On February 27, 2011, when the eyes of the world were turned to the parade of sparkly designer dresses on the red carpet of the Oscars, poets gathered at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga to hear Mari Werner and to share their work. In fact, so many poets gathered, that the time allotted to one reader shrunk over the course of the afternoon from three poems and/or five minutes, whichever is shorter, to two poems and or three minutes, to one poem and one minute. The job of the MC, Maja Trochimczyk, was certainly challenging.
Our featured poet, the wonderful and witty Mari Werner, "makes her living" - as she says - "as a writer of technical materials, but lately makes her life as a writer of poetry and humor. She grew up in Santa Barbara, California, came to the Los Angeles area in the mid-70s, and now lives in Altadena. her work has been published in a number of local publications including the Los Angeles Daily News, The Latest, and the Valley Star."
Mari Werner amused, educated, and inspired her audience with the following poems and prose pieces: Fire and Friendship, Confessions of a Tree Hugger, For My Father, Warmth, Two Eyes Looking, Scarcity, Miranda for Civilization, Keep on Singing, Night Falling, Fighting, Napping, Squirrel haiku, Moorpark Park, Cops and Seat Belts, Finding the Holy Grail, Penguin Power, and Consciousness.
We previously quoted here Mari's lyrical piece about the Crescent Moon. Here are two humorous poems:
Just two operating speeds
Overdrive and stop
On the corner of Laurel Canyon Boulevard
and Moorpark Street is a park
called Moorpark Park.
It doesn't have a parking lot.
but if it did, it would be called
Moorpark Park Parking Lot.
Before and after Mari's poetry, we heard a variety of poetic voices, from local poets and guests, some of whom came from very far away. Sharon Chmielarz from Minneapolis, visiting California on a tour of readings, definitely was the one to get the "long distance" prize. We arranged her visit having been forewarned of her arrival. She is one of the poets published in the anthology "Chopin with Cherries" (edited by Maja Trochimczyk). Sharon read "Burning" from her new book Calling. See her website, www.sharonchmielarz.com for more information. Her friend, Mary Kay Rummel of Ventura read a poem named after and based on one of Stephen Linsteadt's paintings: "Feminine Restitution."
We also had guests from Ventura, Santa Barbara, Monrovia, Pasadena, and Palm Springs. Kathabela Wilson, the leader of Poets on Site, sketched them in her notebook! She also organized a wonderful birthday celebration of a Palm Springs painter and poet, Stephen Lindsteadt, by asking "open mike" poets to read their work they contributed to her upcoming anthology of ekphrastic poetry dedicated to and inspired by his paintings.
The book, called Art and Alchemy, will be published by Poets on Site and available through online bookstores. Poets Mira Mataric, Kathabela Wilson, Maria Elena Boekemeyer (Stephen's wife and editor of the "Badlands" journal), and Maja Trochimczyk read their work, inspired by different pieces from the Lindsteadt collection. Rick Wilson accompanied some poets on a flute, creating a wonderful mood... For images of Stephen's paintings visit his website: www.stephenlinsteadtstudio.com.
The next feature at the Village Poets reading, scheduled for March 27, at 4:30 p.m., will be the Spiritual Quartet, consisting of Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Taoli-Ambika Talwar, and Maja Trochimczyk.
The Spiritual Quartet, formed in May 2010, consists of four women representing different spiritual traditions, while sharing the focus on positive values of compassion, inspiration, hope, illumination, creativity, and love. More information about the reading and the readers will follow!
On April 17, at 4:30 p.m., Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will present the work of Dr. John Z. Guzlowski, visiting California as a guest of the Modjeska Art and Culture Club, in honor of the "Milosz Year" - celebrating the anniversary of Polish Nobel-Prize winning poet, Czeslaw Milosz, who spent half of his life in Berkeley, California. Dr. Guzlowski's blog about his parents' ordeal in Buchenwald is published as: http://lightning-and-ashes.blogspot.com/. He also maintains a "clearing house" for all matters pertaining to Polish American writing, at: http://writingpolishdiaspora.blogspot.com
One of the "open mike" readers from our February event, Mina Kirby will soon appear at Boston Court Theater in Pasadena, featuring in Pasadena ARTTalk. On Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m., she will present some of her poetry and songs. For more information see: http://www.playhousedistrict.org/arttalk/
Another "open mike" reader, Mira Mataric, previously featured at Village Poets (in November 2010), will co-feature with Taoli-Ambika Talwar at Moonday Poetry in Pacific Palisades. The Moonday series is held at Village Books of Pacific Palisades, www.moondaypoetry.com. Mira and Taoli-Ambika will appear on March 14, 2011, at 7:30 p.m.
In the top picture (L to R): Dorothy Skiles, Rick Dutton, Pauli Dutton, Joe DeCenzo, Rick Wilson, Kathabela Wilson, Mira Mataric, Sharon Chmielarz, Cindy Rinne, Mari Werner, Maria Elena Boekemeyer, Stephen Linsteadt, and Maja Trochimczyk.
In the middle picture (L to R): Rick Dutton, Pauli Dutton, Kathabela and Rick Wilson, Cindy Rinne, Maria Elena Boekemeyer, Stephen Linsteadt, and seated Mira Mataric, Mari Werner, and Maja Trochimczyk.
The sketch from Kathabela's notebook includes faces of open mike readers surrounding Mari Werner wearing a halo!
In the fourth picture (L to R): Taoli-Ambika Talwar, Susan Rogers, Lois P. Jones, and Maja Trochimczyk.