Village Poets with "Meditations on Divine Names" edited by Maja Trochimczyk.
L to R: Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, Dorothy Skiles, and Maja
Every two years or so Village Poets organize a competition for the Poet-Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga and, in order to involve the local community in the selection of its Poet-Laureate, establish a Poetry and Literature Committee of Sunland-Tujunga which selects the next Poet. Elsa S. Frausto is currently serving as our Poet Laureate; in January 2016, her term was extended by one year to April 2017.
Another important project of Village Poets is the Monthly Village Poets Reading at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, CA. You can read about past and future featured poets on the Village Poets Blog. The upcoming readings are also announced in local "good news" paper - The Voice of the Village.
The Village Poets organize many readings of others and also give readings as a group, for instance celebrating the National Poetry Month at the La Crescenta Library in 2013 and at the Tujunga Library in 2014. Every year, the Village Poets ride in the Fourth of July Parade of Sunland-Tujunga, thus publicizing poetry to the local community.
VILLAGE POETS PLANNING GROUP
The group consists of the former Poets Laureate (Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, Dorothy Skiles and Maja Trochimczyk) and the current Poet Laureate, Elsa Frausto.
MARLENE HITT was the first Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga (1999-2001). She has been a member of the Chupa Rosa Writers of Sunland-Tujunga and the Foothills since its inception in 1985. In addition to poetry chapbooks, anthologies and readings, she has authored a non-fiction book "Sunland-Tujunga, from Village to City". She serves at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga as Museum Director and docent. In addition to her poetry activities, she has served as history writer for the Foothill Leader and the Glendale News Press, the North Valley Reporter, the Voice of the Village newspaper, and the Shadow Hills Property Owners Association newsletter. She has been honored as the Woman of Achievement by the Business and Professional Women's Club. She lives happily ever after with her husband Lloyd and an outdoor cat named Lautrémont.
DOROTHY SKILES, the seventh Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga (2012-2014), has been writing poetry since her teenage years and claims that "poetry has always been in my blood." The first poem she wrote was about her grandmother who died when Dorothy was fourteen years old. In 1970, Dorothy graduated from San Fernando Valley State College earning a B.A. in English. That same year she started her career with the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Social Services, and retired after 34 years of public service. While married, raising twin boys, and managing a career, Dorothy published her first chapbook entitled The Sidewalk Gallery (1979). Other chapbooks followed including Ear to Earth (1996), Spine Flower Blues (1999) - a collaborative effort with fellow members of the Chuparosa Writers of Sunland-Tujunga, and Riddle in the Rain (2003) - a joint venture with Marlene Hitt, former Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate.
Over the last 15 years Dorothy has read her poetry in coffee shops, book stores, and other venues including special church services. Also, her poems have appeared in various community publications. Dorothy is currently the President of the Village Poets Planning Committee and is an active member of the Chuparosa Writers. She is also an active member of SAGE, which offers continuous learning for seniors and operates under the sponsorship of the Tseng College at CSUN and the Lutheran Church in the Foothills located in La Canada.
JOE DECENZO grew up in Los Angeles and majored in theater and English Literature. From 2004-06 he served as the third poet laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. He produced the Shouting Coyote performing arts festival and was a Department of Cultural Affairs grant recipient. His published works include The Ballad of Alley and Hawk and the Study Guide and Poetry Primer. His poems appeared in Meditations on Divine Names anthology (2012). Joe currently serves on the planning committee for the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga and as Chair of Poet Laureate Search Committee. In addition to his volunteer work for Village Poets, Joe DeCenzo was involved in developing or creating: 2002 Shouting Coyote Poetry Festival, 2004 Shouting Coyote Performing Arts Festival, 2005 Mother's Day Brunch at Bolton Hall, and 2006 Commerce Ave Fair/Shouting Coyote Poetry Slam.
ELSA S. FRAUSTO, current Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga (2014-1017) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She has lived in the Foothills with her family for over twenty years. Her work has appeared in a number of local and international publications, among them Porte des Poetes, Speechless the Magazine, Poem of the Month in Poet at Work, Badlands, the anthology Meditations on Divine Names and many anthologies by Poets on Site. She was the coordinator and host for Camelback Readings held at the Sunland-Tujunga Library. Elsa is a member of the Chuparosa Writers, volunteers at the Friends of the Library Bookstore and at the Noise Within Theater (Pasadena) and is poetry editor and translator for the Spanish language literary magazine la-luciernaga.com. Her new venture as Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga (2014-2016) is the blog Poetria.org where poetry and travel with stops along the way from philosophy to food are welcome. Her local musings Walking Around can be read monthly in Voice of the Village.
DR. MAJA TROCHIMCZYK, the sixth Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga, is a poet, music historian, photographer, and non-profit director born in Poland and living in California (www.trochimczyk.net). She selects poets to feature at the Village Poets series (the final approval is made by the whole group). She published four books on music, two volumes of poetry (Rose Always and Miriam’s Iris), and two anthologies (Chopin with Cherries and Meditations on Divine Names). Hundreds of her articles and poems appeared in English, Polish, as well as in German, French, Chinese, Spanish and Serbian translations. The venues for her poetry included: The Loch Raven Review, Epiphany Magazine, Lily Review, Ekphrasis Journal, Quill and Parchment, Magnapoets, SGVGPQ, The Cosmopolitan Review, The Scream Online, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Lummox Journal, Phantom Seed, Poezja Dzisiaj, OccuPoetry, as well as anthologies published by Poets on Site, Southern California Haiku Study Group, the Altadena Library, and others.
She taught music history at McGill University and USC, as well as creative writing at McGroarty Arts Center and the Pitchess Detention Center (county jail). Trochimczyk presented papers at over 70 national and international conferences in Poland, France, Germany, Hungary, U.K., Canada, and the U.S. She received awards and fellowships from ACLS, SSHRCC, USC, McGill University, MPE Fraternity, Polish American Historical Association, City and County of Los Angeles, and Poland’s Ministry of Culture. The Senior Director of Planning at Phoenix Houses of California, Trochimczyk serves as News Editor and Officer for the Polish American Historical Association. She is also on the editorial boards of the Ecomusicology Newsletter and Diagonali, and a member of local poetry groups, Westside Women Writers and Village Poets. She is the owner of Moonrise Press and maintains several blogs: poetrylaurels, chopinwithcherries, moonrisepress, PAHAnews, and this one – all on blogspot.com.