Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jack Cooper on August 24, with Summer Poetry Reports - Watermelon Festival, Animal Poetry, Bread...

Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga are thrilled to announce that the wonderful, one and only Jack Cooper will be the Featured Poet at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga on Sunday, August 24, at 4:30 p.m.   The Reading will include Two Open Mike Segments, before and after the Featured Poets, and refreshments prepared by the Village Poets.


Jack Cooper's first poetry collection, Across My Silence, was published by World Audience, Inc., 2007.  His work has been nominated three times for a Pushcart Prize, as a finalist in North American Review's 2011 James Hearst Poetry Prize, and currently as a finalist in the 2014 Eco Arts Award in Creative Excellence. 

His poetry has also appeared in Connecticut River Review, The South Dakota Review, The Evansville Review, The Santa Fe Literary Review and many other publications. He can be contacted at - his poetry website with more information about his work.


The mission of Village Poets includes bringing poetry to diverse audiences everywhere. Since 2011, the poets have organized a Kids Poetry Corner or Kids Book Corner at the Watermelon Festivals in Sunland Park. This year, the Watermelon Festival  moved to Santa Anita Park, on the back of the Racetrack, but the tradition continued.  The Village Poets partnered with youth from Phoenix House Academy of Los Angeles  that volunteered to assist with the setup and managing the Kids Book Corner. 

On Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20, 2014, Maja Trochimczyk was joined by counselors and  students from the Academy - six girls on Saturday and six boys on Sunday - in presenting an assortment of children's books to kids that might want to take a break from all the rides and attraction of the Festival, giving out balloons, and making origami.  In addition to giving out 50 balloons to kids small and large, the students read books and tongue-twisters and made origami by themselves, producing a swan, crane, frog, and a ninja star. 

Lemur from Wildlife Waystation.

The site was located next to an exciting stand managed by the Wildlife Waystation, and presenting live animals - such as llamas, anteaters, lemur, barn owl, snakes, and more.  The kind folks from the Wildlife Waystation allowed the poets to keep their books and toys overnight in their enclosure, and a new collaboration was born. 

Maja Trochimczyk with a book display for Kids Book Corner. 

The Phoenix House students, in addition to volunteering with books, origami and balloons, also had a chance of walking around the spacious grounds of the Watermelon Festival and tasting some of the treats - to which they were "treated" by the poets, on condition that they read at least one book in return. This they did, laughing at the simple childhood stories.

The enjoyable weekend was filled with excitement and fun - which was as important to the students of the Phoenix House Academy as their community service. The Academy is a residential treatment facility providing high school education and therapeutic services to youth suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues. They helped kids and enjoyed their day at the Festival at the same time (For those who need help with their youth affected by substance abuse, the phone number for Call Center is 1 800 378 4435).


The group reading of "Paws for Poetry" at the La Crescenta Public Library on Saturday, July 19, 2014, was a great success and showed a true diversity of poems inspired by the animal world - from the favorite dog - family friend, to proud cats, alluring birds of various sorts and sizes, and snakes changing their skin. The following poets contributed their reflections on the animal world to the event: Becky Mate; Peter Larsen; 
Marlene Hitt*; Mira Mataric; Mina Kirby; Joe DeCenzo*; Jessica Wilson Cardenas (with percussionist and flutist Juan Cardenas); Maja Trochimczyk*; Sam Graham; Beverly Collins; Jill Meunier; and Dorothy Skiles*. Stars indicate names of Village Poets Planning Group. 

Dorothy Skiles addresses the audience.

Gene Schultz took a lot of pictures and we will be posting an album in the future. For now, we have a  group shot from Mira Mataric, and some illustrations - photographs by Bill Skiles and Maja Trochimczyk that were framed and displayed by the La Crescenta Library staff. Well done, everyone!

Two photos of animal mosaics from the Sainte Chapelle in Paris by Maja Trochimczyk


If all goes well, the Finishing Line Press will publish Maja Trochimczyk chapbook, "Slicing the Bread" on October 25, 2014.  This third poetry book by Maja Trochimczyk can be ordered now and will be printed and shipped in October. The limited edition’s pre-publication sales will determine the press run, so please reserve your copy now. 
The books cost $14 each plus $2.99 for shipping for the first book in a package and $1.99 for each additional book. You can order your copy of Slicing the Bread on Finishing Line Press website at (look for new releases). Read more about this book, highly praised by poets Lois P. Jones, Georgia Jones Davis, John Z. Guzlowski, Sharon Chmielarz, and Linda Nemec Foster,  on Maja's blog!