Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pamela Shea, Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga - Passing of the Laurels, April 23, 2017

Pamela Shea, photo by Meridyth MacDonald, 2017.

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga are pleased to announce that Pamela Shea, a long-time local resident, has been elected the Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate for 2017-2019. She will officially assume her duties and receive her laurels on

Sunday, April 23, 2017, at 3:00 pm
at the McGroarty Arts Center 
7570 McGroarty Terrace, Tujunga, CA  91042 

The event is free and open to the public. There will be poetry readings by past Poets Laureate, including Joe DeCenzo, Marlene Hitt, Dorothy Skiles, and Maja Trochimczyk, the "Swan Song" reading by the outgoing Elsa Frausto, whose three year term is ending in April, and the flute and guitar performance featuring Alice Pero. Representatives from local and federal government offices will be in attendance. Reception to follow.
Pamela Shea has lived in the Sunland-Tujunga area for nearly 40 years. 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. She 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.

In 2013, she was a team captain for the inaugural Sunland-Tujunga Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society, and then, in 2015, she was a member of the Relay for Life planning committee, served as chairperson of the Survivor Committee, and was co-chairperson of the Entertainment Committee.

Pamela Shea, photo by Meridyth MacDonald, 2017. 

As Poet Laureate Ms. Shea has the following plans:

"I plan on taking poetry out into the community by facilitating quarterly seasonal poetry writing events for all ages.These events would be held at local venues that feature the flora and fauna of our community, such as Descanso Gardens, Deukmejian Park, the meditation garden at the Crescenta Valley YMCA, McGroarty Arts Center, and Bolton Hall.My goal is to foster a spirit of inspiration, affinity, and support for both established and budding poets, and to encourage them to experience the beauty of our environment together and use it as a muse for their own work."

Her favorite poet is Khalil Gibran and she admits: "his writings, in particular The Prophet, provided inspiration to me as an emerging teenage poet.I identify with his romanticism and mysticism and feel a kinship with him in his respect for nature and use of it in his work.This long-haired and unconventional artist was one of my first contacts with Eastern thought and tradition, which influence both my writing and personal life.I also admire him for his support of freedom--artistic as well as political--and appreciate his encouragement of women’s liberation."

Pamela Shea at Bolton Hall, Photo Maja Trochimczyk

By Pamela Shea

Open, discerning hearts, to hear
The story of this fair land
Told in local rocks and boulders
As well as small grains of sand.

For eons the stones remained unmoved,
Except when nature intervened;
Only flora, fauna, and wild creatures
Shared the Sunland-Tujunga scene.

Then the native Tongva people arrived
And used these friends in making tools,
Preparing food, fashioning weapons;
They followed the simplest of rules.

Later, modern man emerged,
Coming to Monte Vista’s Vale,
Pursuing Utopian visions,
Building homes to resist life’s gales.

Families came seeking awakening,
Led by William Ellsworth Smythe,
With dreams and lofty ideals
They used the stones in their newfound life.

The proud structure that is Bolton Hall
Was a center for community;
Granite chunks from fields, hillsides, and wash
Built a place for law and security.

Years later, Mr. John McGroarty,
A great statesman and poet, too,
Erected his own home using local rocks
To breathe clean air from skies so blue.

White painted stones uphold the large white cross,
So visible above the boulevard;
Grains of sand provide fun in local playgrounds
And in residential backyards.

Fire may destroy the vegetation,
And wild animals may be slain;
Even mankind itself may vanish,
But sturdy stones and rugged rocks remain.

Surrounded by ancient granite friends,
Take daily respite; be still for awhile.
Listen with quiet minds and open hearts
As hidden stories reveal and beguile. 

Pam Shea at Bolton Hall. Photo by Kathabela Wilson

In Memory of William Ellsworth Smythe
By Pamela Shea

In the lowness of the valley
I behold the mountain’s peak;
From the depth of introspection
Does my joy find words to speak.

The foothills rise up in splendor;
My spirit soars on wings,
Beholding crystalline skies;
In quietude my soul sings.

The yuccas rise triumphantly
From our mother’s rocky soil;
Old Woman lies resting above
While below her children toil.

Once the Vale of Monte Vista,
Now Sunland-Tujunga reigns;
Serenity is to be found
On her gently sloping plains.

Nature calls to me in whispers;
Soothing breezes ’round me blow;
I glimpse a piece of heaven
In Los Terrentinos’s glow.

Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

By Pamela Shea

The hazy smile of crescent moon,
The cheerful face of daffodil,
The brilliant, blazing midday sun
All show that spring is here.

The soothing coo of sister dove,
Audacious caw of brother crow,
Hum and buzz of winged insects
All sing that spring is here.

Soft pinks and yellows of sunrise,
Explosive red-golds of sunset,
The clear blue skies of longer days
Confirm that spring is here.

Rat-a-tat-tat of woodpecker,
Emerald flash of hummingbird,
Cavorting dance of butterflies
Affirm that spring is here.

The soft caress of grass tendrils,
Tender new shoots reaching skyward,
Scent of nature’s perfumery
Endorse that spring is here.

The pure joy in children at play,
Glow of adolescent passion,
Serenity in aged eyes
Reflect that spring is here.

The soft kiss of a rustling breeze,
Expectation of warmth to come,
Harmonious celebration
Whisper that spring is here.

Promise of life in nested eggs,
Hinted change in caterpillars,
The fresh rebirth of Mother Earth
Proclaim that spring is here.

Pam Shea reads at Rose of Roses Exhibit, photo by Kathabela Wilson

02/14/2017 ~ Pamela Shea

The bud of a rose
Layer on layer of petals
Held tightly, perfectly
Unfolding when the time has come
Bursts open and a flower is born
Releasing sweet perfume

The heart of a lover
Layer on layer of emotions
Trembling, hidden, waiting
When touched by the beloved
Bursts open and a poem is born
Sweet music fills the air

Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

The Passing of the Laurels event is supported in part by Poets & Writers through grants it has received from The James Irvine Foundation and the Hearst Foundations. Other supporters include Moonrise Press and Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Elsa Frausto and Alice Pero Present "Sunland Park Poems" on March 26, 2017

Alice Pero and Elsa Frausto in Sunland Park. 

On Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga present the outgoing Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, Elsa S. Frausto in her last reading in that capacity, at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga (10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042).  A resident of Tujunga, Elsa will be joined in this presentation by an eminent and nationally known poet and musician, Alice Pero who is a Sunland resident. Together, they will present their new book, Sunland Park Poems, published recently by Shabda Press.

The reading, organized by Village Poets Planning Committee, features two segments of open mike presentations and refreshments, all in a beautiful interior of Los Angeles's Historical Landmark No. 2, built in 1913 and now listed in the Congressional Record, as well as on listings of the most important buildings in Southern California.  Managed by Little Landers Historical Society, the Bolton Hall Museum presents permanent and temporal exhibits pertaining to local history, as well as many cultural events.

From the Book's Preface:

Two Sunland/Tujunga poets decided to write poems in Sunland Park and met on Tuesday mornings on warm spring days under the sheltering branches of towering  pine and live oak.  Eventually a book began to form and is dedicated to the park with its visitors and quasi-residents, squirrels, sparrows and one lone saxophone player. A certain bond was formed amongst the poets, the trees, the people of the Senior Center, morning strollers and even the dust blowing about in air which turned increasingly hot as months went on. This large park breathes life in and out and the wind coming from the San Gabriel Foothills pulled poems out of the poets as it scoured the paths. The spirit of Sunland Park and its people lives in these poems.


Here's the  biography from Alice Pero's website, http://alicepero.com/index.html

I am a poet, flutist and teacher of poetry to children. My mission is to awaken the creative spirit in all people. I am happy when you read and enjoy my poems and listen to my flute playing. I have co-created many poetry dialogues with other poets and find this exchange to be one of the most exciting games of all times. I invite you to read my poems and come to my concerts. I am dedicated to awakening the creative spirit in one and all.

I was born in New York City, the child of an electrical engineer and a housewife/editor. I graduated from Putney School in Vermont and The Manhattan School of Music in New York City. I received dance training at the Martha Graham School in New York and from many private teachers and I studied flute with Harold Bennett. I discovered poetry after studying rhythm with the music educator, Jamie Faunt,and doing some courses in the applied religious philosophy, Scientology, and have been writing poetry seriously for 32 years. I have done many featured readings in New York and Los Angeles and have been widely published in small magazines and on the web. My first book of poetry, Thawed Stars, was published in 1999 and was praised by Kenneth Koch as having "clarity and surprises." I am a member of the California Poets in the Schools, and I was a workshop leader for the New York City Ballet Education Department Poetry Project for many years. I have also done over 20 dialogues with other poets.

Returning to flute playing in 2006, I have been concertizing, including giving a house concert benefit for the LA Philharmonic, a recital at the Mid-Week Recital Series at the First Methodist Church of Santa Monica, several solo performances with the California Theatrical Youth Ballet, the Beverly Hills Chamber Music Festival, Celebrity Centre in Hollywood and many private concerts. I have been a student of David Shostac and Susan Greenberg, and continue private studies with Paul Fried in Sylmar, California.  

Together with Veronica Bell and other local musicians, I have formed a chamber music group, Windsong, that gives regular concerts in the Los Angeles area. In 2002 I created a reading series in Los Angeles called “Moonday” that is co-produced by Lois P. Jones and has continued to present excellent poets over the years. 

Stay with the Trees

who pose and smile
though we do not notice
They will never psychoanalyze you
or tell you who you are
or whom you must become

Talk to the trees,
they do not care if they are famous poets
Their poems are hidden inside their bark
I press my ear to hear

Sing to the trees
They will love you
for drowning out the sirens,
the loud honking of car alarms

Run and sing while the trees’ branches
dance with wind music,
never concerned about beginnings
or endings, flowing life rhythm
without a single thought

(c) 2017 by Alice Pero


Elsa Frausto, a native of the Argentinian Pampas has lived in Tujunga under the shade of oaks and with the nightly scent of chaparral and sage for close to thirty years. She has been active in the local literary community as a member of the Chuparosa Writers, editor, readings organizer and host ( Camelback Readings) and most recently Wide Open Readings at the Sunland-Tujunga Library where she also showcases the Poem of the Month.

Together with the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga, she participates in the monthly poetry readings at Bolton Hall. As the current Poet Laureate of Sunland -Tujunga  (2014-2017), Elsa and local poet, Alice Pero, are happy to present their new book  Sunland Park Poems (Shabda Press) which celebrates the beautiful Foothills we call home.


How many times this road, this river,
these mountains, the gorge opening like a mouth.
And we are going west, sun at our backs,
either pilgrims or explorers,
cutting the air with the speed
of breath and want.

How much is allowed in the space of a life,
how little remains,
how much was there at the beginning,
little we knew.

May be enough.

(C) 2017 by Elsa Frausto


The photos of Sunland Park trees above are by Alice Pero. 

Our photos from the Bolton Hall Readings and other events are now posted on Facebook only - and not on Google albums. To stay current, we will add photos from the previous reading to the following issue of the blog. Here are some group shots from the February 26, 2017 reading by Margaret Saine, and a guitar solo performance by Eva Zmijewska. Saine presented her newly published Lit Angels, issued by the local Moonrise Press

Margaret Saine reading from Lit Angels (Moonrise Press, 2017)

Bo Kyung Kim, Margaret Saine, Kathabela and Rick Wilson.
Bac: Peter, Dorothy Skiles, Mira Mataric, Joe DeCenzo, Marlene Hitt, Pam Shea, Maja Trochimczyk

Margaret Saine with Eva Zmijewska

Margaret Saine with Eva Zmijewska

Bo Kyoung Kim, Margaret Saine, Kathabela and Rick Wilson

Eva Zmijewska, Margaret Saine, Maja Trochimczyk