Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Independence Day Parade and July 22 with Marlene Hitt and Dorothy Skiles in Montrose

The Parade in 2011, Photo by Susan Rogers

The Village Poets Convertible will carry Pam Shea, Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga for 2017-2018 this year, in the Sunland-Tujunga Fourth of July Parade on Tuesday, July 4, 2017, starting at 10 a.m. The Annual Independence Day Parade takes place on Foothill Blvd, down from Mt. Gleason St. to the Sunland Park. Many representatives of government and community organizations participate, including the Little Landers Historical Society, the Verdugo Hills High School and other local schools, firemen, police, bikers' clubs, and more. Village Poets have had a regular presence since 2010 and below you can see some photos. In celebration, let us read some poems, suitable for the occasion.

Photo by Pam Shea


by Pamela Shea

Today I performed a most humbling act
I repaired my home flag, dear Old Glory
I stitched frayed seams with reverential care
While it whispered to me its story

It took me to places where it had been
To battlefields, parades, and many graves
It took me to places of the deepest sorrow
Also to sunny, celebratory days

I envisioned faces of many heroes
Of all colors, races, ages, and creeds
We journeyed to mountaintops and valleys
Commemorating countless courageous deeds

Frayed seams reminded me of frayed families
I thought of all soldiers, alive, dead, or maimed
Thoughts of generations flooded my mind
So many lives for freedom forever changed

I finished my sewing with thankfulness
Completing this sacred task with a prayer
My heart was warmed by appreciation
As I proudly posted the colors with care

(c) 2015 by Pam Shea

Dorothy Skiles with Joe Decenzo at the Parade


by Dorothy Skiles

The Fourth of July’s
Night skies are alight with stars
In celebration

Of our nation’s birth.!
Red, white, blues of many hues
Dance before our eyes.

Children frolic about,
Lovers snuggle on the lawn
All want to stay ‘till dawn!

(c) 2012 by Dorothy Skiles

Joe DeCenzo drives the parade car, 2014

Maja Trochimczyk with daughter Ania, at the Parade, 2010

Joe DeCenzo drumming at the Parade, 2015

Dorothy Skiles, Maja Trochimczyk, Marlene Hitt at the Parade, 2013

Village Poets at the Parade, 2014

Village Poets at the Parade, 2015


Due to an exhibition being held at Bolton Hall Museum, Village Poets' July meeting has been moved to nearby Montrose where the Library will present Dorothy Skiles and Marlene Hitt, in a double feature of Village Poets. Below is the flyer for the event produced by the Montrose Library, located at 2465 Honolulu Avenue, Montrose. The reading will start at 3 p.m. See you there!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Poet Judith Terzi and Artist Monique Lehman Speak on June 25, 2017

Village Poets are pleased to present poet Judith Terzi reading from her newest book, and tapestry artist Monique Chmielewski Lehman discussing her aesthetics, craft and artworks, on Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 4:30 p.m. The Village Poets Monthly Readings are held at Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042. The readings include also two open mike segments. Refreshments are served and $3 donations collected for the cost of the venue, the second historical landmark in the City of Los Angeles, that celebrated its centennial in 2013.  The Museum is managed by the Little Landers Historical Society.


Judith Terzi's poems have appeared in an array of literary journals including Caesura, Columbia Journal, Raintown Review, Spillway, and Unsplendid, as well as in anthologies such as Malala: Poems for Malala Yousafzai, Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the '60s & '70s, and Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond. Her poetry has been nominated for Best of the Web and Net, and included in Keynotes, a study guide for the artist-in-residence program for State Theater New Jersey. She taught French at Polytechnic School in Pasadena for over twenty years as well as English at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria. Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By are recent chapbooks from Kattywompus Press. 
Visit her website at

         for B.T.

I couldn't wait to take your name,
never took another's. Why

give up the vigor of a name? Vibration.
Never took my father's again,

or my mother's, her father a burden
no one desired. Possession

through a name was in the air then.
Never a hyphenation, but

a confine, an erasure to camouflage
the solo. Did I belong to you?

To a language learned, fragments of two
I never did? To the haik

I never wore, never daring to seek
pleasure from the silk cloth

caressing my legs, my arms, never
daring to fuse with Algerian

women, their rhythm, their melodic
flow across the whitewashed

city, Alger la Blanche. Did I belong to
the fragrance of orange blossom,

jasmine nights? Translucent noon.
Aquamarine. A name is not

a stone. You can clear a name, you can
name your poison. There was

none, only possession we rushed to own
back then, roles to fill. I still

belong to my father, bear his essence,
sense his incantations, his rituals.

Tunes play in my head when I hear
I didn't catch your name.

Rhymes with Jersey, not curtsy, I say.
Z as in zebra, its roots a wild,

forked geography from mine, mine
a found name my father chose

to disguise origin in another time.
So I ask if your name is still

me. Isn't it only a harmony of rosemary
and thyme, wind raling over

a wrought-iron balcony, shoulders curved
toward the slant of everywhere?

Roll call of earth heaped on both sides
of a fresh wound. Someone else

trickling grief, scattering nicknames
over you. I will never see

the in-betweens of the five letters
of your name. Caress of carnation,

rose. A star, as a name in lights. The last
letter an "I" belong to the story.

(from CASBAH, Kattywompus Press, 2017)


Lehman weaves a portrait of her father comic-book creater Mr. Chmielewski

A native of Warsaw, Poland and a graduate of the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, Monique Lehman is an accomplished and original tapestry artist whose work may be found in museum collections around the world (the Vatican, Long Beach Museum of Art, Central Museum of Textiles in Lodz, Poland and the Space Museum in Cape Canaveral, FL), as well as in many American public buildings, city halls, churches, hospitals and synagogues. Her creative output continues the centuries of development of unique fiber art tradition, previously unknown in America and created exclusively by Polish artists.  

Lehman in China with a poster based on her self-portrait tapestry

Monique Chmielewski came from Poland to USA in 1978 invited by an American artist to teach at her studio in California. When the Pope John Paul II visited Chicago, Monique greeted him by presenting his portrait she wove as a 6’ x 4’ tapestry. Since the American TV showed this event on the news, the public learned about the Polish tapestry school.

Working on a tapestry at home

Monique was invited to lecture about art and soon Polish tapestries became desirable objects for American collectors. Ms. Lehman, a member of Zwiazek Polskich Artystow Plastykow, shares her time between exhibiting, working on large commissions, and organizing art shows for artists from China in Poland and Polish artists in American and China museums. She is a real ambassador of Polish Fiber Art. Her knowledge of languages and cultures help her to promote Polish art in Asia and the Americas. This year she was invited as a special guest to World Textile Art in Uruguay and Biennale of Art in Karachi, Pakistan.

Fragment of award-winning Chopin Cape by Lehman

Monique’s accomplishment is bringing European visual criteria to America and China, as well as sharing Polish culture. Her monumental tapestries such as the parochet for Temple Beth El, La Jolla, CA, or the Portrait of St. Francis, typically take several years to complete. The large-scale works created on commission are just one side of her creative talent. She also developed an original style of abstract tapestries, that are three dimensional, may change shapes, and have a rich palette of colors and textures to express their themes.  

With large tapestry at Pasadena City College

Since 2010, she participated in 29 prominent international exhibitions on four continents (Asia, North and South America and Europe), including exhibitions held in: Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada; Oaxaca, Mexico; Beijing and other cities in China; the Lodz Triennale, and many other exhibitions in Poland (Bytom, Czestochowa, Gdynia and so forth), as well as Long Beach, Palos Verdes, Ontario, and Pasadena in California. She was recently invited to show her fiber art as a solo artist in Montevideo, Uruguay, during the WTA Conference in October 2017, and will hold a Retrospective Exhibition in the Museum of Textiles in Beijing, China, in the following year. 

Lehman with her Rain Forest tapestry

She promotes tapestry art by organizing international shows in Europe, China and the U.S. One of her internationally exhibited projects with contributions by 100 artists from 20 countries was the Memorial Tapestry commemorating the victims of 9/11. Monique’s goal was to promote polish art not only in the USA but internationally. The artist participated in many Contemporary International Fiber Art Exhibitions and served as a jury member since 2006. For her achievements in the field of fiber arts, Monique Lehman received an honorary degree of Professor from Zibo Vocational Institute, in the city of Zibo, Shandong Province, China. She included many Polish artists in the largest Fiber Art show in Asia,“From Lausanne to Beijing.” She is a judge of this show and invited eminent Polish professors to join her in selecting the work for display. 

Modeling Wearable Art on the Beach

Working on the tapestry for La Jolla Temple Beth El.
Her unique passion is Wearable Art. In February 2017, she received a prize for her artwork shown
at the International Exhibition of Wearable Art in Palos Verdes, Monique promotes this type of art
which was first invented by Polish art students, who could not buy fashionable or original clothes  
in the 1970s. 

Fragment of tapestry by Lehman