Friday, January 10, 2020

Joyce Futa and Jackie Chou Feature on January 26, 2020

San Francisco Marina. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

On behalf of Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga and California State Poetry Society, we are please to invite poets and poetry lovers to the first Village Poets reading of the year 2020 and of the entire '20s decade on Sunday, January 26, 2020, at 4:30 pm. at Bolton Hall Museum (10110 Commerce Avenue, Tujunga, CA 91042).  Village Poets  will present two poets associated with the Tanka and Haiku groups in Southern California, members of Poets on Site and Southern California Haiku Study Group. The reading will include two open mike segments. Refreshments will be 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.

We would also like to remind all Village Poets - featured poets and regular participants that the deadline for submissions to our anthology is January 31, 2020 and the deadline for applications for the position of Poet Laureate is on February 2, 2020 (222020):

This presentation is partly sponsored by the Dignity Health Foundation, through a grant for "Close to Nature" Project for Phoenix Houses of Los Angeles, with the California State Poetry Society  as one of the collaborating partners. 


Joyce Futa has been writing poetry since she retired in 2001.  Her book “Lit Windows: A Book of Haibun and Tanka Prose” from which she will read today was published in 2017.  She lives happily in Altadena, a dramatic change from the city life of San Francisco, where she lived for 50 years.  She has recently discovered a new creative passion: ceramics, the process of which in some ways is not that different from writing poetry - an openess to whatever might be unconsciously evolving, attention to detail, and patient revising and refining.

 Ginkgo tree in Descanso Gardens, by Maja Trochimczyk

Her Death

It wasn’t an answer, it was a question.  
It wasn’t simple, but dark and teeming.
Like tv detectives, we thought about it, 
reconstructed timelines, conversations, events.
The  links were there, 
everything and nothing made any sense.  
Our thoughts ranged wildly depending on the hour, 
whether it was gray or bright as the tropics,
what friend we just talked to and whether we wept.  
Who could have stopped her vision of fate.
How the seed grew to take over her mind.  

Sometimes it seemed simple: it was just too much.  

But it wasn’t simple, never an answer.
The question echoes as it moves into the past.

lost in caves
we tunnel through grief
trying to remember your light
those days in the years
you walked with us

Kumquat Marmalade

My sister and I slice a huge mound of kumquats for marmalade, a tedious, time consuming task; each tiny fruit has seeds we must tease out with the tip of a knife.  One could go nuts doing this alone, but we pass the time chatting about friends, sons, the awful daily news.   Twelve jars of orange jellies with little bright haloes of rind will be our reward.

We start to talk about movies.  Suddenly we are caught in the familiar senior struggle to remember someone’s name, this time an actress we have loved in many roles.  We catalog facts we know about her – she played an artist in that movie with whatshisname … and X’s sister in a film set in San Francisco – was she nominated for that?  Finally, my sister says she gives up and rinses her hands to google.  When she returns with the name, we slap our numbskulls.

slippery seeds of memory
we leave drama behind
and enter the age of comedy


Jackie Chou writes free verses, rhyming poems, and Japanese short form poetry.  Her work has been published in JOMP Dear Mr. President anthology, Lummox, Creative Talents Unleashed anthologies, and others.  She was nominated for a Best of the Net in 2017 by Hidden Constellation.  

Hills at Cajon Pass, December 24, 2019 by Maja Trochimczyk

Ode to Insomniacs

When you're up with the owls and moon people,
I'm in a cozy slumber, deep in dreams.

You can do so much;
String together stars,

Enough to feed a whole village

Come morning.

Your eyelids droop with weariness.
You remind me of mama and papa

Who worked till their bones broke,
While I lay indolent, on a couch,
Embarrassed by their smelly armpits

Urged them to eat well, sleep well,
And bathe daily. To no avail, my voice 
was smaller than their American dream.

They both died young,
And you and your sleepless nights,
Traumatize me all over again.

Snow at the Grapevine, Maja Trochimczyk


My mother clad me in pink,
and later in my teens, lavender.
But the blue was always there,
underneath the pastel colors.
It was in my genes,
blue with its melancholia
and myriad synonyms,
azure and cerulean.
My mood is a spectrum
of different shades of blue,
including royal and navy.
The sky and the sea are blue,
with every variation in between,
turquoise and indigo.
Blue is behind my strawberry colored smile.
San Francisco Marina, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk


Thursday, January 2, 2020

Happy New Year 2020! Calls for Poems and Applications


We wish you all poetic success, inspiration and perfection, as well as all the best for you and your families - best of luck, best of food, best of health, best of fun! Be best!  And have the Best Year!


To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Village Poets Monthly Poetry Readings at Bolton Hall Museum, in Tujunga, CA, Moonrise Press will issue an anthology of Featured Poets and frequent guests sustaining the VP Readings over the past decade, 2010-2020. Edited by Marlene Hitt and Maja Trochimczyk, the anthology will provide a portrait of our poets and documentation of our readings. It will be published in paperback and ePub e-book formats, distributed by Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other booksellers, as well as via Moonrise Press.

Each featured poet is invited to submit 1-3 poems (fitting on up to two page 6X9, standard trade book size), a brief biography (150 words), and a portrait. A favorite photo from the readings is also welcome.  Guests who frequently read their work during the monthly events are also invited to submit their work. The poems may be previously published, if they are a favorite of their authors.

To submit, send an email to Maja Trochimczyk,, with the subject: “VP Anthology Submission – Name” by February 29, 2020. The attached one Word file must include name, address, email, phone number of the poet, with brief bio and poems in Book Antiqua font, size 11. Photo, resolution 300 dpi should be the second attachment. The anthology will be published by June 2020 and celebrated in a group reading at Bolton Hall Museum. Poets will receive the anthology in PDF and eBook formats and will be able to purchase the paperbacks at 50% of retail price.


The term of Pamela Shea as Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga ends in April 2020 and we are seeing a new poet for this role. The application form is posted on our website:, under "application" tab. More information below.


The position of the Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga, created in 1999, includes duties that involve adapting well to a variety of occasions: the maker of a toast, the bestower of a prize, the dedicator of a park, the composer of an ode to the Little League team, etc. As well as a position of high honor, it is a position of COMMUNITY SERVICE. The Poet Laureate serves a two-year term, though the past two Poets Laureate had their term extended to three years: Elsa S. Frausto (2014-2017) and Pamela Shea (2017-2020).

The applicant should be a resident of the Foothills, from Lake View Terrace to La Canada Flintridge (including Sunland, Tujunga, Shadow Hills and Montrose) and must be at least 18 years of age. We seek a poet of good craftsmanship and one who has made an effort to study this craft and to hone his/her individual voice. The Poet Laureate as a community leader should be comfortable with public speaking, appearances and interviews and should be able to speak clearly and capably.

As the poet represents the community, he/she should be a person of good character and one with a track record of contributing to the betterment of our community. We seek a person whose life and works reflect a love of our area which includes the flora, fauna, mountains, creeks and our diverse human community. This is a person who is the voice of our community, a cheerleader, a person whose words give wings to the heart of Sunland and Tujunga.

During his/her term in office the Poet Laureate is encouraged to publish a collection of his or her works, as in a chapbook, for historical documentation. Those who choose the Poet Laureate are people with extensive knowledge of the community, educators, and those involved in arts and literature. At present, the Committee consists of representatives of Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga, Little Landers Historical Society, and the McGroarty Arts Center. Names of those judges may be presented upon request.


1) All applicants must be at least 18 years old and active members of the local poetry community. The candidates should be residents of the Foothills, from Lake View Terrace to La Canada Flintridge, inclusive of Sunland, Tujunga, Shadow Hills, La Crescenta and Montrose. They must show a history of active interest in the local community and will be expected to actively engage with the community activities of Village Poets.

2) All applicants must be able to demonstrate an active participation in poetry activities through publication and/or featured poetry readings.

3) The applicants must agree to serve as Poet Laureate for a term of two years, including volunteer activities, poetry readings, publications, and other projects contributing to the promotion of poetry and the arts in the community.

4) The Poet-Laureate of Sunland Tujunga must commit himself/herself to attending the Passing of the Laurels Ceremony on April 23, 2017, as well as a similar ceremony at the end of the term in office, in April 2019. The Poet-Laureate must also demonstrate an engagement with the local poetry community by attending at least six of the eleven monthly readings organized each year by Village Poets in Tujunga, CA.

Please download, print and return the application form (PDF) from - application tab: Application 2020. Attach the following:

1. List of publications and featured readings
2. Sample of poetry (approx. five poems, with two about Sunland-Tujunga)
3. History of community service.
4. One paragraph discussing a favorite poet.
5. One paragraph describing how you as Poet Laureate would promote poetry.

Submit the Application form with a sample of poems, other items 1-5 from the above list and a check for $15.00 made out to Little Landers Historical Society (LLHS, with Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga noted on the check), and send the package to:

Poet Laureate Selection Committee,
c/o Maja Trochimczyk,
P.O. Box 4288, Sunland, CA 91041-4288.

If you have questions regarding the Poet Laureate program email Maja Trochimczyk, at Please check our website or our blog for further poetry information.


  • January 1 to February 2, 2020 - Application Period
  • February 2, 2020 - Application Deadline DEADLINE for all applicant materials (postmark)
  • February 20, 2020 - Notification of Finalists by mail, email or phone (postmark)
  • First Week of March, 2020 - Interviews and Readings of Finalists. In-person Interviews and Readings of Finalists before the Committee, location TBA (attendance is required for all finalists)
  • March 20, 2020 - Notifications of the Poet Laureate for 2020 - 2022 by phone, email or mail (postmark)
  • April 19, 2020 - Passing of the Laurels Ceremony, McGroarty Arts Center, Tujunga
  • April 26, 2020 - First Official Reading of the Poet Laureate, Bolton Hall Museum


The Committee is organized by past Poets Laureate and includes representatives of Village Poets, Little Landers Historical Society, and the McGroarty Arts Center: Joe DeCenzo (Chair), Marlene Hitt, Dorothy Skiles, Maja Trochimczyk, Elsa Frausto, Pamela Shea, and two others, TBA.