Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pamela Shea, Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga - Passing of the Laurels, April 23, 2017

Pamela Shea, photo by Meridyth MacDonald, 2017.

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga are pleased to announce that Pamela Shea, a long-time local resident, has been elected the Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate for 2017-2019. She will officially assume her duties and receive her laurels on

Sunday, April 23, 2017, at 3:00 pm
at the McGroarty Arts Center 
7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga, CA  91042 

The event is free and open to the public. There will be poetry readings by past Poets Laureate, including Joe DeCenzo, Marlene Hitt, Dorothy Skiles, and Maja Trochimczyk, the "Swan Song" reading by the outgoing Elsa Frausto, whose three year term is ending in April, and the flute and guitar performance featuring Alice Pero. Representatives from local and federal government offices will be in attendance. Reception to follow.
Pamela Shea has lived in the Sunland-Tujunga area for nearly 40 years. Her poems appeared numerous times in the local Voice of the Village newspaper, as well as in the monthly newsletter for Salem Lutheran Church in Glendale and the fundraising literature for the Health Ministries of the Foothills. She was a featured reader at the Shouting Coyote Performing Festival in 2004 and also led a workshop at that event on the Poetry of Nature. Since then, she participated in many readings with the Wide Open Readers, led by Elsa Frausto, and the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga at Bolton Hall Museum.

Her extensive record of community service includes many endeavors, such as volunteering for the Verdugo Hills Family YMCA’s annual Current Campaign Support Fund Drive for several years. She was also a member of VHY’s Senior Advisory Committee. She started a poetry group that met weekly at VHY as well as served as a board member for two terms (six years of service) for the Health Ministries of the Foothills.

In 2013, she was a team captain for the inaugural Sunland-Tujunga Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society, and then, in 2015, she was a member of the Relay for Life planning committee, served as chairperson of the Survivor Committee, and was co-chairperson of the Entertainment Committee.

Pamela Shea, photo by Meridyth MacDonald, 2017. 

As Poet Laureate Ms. Shea has the following plans:

"I plan on taking poetry out into the community by facilitating quarterly seasonal poetry writing events for all ages.These events would be held at local venues that feature the flora and fauna of our community, such as Descanso Gardens, Deukmejian Park, the meditation garden at the Crescenta Valley YMCA, McGroarty Arts Center, and Bolton Hall.My goal is to foster a spirit of inspiration, affinity, and support for both established and budding poets, and to encourage them to experience the beauty of our environment together and use it as a muse for their own work."

Her favorite poet is Khalil Gibran and she admits: "his writings, in particular The Prophet, provided inspiration to me as an emerging teenage poet.I identify with his romanticism and mysticism and feel a kinship with him in his respect for nature and use of it in his work.This long-haired and unconventional artist was one of my first contacts with Eastern thought and tradition, which influence both my writing and personal life.I also admire him for his support of freedom--artistic as well as political--and appreciate his encouragement of women’s liberation."

Pamela Shea at Bolton Hall, Photo Maja Trochimczyk

By Pamela Shea

Open, discerning hearts, to hear
The story of this fair land
Told in local rocks and boulders
As well as small grains of sand.

For eons the stones remained unmoved,
Except when nature intervened;
Only flora, fauna, and wild creatures
Shared the Sunland-Tujunga scene.

Then the native Tongva people arrived
And used these friends in making tools,
Preparing food, fashioning weapons;
They followed the simplest of rules.

Later, modern man emerged,
Coming to Monte Vista’s Vale,
Pursuing Utopian visions,
Building homes to resist life’s gales.

Families came seeking awakening,
Led by William Ellsworth Smythe,
With dreams and lofty ideals
They used the stones in their newfound life.

The proud structure that is Bolton Hall
Was a center for community;
Granite chunks from fields, hillsides, and wash
Built a place for law and security.

Years later, Mr. John McGroarty,
A great statesman and poet, too,
Erected his own home using local rocks
To breathe clean air from skies so blue.

White painted stones uphold the large white cross,
So visible above the boulevard;
Grains of sand provide fun in local playgrounds
And in residential backyards.

Fire may destroy the vegetation,
And wild animals may be slain;
Even mankind itself may vanish,
But sturdy stones and rugged rocks remain.

Surrounded by ancient granite friends,
Take daily respite; be still for awhile.
Listen with quiet minds and open hearts
As hidden stories reveal and beguile. 

Pam Shea at Bolton Hall. Photo by Kathabela Wilson

In Memory of William Ellsworth Smythe
By Pamela Shea

In the lowness of the valley
I behold the mountain’s peak;
From the depth of introspection
Does my joy find words to speak.

The foothills rise up in splendor;
My spirit soars on wings,
Beholding crystalline skies;
In quietude my soul sings.

The yuccas rise triumphantly
From our mother’s rocky soil;
Old Woman lies resting above
While below her children toil.

Once the Vale of Monte Vista,
Now Sunland-Tujunga reigns;
Serenity is to be found
On her gently sloping plains.

Nature calls to me in whispers;
Soothing breezes ’round me blow;
I glimpse a piece of heaven
In Los Terrentinos’s glow.

Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

By Pamela Shea

The hazy smile of crescent moon,
The cheerful face of daffodil,
The brilliant, blazing midday sun
All show that spring is here.

The soothing coo of sister dove,
Audacious caw of brother crow,
Hum and buzz of winged insects
All sing that spring is here.

Soft pinks and yellows of sunrise,
Explosive red-golds of sunset,
The clear blue skies of longer days
Confirm that spring is here.

Rat-a-tat-tat of woodpecker,
Emerald flash of hummingbird,
Cavorting dance of butterflies
Affirm that spring is here.

The soft caress of grass tendrils,
Tender new shoots reaching skyward,
Scent of nature’s perfumery
Endorse that spring is here.

The pure joy in children at play,
Glow of adolescent passion,
Serenity in aged eyes
Reflect that spring is here.

The soft kiss of a rustling breeze,
Expectation of warmth to come,
Harmonious celebration
Whisper that spring is here.

Promise of life in nested eggs,
Hinted change in caterpillars,
The fresh rebirth of Mother Earth
Proclaim that spring is here.

Pam Shea reads at Rose of Roses Exhibit, photo by Kathabela Wilson

02/14/2017 ~ Pamela Shea

The bud of a rose
Layer on layer of petals
Held tightly, perfectly
Unfolding when the time has come
Bursts open and a flower is born
Releasing sweet perfume

The heart of a lover
Layer on layer of emotions
Trembling, hidden, waiting
When touched by the beloved
Bursts open and a poem is born
Sweet music fills the air

Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

The Passing of the Laurels event is supported in part by Poets & Writers through grants it has received from The James Irvine Foundation and the Hearst Foundations. Other supporters include Moonrise Press and Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga.

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