Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Krak Poetry Group, Grateful Conversations, and Guitarist Mark Achuff on November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving. Time to give thanks, and be grateful for the abundance of our gifts.  We are grateful for the gifts of poetry, art and music that we share in the Foothills. Thus, the last reading of the year 2018 is especially abundant! We will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Poland's Regained Independence, with Krak Poetry Group, be thankful for the new anthology of Westside Women Writers, "Grateful Conversations," and enjoy the music by Mark Achuff, an amazing classical guitarist. The Village Poets reading will take place on Sunday, November 25, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. at Bolton Hall Museum, 10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042.  Village Poets  will present the Polish Krak Poetry Group, with Andy Kolo (Andrzej Kolodziej), Konrad Tademar Wilk, and Maja Trochimczyk, as well as the first presentation of poetry anthology Grateful Conversations, and classical guitarist Mark Achuff.

The reading includes two open mike segments and three music interludes. 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.


Featuring Konrad Tademar Wilk and Andrzej Kolodziej, with Maja Trochimczyk as member and host, this reading presents a group of Polish American poets active in Polish and English and publishing their work in the US and in Poland. "Krak Poetry Group" presented poems at the Receptions of "Krak Art Group" painters exhibitions. The group started their readings at UCLA Gallery two decades ago. The biggest event of the Krak Poetry Group was the POETRY MARATHON by 12 leading Polish-American poets at the Magicopolis Theatre in Santa Monica. The group's bilingual (Polish-English) anthology was sold out and a new one is being planned.
In 1918, the Peace Treaty that ended World War I also brought back to life Poland, a country that was divided between its neighbors, Russia, Prussia, and Austria for 123 years, and yet became independent again. Poles credit this miraculous resurrection of their country to Ignacy Jan Paderewski, who became Poland's Prime Minister, and to President Woodrow Wilson who added, at Paderewski's repeated requests, Poland's independence to the points for the Peace Treaty. It was the famous Point 13 of 14 points and resulted in 20 years of independence. In 1939 Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. Due to treaties signed by the Allies with Stalin's Soviet Union to help defeat Hitler's Germany, Poland was "sold out" by its allies and became controlled by Soviet Union after World War II until 1989. Thus, we can say that during the 100 years of "Independence" Poland was only independent for 50 years - 100 minus 6 years of war, and minus 44 years of Soviet dominance. Still, coming back from the dead, was quite a feat and worth commemorating. You can read more about this history seen through the prism of music on Maja Trochimczyk's Chopin with Cherries blog. 

Portrait by Jeff Riedel


Andrew Kolo is a California artist, painter, poet and playwright born in Poland. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń with the title of Master of Arts in Painting and continued his studies in Paris and Los Angeles. He is the leader of the Krak Art Group that currently holds an exibition, Polish Identity at the Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. That exhibition also celebrates Polish Regained Independence.

Artwork by Andy Kolo (Andrzej Kolodziej) at Krak Art Group Exhibition Polish Identity 
at the Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, November 2018. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

His vocation is art, his passion is poetry. His poem: "America of an Immigrant" won the 1st prize in the national-wide poetry magazine competition: LUCIDITY Poetry Journal in Houston, Texas. Andrzej founded "Krak Poetry Group" in Los Angeles consisting of Polish-American poets and "9 ½ POETRY", a group that promoted the work of young American poets.  He is the author of a collection of poems and satirical arts POLKA DOT TUXEDO published by Xlibris. Based on his script, MY MARILYN was filmed. His play THE TRIAL OF DALI "was presented in Los Angeles, Hollywood and now in Sydney Australia.

Garden of Eden

In the Garden of Eden brightly colored
flowers and bushes never cease blooming
and never knew winter.
The fig tree belongs to you - my dearest
and the olive one - to me.
Make yourself comfortable in their aromatic shade.

In the tangled branches snake is hissing softly. 
Under an apple tree Adam and Eve, embracing.
I give you sons and daughters – she whispers
tucking him into an animal fur coat.
This delicious fruit called an apple
can only make you stronger - my beloved.

 the first snowflakes are beginning to fall 
 upon the flowery Garden of Eden
 like the first sins.

                       ~ Andrew  Kolo


Konrad Tademar is an American poet living in Los Angeles. His works range from single sonnets to epic poems on themes including current events, myth, and philosophy. In addition to American subjects, his work is strongly informed by international events and history, especially those of freedom and oppression. Tademar's early childhood was spent in Poland where he was particularly influenced by the rise of the anti-communist Solidarity labor union. Following his return to the U.S., he studied philosophy and literature at Los Angeles City College where he was president of the Poet's Platform. He then went on to graduate from UCLA. He has appeared in Los Angeles venues such as the Onyx, Ground's Zero, Magicopolis Theater, Wilshire Art Gallery, and Pig and Whistle. In 1991, he founded the Witching Hour Poetry Gathering which has met continuously for over 20 years. Additionally, he is a founding member of the Pecan Pie Organization, dedicated to artistic promotion, stage performances. His poetry book "Fifty Sonnets, titles like labels only get in the way..." is available for purchase on line.

Some of his stories and poems are available on the internet.

The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month 

 a poem by Konrad Tademar

Heart quickening within the hearth of the homeland
Sending smoke signals from the first nations, hawkeyes--
--tears flowing as a river trail, a scattered band
Snake like memory on a warpath against lies

Pamiętaj, że bez serca nie ma narodu
Pamiętaj, że bez łez nie ma pamięci

Blood raptures the senses, vessels of truth and will--
--to breathe like a wild horse, I run like the wolf, free
Graves of my forefathers, where warriors’ bones lie still--
--beneath my feet, unchained, sovereign, like the sea

Pamiętaj, że bez krwi nie ma wolności
Wiesz, że nie ma niepodległości bez grobów

Speech, in the flames of old earth words meandering--
--through spacetime, betrays, defines my identity
Family, allegiance, obligation, bearing--
--the weight of mother on my back, tribal duty

Wiesz, że bez mowy nie ma tożsamości
I wiesz, że bez rodziny nie ma szczepu

God’s wind fills my lungs, sets in motion, muscles, steel
Each season in its time, we hope by what we feel

Pamiętaj, że nie ma nadziei bez Boga
Bo wiesz, że nigdy nie ma dymu bez ognia.

NOTE: November 10, 2017 - On the eve of Armistice Day, Veterans Day - the 99th anniversary of the end of the Great War that destroyed Europe and the world between 1914 and 1918 - and on the 99th anniversary of the resurrection of Poland after 123 years of Russian and Germanic captivity - Polish Independence Day.

Notes on the Polish language text:
Lines 5-6 - Remember that without the heart there is no nation / Remember that without tears there is no memory
Lines 11-12 - Remember that without blood there is no freedom / Know that there is no independence without graves
Lines 17-18 - Know that without speech there is no identity / And know that without family there is no tribe
Lines 21-22 - Remember that there is no hope without God / Because you know that there never is smoke without fire

Andy Kolo and Konrad Tademar Wilk

Andy Kolo, Maja Trochimczyk, and Leonard Konopelski at an exhibition of Antonina Konopelska, Vienna Woods Art Gallery, Los Angeles


MAJA TROCHIMCZYK, Ph.D.,  is a Polish American poet, music   historian,   photographer, and author of seven books of poetry, including Miriam’s Iris (2008), Slicing the Bread (2014), The Rainy Bread (2016), Into Light (2016), and three anthologies, Chopin with Cherries (2010), Meditations on Divine Names (2012), and Grateful Conversations (2018). Her poems appeared in such journals as the California Quarterly, Cosmopolitan Review, Ekphrasis Journal, Epiphany Magazine, Lily Literary Review, Loch Raven Review, Lummox Journal, Quill and Parchment, Pirene's Fountain, Poezja Dzisiaj, The Scream Online, Spectrum and anthologies by Poets on Site, Southern California Haiku Study Group, and others. As a Polish music historian, she published seven books, most recently Górecki in Context: Essays on Music  (2017) and Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide (rev. ed., 2015).

A former Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, she is the founder of Moonrise Press, President of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, and Board Secretary of the Polish American Historical Association. Her research studies, articles and book chapters appeared in English, Polish, and in translations in ten countries. She read papers at over 80 international conferences and is a recipient of honors and awards from Polish, Canadian, and American institutions, such as the American Council of Learned Societies, the Polish Ministry of Culture, PAHA, McGill University, and the University of Southern California. Two solo exhibitions displayed her photographs of leaves and roses.,,

The Lake of Claret

Maja Trochimczyk

The scent of cinnamon and nutmeg in the air
Hot sangria in my glass, white light shines
Through the rich hue of claret, opalescent
Like my silk scarf at a California party

I savor the taste of long ago – that evening 
On the lake by the bonfire heating a huge metal pot 
With cheap wine from bottles marked “Wino” 
In a fake handwriting – no provenance, 
no appellation controlée

We put plums, apples and piernik spices
Into our grzane wino during that fateful sailing trip
Spending nights under dark fir branches
Picking mushrooms and blueberries 
In the underbrush

They thrive in acidic soil fed by rotting needles
Where a pungent smell of decay and fruit lingers
Beneath prickly juniper swathed in cobwebs
Drops of moisture gather on pine bark 
Striped by shadows

A handful of wild strawberries glisten 
Among delicate blades of grass in forest clearings
We lose our way, lured on by their promise 
Of sweetness, their carmine hue, light aroma 
Brightened by sunshine

We did not talk much then, my last year
Of wandering through Mazurian Lakes
Stopping at island coves, setting camp, moving on
After a morning dive to the sandy bottom, 
Scattering the fish

It was best to listen to the wind in the treetops
Pine branches whispering to each other
About the end of summer, snow that will break them, 
Icicles that may kill – grateful conversations never had
But now taking place


Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology
Edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Kathi Stafford
May 2018, Paperback, 280 pp., black/white illustrations,  ISBN  978-1-945938-22-1  ($24.80)
Color Paperback, 280 pages with color illustrations ISBN 978-1-945938-24-5 ($98.00)
E-Book in EPUB format with color illustrations ISBN 978-1-945938-23-8 ($10.00)

Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology, edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Kathi Stafford is a portrait of a group of female poets from California, who come together each month to hone their craft and share their verse. Known as Westside Women Writers and active as a group since 2008, they include Millicent Borges Accardi, Madeleine S. Butcher, Georgia Jones Davis, Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Kathi Stafford, Sonya Sabanac, Ambika Talwar and Maja Trochimczyk.

 In the words of the WWW founder, Millicent Borges Accardi, this is “a community of women writers working together to support each other with strong attention to craft, to grow as writers and as people in community.” The volume, illustrated with photographs by the authors, includes poems written for seven workshops and self-portraits in poetry of the nine writers. ​​The workshops include such themes as: writing on a prompt, ekphrastic poetry (inspired by Van Gogh, ancient Greek sculpture, and contemporary art at the Broad Museum), site visits to museums (Norton Simon Museum, Getty Villa, The Broad, The Museum of Jurassic Technology), grandparents and rivers.

The table of contents with a list of poems is posted on  Moonrise Press Blog. Sample poems and poets' biographies are also found on Moonrise Press Blog.


SUSAN ROGERS considers poetry a vehicle for light and a tool for the exchange of positive energy. She is a practitioner of Sukyo Mahikari— a spiritual practice that promotes positive thoughts, words and action.  She is also a photographer and a licensed attorney. Her poems were part of the 2009 event “Celebrating Women, Body, Mind and Spirit,” the 2010 Valentine Peace Project, the 2010 event “Poetry: A Garden to the Human Spirit” held at Cypress College in Cypress, California, the 2010 Poem Flag Installation by Global Alchemy Forum and have been performed at museums and galleries in Southern California.

In 2010 she was Writer of the Week for “Words, Spirit and You,” sponsored by Tiferet Journal. One of her haiku won Honorable Mention in the 2010 Kiyoshi and Kiyoko Tokutomi Memorial Haiku Contest sponsored by the Yuki Teikei Society of Haiku. She was a featured poet at the Moonday Poetry Reading Series in 2011. Her work can be found in the book Chopin and Cherries, numerous journals, anthologies and chapbooks and can be heard online or in person as part of the audio tour for the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California. She was recently interviewed by Lois P. Jones for KPFK’s Poets Café.

Longing for October

I looked for you
among leaves
so full of color

they burst
like cherry flames
singing of sap.

I looked for you
in the blood of autumn—
trees warmed by sunfire

spinning in the pulse
of maple and beech
anthocyanin sugaring

green veins
as spring sugars
the sky with sakura.

I looked for you
in the chill of autumn
mountains filling

the sweep of space
with strokes of brilliance
knowing it is both

fire and frost
that paints the tree,
knowing every love

turns to deeper shades
of longing as it rises
into fullness.

You are wind
and water moving
across the face of leaves,

You are the invisible
made visible
sap rising

until it explodes
in a symphony of light
everywhere I look

in the canopy.


SONYA SABANAC (maiden Zivic) was born and raised in Former Yugoslavia, a country that no longer exists. Disappeared like Atlántida and left its former citizens to carry a heavy burden of constant search for a home.  Sonya was born in the City of Sarajevo, where she graduated from Sarajevo University School of Law.  In the midst of the war that made her country gone, in 1992, Sonya left the county with her family and spent two years in Denmark living as a refugee.  She immigrated into USA in 1994, and landed at Los Angeles, where she still lives. She was a passionate reader all her life and an ardent poetry lover, but she only started writing in her late forties. Sonya is a member of Los Angeles Westside Women Writers Group.  Her poems appeared in San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Magnapoets, Poetic Diversity and the anthology about Immigrant Women Shifting Balance Sheets that also published her memoir, How I Decided to Go a Little Crazy. In addition to writing, Sonya is also a photographer. She has many projects in store; one of them is to publish a book that will bond short stories with her photo images. At this point her daily job is seriously interfering with her writing career.

In That Banat Land

Long ago, before I was even born
in the far away flat land of Banat
where wind scatters the dust
and rivers lazily flow

my sorrow was conceived.

In that same land, my great-great-grandfather
grew grapevine and believed
no animosity was stronger
than a glass of good, old Banat Riesling
drank with the salute for good wishes.

The bullet did not care what he believed in.

His son,  Zhiva, “muzikant,”
was the first violin at weddings and village fairs.
When fertile Banat fields delivered,
his music would praise the Autumn
and override the echo of Hapsburg Monarchy’s guns,
but a “dying beast” needed  new blood. 

            Zhiva played his last czardas on the Hungarian bomb

leaving  my grandmother a pitiful
nickname that in whispers followed her
with its sad sound like a funeral march,
“posmrche” a child
born after its father gone.
But that was not enough!
The second big war froze the Banat fields
one desolate night,

my grandmother’s second born had to go.

Different uniforms and languages,
marched the land of Banat.
For four years, a boy, who would
become my father, dreamt of a day
his father would  come back home.

In 1945 an unknown alcoholic man, claiming
to be his  father, came to stay.

Forty seven years later,
at the time of blood and betrayal,
I sought refuge in that land,
but I forgot what I should not have,
my grandmother’s genes in me
would repeat her fate,

my second born has passed away.

The pain made me run,
run so far away,
determined to break the curse of that flat land
I hid my first born in the New World,

I let her cut the ties and become
someone else.


Mark Achuff is an accomplished guitarist who began studies as a teenager in Chicago with Verne Fiedler, of the WLS radio orchestra. After relocating to Los Angeles, he studied music and the classical guitar at CSUFullerton. He had private lessons with guitar greats George Van Eps, and Howard Heitmeyer.Mark has released a number of CDs which are available at He is currently Chairman of the Board of the American Guitar Society, founded in 1923. AGS specializes in education, concerts, and promotion of the classical guitar. Mark performs regularly in various venues in Southern California, including ROP bakery, art gallery receptions, the Wisteria Festival, Montrose Arts & Crafts festival, the “Bach in the Subways”annual marathon event at LA Union Station, as well as special events for Los Angeles City College and Valley Colleges.He is currently featured weekly at the John Sparr Tavern restaurant in the Montrose-Glendale area. His performances include guitar solos from the Great American Songbook, and the Spanish, Brazilian and Latin American genre.


If you're searching for unique holiday gifts, look no further than Bolton Hall Museum's Gift Shop! Browse our carefully curated selection of handmade and locally-created art, jewelry, soaps, candles, ornaments, calendars, cards, seed packets, totes, t shirts and more, as well as books devoted to local history and poetry. Come see for yourself during our regular museum hours: Sundays & Tuesdays 1-4 PM. Your purchases support Bolton Hall Museum and our local community of artists and small businesses.



On 11/16/18 there will be a poetry reading, "Village Poets Present", at The Backdoor Bakery, 8349 Foothill Blvd., Sunland-Tujunga, CA 91040 from 8:00-9:30 pm. This will be a time for poetic ponderings and word wanderings and with the holidays approaching we will focus on fall, family, food, and going home, although additional themes are welcome. Several of our Sunland-Tujunga Poets Laureate will be featured as well as having open mic readings. Keeping in mind that this is being held in a public place and that children may be present, we would ask that all poetry read be positive, uplifting, and without vulgarity, offensive language, or controversial content.  We warmly invite you to attend and encourage you to bring a friend or possibly several; the more the merrier! If you plan on attending please e-mail current Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate Pamela Shea at so that we can manage time allotments efficiently.

Pamela Shea, 9th Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga
Joe DeCenzo, 3rd Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga


Our next meeting will be in January 2019. Here are some photos from the reading by Gloriana Casey and Radomir V. Luza in October 2018.