Thursday, May 11, 2023

Village Poets Welcomes Lois P. Jones and William O’Daly on Sunday, June 25


Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga is pleased to invite poets and friends of poetry to our Monthly Reading held in-person, on Sunday, June 25, 2023 at 4:30 pm. at  Bolton Hall Museum, located at 10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA 91042-2313. In June our features will be celebrated poets Lois P. Jones and William O’Daly.

Two segments of open mic will be available and refreshments will be served. Suggested donation $5 per person for the cost of refreshments and to donate to the Little Landers Society that manages the Bolton Hall Museum, a Los Angeles Historical Landmark built in 1913.




Lois P. Jones was recently awarded the 2023 Alpine Fellowship which this year takes place in Fjällnäs, Sweden. She was a finalist in the annual Mslexia Poetry Competition judged by Helen Mort and will be published in Spring 2023. In 2022 her work was a finalist for both the Best Spiritual Literature Award in Poetry from Orison Books and the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Other honors include a Highly Commended and publication in the 2021 Bridport Poetry Prize Anthology   Jones’ awards include the Bristol Poetry Prize, the Lascaux Poetry Prize for a single poem, the Tiferet Poetry Prize and winning finalist for the Terrain Poetry contest judged by Jane Hirshfield. In collaboration with filmmaker Jutta Pryor and sound designer Peter Verwimp, her poem La Scapigliata won the 2022 Lyra Bristol Poetry Film Competition. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the Academy of American Poets - Poem A Day, Poetry Wales, Mslexia, Plume, Guernica Editions, Terrain, Vallentine Mitchell of London; Verse Daily, Narrative and others. Jones’ first collection, “Night Ladder,” was published by Glass Lyre Press and was a finalist for the Julie Suk Award and the Lascaux Poetry Prize for a poetry collection. Since 2007 Jones has hosted KPFK’s Poets Café, and acted as poetry editor for the Pushcart prize-winning Kyoto Journal. She is a screening judge for Claremont University’s Kingsley-Tufts Awards.

Three Poems by Lois P. Jones

Housekeeping: Frida’s Future Kiss

After the palm reader told her no man would ever claim her, she asked to be claimed by the white horse she dreamt of each evening. It always began with a nuzzle, a warm breath, like a kiss made of clouds that hovered and finally released its rain. As if life only existed in the closed rooms of her eyes. And there, the scent of crushed grapes and the white shadow of a horse becoming human. Not a satyr but a transmogrification like a moon-impersonating streetlamp. A tenderness that lived inside the small of her waist, his hand, this gentleness, and the tongues that mixed their silence. She does not need her knees, fingers, thighs, saliva – only this window where she looks into the mind’s vanishing frame. A flutter like a valve opens and he turns to her. Their love like silk sheets toppling over the wicker basket. 

~Published in Plume


 Big Sur Redwoods by Full Moon: Shifting Voices, October 2020

            After Joanna Klink’s Sea by Dusk


Comes to you from titans and says be shadow,

be silence. Gathers the length of longing

and says                                   crown the sky with impermanence.


Comes in the middle of caution,

an October felled into acres

of loss. Drinks the light,          lulling the waves

of disaster that brought you here. 


Enters the path at midnight when the deer’s eyes empty

into trembling. Says                 you who know strength, keep standing,

no fires will catch the heartwood


where you live. No oceans will drown you

in their history.                       

Dream, the path calling you

beyond evening’s bleed of wood smoke into the clearing.

Be somnambulant,

walk in the certainty there is no blindness,

only what comes between you and this act of knowing.


                                                Fall like a nocturne in to the river,

rushing like grain beneath your pillow,

shifting the rhythm of your breath beyond the newly dead.

Tonight is a long hour without minutes,

this blue bead of moonlight on your brow. 


Be the spirit girl who stands in clear water

stilling everything – trees, stones, root skin,

invisible creatures who pause as you think of them.


Shelter in the mirror of her image,

her cape of grey doves, dense as the moss that surrounds her,

be stunned as the shaft of light on her face. 

Move like a hymn in the hidden worlds,

be here, only here.

 ~Published in Tiferet


Frida Travels by Train to Meet Rilke for the First Time

Against all expectations, I, a young and inexperienced girl, was selected out of many applications …to keep house for the poet Rainer Maria Rilke at Muzot. 

            ~ Frida Baumgartner, October, 1921

 The sky is complicated and flawed and we’re up there in it.  Opening its letters. Crossing countries to clean someone’s clouds. Crossing mountains stacked with chanting.  Stacked with secrets.  Strange tongues that want to define us, that refuse to taste us. As in tasting the last honey-dipped slice of apple on this train.  I watch the sun spark rivers without faces. Watch my face disappear in the passenger window.  Disappear like Borges and never return.  He won’t believe I’ve read Borges.  Won’t believe I can attend to his silence. Silence is a letter you never open. A ball of yarn knitting sky in a corner. What we want, we fashion. Fashion the proper weather for our wanting. Wanting what is always made of what we cannot make ourselves. There are his blue eyes in the window. He makes what I want, I will fashion what he needs. I will make a cowbell of wishes. I will not ring it. 


*With a line from Lisa Robertson.

 ~Published in Mslexia


William O’Daly has translated eight books of the late-career and posthumous poetry of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda and most recently Neruda’s first volume, Book of Twilight, a finalist for the 2018 Northern California Book Award in Translation. The author of four chapbooks of poems, he published his first full-length volume of poems, The New Gods, with Beltway Editions in September 2022. In March 2023, the Los Angeles Master Chorale including three poems from The New Gods and one from his chapbook, Waterways, in the world premiere of Reena Esmail’s “Malhaar: A Requiem for Water,” at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, he received the American Literary Award from the bilingual Korean American journal Miju Poetry and Poetics in September 2021. Currently, he is Lead Writer for the California Water Plan, the state’s strategic plan for sustainably and equitably managing water resources.


Three Poems by William O’Daly


Love in a Changing Climate

Touching your absent hand, I am like the saint

who wanders with the first yellow leaf,

the ease of what might be mistaken

for our familiar love. It’s never easy

to sustain in the eyes what changes inside,

to feel the fear, the abandonment, and shame.

Listen . . . the wind is scattering our names. We are

the question the stone and the river ask.


Had I been with you when you died, I’d know

him who knows how to shepherd the dying home.

Illiterate birds ravel our lives with twelve strings

and we find love that takes the leap with us,

stays to clean up the birth of the cosmos,

the benevolent trees that burn like us.

~from The New Gods (Beltway Editions, 2022)


The Eastern Sea

Like you, I have sought

the fate of the wave,

the burnt mast, the water birds

gliding near as a prayer. And so

as the eastern sea passes

its ring of opal light to the sky,

I promise I will pass the ring

of the sea to my daughter.


Always, the mermaid speaks of love.

The beggar cries that his sandals

were stolen by Jesus. My daughter

asks me to hold those fragile rings,

to hold the sea that breaks with gravity’s secret

and washes over our cold bare feet 

until she has a song to sing to it.

 ~from The New Gods, (Beltway Editions, 2022)


Heron Dances Over the World

Even you’re not watching

as you spread your black tattered wings

and step among the colors of the physical world—

spindly legs conjure the symbol for infinity

in red earth, in fresh blue snow and white mist.


Endangered islands bloom, the wetland fills

with mountain shadow. In a parallel universe

your reflection moves to its inner calling,

to folded granite, music of the waterfall.


You live as hidden origami, with creases

and abandon, intricate patterns that resist

the receding shore. You circle, an equation

neither eyes nor lips can touch—motion that can’t be solved

or written on the tongue. You do not stop to preen

among the battered dunes.


Your cry wrings iron from irony,

recalls the silent bells, laments the love

I’ve forgotten. You breathe closer to the swaying aspen

than to the orphaned moon and the tide’s pull.

In this dance you create, like a beetle,

your own being.

 ~from The New Gods (Beltway Editions, 2022)


25 June (4th Sunday) Lois P. Jones & William O’Daly 

27 August (4th Sunday) Beverly M. Collins & A. Jay Adler 

24 September (4th Sunday) Marlene Hitt & RG Cantalupo

22 Oct (4th Sunday) Ambika Talwar & Susan Suntree 

No dates Nov/Dec due to holidays






Monday, March 27, 2023

Village Poets Features Brendan Constantine & Alice Pero on April 30th for National Poetry Month



Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga is pleased to invite poets and friends of poetry to our Monthly Reading held in-person, on Sunday, April 30, 2023 at 4:30 pm. at  Bolton Hall Museum, located at 10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA 91042-2313. In April our features will be Brendan Constantine and Alice Pero.

Two segments of open mic will be available and refreshments will be served. Suggested donation $5 per person for the cost of refreshments and to donate to the Little Landers Society that manages the Bolton Hall Museum, a Los Angeles Historical Landmark built in 1913.

                                                                              Photo by Jun Takahashi 

Brendan Constantine is a poet based in Los Angeles. He is the author of numerous collections and his work has appeared in many literary standards, including Poetry, Best American Poetry, Tin House, Ploughshares, Poetry Review (UK) and Poem-a-Day. He has received support and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. A popular performer, Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, also appearing on NPR's All Things Considered, TED ED, numerous podcasts, and YouTube. Brendan currently teaches at the Windward School and, since 2017, has been developing poetry workshops for people with Aphasia.


Three Poems by Brendan Constantine

World’s End


My mother is sleeping while you read this

white hair spread across a pillow


 She’s on her back, mouth open, and—you

need to know this—her teeth are gold


and china. The radio is playing, low,

a classical station, some opera or other


where people die believing love can be lost

in a crowd. My mother breathes


like a gallery, like a hundred paintings

of old ships. This really does concern you


because the sea is at your door. Because

my mother sleeptalks on your behalf.


Because it gets late so early now.


This poem originally appeared in The Poetry Review (UK), Vol 112, No 4, Winter 202


You're on an elevator with God and afraid

to ask which floor They want – for surely
God's pronoun is They - because deep down
you know God is already on every floor and
how long is this going to take? God says,

I never get tired of The Girl from Ipanema.

You smile and agree, though only now
do you notice the music. You start pushing
buttons in no sequence, feel the earth fall
away. Is this what it’s like to be a prayer,
or rather, what it’s like when one arrives?

... like a samba that swings so cool
and sways so gentle …

You remember something you read about
the first elevators, how they were powered
by animals and, later, water. And children,
They say, don’t forget children.

At every stop God gets on again, but you
don’t notice, you’re too into the song now.
Surely joy and apprehension shall follow you
all of your days.


This poem originally appeared in The International Literary Quarterly (InterlitQ), Winter 2022


Tralee, Ireland, Days Ago


                                  I’ve been traveling so long

I forget what country this is. I can read all the signs

in the hotel, but it’s not enough. It could be Ireland,

or Heaven, or Mars. A black dog sits next to me

with a white bib, wary, curious. I ask the concierge,

“Is this a member of your staff?” “Ay,” he says,

“A stray. Showed up days ago.” I finish checking in,

drag a bunch of America to my room, take a nap. 

Later, when I step out for a walk, I find the dog

waiting in the hall. “Days Ago,” I say aloud.

“Your name is Days Ago.”

                                  He follows me to a park

across the street, not quite at my side, but with me.

I speak to him in a full voice, ask questions, give him

time to answer, and interpret his silence. No one

pays much attention, though a policeman tracks me

for a moment. Likely because I’ve used the word

“terrorism” a few times, loud enough to be heard

across the fish pond.

                                    Days Ago, like all dogs,

can’t talk or is choosing his moment. He withholds

any opinion on terror, foreign or domestic. When

I mention poetry, he yawns. Yeah, tell me about it.

We find a bench and claim it. “You’ve done this before,”

I say. It gets a smile. He does that donut thing his kind

are so good at—cats, too—where they can lie on one side

and still be sitting up. I naturally start stroking his neck

and shoulders.

                                   “Did’ya hear about Mars?” I ask.

“Once again, they think they found life but aren’t sure.

Apparently, it’s harder to spot than anyone guessed.”

His fur is so black, it hardly shines. I lose my hand in it.

He’s tracking the policeman now. I’m thinking about

space, how astronomers say almost a third of it is made

of something called Dark Matter, mass that swallows

light. Or drinks it. Or, I think now, loses light in its coat.

“You know, Days Ago,

                                    whenever they don’t find life

on other planets, I can’t help but think it means they

also can’t find death. So far as we know, there’s no

death anywhere on Mars. None on the moon, for that

matter. A few people have died in space. But how

do we know they didn’t bring death with them?

They were people after all.” Days Ago is looking

at me, right into my eyes. He clears his throat.



This poem originally appeared in Rattle #78, Winter 2022


                                                                                           Photo by Irene Kalents


Alice Pero’s poetry has been published in many magazines and anthologies including Nimrod, National Poetry Review, River Oak Review, Main Street Rag, Poet Lore, The Alembic, North Dakota Quarterly, The Distillery, Fox Cry Review, The Griffin, and G.W. Review, “Coiled Serpent,” “Wide Awake,” “Altadena Poetry Review,” and others. Her book of poetry, “Thawed Stars”, was praised by Kenneth Koch as having “clarity and surprises.”  She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize four times. She is the 10th Poet Laureate of Sunland/Tujunga. A passionate dialoguer, she has created works with over 25 poets. Her book, “Beyond Birds & Answers” is a collaboration with New York artist, Vera Campion and “Sunland Park Poems” with Los Angeles poet Elsa Frausto. In 2002 Pero created the popular reading series, “Moonday” which continued for another 16 years with Lois P. Jones as Co-Producer. She is currently curating the Village Poets reading series and also is the Monthly Contest Chair for The California State Poetry Society. Alice is also a flutist and former dancer and her chamber music group, “Windsong” has performed around the LA area since 2015. Alice is a member of the California Poets in the Schools since 1996 and has been teaching poetry to school children since 1991. 


Three Poems by Alice Pero


Directions for an Important Display

Look for small things,

a nail, a pebble, a drop of rain,

a snowflake, even after it has melted


Put them in a collage,

an intricate arrangement

with subtle colors, barely

discernable texture


Hang it up

It may need to dry

for several centuries

cured by weather


Take it out again

and view it with great


Add a sound track


You may or may not

get an audience

If not, show it in sunlight

Let it gradually fade

then start over


Published in Vilas Avenue




When crocheting a poem

be sure to be awake

Do not use Alexa

She is forever asleep

She has no dreams

She will take your words

and insert them in her circuits

and her machines will whirl

in random patterns

producing a million monkeys

on typewriters

quoting Shakespeare


Look at the clouds

blow a ghost fantasy

dream that school of sardines alive

Use the wrong punctuation

Drop a few and purl one

Fall asleep to wake again

and let the words fall out of your mouth

like pearls

String them and wear to a Dodgers game

with an evening dress

Flaunt your aliveness

Smile at everyone you see


If you decide to knit the poem

refer to a pattern

but add ropes and daisies

If you begin to fumble

refer again to the pattern

but do not follow it

It will only confuse you

Know that the poem

comes from

the tiniest of nothingness

you spin with your own magic


My Mother


My mother fell

small and wrinkled

on the morning

and the moon slipped

off into some hidden darkness


Coffee steamed us awake

and the cups chattered

in the cupboard


My mother dropped

like an ancient stone

into the blue light

of dawn


The day rolled out

like a newspaper

with tiny important print

we had to read

to know


My mother

heaved away the sky

left clouds loaded

with rain


There would always be enough

for flowers

we could grow


My mother left the kitchen


with cups and papers


We were dizzy with words

We drowned in heavy milk


We lay muffled

like shifting sand

curious with the weight

of dreams

waiting for the delicate

shadow of the moon

to release us back

into buoyant darkness


Published in Thawed Stars and Dodging the Rain