Monday, March 11, 2013

Poetry at the "Bite Me" Art Exhibition,McGroarty Arts Center, March 16, 2013, 2:00 p.m.

We are thrilled to invite all our readers and poetry lovers to a Special Poetry Reading by Village Poets held on March 16, 2013 at 2:00 p.m. at the recently opened

7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga, CA 91042

The Village Poets Reading on Saturday, March 16, will feature poetry about food written and read by local poets: Dorothy Skiles, Poet-Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, as well as Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, Alice Pero, Mina Kirby, Kathabela Wilson, Bryan Story, and Dr. Maja Trochimczyk. There is no Open Mike Reading on this day.

The "Bite Me" Exhibition, curated by Danielle Eubank, faculty member at the McGroarty Arts Center, is open daily from March 9 to March 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except Sundays. It ends with an Arts Fair on Saturday, March 23, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The following artists are included in the "Bite Me" Exhibition: Suzy Beal, Debby Beck, Sonia Mae Beduya, Dacia Calkins, Melanie Chapman, Sara Chao, Laney Clevenger, Michele Collender, Preston Craig, Chick Curtis, Miriam Dema, Babs Fine, Stacia Gates, Sheri Garwood, Barbara Harrison, William Hartdegen, R. Rene Hoffman, Mark Kennedy, Linda Kunik, Nancy LaCroix-Toyne, Evy Lareau, David Long, Sandra Low, Athena Mantle, Laura Marchetti, Barry Michlin, Lissa Mooney, Glenn Newland, So Jung Park, Rollence Patugan, Jess Perry, Ho Yan Pun, Linda Queally, Ainsley Rickert, Nita Sinaga, Yuki Toy, Laura Jean Toyne, Elizabeth Tucker, Colleen Underwood, Dawn Valli, Nicola Voss, and Jenny Ziomek.

McGroarty Arts Center. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk
McGroarty Arts Center. Photo (c) by Maja Trochimczyk

While discussing the theme, Curator Danielle Eubank asked: "What does food mean to you? Such a simple word, food, something we all need. At the same time it is a complex topic sparking social, political, economic, and cultural debate. Is it nutrition or is it a geo-political lever? What do you like to eat? What is real food? How does our culture differ from others? How do you eat? Is food simply for fuel or do you eat it for comfort, cultural holidays, and social gatherings? How is food related to body image? Is it a symbol of abundance? Power? Food affects the local and global economy through food trucks, genetic modification (GMOs), food production, farmers markets, food security, and homelessness. It impacts our health and society through diabetes, obesity, anorexia, bulimia, meals in schools, food labeling, organic, portions, food pyramids, fat, calories, carbohydrates, vitamins, slow food, hunger, and desire."

Dorothy Skiles read her new poem at the Opening of the Exhibition on March 9, 2013.

Dorothy Skiles at the Opening of "Bite Me" Exhibition, March 9, 2013


Canvas One

The eye of the artist
Is familiar with the oval
Shape, the texture of
A perfect Roma tomato –
Firm and ripe.
Its meat sweet, yet tart.
She lightly sketches
The tomato on canvas.
The artist prepares
Her brushes and palette.

Canvas Two

With the flick
Of the her wrist,
The color yellow
Appears on canvass,
The artist envisions
The perfect omelet
Garnished with parsley
On a white ceramic plate.

Her favorite omelet
Comes to mind –
Filled with sautéed mushrooms,
Scallions, and red bell pepper.
A Roma tomato thinly sliced,
Topped with a sprinkle
Of cheddar cheese,
So pleasing to
The eyes and palate!

Canvas Three

A late afternoon sun,
Lights a dark corner
Of her studio, where
Unfinished sketches
On canvas lean
Against the wall, forgotten.
The artist thumbs through
The stack,and finds
A sketch of her mother.

A memory awakens…

Her mother in the kitchen
Bent over the cutting board
Peeling Roma tomatoes,
Scooping out the seeds,
Tossing garlic and onions
In the cast iron pot with hot
Olive oil sizzling!
Then come the tomatoes,
The oregano,
Bay leaf,
Tomato paste,
A sprinkle of sugar,
A pinch or two of
Red pepper flakes
And some red wine.

Sauce simmers for hours,
The aroma rises from the
Stove, fills the house.
The artist’s lets these
Memories linger -
She can almost taste the
Savory red sauce!
Now, finished with the sketch
Of her mother, she picks-up
The brush and palette
And lets her hand
Glide across the canvas.

Dorothy Skiles

© Copyright 2013 by D. Skiles

(First reading: Opening of the McGroarty Arts Center Exhibition and Fair, March 9, 2013.)

Bite Me! Art Exhibition curated by Danielle Eubank, McGroarty Arts Center


by Dorothy Skiles

~ to George and Dena

At half past seven…

Evening sky still
so young and so full
of the colors
of early dusk
that scatters its light
across the horizon…

            Meet you and Dena
            on your way
            to Albany.
You greeted us
with a familiar
embrace, as
we came up
the walk,
            and led us
            to our place.
            among family. 

Broke bread,
poured wine,
savored the
time together.
sprinkled the meals  
of seafood stew,
pasta with lamb,
pork with rosemary,
potatoes and garlic.

And when we caught
our breaths, coffee and
bread pudding were
shared before parting,
before we’d miss you,

Dorothy Skiles
Rev. 03/16/13
©Copyright 2013 by D. Skiles

American fruit tart. Photo (C) 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk
American fruit tart. Photo (C) 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk
Marlene Hitt will read a wide cross-section of her food-related poetry. The first Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, she is the Director of the Bolton Hall Museum, and the driving force behind the Village Poets Monthly Readings held there. At the McGroarty Arts Center's exhibition we will hear her poems: Best of Bites, Mother's Day, Feast Day, Vegetable Booth, and Irish Moss.

Mother’s Day


Mint leaves from her garden,
baby carrots, snap peas,
red-ripe tomatoes, and apricots...
As with paint pots before canvas,
her hands the brushes,
she arranges the color of the meal.
Monet’s gardens hang for centuries,
hers are devoured in an hour,
displayed only in memory. Meals.
Potatoes sprinkled with parsley,
lamb with Asian pear and kiwi salsa.
Chipotle-glazed apples,
chicken dumpling soup
with lemon grass and cilantro.
Vanilla bean souffles, flour pudding.
From her hands:
bok choy cooked crisp-tender,
haggis and ale, oatcakes and mutton.
Her treat, oreos, vanilla ice cream,
grilled cheese, strawberry milk.
Once, warm bread, this morning’s cream,
corn cob jelly, french toast,


Acorn mush, piki and a sprig of sage.The artistry of the nurturer.


(C) by Marlene Hitt

Marlene Hitt

Irish Moss - the Reaping

We waited for a full moon,
waited for midnight,
waited for the fullness of knowing...
Like knowing when
to harvest the moss.

Some searched in the morning
when the sun was high, the air clear,
when dew remains as it drops from grasses.
All of us wait
for the time of the reaping
of the carrageen
when the people gather,
reap together
to pick under midnight moon,
the seaweed,
which will become transformed
into the sweetest of puddings.
Magic, it is, the moss beside the sea,
the reapers, to thicken the pudding.

(c) by Marlene Hitt

Vegetable Booth

Apples are ripe on the apple vine,
carrots are grown through the roof.
I’ll grind some spinach to make some wine,
Yes, I’ll set up a vegetable booth
with turnip flowers and melon juice,
a strawberry bunch tied with string
with chocolate prunes and sour vermouth
and a tart lemon pie. I will bring

cabbage leaf jam and zucchini jelly
a pot of squash and leek stew.
Bring your coins and appetite
be part of the vegetable crew.

(c) by Marlene Hitt

Maja Trochimczyk picks mushrooms in the Sierras
Maja Trochimczyk picking mushrooms in the Sierras, 2011
Maja Trochimczyk will read a sample of her food-related poems, including "How to Make a Mazurka" from Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse anthology published by Moonrise Press in 2010 to celebrate the bi-centennial of Chopin's birth.  The poem is about a Polish "mazurka" which refers both to a special cake for Easter and a dance that Chopin loved.  Maja will also read her poems "On Mushrooms" published on the Poetry Laurels Blog in August 2011 (reprinted below), and "On Eating a Donut at a Krakow Airport" published on the Chopin with Cherries Blog in January 2013.

Easter dishes - ham, mazurka, herring, salads, chocolate
Polish Easter dishes including the mazurka, 2011.


How to Make a Mazurka

Maja Trochimczyk
                         After Mazurka in A Minor, Op. 17, No. 4,
                        for my Grandparents, Stanisław and Marianna Wajszczuk,
                        who could play and bake their mazurkas like no one else            

          Take one cup of longing
for the distant home that never was,
one cup of happiness that danced
with your shadows on the walls

of Grandpa’s house, while he played
a rainbow of folk tunes
on his fiddle, still adorned
with last wedding’s ribbons

            mix it – round and round to dizziness

stir in some golden buzz of the bees
in old linden tree, add the ascent
of skylark above spring rye fields,
singing praises to the vastness of blue

            mix it – round and round to dizziness

add chopped walnuts, figs, dates
and raisins, pour in some juice
from bittersweet grapefruit
freshly picked in your garden

add dark grey of rainclouds in Paris
that took Chopin back to the glimmer
of candles in an old cemetery
on the evening of All Souls’ Day

            mix it – round and round to dizziness

bake it in the cloudless heat
of your exile, do not forget to sprinkle
with a dollop of sparkling crystals,
first winter’s snowflakes at midnight 

King Boletus (prawdziwek) mushrooms in the High Sierras, CA
King Boletus (prawdziwek) found in the High Sierras, California, 2011.

On Mushrooms

Maja Trochimczyk

In the forest of Christmas trees for giants
I look for the shapes of mushrooms
I used to know well – hiding
In tall grass under the aspen,
Beneath piles of pine needles and bark

– the true one,
The king of the forest, Boletus
Rules in unexpected places
Among birch twigs and Douglas fir
Osaki, Kozaki – his second-rate,
Still lovely cousins wait in the shade
Among manzanita, wild currants and fern.

I find bitter, colorful szatans,
Pretending to be true
Pale muchomory my grandma used
To kill flies in a glass filled with sugar water
Psie grzybki fit for a dog
That would not eat them
And twisted, tree-growing huba
I do not know how to cook.

My share of mushrooms?
The toxic lookalikes of true ones!
That’s all there is in this
Enchanted forest for me.

And this is why, my dears, I wrote
And you read Confessions
Of a Failed Mushroom-picker.

King Boletus (prawdziwek) mushroom in the High Sierras, CA
King Boletus (Prawdziwek) found in California.

On Mushrooms was first published in Poetry Laurels Blog; reprinted in The Voice of the Village in September 2011. 

McGroarty Arts Center, mushroom and cake photos (c) 2011 by Maja Trochimczyk.

Album of pictures from the reading is now available on Picasa Web Albums:

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