, Austria, Israel, Japan and USA.
1995 Kortars Gallery, Budapest and Debrecen, Hungary
1991 Orlando Gallery, Shermen Oaks, CA
 1991       Var Gallery, Budapest
1984 U.N. Woman Conference, Nairobi, Kenya
1985        Mc Houston Gallery, Pasadena CA
1982 Mucsarnok Museum, Budapest
1979 LA Artists Equity, Los Angeles CA
1979        New York Artists Equity, NY
1975        California Museum of Science and Industry, Los Angeles
1972 Olympic Art’s Festival, Munich, Germany
1967 California Museum of Science and Industry, Los Angeles

Susan Dobay with Maja Trochimczyk surrounded by her artwork, 2009.

“ Her work offers a rich cross section of our century’s spiritual and stylistic movement. Her work is part of that artistic movement which express in a contemporary manner the sensitivity, the mentality, and cultural needs of modern man facing the turn of the millennium.”
“ She has the courage to use the visual tools and forms to say many things in many different ways.”
~ Gabor O. Pogany, Art Historian ( Director of the Hungarian National Gallery)

"She is primarily interested in clashing emotions, in opposites. While living in and surrounded  by a society of material worship, her studio in Southern California stands as a shelter for an idealistic revolution where Dobay ventures into exploring the duality of existence: matter and soul."
~ Anna J. Winslow, Author

“The monumental yet sensitively refined forms give a unique floating sensation to the work, which reflects simultaneously the  link between artistic tradition and individual trademark of the artist.”
~ Andras Bohar, Art Critic, (Art Today Magazine)

"A Cervantes with a brush”
~ Bernardo Blanco Gonzales, Ph. D., Author

“Dobay’s love, emotion, and philosophy have exploded on canvas: Dobay’s creation had to be born.”
~ Akos Thiery, Ph. D. ,Art Historian

“Dobay’s creations have impact not only on the mind, but their unusual concepts and color compositions shake up the emotions too.”
~ L. Babonici, Ph.D., Art Historian

"Dobay projects her thoughts with a newly modern, assuredly contemporary flair"
~ Lilla Szabo, Ph.D. Art historian, Hungarian National Gallery


  “In her book An Incessant Search for the Essence of All Art, Susan Dobay hopes to reach more artists, inspiring them to develop conscious artistry, and their own philosophy of art. She delves into the major questions of creative energy and creativity as a force and a significant element of our society, making this essential reading for both artists and those interested in contemporary art. “
 ’’It was with great pleasure that I explored your book.  I always find it extremely interesting when a visual artist expresses him or herself verbally. It is preciscely why,  because of the personal resonance of  the book, I don’t want to, and it is not possible to, critique the content or the images. I simply  enjoyed the way the personal message and visual artistry unfolded page by page. Congratulations! "
~ Deme Edina, Múzeumpedagógia, főosztályvezető Szepmuveszeti Muzeum,  – Hungarian National Gallery 
’’I like your book very much : It is versitale, honest, multicolored . It captured me with its magical within and without beauty, the natural and at the same time poetical context. I received true answers to those questions that you are in  engaged. Furthermore  your  sad and happy passages of life in conection with the already known creations got into a new dimension. Through your book I got to know  the life of a true artist and a true human being.’’ Adrienne Darvay Nagy, theatre expert, writer, historian.
’’Your book is fascinating. I feel you are speaking for all creative people, for all artists, specially those who wished someone would express how they felt expressing themselves ’’
~ Fereidun Shokatfard, visual artist, poet.

 “ I have spent the day reading your beautiful BOOK!!  I loved every minute of it! All the color that feeds my soul and the brilliant, genius mind that brings out the questions that life asks us.. that some will never discover. Real, and authentic and “in your place” where an artist fulfills a purpose to move goodness into others... You have blessed my life, my journey...paths cross like painting lines from the Master’s hand.”
~ Rachel Walker, song writer and singer

Susan Dobay with Mira Mataric, Maja Trochimczyk, Kathabela and Rick Wilson.

 “ This book is not strictly autobiographical, although Dobay shares some of the major events that have influenced her life and art. But she manages to make the personal-universal, such as her growing up in war-torn Hungary during WWII, which lead readers to think about how today’s young children are managing to grow up in the middle of war. The events Dobay shares add interest and depth as she searches for the meaning of art and shares the thoughts of the intellectuals who have influenced her. Susan Dobays book is enhanced by her paintings and compositional art, which like herself, has many Layers. “
Penelope Torribio, Author 

“ I am in awe of what you have been able to become: artist par excellence, speaker and mentor. You are truly an inspiration to the young people.”
~ Georgette McMorris, Ph.D

"I am so happy that your book has been published. Whoever is fortunate enough to receive a copy can learn much from it.”
~ Robert Horvath, photographer

Susan Dobay with Poets on Site. Pauli Dutton in pink.

"This gorgeous collection of art, memories, and sage words both delights and inspires. We might all wish to be more like Susan who has persistently followed her own path of passion, intuition, and ideals.   Here is a book, an art, and a life, we can all admire.”
~ Pauli Dutton,  poet,  former Director of Altadena Public library

“ We are deeply touched by your lifelong dedication to the exploration of the human condition through your art. Spiritual, musical  and historical insights alternate with whimsical images that captivate the viewer. Talent and imagination and insight created a gift to us all. Thank you Ms. Dobay”
~ Laszlo J. Cser, professor emeritus, Los Angeles City College , Maria E. Cser, music educator, performer

"It’s such a treat to read through your book. I think it’s a wonderful representation of who you are. I know I have only known you a short while during your  long, creative life, but the combination of your art, your philosophical thoughts on life’s myriad joys and struggles, and the poems of those who had   the privilege of encountering you and your paintings shows an entire crop of bountiful relationships from which more creative lives and more creative art will   come. I especially enjoy reading and watching how different poets respond to your art in different ways, which are also different from my own. It’s a great way to keep learning about life, art, and the world.   Thank you for sharing your book, your gallery, and your life with me! ”
~ Just Kibbe, visual artist, poet

Susan Dobay and Kathabela Wilson

“It is a great gift to all of us that you have worked to create your magnificent artwork and to express the mystery of passionate and natural creativity in this book. You have worked strongly with a sensitive heart to the beauty and difficulties of life with the positive power of the artist to express and even transform the world. Part of your process has been to embrace our community of Poets on Site as "kindred spirits" and to nourish their artistic strength by hosting them in your home and in this book. The Poets on Site  have been attracted by the unique colorful world you have created artistically in your "incessant search" for meaning.  You have expanded and included all of us who know you in person and all who  this book like a door into understanding  themselves and art itself. By making your book you have gone one step further, in giving a key to the door of an artistic life. It is a miniature of the large world you have created. And our poems are honored as part of that world. An artist works alone but in concert with all the artistic strength and questioning of human history. You open your door to this by creating art and sharing it in this special way. “
 ~ Kath Abela Wilson, poet, artist, creator and leader of Poets on Site

The Kiss 


(Inspired by the art of Susan Dobay)

By Joe DeCenzo

Thoughts cling to me like ivy to a trellis
Climbing to your bedroom window.
Foolhardy were ideas that any garden could be
More vivid or aromatic than the fervent one you tend.

Away from you, the flowers of deception touch the sky.
Morality grows more crooked than the thorny hedge;
The frail breath of loyalty, a snare for the naïve;
The promise of success as empty as pauper’s bowl.

The morning grass is bathed in dew.
The unfolding petals bear their naked innocence
To the sunlit sky that warms the sandy path
To what was always known as home.

To walk back to blooming fields
Where beauty exceeds imaginings,
To cast away the shadows
That invade the daylight hours,
To know the shelter of your arms 
And blankets of your kiss
Is to fulfill the only goal in life
That merits any search.

Cheerful is the sparrow upon your branch
Who builds his nest.
Rescued is the man who discards ambition
For those two lips.

Joe DeCenzo
January 2018

City Whispers by Susan Dobay


~ after a painting “City Whispers” by Susan Dobay

First to wake: the maple tree. 
Up and up, sprouting from a seedling. 
With a crown of burnished gold, white 
diamond crystals for winter – 
It slept through blizzards to flourish 
dressed in pinks and celadons. 

Second awake: the girl.
Watching the trees from her bed
Or her wheelchair. She cannot go far
Into the streets, filled with noise.
Protected by smooth glass panes
She sees the buds on each twig 
Fill out until they burst
Into carmine, wrinkled bows
Small and shiny, maturing 
As they change into the green. 

The third: a robin calling out 
To his friends, dispelling darkness 
With his shrill fluted motives. 
The spring is woven from his calls,
Warmed up in red feathers on his chest.
He came late to scratch the ground 
For a worm to peck, a beetle.
The looping birdsong measures 
The coming of days. It floats up and up, 
Above the rooftops.

The girl touches her curly blond hair
Growing longer, straighter 
As the nurse braids it each morning. 
The life, the light, she wishes
For this power to come in.
Make her walk, yes, make her walk.
She stretches up and up. 
Outside, city whispers.

(c) 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk

The Sunflowers by Susan Dobay


By Pamela Shea

Sunflower angels
Stand sturdy, subtle, humble
Sublimely smiling
Halos rippling in the sky
Roots grounded in soil
Perky and unpretentious
Savoring sunlit breezes
They dance upon the landscape
Uniting heaven and earth

Still Life With Coffee

by Pamela Shea

Soft awakening
Early morning connections
Written words inspire
Coffee aroma rises
Feelings intertwine
In lovely lacy patterns
Then unraveled on paper
Words strung on unending chains
Attachments in solitude

Still Life with Coffee

Crossing the Threshold

(Inspired by Susan Dobay’s painting, Still Life with Coffee)

by Dorothy Skiles

Lovely painting in blues,
reds, yellows, greens.
All inviting me in!
In an instant, my reality
expands beyond picture
frame and wall.
I swiftly cross the threshold…

Quiet is the morning
just after sunrise.
A cup of dark roast coffee
awaits at the table
covered in fine lace.  
I take my place, opening
the journal to pages filled
with private thoughts,
poems and scribbles.
Watch on chain keeps time.
I must hurry back, lots to do!

How much time do I have?
To drink another cup?
To write another poem?
To see another sunrise?

Dorothy Skiles
January 28, 2018
©Copyright by D. Skiles 2018

Searching by Susan Dobay



January 25, 2018


I would like to express my gratitude to Maja Trochimczyk , who is enriching All Art with her talent and knowledge. I am grateful for her friendship and for the beautiful poem “Awakenings” that is enriching my book An Incessant Search for the Essence of All Art.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Sequoia Reading - Thanksgiving with John Brantingham and Friends, November 26, 2017

We are so looking forward to this reading, celebrating nature and trees. We have lots to be thankful for in California, in terms of nature and trees....The Village Poets Monthly Reading for November, the last this year, will be held on Sunday, November 26, 2017, at 4:30 p.m., at Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042. 

The reading will include JOHN BRANTINGHAM and his students , CYNTHIA ANDERSON, CINDY RINNE , and SHAYMAA as featured poets (45 min. for the group) and two open mike segments. Refreshments are served and $3 donations collected for the cost of the venue, the second historical landmark in the City of Los Angeles, that celebrated its centennial in 2013.  The Museum is managed by the Little Landers Historical Society.


John Brantingham
John Brantingham teaches creative writing at Mt. San Antonio College, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, and the Center for the Arts. He is the author of Dual Impressions: Poetic Conversations about Art, an ekphrastic collection. He also published the following books and chapbooks: East of Los Angeles,  Putting in a Window,  The Mediterranean Garden,  Heroes for Today,  Mann of War,  Let Us All Pray Now to Our Own Strange Gods,  The Gift of Form,  The Green of Sunset,  In the Land of Bears, and  Study Abroad. 

Brantingham also co-authored How to Write, a textbook, and wrote The Gift of Form: A Pocket Guide to Formal Poetry. His blog "30 Days until Done" contains different instructions every month: "This month we are writing poems about joy," or "This month, we write poetic letters..." Visit: of his poems were featured by Garrison Keillor on the Writer's Almanac and you can find his books on


Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she is the author of seven poetry collections, the most recent being Waking Life (Cholla Needles Press, 2017). She co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens.


Cindy Rinne creates art and writes in San Bernardino, CA. She brings myth to life in contemporary context. Cindy is the author of Moon of Many Petals (forthcoming, Cholla Needles Press), Listen to the Codex (Yak Press), Breathe In Daisy, Breathe Out Stones (FutureCycle Press), Quiet Lantern (Turning Point), spider with wings (Jamii Publishing), and she co-authored Speaking Through Sediment with Michael Cooper (ELJ Publications). Cindy is a founding member of PoetrIE, an Inland Empire based literary community and a finalist for the 2016 Hillary Gravendyk Prize poetry book competition. Her poems appeared or are forthcoming in: Birds Piled Loosely, CircleShow, Home Planet News, Outlook Springs, The Wild Word (Berlin), Storyscape Journal, Cholla Needles, and others.


Shaymaa is a writer currently living on the lam. She graduated from UC Berkeley with double bachelor's degrees in English and Gender & Minority studies. Her education inspired her to turn her sights onto social justice through policy and non-profit work, and she is pursuing her Master's in public administration and peace studies. She has been published in the Chiron Review, the Cal Literary Arts Magazine, Field Guide, and the East Jasmine Review, among others. She has also won numerous writing contests and scholarships, including multiple prizes in the Writer's Day Contest. She attends various poetry events, including open mics, the Southern California Literary Festival, and Drawing Inspiration from the Parks and finds them to be nourishing to her as a writer, an artist and a human being. She is proud of the fun fact that Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Hass read her poetry on a few occasions and said it, along with her life story, was fascinating and worthy of publication. She spends her free time traveling the world, in ill-lit forests and engaging in occult things like tarot, astrology, and cooking from memory.

Two poems by SHAYMAA


A shock of blue, the scrub jay
takes us down the trail to a
tree with pockmarked bark.
Each hole is an acorn home.
They glint like a child's hoard.

The hillside is a dark enigma,
the torrential river below
hushing its tell. Tree green
and shadow black cavort,
drawing passerby inquiry.

The fire licks at the darkness,
and rain whispers into the air. No
one sees the grey cinders burn
white hot as a raindrop here and
there soothe the fire to a smolder.

A shimmer of blue-grey and
the day is gone. Settling to sleep,
the breathing nearby is delicious
temptation. No one has a name,
a history. When in a dark room,
the known and the secret look the same.

Wild Life

The clouds are a stained glass ceiling,
a skylight. The trees everywhere are
fingers, dirty hair, broccoli for kings.

Pay attention. Inhale the surroundings
from the mountain top. How do people
enjoy nature when hiking?

Being slow, I notice a salamander
with steps like babies, like vulnerability.
I notice the tick who hungers for my blood,
the wind in a quiet circumnambulation
of the Great Spirit.

The hills are a Gothic landscape, painted
by an auteur with only emerald, black,
and blue. The fog is a slowly reaching hand,
creeping toward trails that are moody footsteps.
I lead everyone, then fall behind, first finding the
trail, then letting it find me.

Getting lost here, starting a fire,
the darkness of everyone's faces,
subtle bundling, a sort of sudden
comfort from being in the same place
with strangers who smile and tell stories and
eat banana bread cookies without
seeing them in the dark.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Note: Photos of sequoias from John Brantingham, photos of sycamore, oak and maple leaves, and pomegranates by Maja Trochimczyk

Friday, September 29, 2017

Village Poets Present Mary Torregrossa and Sharon Alexander on October 22, 2017

How time flies - it is the fall already! Leaves are turning red and yellow, at least those plastic ones on decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving in the One Dollar store... Time for travel, time for time-travel, time for adventure of imagination. On Sunday, October 22, 2017 at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, Village Poets will present poets Mary Torregrossa and Sharon Alexander. The reading will start at 4:30 p.m. at  10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, CA 91042, and will include two segments of open mike for guest poets (the average of two poems per person). Refreshments will be served during the intermission.  The George Harris Hat will be passed around for $3.00 suggested donation per person to cover the cost of the venue and refreshments. A group photo of featured poets and guests will be taken at the end, to commemorate the literary gathering.


Mary Torregrossa’s poems appear in “Bearing The Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems”, in “Wide Awake:Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond,” and “Voices From Leimert Park Redux,”, poets of the World Stage in Los Angeles. Her chapbook, “My Zocalo Heart,” a collection of portrait and persona poems is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Mary explains, “I am a story-listener. It comes as part of my job as an Adult School ESL teacher in the Los Angeles area. I have to "listen twice” - as the Quakers say. So in my subsequent story-telling I have created a gallery of portrait poems along with a tapestry of longer narrative poems."

Mary's poems are rich in detail like gems kept in a music box.


~ for Jenny Butler

Banished to the cloakroom
for talking in class.
“Be still’” I was told,
as my eyes became adjusted
to the dimness of long 
and narrow room,
coats hung in happenstance
on shiny black hooks
with fat rounded tips
curving upwards in prayer.

The door closed
on the silence within.
Sitting on a low step stool,
hot cheeks in bony hands,
my elbows made dimples
in my knees.

The gray light of the afternoon
floated in from thick panes 
of a window behind me.
And yet it did not light
the farthest corner of the room
where a tall, metal cabinet
held paper, pencils and
heavy textbooks neatly stacked,
I knew, behind locked doors.

I turned away from the
shadows lurking there
and stood on tiptoe
looking out on bare branches
and the winter sky 
that promised snow.

My chin perched 
on crossed arms
I gazed toward the red
brick tower and its ledges
of stone, where the big
bells rang every Sunday – 
where brave starling lit
to look about – 

and I see the city
spread far and wide – 
avast hilly landscape
of two-story houses and
chimneys and evergreens
set among the bristling silhouettes
of gray barren trees.

My talons scratch against
the granite ledge,
my body lifts, drifting
through the sky, the soft sound
of wings pumping,
rushing now towards
thecold horizon
and the rocky shore
of silver green waters below.

(C) by Mary Torregrossa


Born and raised in New York, Sharon Alexander now lives in Southern California. She divides her time between her cabin at 6000 feet in the mountain town of Idyllwild and in La Quinta at the foot of the beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains.

Her prize-winning book, INSTRUCTIONS IN MY ABSENCE, won the 5th Biennial Chapbook Contest from Palettes & Quills, released May 2017.

VOODOO TROMBONE, Sharon's previous chapbook, was published by Finishing Line Press, 2014. 

You can find her poems in numerous journals including Caliban On-line; Naugatuck River Review; Pinyon; Redheaded Stepchild; Santa Ana River Review; Slipstream; and Subprimal Poetry Art.

Her poetry also appears in several anthologies including Beyond the Lyric Moment (Tebot Bach, 2014); Poeming Pigeons (The Poetry Box, 2015); Spectrum: 140 SoCal Poets (Don Kingfisher Campbell, 2015) and Woman in Metaphor (NHH Press, 2013).

Link to the Instructions in My Absence book:


The night my father dies, I search for him
in the painting over his bed. 
Crows clutter the sky,
wings rattle my windows — the horizon crooked as a broken bone.

Lost in the wheat fields, I find Van Gogh
painting the countryside yellow and blue, he sings 
aloud to drown the ringing in his ears.

Blackbirds bow in silence, 
clacking crows hold their tongues. Van Gogh daubs the heavens
thick and thicker to obscure the uproar of red

poppies crowding him while the wheeling sky shouts to be heard.
Somewhere my father hears dust storms blow across the moon—
sunflowers choke the sky.

(c) by Sharon Alexander


Ambika Talwar with Cece Peri.

Cece Peri reads. 

Ambika Talwar reads.

Ambika Talwar

Village Poets with guests. Seated L to R: Pam Shea, Cece Peri, Ambika Talwar, Alice Pero, guest, Dorothy Skiles. Standing L to R: Marlene Hitt, Guest, Bo Kyung Kim, Mary Torregrossa, Joe DeCenzo, Beverly Collins, Peter Larsen, Susan Rogers, Lois P Jones, Maja Trochimczyk, Sharon Hawley.

Village Poets, L to R: Maja Trochimczyk, Dorothy Skiles, 
Pamela Shea, Marlene Hitt and Joe DeCenzo.

Cece Peri, Ambika Talwar with Kathabela and Rick Wilson and friends. 

Beverly Collins, Joe DeCenzo and Peter Larsen listen to featured poets. 

Cece Peri and Spiritual Quartet: Ambika Talwar, Lois P. Jones, 
Maja Trochimczyk and Susan Rogers.

The Spiritual Quartet with peacock feathers.