Friday, September 29, 2017

Village Poets Present Mary Torregrossa and Sharon Alexander on October 22, 2017

How time flies - it is the fall already! Leaves are turning red and yellow, at least those plastic ones on decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving in the One Dollar store... Time for travel, time for time-travel, time for adventure of imagination. On Sunday, October 22, 2017 at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, Village Poets will present poets Mary Torregrossa and Sharon Alexander. The reading will start at 4:30 p.m. at  10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, CA 91042, and will include two segments of open mike for guest poets (the average of two poems per person). Refreshments will be served during the intermission.  The George Harris Hat will be passed around for $3.00 suggested donation per person to cover the cost of the venue and refreshments. A group photo of featured poets and guests will be taken at the end, to commemorate the literary gathering.


Mary Torregrossa’s poems appear in “Bearing The Mask: Southwestern Persona Poems”, in “Wide Awake:Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond,” and “Voices From Leimert Park Redux,”, poets of the World Stage in Los Angeles. Her chapbook, “My Zocalo Heart,” a collection of portrait and persona poems is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

Mary explains, “I am a story-listener. It comes as part of my job as an Adult School ESL teacher in the Los Angeles area. I have to "listen twice” - as the Quakers say. So in my subsequent story-telling I have created a gallery of portrait poems along with a tapestry of longer narrative poems."

Mary's poems are rich in detail like gems kept in a music box.


~ for Jenny Butler

Banished to the cloakroom
for talking in class.
“Be still’” I was told,
as my eyes became adjusted
to the dimness of long 
and narrow room,
coats hung in happenstance
on shiny black hooks
with fat rounded tips
curving upwards in prayer.

The door closed
on the silence within.
Sitting on a low step stool,
hot cheeks in bony hands,
my elbows made dimples
in my knees.

The gray light of the afternoon
floated in from thick panes 
of a window behind me.
And yet it did not light
the farthest corner of the room
where a tall, metal cabinet
held paper, pencils and
heavy textbooks neatly stacked,
I knew, behind locked doors.

I turned away from the
shadows lurking there
and stood on tiptoe
looking out on bare branches
and the winter sky 
that promised snow.

My chin perched 
on crossed arms
I gazed toward the red
brick tower and its ledges
of stone, where the big
bells rang every Sunday – 
where brave starling lit
to look about – 

and I see the city
spread far and wide – 
avast hilly landscape
of two-story houses and
chimneys and evergreens
set among the bristling silhouettes
of gray barren trees.

My talons scratch against
the granite ledge,
my body lifts, drifting
through the sky, the soft sound
of wings pumping,
rushing now towards
thecold horizon
and the rocky shore
of silver green waters below.

(C) by Mary Torregrossa


Born and raised in New York, Sharon Alexander now lives in Southern California. She divides her time between her cabin at 6000 feet in the mountain town of Idyllwild and in La Quinta at the foot of the beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains.

Her prize-winning book, INSTRUCTIONS IN MY ABSENCE, won the 5th Biennial Chapbook Contest from Palettes & Quills, released May 2017.

VOODOO TROMBONE, Sharon's previous chapbook, was published by Finishing Line Press, 2014. 

You can find her poems in numerous journals including Caliban On-line; Naugatuck River Review; Pinyon; Redheaded Stepchild; Santa Ana River Review; Slipstream; and Subprimal Poetry Art.

Her poetry also appears in several anthologies including Beyond the Lyric Moment (Tebot Bach, 2014); Poeming Pigeons (The Poetry Box, 2015); Spectrum: 140 SoCal Poets (Don Kingfisher Campbell, 2015) and Woman in Metaphor (NHH Press, 2013).

Link to the Instructions in My Absence book:


The night my father dies, I search for him
in the painting over his bed. 
Crows clutter the sky,
wings rattle my windows — the horizon crooked as a broken bone.

Lost in the wheat fields, I find Van Gogh
painting the countryside yellow and blue, he sings 
aloud to drown the ringing in his ears.

Blackbirds bow in silence, 
clacking crows hold their tongues. Van Gogh daubs the heavens
thick and thicker to obscure the uproar of red

poppies crowding him while the wheeling sky shouts to be heard.
Somewhere my father hears dust storms blow across the moon—
sunflowers choke the sky.

(c) by Sharon Alexander


Ambika Talwar with Cece Peri.

Cece Peri reads. 

Ambika Talwar reads.

Ambika Talwar

Village Poets with guests. Seated L to R: Pam Shea, Cece Peri, Ambika Talwar, Alice Pero, guest, Dorothy Skiles. Standing L to R: Marlene Hitt, Guest, Bo Kyung Kim, Mary Torregrossa, Joe DeCenzo, Beverly Collins, Peter Larsen, Susan Rogers, Lois P Jones, Maja Trochimczyk, Sharon Hawley.

Village Poets, L to R: Maja Trochimczyk, Dorothy Skiles, 
Pamela Shea, Marlene Hitt and Joe DeCenzo.

Cece Peri, Ambika Talwar with Kathabela and Rick Wilson and friends. 

Beverly Collins, Joe DeCenzo and Peter Larsen listen to featured poets. 

Cece Peri and Spiritual Quartet: Ambika Talwar, Lois P. Jones, 
Maja Trochimczyk and Susan Rogers.

The Spiritual Quartet with peacock feathers.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Magic and Destiny with Cece Peri and Ambika Talwar on September 24, 2017

     Maja Trochimczyk, Susan Rogers, Elena Secota, Cece Peri, and Ambika Talwar at the Rapp Saloon in 2015

On September 24, 2017 at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, Village Poets will present two distinguished poets, Cece Peri and Ambika Talwar.  The reading will start at 4:30 p.m. on the Sunday afternoon, at  10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, CA 91042, and will include two segments of open mike and refreshments.


Cece Peri’s poems have appeared in a number of poetry journals and anthologies, including Malpais ReviewLuvina: The LA IssueSpeechless the MagazineAskewNoirConCapital & MainLiterary Alchemy, Beyond the Lyric Moment (Tebot Bach), Master Class: The Poetry Mystique (Duende Books), and Wide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series).  She received the first Anne Silver Poetry Award and awards from NoirCon and Arroyo Arts Collective’s “Poetry in the Windows.” A New Yorker, she has lived in the Los Angeles area since 2003. Visit her website at

Trouble Down the Road

At the flat top grill, he was all business,
flung raw eggs dead center into the corned beef
hash like a strapping southpaw.

In the alley, with me, he was all ideas.
Said he’d be leaving soon, had a shot back east—
a tryout for the big leagues. 

Said his sister would loan him a Buick convertible,
and he'd fill it with malt beer and tuna. 
All he needed was a woman to hold

his cat while he drove.    
I like animals, I told him.  Then I dropped
my cigarette into the dusty clay,

ground it out, slow,
felt the road under my foot.

by Cece Peri


Creative Vision for Changing Times
Author * Healer * Artist * Teacher

Ambika Talwar is an India-born author, wellness consultant, artist, and educator whose vision is to realize her sacred destiny and invite others to find their brilliance.  Insights gleaned through life challenges have prompted her to make her poetry a call to action. Composed in the ecstatic tradition, her poetry is a “bridge to other worlds.” She has authored Creative Resonance: Poetry—Elegant Play, Elegant Change and also 4 Stars & 25 Roses (poems for her father).  She is published in Kyoto Journal, Inkwater Ink - vol. 3; Chopin with Cherries; On Divine Names; VIA-Vision in Action; in Poets on Site collections; St. Julian Press; Tower Journal, Tebot Bach, and others; has interviewed with KPFK; has recorded poems for the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California

She won the Best Original Story award for her film “Androgyne” in Belgium; she produced and directed it. She asserts it is time for creative visionaries to offer narratives that change our worldview, and the big film studios must play a part in this transformation.

As an intuitive-spiritual healer, she practices IE:Intuition-Energetics™, a fusion of modalities, sacred geometry, and creativity principles. This full spectrum healing is aimed at clearing diverse obstructions and bringing clients to ease and wholeness. “Both poetry and holistic practices work beautifully together, for language is intricately coded in us,” she notes. Her super-charged, intuitive and subtle healing practices achieve rapid results for clients ready for change.  Loving this work, she says in these fascinating times, we must resolve our shadow and trauma, so we can call in our best possible self. 

An English professor, she lives in Los Angeles, CA and New Delhi, India. For book readings, healing workshops, and individual or group healing consultations, please contact her at:


Radio interviews:
The Human Frequency: 

My Greece: Mirrors & Metamorphoses
Discover Each Journey as Sacred Destiny

"At the beginning of this surprising memoir filled with heart, humor, wonderment, and sensuality, Grandmother Melpomene (beauteous, mercurial, 97, and Greek) reads Ambika Talwar’s morning coffee grounds and pronounces, “You have a long journey ahead of you.  A very long journey.”   You will not merely read about this journey.  You will be swept away as Ambika’s fortunate companion on an odyssey through what she calls the “cosmic weave” between clashing cultures and shared experiences. … “
~ Amélie Frank (Renowned Poet, publisher, Beyond Baroque board member — Los Angeles, California)

"Some journeys are both external and internal. Such is the case with Ambika Talwar’s sensually-told tale. Her travels in Greece expose us to a keenly perceptive woman’s understanding of creativity, the arts, and life and death. Initially setting out to join a screenwriting workshop, Talwar finds herself becoming part of a community. …. As the author writes, “Making art is a journey. Taking a journey is an art.” With this beautiful and sensitive book, she has made art from her journey as well."
~ Donna Baier Stein, (Author/Publisher Tiferet — Kansas City, Missouri)

"Ambika Talwar leads us on a journey of profound wonder, of mythos and pathos, traveling through the byways of modern and ancient Greece, encountering out-of-this-world human beings who step out of mystery into light, laughter, sorrow, and high play. She weaves a tapestry centered on the feminine quest for wisdom and meaning with poetry conjured from a cauldron of energy, imagery and high magic. Her work enchants at every level."
~ Peggy Rubin, (CEO of Sacred Theater, Seminar leader, Change Agent — Ashland, Oregon)

"My Greece is a gentle journey into the heart and soul of what it means to be human.  Ambika Talwar beautifully describes the intimate details of her travels in Greece .… she skillfully weaves in reflections of modern and ancient life from the perspective of an artist searching for meaning.  Her depth of awareness and unassuming wisdom allow for a gradual opening of the heart as she introduces questions that, if embraced, can deepen our experience of being human."
~ Philip M. Hellmich, (Director of Peace – The Shift Network. Author of God and Conflict — Berkeley, California) 
From my Preface
“I wish in finding hidden parts of ourselves wherever we visit that we awaken in us a humanity that has been crumbling for so very long. And through such transformations, may we create our cultures not just as artifact but with recognizing and realizing that beauty is a path to peace.”  
~  Ambika Talwar
Amazon Author Page:

Interview with Ambika Talwar  
(Inner Child Magazine)

Inner Child Magazine (ICM): What was the inspiration behind your book, My Greece: Mirrors & Metamorphoses?

Ambika Talwar: I had been thinking of a story I wanted to write set some place with lots of butterflies. I had an outline ready.  And out of the blue, someone sent me info on a screenwriting workshop with a group traveling to Greece … I had made a film in 2000 titled Androgyne. Somehow it all seemed to be connected.  So I jumped on it. And Greece, this ancient land of myth and shadows, tugged. Who would want to turn away an opportunity to visit this old land! 
               Someone suggested I would love being in Paros to write this new story … but I never made it there.  Yes, the Island of Rhodes is known for its butterflies – have not been there either.
               We are raised on stories of how we came to be and what becomes to and of us as we journey.  I was curious to visit a place whose mythology I had read while growing up in India, also ancient.  And I kind of missed such elements here in Los Angeles.  So things move too quickly here… I missed a sense of layered tones.
               So as I traveled with my big PD 150 Sony camera and a notebook, I recorded my experiences. These included meetings with people, traveling between ruins, cafes, old and new parts of old cities.  And I was both enchanted and deeply sadly disturbed. It made me realize how much we have lost over time and with rapid industrialization and how fragmented we are in so many ways … well, as if neuroses were always the fuel.  Should it not be beauty, grace, and the play of wisdom…?
               Does this make sense? I wanted to record and share the narrative of my experiences, which gave rise to other narratives and poems. These I feel … reflect to me the richness of each moment alively tuning us in.
               And on another level, I just wanted to tell this story of my time there.

ICM: Why is this book important to your audience?

Ambika Talwar: Let me reframe this.  What I wish people to get out of this book, which has taken me so long to complete, is simply an understanding that every single moment of our lives is a journey and a destiny and a purpose. That a story, a name, a metaphor can reveal ways for us to find simplicity in our lives. 
               I wish people find their story in these moments that are poetic narratives of longing, of isolation, of union … of desires and create ways to find this… And, I warn you, in moments the stories run very fast. This is a caution to me as well. We need to let go of so much, to be whole.

ICM: What might I glean from the book?

Ambika Talwar: I’d say this is best left to the individual reader. What is your particular, unique essence that responds to my story and poems?  This is where you would find yourself.

ICM: What do “Mirrors and Metamorphoses” have to do with Greece?

Ambika Talwar: Well, one can’t travel somewhere and not see the rich fare offered … foods, but sensibility, mythological framework, syncretistic connections … something gained, something lost.  It’s as if our layered skins take on whole new identities and just when we start to know ourselves, something else rushes in to claim us – leading to distortions, sorrow, loss, chaos, and then must follow a renewing of faith in ourselves. 
               So in this context… I had titled my book My Greece: Mirrors, Metaphors, and Metamorphoses, but found “metaphors” redundant. “Mirrors” said it all for me.  So really, the stories reflect how we are mirrored and how we are changed by one another.
               Meetings with people and places offered motifs to remind me of things forgotten or of the mysterious. Everywhere I went, people would welcome me saying, “You are Indian. We are cousins.” And indeed we are cousins. We are all related.  So we share mirrored realities, be it in story, art, mythology, music … and our deep human longing.
               What is our sacred destiny? What do we wish now to mirror? How shall we transform together? Isn’t it this – to discover all our moments as sacred?

ICM: How can I use this book to apply it to my life? Is there a strategy? Is it a fun read or is it a transformational book?

Ambika Talwar: No, it is not a how-to book, but it invites you to travel with me, experience my stories, ask questions about who we are, and wonder where we are going.  We may be transformed by various influences; this is your call. 
               Perhaps, aspects of my story might inspire you to be more yourself… whatever that is.  I would wish that my readers and, maybe you, are inspired to see yourself as part of all that is … our inherent unities. This, I feel, ought to be the foundation of our human culture from now on. And if this is an offering of “feminine magic,” as one of my reviewers said, so be it. I like it. It surely is time for us all to reach out to each other so we may stand in wholeness. 
               Yes and re-discover our human heart and its capacity. It’s tough to break out of conditioning.

ICM: Is it a story or narrative in which I will get lost?

Ambika Talwar: It is a narrative with smaller narratives enlivening the tale. You can either get lost in it or find yourself… and this, too, is a journey.  You choose.

ICM: So there was a gap in your writing of it. What compelled you to finish it?

Ambika Talwar: I could not rest with myself, had I discarded it.  My initial very rough draft sat for a bit. For many reasons I could not get to it. Traveling, teaching, recovering from injury caused delays. I had to get it done. And in 2014 I picked it up again. So here we are. 
               I have to say, I am quite a romantic at heart. This book has been a bit of a strange love affair. Meetings with filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos was surely exciting; experiencing the underworld through being robbed left me vulnerable but I handled it quite well; not visiting the rock in Tinos shattered me; dancing at the Plaka was sweet swimming in the Mediterranean was pure joy; listening to the Roma boys sing was enchanting. And, learning to say “Yes” which sounded like a “No” and created confusion… all this was play.  All these moments mattered. I did not want to forget them. We are all related.
               Also, before I traveled to Greece, I had met many Greeks here in LA. I took some classes in Sirtaki, ate Greek food, went to a few parties… it is again synchronistic that this opportunity showed up when it did.  I was being prepared for the journey.

               I am grateful that we are enriched not by the samification of our cultures but by each particular uniqueness.