Sunday, October 24, 2021

Village Poets Present Katerina Canyon, Sunday, November 28, 2021, 4:30 pm on Zoom

Link to Video from the  reading

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will feature Katerina Canyon on Sunday, November 28, 2021 at 4:30 pm on Zoom.   To obtain links to Zoom meeting email or


Katerina Canyon was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.  She is a 2020 and 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee. She served as the second Sunland-Tujunga California Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2004. Her work has been published in publications such as Meniscus, New York Times, and Huffington Post United States and Germany. She has been a featured poet in multiple venues across the country, including Beyond Baroque, Nuyorican, The Bowery Poetry Club and Chance Operations.  She teaches poetry workshops to children and at universities. Her latest book, Surviving Home, was a Heartland Review finalist. She currently lives in Seattle, Washington, where she can often be found writing poetry near Pier 55. 

Link to book:

Pumpkins, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk


“Katerina Canyon’s poems offer intimate accounts of home as the locus of danger—and homeland as a state of oppression. They are at once urgent and mysterious, full of ocean depths and surging currents. Far from nostalgia, home inspires in this poet a vigilance, keeping watch on herself and others. Her very language is charged with the alert intelligence that offers a means of survival, and metaphors that transform pain into poetry.”

~ Devin Johnston, author of Mosses and Lichens

Katerina Canyon’s poems dive into history unafraid to explore the complexity of home and family and acknowledge: the sea is filled with bones. This powerful, engaging collection where we see the billowing skirt of sunset asks again and again: How do get past our pasts?  Smart, poignant, compassionate, Canyon’s poems remind us that strength happens despite one’s childhood and one’s country; they exclaim, We can choose whether we are stuck / In darkness or in light.

~ Kelli Russell Agodon, author of Dialogues with Rising Tides

In lush language and startling images, Katerina Canyon unveils a story “in blood and bone” of a speaker who survives domestic cycles of addiction and abuse, terrors “handed down from the plantation” through generations of her kin… Like the Phoenix, the speaker dares to draw near destruction to name our violent histories in order to claim a survivor’s eternal understanding of how to love, how to mother, and how to teach the world that “We cannot be bound. We are free. We are infinite.”

~ Katy Didden, author of The Glacier's Wake

Chrysanthemum, photo by Maja Trochimczyk

Aunt May

She cries at the stereo as if

it could take her to heaven on the

notes of Z.Z. Hill’s Down Home

Blues, every other record or two.

Uncle L. Joe, that no good

son of a bitch held her heart in a vice.

Then he died, relegating him to the

beloved angel he never was, fleeing into

mangled clouds, on shredded wings, made of

brambles, as if Texas soil were fertile. Hill’s

throat pulls notes — his voice trickling crude into

Aunt May’s Los Angeles living room.

Z.Z. Hill is redemption coated in Texas blood.

L. and Z.Z. are one. Their crooning calls

to her before the song ends, and she restarts.

Their voices harmonize mercurial,

chaotic as oil gushers

spilling into the fields of Canaan. In

The Promised Land, there are no negro

spirituals, no blues

no white man’s hand smiting the black man’s face,

but there is always a burden for the black woman.

She knows this song well, and she plays it again.

Down Home Blues

Down Home Blues

Every other record or two

(c) by Katerina Canyon

Camelias in Descanso Gardens
Photos by Maja Trochimczyk

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Village Poets Present Frank Iosue of Arizona and "The Arcane Reveries" on October 24, 2021 at 4:30pm on Zoom

Tarot cards from My Modern Met.

On Sunday, October 24, 2021, at 4:30 p.m. Village Poets invite poets and poetry lovers to the Monthly Poetry Reading on Zoom, featuring Arizona Poet Frank Iosue and his multi-media presentation of a cycle of poems inspired by Major Arcana of Tarot, entitled "The Arcane Reveries."  Open mic segments for poets in attendance will be available. One or two poems per person, depending on the number of attendees.  Contact DMHSkiles at or Maja at for Zoom invitation. 


Frank Iosue is a poet and a member of the Arizona State Poetry Society and The Tucson Poetry Society. In April 2021, it was his pleasure and privilege to be a judge for the National Federation Of State Poetry Society's Annual Contest, judging over 150 submissions for The Poetry Society of Texas Award. He holds a B.A. in English from California State University, Los Angeles, and an MFA in Creative Writing / Poetry from The University of Iowa / Writer's Workshop. 

Iosue is the author of 11 chapbooks of poetry, and a volume of Collected Poems: The Au Revoir Of An Enormous Us, published in 2017. He has conducted a number of writing workshops, and has been a featured reader at venues around Southern Arizona for over 20 years. 

The reading will feature fragments of a video he has posted on YouTube based on one of his 11 chapbooks, entitled "The Arcane Reveries," Poetic Sketches and Meditations on the Major Arcana of the Tarot. The video is a multi-media presentation, all self-produced, of Frank Iosue reading the poetry volume, with accompanying imagery and text.  

Iosue writes: "I had considered the idea for the video for a long time, and worked on it, little by little, over the past few months, as I took care of my dying mother...It is a labor of love, joy and gratitude...I'm very proud of it....If you do, kindly, take the time to see it, it is my sincere hope that you will enjoy it, and be entertained and touched, in some unique and special way, by it... Also, part of the reason I made this video is to, hopefully, inspire other poets and creators to imagine new possibilities of how to present their poetry, or other literary pursuits, to the revisiting perceptions about conventional outlets available to share their work, and imagining new creative possibilities of presentation, outreach and marketing.....This video was produced by me, alone, and at no financial cost to me."


Iosue writes: "A poem is an arena of apprehensions and associations; a "psychic ecosystem" unto itself, bounded, artificed and amplified through craft and language. Experience, emotion, imagination, intellect and artistry -- in a unique, uneasy marriage between what's thought and what's felt -- cohabitate on the page, expressly for the end of approximating (and, hopefully, achieving) the most resonant and illimitable expression of a poetic "reality." In my poems, I seek to create experiences that destabilize and scavenge ordinary perception, and transform the "apparent" into epiphanies of revelation and realization.  This collection contains the inventory of my life's poetic journey. The joys, sorrows, memories, and reveries; the people and places, the histories, and the voyages of imagination that populate these pages, form my testament to a world, whose presences, and absences, have accompanied me, and formed the fragile scaffolding for the little empire of my existence -- an intensely-felt world of a self, of an I, intimately environed and occupied by a brilliant otherness of those, and them, and it and you . . . An Enormous Us!"



Litany For An Enlightened Dejection

Though you have digested all your deepest secrets,
and the stars have feigned
regalia for your anonymity.

Though each elation has emancipated yet another 
metaphor, and everything's the matter.

Though you have shed the fewest possible tears 
and have been always grateful, silently,
that others suffered more
than you might have or ought.

Though someone whispered, more than once,
what must be done, and you did 
exactly as he pleases.

Though your mother may have loved you best
but could not love you better.

Though you heard so many church bells ring, 
but discovered the path 
of prayer went only everywhere
your blood was running.

Though the boats of summer kept on undulating
effortlessly underneath you when
they could just as easily have sunk.

Though the next step you took led in some 
intoxicating new direction eerily 
similar to the last.

Though every day you ate as if you wanted to, 
but found that you grew 
hungry out of habit.

Though the dream has yet to arrive
that will not save you.

Though you have admirably, and without fanfare,
conquered every piece of space
you have ever occupied, 
and are to be
congratulated on the triumph 
that has been your existence.
When you walk into the earth and finally drown,
your loneliness will free you 
from your prosperity.  

Frank Iosue

Published in  November 2019 issue of Poetry Pacific Online Journal

Arizona desert outside of Tucson, photo by Maja Trochimczyk


     An Allegiance of Intellects

         Frankenstein's monster

There are these 
walls of air
I wish through

to all you 
unknown others.

I've walked 
from death

into the future, 
out of the flames,

a cross-stitched,

no further

and almost

I have reached 
the dead end
of all my
inward arrivals.
I've learned 
nothing more
than that 
a child 
will not 

float like a flower.

I am a mirror
in the stillness.

  as a cloud.
As cold and alien  
as an Alp.                  

I don't 
want to bear
my load 
of breath 

I must try 
to reach you,
a moment
is not 

Can I touch
the hem
of all
your thinking?
Feed me

Teach me
to inhabit
a room!
I want 
to live!

I want
to live

your mind.

                                                                                         Frank Iosue

The Rim of the Valley trail in Big Tujunga Wash, California

Arizona and California desert photos by Maja  Trochimczyk


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Village Poets Present David Chorlton of Arizona in a Hybrid Zoom/Bolton Hall Reading on September 26, 2021 at 4:30pm

Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga present a distinguished poet from Phoenix, Arizona, David Chorlton, author of 14 books of poetry, 23 chapbooks, several edited volumes and poems published in over 250 journals. The reading will have a hybrid "live/Zoom" format, at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, CA, on Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 4:30 pm.  

The venue welcomes guests in masks. There is no return to our enjoyable receptions, though: we cannot have shared food for the intermission/reception - only single servings, individual bottles of water, packages of raisins, are allowed under the new rules of the Museum. Located at 10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, CA 91042, the Bolton Hall Museum is owned by the City of Los Angeles as its historic Landmark no. 13; and operated by the Little Landers Society. 

The featured poet will visit the venue virtually, from his Phoenix, AZ, home, using Zoom. Email or for the Zoom invitation. There will be a screen and projector at Bolton Hall for the Zoom visitors. 


From Poets & Writers: "I live with a European past, replete with memories of art galleries plus a love of music, and a present rooted on the Southwest desert. Most of my learning has come from reading across a broad spectrum of poetry, and my writing has edged a little more toward the natural world as "nature poetry" no longer has the reassuring and bucolic implications it had when I was at school. Readings are always a special events for me, and I'd go so far as saying that a poem read aloud is in its final draft."

He is the author of 14 books and 23 chapbooks listed below. Poems have appeared in more than 250 literary magazines in print, including: Abraxas, The Bitter Oleander, Bloomsbury Review, Buckle &, Chiron Review, Contact II, Cumberland Poetry Review, The Devil’s Millhopper, Heaven Bone, Hawaii Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, The MacGuffin, Main Street Rag, Mississippi Mud, New Mexico Humanities Review, The Other Side, Pembroke Magazine, Poet Lore, Skidrow Penthouse, Slipstream, Webster Review. Online magazine publications include: The Adirondack Review, Ascent, Canary, Cutthroat, The New Verse News, Stride, Three Candles, Versewrights, Voices on the Wind,

 Appearances in Anthologies include: Arizona Anthem (Mnemosyne Press); Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry; Crossing the River - Poets of the Western U.S. (Permanent Press); Fever Dreams (U. of Arizona); Open Door (Poet Lore); Prayers for a Thousand Years (HarperSanFrancisco); Fresh Water, Prayers to Protest, Glass Works (Pudding House); To Life, Always the Beautiful Answer (Kings Estate Press); The British Museum BIRDS (The British Museum Press), New Poets of the American West (Many Voices Press); Entanglements (eco anthology from Two Ravens Press, Scotland)

Poetry Books

2021    Unmapped Worlds (FutureCycle Press)

2020    Speech Scroll (Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library)

Review by Alice Pero is included in CSPS Poetry Letter No. 3, 2021

2018    Reading T. S. Eliot to a Bird (Hoot’n Waddle)

2017    Bird on a Wire (Presa Press)

2015    A Field Guide to Fire (FutureCycle Press)

2014    Selected Poems (FutureCycle Press)

2012    The Devil's Sonata (FutureCycle Press)

2007    The Porous Desert (Future Cycle Press)

2006    Waiting for the Quetzal (March Street Press)

2004    Return to Waking Life (Main Street Rag Publishing Company)

2003    A Normal Day Amazes Us (Kings Estate Press)

1994    Outposts (Taxus Press, UK)

1992    Forget the Country You Came From (Singular Street Press)

1978    Corn Dance (Europaeischer Verlag, Vienna, Austria)


2021    The Inner Mountain (Poems & paintings, Cholla Needles Art & Literary Library)

2009    From the Age of Miracles (Slipstream Chapbook Contest Winner)

2008    The Lost River (Rain Mountain Press – Winner off the Ronald Wardall Poetry Prize)

2008    The Epistemological Question Mark (March Street Press – extended version of 1994 original)

2006    Places You Can’t Reach (Pudding House Chapbook Contest Winner)

2005    Another Word (Pudding House Publications)

2001    Common Sightings (Palanquin Press Chapbook Contest winner)

2000    Greatest Hits 1980 – 2000 (Pudding House Publications))

2000    Assimilation (Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest winner)

1998    Wolkenstein (Words and Spaces)

1997    Getting Across (Modest Proposal)

1997    Country of Two Seasons (Pudding House Chapbook Contest winner)

1996    Madera Canyon Notebook (Brushfire)

1994    The Insomniacs (Slipstream Chapbook Contest winner)

1993    The Human Flower (Trout Creek Press)

1992    Straw Bones (Beginner’s Mind)

1992    Wear This Country as a Stolen Coat (Brushfire)

1990    Measuring Time (Trout Creek Press)

1990    The Village Painters (Adastra Press)

1987    Without Shoes (American Studies Press)

1987    Urgent Lives (Pamphlet from Suburban Wilderness Press)

1986    The Skin Beneath (M. A. F. Press)

1984    Allegiance to the Fire (Bragdon Books)



2012     American Society: What Poets See (FutureCycle Press)

2015    Weatherings (FutureCycle Press)

Online Chapbooks

2013    The Chiricahuas (Seven Circle Press)

2008    Melancholy’s Architecture (Slow Trains)

2008    The Interior (Island Hills Books)

2008    Dry Heat (Origami Condom)

2008    The Dreaming House (Chippens)


2017    Shatter the Bell in my Ear, Christine Lavant  (The Bitter Oleander Press)

2008    Elis Dances, Hans Raimund   (Online chapbook at Chippens Press)

1997    Viennese Ventriloquies, Prose by Hans Raimund (Event Horizon Press)

1993    Hardly the Blink of an Eye, Poems and prose by Hans Raimund (Words and Spaces)


Poems available on the web, there has been a range of them at Verse-Virtual:

More appeared in  the Amethyst Review:

The Deep Frozen Desert


Beneath the ice light of the northern sky

in a mountain six hundred miles

from the nearest tree,

where frost runs deep into stone

and the only star is a signal

from a disappeared world


the seeds of a desert go along

the blue tunnel for storage

in a vault where they wait

for springtime to flower

from snowdrift and memory.

Here is mesquite and a crystal

of cold to preserve it; here


are prickly pear and sage

held in trust for the day

when the sun reappears; here

are agave and ironwood labeled

with ink that glows in the dark

like each golden segment

in the scorpion’s tail


and the hourglass of fire

on the spider who crawls

between the stacks

of silver packages bearing

the indestructible seal

of night-blooming hope.

The Bat God


With wings of silk and a velvet mask

he hangs in a recess

until the dark is thick enough to stir


then the blood flows faster

to his ears

and they open to receive the music

made by stars. He’s a memory


that can’t find a way

back into the mind. Imagine a wolf’s heart


shrunken to fit

inside a tiny breast; imagine

a flame as a tooth. When you wake up

in the small hours


thirsty for light

and reach for the switch he’ll be there,

he’ll be silence


with an edge so sharp

it cuts. Imagine navigating

fear with a map you can touch

but not see; imagine


your reflection flying

from the mirror


and never coming back.


Cheap Mangos

There’s an easy flow of music through

the speakers at the supermercado

where papayas ripen while you watch

their skins disintegrate

the way a man’s skin does

when he’s found on his back in the desert

facing the sun with his mouth locked

between a scream and a prayer. His trouser leg

is torn where a coyote

came to gnaw at his thigh

and of his right forearm only

the bones remain, while on his left wrist

a watch still measures time.

The music has a teardrop in its beat

and nostalgia in the singer’s voice

but the juice aisle is a happy place

with any flavour you’d remember

from a trip across the border

going south to a colourful village

with peppers stacked in the market

just like these red, green, yellow ones

displayed in the order of their bite,

a village likely similar

to one the woman left

whose sweater clings to what remains

of her where she collapsed

in a pair of sports shoes good for many

more miles with the tread on their soles

and Just Do It style. Something pulled at her hair

where her scalp peeled away

but the strap on her brassiere

is indestructible as the belt

that falls slack where the flesh has wasted

from her hips. Had she made it

to a road she might have found

her way to Phoenix, to the store

where the cakes in the cold case

are churrigueresque, and mangos

are two for ninety-nine cents.


Sections from a recent long poem, Speech Scroll


A ringtail climbs down from the stars

to the edge of a roof

where he finds

a wooden beam extending

to a hook on which

a glass hangs

filled with earthly sweetness. He makes

of his body a question mark

that asks for truths

only known among animals. He’s

agile and can balance

on a breath, right side up or

upside down, with a universe

of sound compressed

inside his ears, and eyes only

for night, when the galaxies

above him are thick enough

to stir with his tail.



The forecast is for wind

to stir up lies and scatter them

for the birds to take. Goldfinches

pick up the smallest, the ones

the television tells. Doves arrive in number

pecking at the ground for the remnants

of the last political campaign

and they are never full. A flicker

works the grass, pulling out

the details of the latest cures

for conditions so pre-

existing they haven’t yet been seen,

while grackles attack

what the car dealers call

a good offer. They tear apart

the papers and fly

away, each with a salesman’s smile

drooping from its beak.



At four AM it’s time

to dust the moonlight from the rooftops

and polish the surface

of the pond. The hummingbirds

jump-start their hearts

and the thrashers grip the cactus

where they call whit-whit

above the rustle quail make

on the ground. The powerful awake

refreshed and put on

their boldest faces for the early

news: clean-shaven, hair

frozen into place, jaws

rolling underneath

each word they speak, while the gears

inside the Earth cry out

for oil and human kindness

to keep it turning.

Photos from California and Arizona by Maja Trochimczyk

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Village Poets Present "Blue and the Blues" Anthology and the California Quarterly 47:2, August 22, 2021

Village Poets are thrilled to present a wonderful anthology edited by Carole Boyce, Blue and the Blues on Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 4:30 pm via Zoom. The reading will also present poems published in the California Quarterly 47:2, Summer 2021 edited by Maja Trochimczyk.  

Email or to receive the Zoom link to the reading. Two segments of open mic poetry available. Typically we hear two poems from each poet. 

Listen in to the Pisces Publishing anthology, Blue & The Blues on August 22 at 4:30.

You will experience BLUE in all its glory as poets explore the literal color blue, the emotion of feeling blue and the genre of blues music. Within each phase, each poet has a very different spin on the subject. This is a unique collection and after listening, you may have a new favorite color! 

Carole Boyce


"What a Concept! Blue would be more than pleased about this tribute to her essence. This unique anthology brings poets together to glorify the color blue, to write about the emotion of feeling blue and to pay tribute to the genre of blues music. Hues, moods and music; this collection is as varied as poetry can be with a broad spectrum of interpretations, both literal and figurative on each section. The book demonstrates the range and complexity of the creative mind.  The author of More Than A Color makes clear to the reader that the actual pigment is viewed as a safety net; a source of comfort and strength, available as needed. In Blue, she says “there’s a shade for every person” and lists some blue colors and emphasizes in the final lines: “I live blue. I speak blue. It’s a language you know. I love blue.”

From a review by  Adrianne Lawson-Pope  published in the Poetry Letter No. 1, 2021.

More Than A Color

Can you see it?

Do you feel it?

Can you hear its call?

Listen, open up, welcome it

Blue is present

And it presents itself to you; for you

To use as needed

Let it envelop you

Blue song to soothe you

Blue walls to surround and protect you

Blue blanket to warm you

Blue skies to cheer and comfort you

If you find yourself at the brink of collapse

Grab onto Blue

It will bolster you and sustain you

Because Blue is not just a color

It’s music, a mood, a heartbeat

It offers an atmosphere that allows you to choose

Whatever sustenance you need

Its many hues can handle any request

No need to leave the spectrum

Blue satisfies it all

(c) 2021 by Lynn Brown

California Quarterly, vol. 47, no. 2, Summer 2021
Cover art: Susan Dobay, "Butterfly"

More about this volume on

Maja Trochimczyk

Editor’s Note

Mother – the same word in many languages, the first syllable of a baby, the easiest to pronounce: matr. मातृ (Sanskrit),মা Mā (Bangla), मां maan (Hindi),  ਮਾਂ Māṁ (Punjabi), அம்மா Am'mā (Tamil), mater (Latin), mutter (German), màthair (Scottish), móðir (Icelandic), moeder (Dutch), madre (Italian, Spanish), motina (Lithuanian), mère (French), мајко (Serbian), майка (Bulgarian), mãe (Portuguese), แม่, mæ̀ (Thai), mẹ (Viet-namese). It is мама in Russian, mama in Polish, Romanian, Swahili, and umama in Zulu. Most of these languages are Indo-European, but even the Chinese are not free of the omnipresent “mm” in 母親 Mǔqīn, or 媽媽 Māmā. We have one translation from Chinese in this issue, by Yun Wang, and another one, from Italian, by our indefatigable Margaret Saine. People who speak multiple languages gain insights into multiple cultures and are really blessed. They are able to recognize the essential human unity in the delightful diversity of nations and cultures. 

While editing the CQ, I like finding shared themes among submissions that bind poems with a common thread. This time, I found mothers, daughters, the joy and loss of childhood, but also solitude, pain, resilience, the Earth, Gaia – our Mother, teeming with life… and the wings of a butterfly, that came out of a humble, hungry caterpillar crawling in the dirt. A lovely butterfly graces our cover in a joyous image by Hungarian-American painter Susan Dobay (b. 1937). Back in 1956, she escaped from Hungary after the Soviet crackdown on the nation longing for its freedom. As long as communist repressions, violence and wars continue, refugees will stream out of lands of totalitarian oppression, searching for countries of peace and freedom. Are any such countries left on this planet? Is there anywhere to escape to? Our escape, as poets, has always been internal: the world of poetry and imagination. The world created by our words, our visions that have become a shared reality in the California Quarterly 47, No. 2. Enjoy!

Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D.


                                waves of the Pacific 
 jade, turquoise, aqua

sea foam                in the air                
                sea foam             on my skin

I dance on the currents 
       floating with the relentless motion
          to the shore 
                          to the shore
                                             to the shore

sea foam           on my skin
           sea foam                    in the air

Aphrodite comes up from the ocean
               carried on a dazzling shell by dolphins  
                                                      the wisest of creatures

fizzy bubbles on my tongue – 
                        I swim in the champagne ocean

Salt of the Sol – sunshine of vitality
                                   I praise the elemental power of Water –                                                   
Air – Wind – Earth – Fire
                                     always Fire – ogień, Agni

eternal flames stir the waves 
          into dancing 
                    to the shore 
                             to the shore 

                                        on and on
                                 to the shore
                                                              to the shore
                                                                          to the shore

(c) 2020 by Maja Trochimczyk
Published in "Blue and the Blues" anthology edited by Carole Boyce


Mason Bees

 by Maja Trochimczyk

I share my roses with the mason bees –

Iceberg leaves they like the best, cutting

circles and ellipses from the edge, inwards.


Iceberg roses, not iceberg lettuce, mind you,

that’s far too crunchy to make soft beds, wrapping

bee babies in green, white or pink silkiness,


smooth and pliable like we ought to be, smiling

under the merciless gale of time, raging river

flowing backwards, always backwards.


I used to get angry looking at my mutilated

roses – white blossoms, a defense against evil

guarding my front door like bee soldiers in the hive


ready to sacrifice their lives – just one sting

and the miniature fuzzy warrior’s gone – having

lived just to protect and serve us, the worker bees,  


buzzing around our lives, cutting circles and

ellipses in white roses. Bees and humans, we are

all children of the Queen Bee, Gaia, our Mother.


We make honey of our kindness, virtues, character

wisdom, self-reliance. Attentive, focused on the next

perfect circle, semicircle or ellipsis – we breathe deeply,


delight in drinking nectar, carrying pollen of emotions,

sights, impressions – flying back home to make the sweetest

gold, translucent honey of our poems, of our dreams.

(c) 2021 by Maja Trochimczyk

Published in the California Quarterly vol. 47 no. 2, Summer 2021

Pacific Ocean and Iceberg Rose photos by Maja Trochimczyk 

Saturday, July 3, 2021

New Book by Elizabeth Yahn Williams, Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers, and California Quarterly 47:1 edited by Bory Thach on July 25, 2021, 4:30pm Zoom

Yucca Whipplei photo by Maja Trochimczyk. 
Video Recording of the Reading on YouTube:

For its July Monthly Reading on Zoom, the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga present a new book by Elizabeth Yahn Williams, Flourishing - Florescence,  including her poetry published with French translations by Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers. The reading will also feature poetry from the California Quarterly 47 no. 1, Spring 2021, edited by Bory Thach and published by the California State Poetry Society.  

The Monthly Reading will take place on Zoom, on Sunday, July 25, 2021 at 4:30 pm. will forward you the invitation, when requested.

Elizabeth Yahn Williams flourishes as a poet-playwright, educator, speaker, and emcee. A native Ohioan, she has earned grants for studies in several states and foreign countries. Through a Ford Foundation grant at UCLA, she became a California Lifetime credentialed English educator and was named a “most distinguished honorary lifetime member” of the Phi Theta Kappa Chapter at MiraCosta Community College in San Diego for mentoring their honor students.  A graduate of Loyola Law School,  Elizabeth is recognized as a Marquis WHO’S WHO Lifetime Achiever in law and writing. She has enjoyed an imaginative life, from directing in her community’s theatres to teaching creative problem-solving and poetry at  libraries, colleges, and churches. Often performing with Bob Lundy, her Partner-in-Rhyme, she can be reached at and seen on their site:

Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers taught as a professor of French and Spanish at U.C. and other universities in the U.S. and Europe. She first came to this country on a Fulbright fellowship and eventually founded and ran her own language school and translation company. As a scholar in Comparative Literature, she wrote or translated and published many works in French, English, and Spanish. Her poetic translations include works by Mexico’s Octavio Paz and Guadeloupe’s French poet, St-John Perse, both Nobel prize winners. Her expansive interests have led her to translate Latin America’s Helena Araújo and Nela Rio, as well as works of Indian mystics.

Flourishing – Florescence by Elizabeth Yahn Williams with Art by Marion Wong and French Translation by Edith Jonsson-Devillers. Guidelights Productions, 2020. 130 pages. ISBN 978-0-9967170-4-5

About this book: "Poet and California State Poetry Society member Elizabeth Yahn Williams is premiering her new bilingual collection, written in English and French in collaboration with  her gifted translator Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers.  A display of the mastery of free verse and rhyme, Flourishing – Florescence includes evocative haiku and senryu, along with other poetic forms. Here, Elizabeth Yahn Williams investigates the many ways that life, enhanced by poetry, encourages each of us to FLOURISH. Whether, as a reader, you are looking for inspiration or for motivation, one or more of her offerings will speak to you in words both lyrical and stimulating. With vivid imagery Elizabeth creates poignant vignettes that will relate to your own life in unexpected ways. You will find humor in the rhymes of “Perusing the Parrot,” pathos in “Grand Piano,” and a mix of emotions from haiku that capture, with brevity, illusions of time and space. With haunting and vivid language, Williams  has a gift for choosing the right word for the right place."

(from a review by Kathy Lund Derengowski, published in CSPS Poetry Letter No. 2, 2021, reprinted on the CSPS blog.

Chagall, "Peace" - stained glass at the United Nations, 1964

 Marc Chagall: One Man Opera

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

Above lovers’ heads, angels fly with acclaim.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

To Homeland Russia he repays his dues.

Its churches and temples he paints into fame.

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

His fables, myths, scriptures, and circus revues

show farmlands and towns from where he came.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

Always his brides are veiled in virtues

and, bearing Godivas, his burros are tame.

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

His acrobat-cocks wear little soft shoes

while tap dancing fiddlers invoke La Fontaine.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

His works for great cities often début

in etchings, ceramics, and glass that is stained.

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

 Marc Chagall, l'opéra d'un seul homme 

Chagall rappelle une histoire aux couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Des anges volètent autour de la tête de ceux qui s'aiment.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

Il rend un hommage légitime à sa Russie natale,

et rend célèbre ses églises et ses temples.

Chagall rappelle une histoire au couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Ses fables, ses mythes, ses sculptures, ses critiques de spectacles

représentent les terroirs et les villes natales.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

Ses nouvelles mariées sont toujours voilées de vertus

et ses ânes porteurs de Godivas sont très doux.

Chagall rappelle une histoire au couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Ses coqs acrobatiques portent de petits chaussons

tandis que des violonistes faiseurs de claquettes invoquent La Fontaine.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

Ses oeuvres pour grandes villes souvant débutent

par ses gravures, sa céramique, ses vitraux.

Chagall rappelle une histoire aux couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

California Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring 2021)
Cover Art: Harmony (ink and watercolor on paper, 11 by 15 inches) 
by Sylvia Van Nooten, Montrose, Colorado

Editor’s Note

Being a new member of CSPS I find that this is a learning experience for me. Maja Trochimczyk calls poetry a “cure for chaos” and I agree with her.  Many times we go through periods of difficulty and sadness, but it is important to remember that these dark times will eventually pass by like the seasons. With winter comes spring. The universe has a way of balancing itself out in the end. I, for one, have to remind myself constantly how lucky it is to be alive and every day is a new day to see the world differently. From the mundane to the extraordinary, each experience that we find ourselves learning whether it be through obstacles at work like in Richard Matta’s “Another Play Day” where he wishes that he could be a kid again, or the act of simply giving a little boy a bath before bed in “The Completeness” by Alice Pero, an insight into childhood innocence. The joy we find in our daily activities allows us to overcome grief with a brighter outlook when disaster strikes. It is a reminder to never give up hope no matter how difficult the loss. Therefore, nothing should be taken for granted not even our struggles. For the obstacles we defeat and the fears that die away become our strength, teaching us more about ourselves than any college or university.

After wildfires we can learn “To Plant A Tree” as a gift, to “put down roots” and “stand our ground” the way Miriam Aroner does because this is how the world grows anew. Mother Earth has a way of healing herself. Animals possess sacred knowledge in their simplicity, knowing what they know we too may survive the ravages of time. To live in the moment, that is true enlightenment through mindfulness. Claire Scott captures this in her poem “Cedar Waxwings” where hundreds of them are observed landing in the backyard. She describes watching the “show from the window, a kaleidoscope of colors, sound and motion.” Even after they have flown away, she continues to stare at the empty Privet tree in silent serenity. A journey of self-discovery, chaos and turmoil threaten us, but the wisdom of the ancients survive throughout the ages.  We live and learn from personal experiences.  What better way to discover one’s true self than to go through failure and heartbreak, reaching our breaking point and knowing that we can continue on further. I hope that you will also find these poems enjoyable and insightful to the soul.

Bory Thach
San Bernardino, California

Contents of the journal with the list of poets/poems is found on California State Poetry Society blog:

Bory Thach was born in a refugee camp located on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. His family immigrated to the United States when he was four years old. He served in the U.S. Army and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has an MFA from California State University San Bernardino. Fiction and creative nonfiction fall under the art of storytelling, while poetry for him is more of a study of language, an art form in itself. His work appeared or is forthcoming in: Pacific Review, Urban Ivy, Arteidolia, Sand Canyon Review and We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology. He recently completed a book of poetry dialogues with Cindy Rinne, Letters under Rock (2019) that has been presented as a quasi-theatrical performance in art galleries and museums in Southern California. He joined the Editorial Board in July 2020 and started his duties from volume 47 no. 1 of the California Quarterly.

Photos of Yucca Whipplei in Big Tujunga Wash (c) 2021 by Maja Trochimczyk 

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Round Robin - Summer Poetry with Village Poets, Sunday, June 27, 2021 at 4:30 pm

The Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga invite you to our Zoom Monthly Reading - "Round Robin in a Circle" format,  This event will take place on Zoom, this Sunday, June 27, 2021, at 4:30 p.m.  

Each poet will read one poem followed by the next poet and so on and so on.  There will be several rounds, so bring a number of poems to read.  Seasonal poems/Fourth of July poems/ humorous/serious - bring them all!  


Write or for the Zoom link.

Moody Day

outside this window i see blue skies,
mountains with sparkles rejoicing.
trees playing with sunlight on their leaves.
yet beneath my boots is mud.
i sink deep into it like a frog
unafraid of annihilation
i saw a manatee stranded,
struggling on the dry river.
i chose once to become one,
a round, docile, useless creature.
manatees just eat and sleep, yes?
with nothing to harm them. oh,
everything has something to fear.
after the earthquake the people cried out
but the daffodils stood tall and yellow
basked in sunshine
against the morning colored hills.
the cat jumped from the roof
right into my arms.

(c) Marlene Hitt

Need the Light

I thought I would like the deep, dark woods as I had loved
the darkness around my sunlit home, the cries of the night.
In these midnight hollows I stumble, tree to tree
find nothing of comfort no safety as tree bark scrapes
roots trip, the wind is no longer music played through needles.
I need light for I feel danger lurking, heavy to bear as I question
the not knowing of eyes staring as I pass by, nor the thoughts
born behind those quiet stares.
Yes, I need the Light for it is in the light that I see loveliness
hear the songs and the sweet whispering voices.
at dawn the crows fly across the sky dark winged
ready to clean the world, as sunlight cleans the deep dark woods.

(C) by Marlene Hitt

Two Times Around is a Mile and a Half

I see footprints in the mud
on the path around the park,
my footsteps from the
last time walking.
Today my feet disturb dust,
shatter sycamore,
crunch the squirrel's lunch,
make thunder under the ground.
I follow the hard brown toes
of the Gabrielinos, the star-foot trail
of blackbird, the thick-pad forefoot
of coyote. My child's child
walks barefoot in sand,
the seventh generation.
He looks up to empty sky where
there are no footprints
but the one.
How many times around
is the mile to he moon?

(c) Marlene Hitt

In Joy and Jacaranda

Tell me stories of your restful hibernation,
How you live through the vague and varied impressions
    Of winter’s monochrome.
Tell me how it feels to dream in lavish lilac periwinkle
To reimagine the bleached and bland conformities
    As you prepare the amethyst show.

What gives voice to inspiration?  
What puts craving in the veins?
Where’s the source of stimulation
When that first flower takes to stem?

Your trumpet blossoms serenade the skies;
A fanfare in tones of violet-blue 
Transforming Drab Avenue into Lavender Lane,
Painting fairytales against a hazy backdrop
That emit free passes to foreign lands.

But Oh, so brief this purple pageant
Before it turns to floral rain.
To blink would be to miss its brilliance
Losing the captivity of its color.
A reviving yet ephemeral moment 
Gazing at the lilac plume to watch it then become sky
When wilting blue trumpet petals form pools to bathe one’s feet in joy
Or a parade of pastel fireworks bursting beneath the tires of bicycles that ride past.

You dazzle then you disappear. You’re the color I consume.
The price of finding summer was the loss of passion’s bloom.

(c) 2021 by Joe DeCenzo 

The Song of the Summer

The house finches are back! The four little ones disappeared
on Friday. Their crowded nest under the porch roof
was full of wide-open yellow beaks crying out for breakfast.
Now, blades of grass are scattered on my front steps.
The nest is empty. They learned how to fly.

I was happy yet sad, a bittersweet moment.
My home was their home. Here they grew up undisturbed
in the safety behind switches for Christmas lights,
on top of a white wooden beam. Gone to their new adventures
like my children to Boston, Tucson, San Diego.

Look, my finches are back! They returned to the only
home they knew to practice flight from rooftop to rooftop,
porch to garage, to the end of the driveway, the Japanese pine
that all birds love to perch on, its branches stretching
like fingers to the sky – an open palm of a tree.

Listen, my finches are back! They study their song
at six in the morning. It is simple, repetitive, one phrase
spiraling down through fluted eddies of pure music,
measuring the hours of summer. The song never changes,
I used to think it boring – just a step up from
the monotone chirping of sparrows, and yet –

My finches are back and are learning to sing.
Note by note, motif by motif, they try out brief snatches
of their Dad’s tune and fail, and fail, and fail again.
I did not know it was so hard. The three notes on the top
ti-ti-ti – these are easy – then, the babies stop, all confused.

“Let me show you, how it’s done!”  The patient parent sings
again and again. Young birds repeat the fluid patterns
in shy, quiet voices, growing louder, more confident, true –
until descending swirls tumble at top speed, like droplets
in a mountain stream, rushing on, sparkling in sunlight.

The finches are back.

(c) 2020 by Maja Trochimczyk
Published in anthology Zwierzenia zwierza, Wydawnictwo Bezkres, 2020, in Poland.
In English with Polish translations. 
Reprinted on Poetry Laurels blog:

Mason Bees

I share my roses with the mason bees –
Iceberg leaves they like the best, cutting
circles and ellipses from the edge, inwards.
Iceberg roses, not iceberg lettuce, mind you,
that’s far too crunchy to make soft beds, wrapping
bee babies in green, white or pink silkiness,
smooth and pliable like we ought to be, smiling
under the merciless gale of time, raging river
flowing backwards, always backwards.
I used to get angry looking at my mutilated
roses – white blossoms, a defense against evil
guarding my front door like bee soldiers in the hive
ready to sacrifice their lives – just one sting
and the miniature fuzzy warrior’s gone – having
lived just to protect and serve us, the worker bees,  
buzzing around our lives, cutting circles and
ellipses in white roses. Bees and humans, we are
all children of the Queen Bee, Gaia, our Mother.
We make honey of our kindness, virtues, character
wisdom, self-reliance. Attentive, focused on the next
perfect circle, semicircle or ellipsis – we breathe deeply,
delight in drinking nectar, carrying pollen of emotions,
sights, impressions – flying back home to make the sweetest
gold, translucent honey of our poems, of our dreams.

(c) 2021 by Maja Trochimczyk
Published in the California Quarterly vol. 47 no. 2, Summer 2021

Flying Kites... 

My kites respond faithfully to each tug of the string,
like pets on a leash. Sometimes, they wantonly resist
the pull, to crash-land on brush-covered hillside.

The strange, geometric delta champion, with black-and-white
checkers on its chest, rainbow wings and tail, flaps its fins
as a flying fish that floats higher and higher, into the azure.

The swirling circle, a tribute to the ingenuity of unknown
engineers, is an air turbine, turning so fast that it seems ready
to power a lightbulb or open a portal to another universe.

The green baby dragon with red wingtips and streamers
capriciously turns here and there. Unstable, garishly bright,
it falls suddenly onto a thicket of dry chaparral bushes.

The golden macaw, enormous and silent, is so different
from its loud, obnoxious cousins. My parrot blissfully swings
from left to right, in an ethereal waltz of gold and red ribbons.

The laughing dolphin soars straight up – I look up to follow
the pathway of this magnificent guardian of the world,
crossing the ocean of air, so alive in oxygen blue.

Flying kites is defying gravity. Flying kites is pure joy.
This is freedom itself, soaring towards the Sun,
circling around the Moon, tracing patterns among clouds.

My favorite is the simple diamond of colorful squares –
red, yellow, green, blue, violet – that shines in sunlight,
twirling on the end of its string, pointing the way home.

We used to make such diamonds of thin balsa wood
sticks and light parchment paper, our hands stained by glue.
The tail, a row of paper bowties tied to a string, undulated
above dark soil of potato fields, stretching to the horizon.

Flying kites is like love making to the air –
a dance of give and take – moving, shifting along
air currents that swirl above the hills at sunset.

Flying kites is an apology for years lost to not being
little children that skip along the path, straight to heaven.  
Flying kites is prayer, supplication, hymn of praise.

Flying kites is defying gravity. Flying kites is pure joy.
This is freedom itself, soaring towards the setting Sun,
circling around the Moon, tracing patterns among clouds.

It is like swimming in the air, below a violet butterfly
with outstretched wings, ascending into the purity of distance,
along the pillar of light that connects the Earth and the Sky.

(c) 2021 Maja Trochimczyk
Reprinted from Poetry Laurels blog

Lake Tahoe Trip - For Father

Beneath mauve mountains

Clear blue lake waters flow

The color of my father’s eyes

And mine too

Emotions rise from depths

Rippling, spilling down cheeks


Early morning risings

To water-ski on azure

Or transverse across snow

I share memories with my son

Whose eyes are blue too

Cycles swirl like seasons

By Pamela Shea

published in Spectrum Special Edition, Poems for Fathers


Never-Ending Childhood 

Sun shines on ocean

Grandson sees pirate ships floating

Far off in the distance

Glimmering in light

Off Carpinteria coast

I won’t spoil the magic

And tell him they are oil platforms


We play Neverland

In the sand with driftwood swords

He Peter, his sister Wendy

And I old Granny Nana


We keep Captain Hook away

On warm, sun-kissed summer days

On the sand stands a teepee

Made of burned logs from last year’s fires

A perfect palace

For Tigerlily and friends

And all other lost children

Plus those who never grow up

By Pamela Shea


The seagulls and sandpipers

Play cat and mouse with the waves

Heron comes careening in

For morning delicacies

Harbor seals lounge and relax

As waves sing their lullaby

Soft waves, gently churn my heart

And cleanse my soul of strife

Primordial soup stirs, sustains, 

and nourishes creation

By Pamela Shea

Mission Bay Mer People 

Grandmerchildren swim

Cavorting in gentle waves

Squeals of joy echo

Across soft sand to my ears

Grandmere sprouts fins to join them

by Pamela Shea

Let Summer Begin!

Open your windows 
to morning’s light! 
while wrens’ flutter 
under eaves, 
and through
white birch trees.

Picnics at the lake,
fishing by the river,
a stroll along
the beach,
pack a lunch
and let’s go!

Supper outside
chicken, burgers,
salad, beans
passion fruits
water, wine 
and beer.

Shout out a cheer
for summer’s here!

Dorothy Skiles


Sunland’s sizzling 
sidewalks, I wish
I could stroll along
Santa Monica’s
boardwalk and
take a ride on 
the merry-go-round.
Ice cream cones
are never alone
in summer’s heat - 
take your pick, vanilla,
chocolate, strawberry!
For ice cream cones 
are never neat, but 
always cool, always a treat! 

Dorothy Skiles

Black and Gray                                                                                   

I lose myself in the crowd 
by the merry-go-round 
atop Santa Monica Pier. 
My long chestnut hair
whips in the wind while
the carrousel spins
around and around - 
Next stop I hop on, riding 
away, on a graceful horse 
of black and gray 
just for today,  
just for today!

Dorothy Skiles


The day sweats
Cicadas wrinkle the air
with vibrations
Trees lie drunk
in pond's rippling surface
Young birches lean toward each other
whispering like thin women gossiping
Over water lilies a white moth flies
pushed in abstract patterns
by some erratic hidden hand
Pond turns to green glass
Only a few birds are left singing
while we curl up hot and dripping
salty in late summer sun

by Alice Pero
published in The Alembic and Thawed Stars


contain the sounds of summer
doors creaking
carrying on tiny battles outside
miniscule batting of wings
over the pond

blur us with color
and sweetness 
dripping over stone walls
a container of honey
bees’ invisible work
humming through screens

bring us back to ourselves
as are we
taking in 
every cricket
every frog

By Alice Pero
published in Atlantic Review


Have you weighed the yellow of that bold-faced sunflower?
Taken the measure of white as daisy opened to your touch?
This is morning: serious business
Sun is not yawning; night's pleasures are done
Take out your yardstick now, your ledger
Geranium's red must be counted
Lobelia's blue cannot exceed regulation
Pansy's multi-colored madness should be neatened up
These colors must not leak or stain
Our minds are clear, our mission pure
Lest we run amuck
begin to barter with poems, trade pigs for pearls,
cell phones for peacocks, laptops for dahlias,
Lest we wander off course, stray from the plan
Let flowers rule us 

By Alice Pero
published in North Dakota Quarterly