Thursday, July 30, 2015

Westside Women Writers Go Eastside: McGroarty Arts Center, Tujunga, August 23, 2015

Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga will present the poetry by Westside Women Writers at the McGroarty Art Center in Tujunga, on Sunday, August 23, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. The reading will feature five poets (Millicent Borges Accardi, Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Kathi Stafford, Sonya Sabanac, and Maja Trochimczyk) and will include two segments of open mike and refreshments.  The Center is located at  7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga, CA 91042, between McGroarty St. and Plainview Ave. (take Plainview exit off Foothill Blvd.), (818) 352-5285, The regular readings at the Bolton Hall will resume in September. 

Westside Women Writers, L to R. Maja Trochimczyk, Susan Rogers, 
Lois P. Jones, Georgia Jonese Davis, Sonya Sabanac, Madeleine Butcher and 
Millicent Borges Accardi, at the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, 2014.

Westside Women Writers - WWW Writers Group is a small group of women writers working together to support each other with strong attention to craft, to grow as writers and as people in community. Founded by Millicent Borges Accardi in January 2009, WWW includes eight members: Millicent Borges Accardi, Madeleine Butcher, Lois P. Jones, Georgia Jones-Davis, Susan Rogers, Kathi Stafford, Sonya Sabanac, and Maja Trochimczyk. The group's anthology will be published in 2016 by Moonrise Press. 


Millicent Borges Accardi

Millicent Borges Accardi has received fellowships from the NEA, the California Arts Council, the Barbara Deming Foundation, Canto Mundo, along with residencies at Jentel, Yaddo, Vermont Studio, Fundación Valparaíso in Spain, Milkwood in the Czech Republic and Disquiet in Portugal. Her books include Woman on a Shaky Bridge (chapbook), Injuring Eternity and Only More So (forthcoming with Salmon Press, Ireland).  Accardi’s poetry has appeared in over 50 publications, including Nimrod, Tampa Review, New Letters and Wallace Stevens Journal as well as in Boomer Girls (Iowa Press) and Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press) anthologies.  Her theater and book reviews can be found in print and online at The Topanga Messenger. She received degrees in English and writing from California State University Long Beach and holds a Masters in Professional Writing degree from the University of Southern California. She works as a freelance writer (theater reviews, grant writing and instructional design); this type of work leaves her with time to create and travel to poetry residences around the world.  She lives in Topanga and telecommutes as a technical writer and theater reviewer.

Cover art by Charles Accardi

Mourning Doves

Have such soulful
Eyes, their gray suit
Of feathers blurs and sinks
Them into the background
Like a creature in hiding.
They hover below the wild
Bird feeder set up for the finches
And harvest the shells, the thistle
Seed casings and what drops after
The finches and faux robins and phoebes 
Have feasted. The mourning
Doves huddle and nest in the mountains
Of seed shells and dirt and make circles
With their small bird bodies turning
Into the ground digging a place around
Them as if they were under a shrub with only
The black drops of ink from their tail feathers
Visible. In a group, they lie in wait, their dear gray
Eyes gloomy and sullen and innocent and they want
What the world desires, to be fed and comfortable
And consummated and happy.

(c) 2010 by Millicent Borges Accardi


Lois P. Jones by Alexis Francher.

Lois P. Jones has work published or forthcoming in Cultural Weekly and Pirene's Fountain, as well as several anthologies including The Poet’s Quest for God (Eyewear Publishing), Wide Awake:  Poetry of Los Angeles and Beyond (The Pacific Coast Poetry Series) edited by Suzanne Lummis, 30 Days (Tupelo Press) and Good-Bye Mexico (Texas Review Press).  Some publications include Narrative, American Poetry Journal, Tupelo Quarterly, The Warwick Review, Tiferet, Cider Press Review and other journals in the U.S. and abroad. Lois’s poems have won honors under judges Kwame Dawes, Fiona Sampson, Ruth Ellen Kocher and others. New Yorker staff writer, Dana Goodyear selected “Ouija” as Poem of the Year in the 2010 competition sponsored by Web del Sol. She is the winner of the 2012 Tiferet Poetry Prize and the 2012 Liakoura Prize and a multiple Pushcart nominee.  Her poem was long-listed in the 2015 National Poetry Competition organized by The Poetry Society.  Lois is Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal, host of KPFK’s Poets Café (Pacifica Radio), co-host of Moonday Poetry, and an interviewer for American Micro Reviews and Interviews. See:

Cherry Rainbow in Descanso Gardens by Lois P. Jones

Reading “Shadowlands” to a Friend At The Sepulveda Dam 

by Lois P. Jones

            Did my eyes avoid yours, Brother?
            ~ Johannes Bobrowski, German lyric poet and soldier

Mustard grass to our hips – sallow as Gauguin’s
Yellow Christ, it blows its seed, mixing

with the must of mule fat and sage. When the wind
is this strong, I remember the year branches twisted

from their trunks onto my path toward Terezin.
They were everywhere, needling the numbered graves.

I think of how anonymity makes war possible.
Otherwise you couldn’t look your brother in the eye –

become one of Bobrowski’s slavering wolves,
an SS who drove the Jews toward

the wild smell in the woods and the old house
running down to the water. And you know

what’s coming. Listening as if you are a part
of the descent – the river and its copper-

colored trail – the blood wall where nothing
is wet only driven in like nails. It tastes of rust

in our mouths, of shadowlands and a boot
in the snow and even in this dry heat

your cheeks are damp. You know what a home
looks like because you came from a land

of sheepherders and milk cows, where ovens
were meant to keep a back warm in winter

and wagons bore the day’s wheat.
What can we carry away but a chance

to remember how a man is a lantern
lowered into the earth.

Previously published in Tupelo Quarterly


Susan Rogers considers poetry a vehicle for light and a tool for the exchange of positive energy. She is a licensed attorney, photographer and a practitioner of Sukyo Mahikari—a spiritual practice that promotes positive thoughts, words and action.  Susan has featured at Cypress College, The Phoenix House, the Moonday Poetry Reading Series, as well as other venues. Her poetry has been performed at museums and galleries in Southern California and was included as part of the award winning audio tour for the Pacific Asia Museum. Her work can be found in Chopin and Cherries, Meditations on Divine Names, A Blackbird Sings, Woman in Metaphor as well as numerous journals, anthologies and chapbooks including The Best Poems of San Diego 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 editions, Poets on Site booklets, Ribbons, Badlands, Phantom Seed, several Southern California Haiku anthologies and the 2015 Altadena Poetry Review. Her reflections on poetry were published in an essay on the national site Women’s Voices for Change. In 2012, she was a finalist in the Tiferet Poetry Competition. Her poem, “The Origin is One” was performed at the televised 2013 Akigami Ice Festival in Gifu, Japan. She was nominated for a Pushcart prize in 2013. Her work has appeared online in Kyoto Journal, Pirene’s Fountain, Tiferet as well as other online publications. Her poems are currently featured online at Saint Julian’s Press. She has been interviewed by Lois P. Jones for KPFK’s Poet’s Café. This interview is archived at

Searching  (The Dove) - by Susan Dobay

The Origin Is One
for Kotama Okada

The dove knows the way
follow her.

Your heart knows the way
listen well.

Within your deepest self
are wings of light.

They cover the earth 
with waves of love.

Do you remember?
You once knew.

Stand in the warmth
of sunlight and recall.

The origin of the world
is one. 

The origin of religions
is one.

The origin of all
humankind is one.

Circle back.
Imagine the great will

of all things
stirring in your fingers.

Reach out your arms
and open your palms

to the sky.
It is time.

The Light that Finds

Within the miniature apple is the full-grown fruit;
within the pine cone is the giant pine.
Within your outstretched hand is your reaching love;
within our heart of prayer is god's design.
Within the symphony is a golden flute;
within your eyes is the light that finds.
Within the tree is the sap and root;

within your image are my singing lines.

Published in Meditations on Divine Names (Moonrise Press, 2012)                              


Kathi Stafford's poetry, book reviews, and interviews have been published in numerous literary journals (Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Hard Row to Hoe, and so forth) and anthologies (Chopin with Cherries, anthologies by Poets on Site, and other volumes). She was the poetry editor and senior editor at Southern California Review for many years. Her forthcoming book, Blank Check, is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2015. 

Kathi Stafford at a Poetry reading from "Awakenings" - Beyond Baroque.
With Alice Pero, Just Kibbe, Susan Rogers and Maja Trochimczyk


by Kathi Stafford

We used to hold
hands near the bower. Now, we lean together,
quiet, and that is enough.

Evening came fast—too dark to look
for avocados any more.  The sprawling
tree filled the yard, its branches large
and smoky brown.  A tangy scent
floats at dusk as honeysuckle
trims along the fence.

Perhaps my cells split
sideways as I sat on the bench
in the silence.  I asked him to pick the
fruit, but the hour was late. A woman light
on her path keeps moving anyway.


Sonya Sabanac was born and raised in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina- Former Yugoslavia. She left her home town in 1992 due to the civil war and spent two refugee years in Denmark.  Growing up with poetry never did she imagine that one day poetry would disappear from her horizon.  Immigrating into USA in 1994, she was “silent” for more than a decade. Finding her way back to poetry was also finding a way back to her own self.  
Sonya is a poet and a photographer, with a particular interest in landscapes and wildlife. Her memoir “How Did I decide to Go a Little Crazy” was published in the Anthology about immigrant women “Shifting Balance Sheets.” 

Egret on the Beach, 2014 Photo by Sonya Sabanac

A Letter to My Ancestor

I was always curious about you,
but I  don’t even know your name,
I can only count
three generations back.

To learn about you, 
I imagine myself
where you were. 

Banat of Temeswar,
The Habsburgs’ Military Frontier
and ever changing 19th Century,
where one could fall asleep in
one country and wake up in another. 

How much of a good fruit
had fallen into your lap?
Your hands always nursing,
the land or the babies, 
must have wanted 
to fly away sometimes. 

Did you lay in the grass 
and travel with the clouds
when the lust for going far
would fill your heart?

And what did you do 
when darkness fell 
upon your world?

Frozen winter nights, 
vagabond soldiers
appearing out of nowhere,
my brave ancestor mother,
you secured a passage
for me to come. 

Distance of time
is between us,
but I feel you are not far.
Come into my dream and
tell me what I want 
to know most of all: 
what is yours that I carry on?

© Sonya Sabanac
April 26, 2014


Maja Trochimczyk at Bolton Hall Museum, July 2012.

Maja Trochimczyk, PhD, is a Polish-born poet, music historian, photographer, and non-profit director. A former Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga she works with Village Poets on selecting poets to feature monthly. She wrote/edited six books on music (including Frederic Chopin: A Research and Information Guide, Routledge, 2015), and published five volumes of poetry - Rose Always (2011), Miriam’s Iris (2008) , Slicing the Bread (2014), and anthologies Chopin with Cherries (2010) and Meditations on Divine Names (2012). She serves as Communications Director and Board Secretary of the Polish American Historical Association, and is an author of hundreds of articles, book reviews and poems published in Poland, Canada, U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Sweden, Serbia, and China. As President of Moonrise Press, she is also a publisher of books on poetry, music and Polish culture. She received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and honors from the Polish government (medal for the promoton of Polish culture), PAHA, and local communities (ST Poet Laureate in 2010-2014). Visit, and, or Maja's blogs: Poetry Laurels and Chopin with Cherries.

Slicing the Bread with Trochimczyk's cover design based on her photos

The Summer of Love

She would never be as beautiful again as she had been
that summer in Germany. Blue eyes shining 
from under the tightly-tied kerchief,  
blond curls, shorn short for work.
They planted potatoes side by side in the fields.
He was tall, kind, athletic, son of the Bauer.
She blushed a pretty shade of pink
when she caught his eye.

It was their first love, they were so shy
led side by side, with jeering cardboard signs,
noisy blasts of trombones. A feast for the whole village.
Kids ran in circles around them, laughing –
The Polish Pig. The Traitor of our Race.
Bronia and Hans. People poked them,
pushed them, shaved their heads. 
Identical, grotesque, bald puppets,
each with a single lock left hanging 
in the middle of the forehead.

She was sent to Auschwitz.
He – to the eastern front.
It was their last summer. 

(c) 2014 by Maja Trochimczyk Published in Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014).

Clouds and Leaves in Wilanow, Poland, July 2015. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk


The two members of the WWW Group that are travelling and will not appear at this reading are Georgia Jones-Davis and Madeline Butcher. 


Georgia Jones-Davis’s first collection of poems, Blue Poodle (Finishing Line Press), was published in 2011 and the second, Night School (also by Finishing Line Press) appeared in 2015. She grew up in Northern New Mexico and Southern California. It was as a student studying English at UCLA that Georgia first wrote and published poetry. She set poetry aside when she went into the news business for more than twenty years. Georgia worked as a literary reporter, sub-editor, book review editor and book reviewer. She was one of the founding editors of the Herald Examiner Book Review and an Assistant Book Editor at the Los Angeles Times Book Review for 14 years. Her critical essays have appeared in many publications including The Washington Post, New York Newsday, The Chicago Tribune and Salon.

After leaving the newspaper world, “Poetry,” Georgia says, “came back to me like a long, lost, muddy dog.” Her work has appeared in various publications including West Wind, The Bicycle Review, California Quarterly, Sam Hamill’s website, Poets Against War, Brevities, Nebo, South Bank Poetry, London, Ascent Aspirations, a Canadian journal, and Eclipse.  She also contributed to the Chopin with Cherries anthology. Georgia was honored as one of the Newer Poets 2010 by the Los Angeles Poetry Festival/Beyond Baroque and the Los Angeles County ALOUD Series. She is a former board member of Valley Contemporary Poets, a Los Angeles non-profit, and founder of the Poetry Group at the Grancell Village Jewish Home for the Aging. Georgia Jones-Davis is a member of PEN, California State Poetry Society and the Academy of American Poets.

Maja Trochimczyk, Georgia Jones-Davis and Lisa Cheby 
present their new books at Beyond Baroque, Spring 2015.

Chopin’s Sorrow

by Georgia Jones-Davis

Sorrow I love
more than any woman

So do not run your fingers
along my skin
touch me
with white gloves
or I will break
like a minor chord

Polish, French, man, woman
I speak none of these languages
only that of rain and moonlight

Sex will kill me
with its gabardine trousers
cigars and gaudy novels
slashed ribbon of arguments
must of unmade beds

The other night
in the Salle Pleyel
the moon
her full face composed
edged close to the windows
to listen

I kiss her holy white dust
I press my lips to the purity
of her bloodless devotion

Published in  Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press, 2010)


Madeleine S. Butcher has been writing since 1979.  An actress at that time, she wrote monologues, scenes and plays, later transitioning to short stories, guided by Merrill Joan Gerber.  Poetry was always cropping up on its own, from time to time. She is a graduate of NYU with a BFA in dance.  Besides her dance and acting, she has worked as an assistant picture and sound editor on feature films, She has taught ballet to small children, at risk teenagers and taught Pilates out of her home studio in Woodland Hills for ten years. Madeleine has been a member of Westside Women Writers for nearly three years.  Her first piece is due to be published in the West Marin Journal this year. She and her husband are retired and traveling.

How Do I Know Thee, John Lee?

He lies blinking in the dark,
his eight year old self listening to the crickets
to the creak of his bed,
to his parents' voices on the other side
of the slatted wall
and he hears his papa say -
he's got the boogie woogie in him
and it's got to come out -
yes he does, says his mama, 
yes he does.

His hands reach into the dark
he spreads his fingers -

the night lifts the ceiling off,
he sees plowed fields fall away,
a path into shining woods he's never seen -
he lies so still he hears his heart
beat his moving blood in the midnight darkness.

His heart so old and young,
looks back from the night
and he knows he has more
than that share-croppers cabin

can hold in all the world. 

(c) by Madeleine S. Butcher

Photo by Maja Trochimczyk with a Druid blessing

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Thelma T.Reyna and Beverly M. Collins - Featured Poets on July 26, 2015

After the incredible success of the reading by Sharon Alexander on June 28 and preceding an equally successful (as we hope) reading by Westside Women Writers on August 23 at McGroarty Arts Center (with Lois P. Jones, Millicent Borges Accardi, Susan Rogers, and Kathi Stafford),  the Village Poets enjoyed the participation in the Fourth of July Parade in Sunland Tujunga (see the Picasa Web Album here).

L to R: Gianni, Maja Trochimczyk, Marlene Hitt, Dorothy Skiles, Elsa S. Frausto and Joe DeCenzo.

Inspired by these celebrations, the Village Poets are proud to present Thelma T. Reyna and Beverly Collins as our Featured Poets on Sunday, July 26, at 4:30 p.m.

In addition to the two features, the format of our readings includes two sections of Open Mike, refreshments in the middle, and a great companionship of creative minds in a wonderful environment of the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91041.

Thelma T. Reyna

Thelma T. Reyna is author of The Heavens Weep for Us and Other Stories (2009), winner of four national awards. Her two poetry chapbooks—Hearts in Common (2013) and Breath & Bone (2011)—were semi-finalists in a national poetry chapbook competition. Her most recent book is Rising, Falling, All of Us (2014), and she served as the editor of the 2015 Altadena Poetry Review. 

Her stories, poems, essays, articles, book reviews, and other nonfiction have appeared in journals, textbooks, anthologies, blogs, and regional media. She writes two blogs and has been a guest blogger on three others.

In April 2014, Reyna was named Poet Laureate of the Altadena (CA) Library District, a position she will hold for two years. She was also awarded a Most Inspirational Award for her accomplishments as an author and businesswoman by her State District Legislators in 2011. Reyna is an editor and writing consultant with her business, The Writing Pros ( and holds a Ph.D. from UCLA.


by Thelma T. Reyna

How easy it is to forget
how old habits in the brain trick us,
trick us,
into thinking you’re at my door,
or here in the kitchen by my side, sipping
at the mug, sighing at the early hour,
calling my name, your
mouth at my ear.
How easy, how easy.
The brain wipes away years, tears,
contorts memory to slave shadows of
itself, clipping connections to calendars
and seasons, children growing into
future mists we veil over when
we’re tricked. I hear footsteps,
jingling keys, the gentle click
of a door unlocked, water lapping
at your washbowl, gentle, curling,
steaming stream gurgling, and
you humming as you shave your neck.
How easy it is
to hear these precious sounds again,
these tiny tunes of love, familiarity,
tricking death and me with
double shots of cruelty: warmth
swathing me at the reliving, the
unguarded glow from being tricked, then
stabs of recollection, of seeing you
lowered in the ground, mounds of
flowers sliding back into the dirt.  

Beverly M. Collins

Beverly M. Collins is fourth in a family of five daughters. Although born in Milford, Delaware, Bev is a Jersey-girl to the bone. She is also a graduate of Taylor Business Institute, a great admirer of Art who carries a deep appreciation and respect for other Artist.

As a singer, Collins is a former national finalist for Talent America. As a poet, she is one of three 2012 prize winners for the California State Poetry Society whose works appear in a growing number of publications. She is the author of Quiet Observations and of Mud in Magic (Moonrise Press, 2015).

At home with her younger family members, she is Auntie Bev. The one who loves to cook, laugh and watch movies, enjoys amusement parks and the peacefulness of a long walk. She loves the sound of great guitar solos and times spent in complete silence where thoughts reign ...


Beverly M. Collins' poetry is much like her: Courageous, wise and imaginative. It is a thunder clap in the middle of Manhattan, a bolt of lightning on a desert island off of Spain. But in the end, it is its power, rhythm and clarity that make it rise to the level of art. Miss it at your own risk.
~ Radomir Vojtech Luza
Poet Laureate of North Hollywood
Pushcart Prize Nominee

Beverly M. Collins writes poetry that is a celebration of woman. She takes everyday experiences however varied and transforms them into a serene acceptance which is emotionally extremely fulfilling. Beverly M. Collins' (her) poems are gems of rare understanding.
~ Mary A. Mann

Beverly M. Collins’s Mud in Magic is her second poetry book, filled with wisdom of experience, wisdom that has grown from a life well lived. Beverly’s skillful and often aphoristic or narrative poems portray a scene or a character that we could encounter on our streets, in our cafes. In these poems, styled as messages and postcards from the Thought Bistro (Part I) and Elixir Café (Part III), there is light and love – the latter, in its many reincarnations, from the affectionate to wistful, to, again, humorous – is also the subject of the central part of the book, Tinder Flames. In vain you would search here for empty fireworks of verbal displays. The beauty and wonder of daily life fills the pages andwill delight the readers.
~ Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D.
President, Moonrise Press


It is to spend time on a funky junction,
overlook the “how” and become
“I don’t know.” It is to wear an early-bird
coat with full feathers when the entire
event is late. It is to find that one has tricked
the trickster, turned the tables on the
bait-and-switcher...and got a free ticket.

It is to take life too serious. Put the squeeze
on what is not right-for-you, feel it sting
the palm of your hand like a bumble bee
on the blind side of an apple...but win the bushel.

Mud in magic can be welcome, as “loud”
at the library, “quiet” at an amusement park,
fun as a root canal one day before the feast.
It can murk up the view of a clear day then dry
quickly. It is the oment a way with words does
not win one a way with other things wanted.

It is to select a fall-from-grace, show that taste
buds are dull or absent from the mouth altogether.
It is to be drunk on foolishness, shame one’s way
up the side of the nearest mountain, then watch
the seeds evolve into practical moves.

Proof in the face, some stumble and win the race
one  foot behind the other; however triumphant 
or tragic. The low-down on high-life appears
that dry desert has hidden moisture
and there are obvious bits of mud in magic.