Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Village Poets Celebrate the National Poetry Month at the La Crescenta Library on April 20 at 2 p.m.

Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, Dorothy Skiles and Maja Trochimczyk at Village
Poets Reading from Meditations on Divine Names (Moonrise Press, 2013)
 In celebration of National Poetry Month, the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will be featured at Los Angeles County Public Library in La Crescenta (2809 Foothill Blvd., CA 91214) on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 2:00pm to 4:00pm.  The reading's program includes poetry by Dorothy Skiles, Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, as well as fellow past poets Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, Maja Trochimczyk, Mari Werner and Beverly M. Collins. There is no open reading.


  • "Sensations" by Marlene Hitt, Dorothy Skiles and Joe DeCenzo read by Village Poets 
  • Dorothy Skiles 
  • Mari Werner 
  • Beverly M. Collins 
  • Group Reading of "Enrollment" by Joe DeCenzo 
  • Joe DeCenzo 
  • Marlene Hitt 
  • "Remembering" by Marlene Hitt, read by Lloyd and Marlene Hitt
  • Maja Trochimczyk 
  • Group Reading of "The Veil, The Weave" by Maja Trochimczyk 


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. Every two years 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. Dorothy Skiles is the current Poet-Laureate in our community (2012-2014). 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.


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BEVERLY M. COLLINS was born in the small town of Milford, DE. She is the next to the youngest daughter in a family of five girls and grew up being absorbed by a love of music. Her family relocated to Central New Jersey ( Rahway, Plainfield, and Westfield). Having survived an uncertain early childhood which included losing two brothers in their infancy, the families frequent relocations, and witnessing her mother's turbulent marriage of repeated break-ups and reconciliations. Collins drew many conclusions about life that were later torn up and re-accessed. Using her love of music as medicine, she has arrived at a place of tender determination to brew a new stew of carefully selected life ingredients. She is one of the Prize Winners of the 2012 California State Poetry Society and her work appeared in the California Quarterly and Poetry Letter and Literary Review. Her work, "Child of Summer" is included in the Poetry Speaks! Year of great Poems and Poets 2009 Calendar and her poem "By Chance" appears in the July 2009 issue of Bits & Pieces, The magazine the motivates the world both are included in Quiet Observations, a collection of whimsical and thought-provoking poems that will lead readers to look at themselves and question their motives deep within.

JOE DECENZO grew up in Los Angeles and majored in theater and English Literature. From 2004-06 he served as 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 for the same collection. He currently serves on the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council, the planning committee for the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga, and as Chair of Poet Laureate Search Committee.

 MARLENE HITT is a Los Angeles poet, writer and retired educator with local history as an avocation. She has served for many years as Archivist, Museum Director, and Historian at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. She is a graduate of Occidental College, a 26-year member of the Chuparosa writers and a member of the California Federation of Chaparral poets, John Steven McGroarty Chapter. Ms. Hitt served as Poet-Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga 1999-2001. Her poetry has appeared in several journals, three chapbooks and in local newspapers. She has written the book Sunland-Tujunga from Village to City and served as columnist for the Foothill Leader, Glendale News Press, North Valley Reporter and the Voice of the Village newspapers since 1998.

DOROTHY SKILES, who has been writing since her teenage years, graduated from Cal State Northridge and pursued a career as a welfare worker, policy and Human Resources manager and analyst for the County of Los Angeles (retired after 34-years of service). Dorothy published her first chapbook, The Sidewalk Gallery in 1979. Other chapbooks followed: Ear to Earth (1996), Spine Flower Blues (1999) - a collaborative by the Chuparosa Writers - and Riddle in the Rain (2003) - with Marlene Hitt. Over the last 15 years, Dorothy has been involved in the local poetry scene and her poems appeared in a variety of community publications. She is the current (7th) Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga (2012-2014), a member of Chuparosa Writers, the Verdugo Hills YMCA Senior Advisory Board, the 2013 Bolton Hall Centennial Committee, and the Lutheran Church in the Foothills.

MAJA TROCHIMCZYK, Ph.D., is a poet, music historian, and photographer born in Poland and living in California ( 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, in The Loch Raven Review, Angie's Diary, Epiphany Magazine, Lily Review, SVGPQ, Cosmopolitan Review, The Scream Online, Phantom Seed, Sentiment, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology, Lummox Journal, and other venues. The Sixth Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, and the founder of Moonrise Press, she taught music history at USC and ethics in jail. She received awards and fellowships from ACLS, SSHRCC, USC, McGill University, Polish American Historical Association, and Poland’s Ministry of Culture.

MARI WERNER grew up in Santa Barbara California. She now lives in Altadena and makes her living as an independent technical writer. Her columns and articles have been published in a number of local and national publications including the Los Angeles Daily News and The Latest. Between paid projects, she’s working on a book that uses humor to make the basics and truths of economics accessible to ordinary people. Poetry and humor are Mari’s true writing loves, and she’s been writing poetry off and on since childhood. She’s been a regular at the Village Poets open readings since she started attending in May 2010. Though she loves nature, she finds most of her poetic inspiration in human life. Her plain-spoken poetry is often laced with a touch of humor or sarcasm, but beneath it is a hope for human kind and the creative energy in us all.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

100 Years of Bolton Hall (4/13) and Neil McCarthy at the McGroarty Arts Center (4/27)

Due to the Bolton Hall's Centennial Celebrations, the Village Poets Monthly Reading for the month of April will be moved to the McGroarty Arts Center (7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga, CA 91042). The reading will be held at the Center which is a former residence of John Steven McGroarty, California Poet Laureate in the 1930s and 1940s.  The event will present as the Featured Poet Neil McCarthy from Ireland.

Neil McCarthy
Instead of meeting as has been our tradition on a Sunday afternoon, the Village Poets Reading will be held on SATURDAY, April 27, at 4:30 p.m.  An open mike and refreshments will compliment the program. George Harris's hat will be passed around for donations, this time to support the wonderful arts programs at the McGroarty Arts Center. 

McGroarty Arts Center, (c) Maja Trochimczyk
McGroarty Arts Center "Bite Me" Exhibition with Debby Beck's painting (above on the left).
In 2013, the Bolton Hall Museum is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The Museum is the City of Los Angeles's Historical Monument No. 2.  

The anniversary events are listed on the website for the Little Landers Historical Society and include:
  • April 13, 1 p.m. - The Cornerstone Ceremony (a reenactment of events 100 years ago, with Richard Stewart playing the role of George Harris)
  • May 11, 10 a.m. - Historic Home Tour
  • July 4, 10 a.m. - Fourth of July Parade
  • August 10, 4 p.m. - Open House
  • November 9, 3 p.m . - Dance 

Historical Monument Marker for Bolton Hall (c) Maja Trochimczyk
Marker for Bolton Hall - Historic Cultural Monument No. 2 of Los Angeles.

Neil McCarthy is an Irish poet from Cork now living in Los Angeles. He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, with his poems appearing in over 30 international journals, including The New York Quarterly, The SHOp (Ireland), Magma (UK), and Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria) to name a few. He is a regular feature on the reading circuit and has performed a guest speaker in bookstores, cafes, embassies, bars and universities, in cities such as New York, LA, Denver, Dublin, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna and Melbourne. Earlier this year, he released a CD of spoken word recorded live in Vienna.  He can be found at

North from Laguna Beach


It feels a lot longer in kilometres; the metric system making
everything seem a lot faster, further away, more expensive.

And here we are again: making a mockery of geography,
wishing our recent air miles could be ascribed to one company. 

Driving north from Laguna Beach, the Pacific struggles to
sleep in the glare of the marauding metropolis around the corner:

It is Halicarnassus during a siege, abraded sketches of victors
and the dead; the colour of Antelope Valley in April; your

Lithuanian skin where the sun screen missed, or my cheeks
ablaze with guilt the first time we kissed in Vienna.

I was Orson Welles skulking in the shadows and you Alida Valli;
our time measured like footsteps advancing on Gethsemane.


I have been drawing a window sill of basil, rosemary and chive,
painting over the blu-tack marks on the bedroom wall, watching

you time and time again, learning your habits, your sleep patterns,
imagining your stomach extend by its nine monthly chapters.

I have been nailing Hollywood signs to buildings we wish to claim,
masquerading as a local on streets where angry men lash out at

invisible foes to the amusement of children and the horror of mothers.
You are there every time, safe in my hand, holding on to me as

I hold on to you, my arm across the divide driving north from Laguna
Beach.  Outside, the tableau of images read like a contents page

to a book written with every metric mile; and the burning sky above
Los Angeles just gets brighter and brighter and brighter.

(c) by Neil McCarthy

Mountain View, McGroarty Arts Center Window, (c) Maja Trochimczyk
Mountain View from the McGroarty Arts Center, Tujunga.