About Us

Poets Laureate of Sunland Tujunga, L to R: Elsa Frausto, Dorothy Skiles, 
Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, Pamela Shea and Maja Trochimczyk, April 2017.

Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga is a group of former Poets Laureate of Sunland Tujunga who organize poetry readings in their community, write poetry, and publish books, making sure that poetry life is rich and vibrant in the foothills. You can read about them on the villagepoets.com website. 

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.

Village Poets at the 2013 Independence Day Parade (Skiles, Trochimczyk and Hitt)

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 readings are also announced in local papers, including The Voice of the Village and Crescenta Valley Weekly.

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 at the 2013 Independence Day Parade


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 numerous 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, Glendale News Press, North Valley Reporter, and Voice of the Village newspapers, as well as 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.  Her poetry collection Clocks and Water Drops was published by Moonrise Press in 2015.

Dorothy Skiles with Marlene Hitt at the Bolton Hall Museum.

 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.

Dorothy Skiles

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
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 also appeared in Meditations on Divine Names anthology (2012) and on Village Poets blog. 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 Frausto

ELSA S. FRAUSTO, the eighth 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 could be read monthly in the local paper, Voice of the Village.  In 2017, she published Sunland Park Poems, co-written with Alice Pero (Shabda Press, 2017).

Pamela Shea

PAMELA SHEA, the ninth Poet Laureate (2017-2019), has lived in the Sunland-Tujunga area for nearly 40 years. She is a writer and poet who chronicles her life through verse. Pam was born and raised in the foothills community of La Crescenta and studied at the University of Redlands. Her professional life has included medical office work, from which she is retired, and teaching in the fitness field, in which she is currently active. She has a long history of community service, which she has combined with her writing. She finds inspiration in family and nature as well as in triumph and strife. She enjoys sharing her poems in hometown open poetry readings. Poetry has been her passion and therapy for as long as she can remember. 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. Other poems appeared online in the Village Poets and Poetry Laurels blogs.

Ms. Shea 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. She has also been involved in the Relay for Life.Ms. Shea is the proud mother of three and grandmother of two. She has been married 43 years and has lived in the same house in Sunland for almost 40 years.

Maja Trochimczyk at Scenic Drive Gallery, 2011, Photo by Susan Rogers.

DR. MAJA TROCHIMCZYK, the sixth Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga (2010-2012), 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: Altadena Poetry Review, 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, Spectrum, 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 Communications Director and Board Secretary 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.


Hosts Joe DeCenzo and Maja Trochimczyk with Pamela Shea and Elsa Frausto, 
Passing of the Laurels 2017, McGroarty Arts Center.

Village Poets at Margaret Saine's feature, September 2016.

Village Poets at the feature by Debbie Kolodji and Naia, November 2016

Village Poets at the feature by Shake Mankerian, with Shandy & Eva Duo, October 2016.

Village Poets at the feature by Jerry Garcia and Marcia de la O, May 2016

Village Poets (Trochimczyk, Hitt, DeCenzo) with Bill Cushing and Chuck Corbisiero, July 2016.

Village Poets (Frausto and DeCenzo) with LA Poet Laureate Luis Rodriguez, 2015

Village Poets (Frausto, Hitt, Trochimczyk) with Ed Rosenthal at the McGroarty Arts Center, 2015

Village Poet Reading featuring Mariano Zaro and Peggy Dobreer.

Village Poets Reading featuring the Los Angeles Poet Society, 
with Jessica Wilson Cardenas and Juan Cardenas, McGroarty Arts Center

Village Poets at the "Bite Me" Exhibition at the McGroarty Arts Center.

1 comment:

  1. Lovely compilation of poets on a mission! Kudos to you all, and may your successes continue!