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 DMHSkiles@gmail.com or Maja@moonrisepress.com 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) http://www.slowtrains.com/vol7issue4/melancholycover.html

2008    The Interior (Island Hills Books)   http://islandhills.tripod.com/chorlton.pdf

2008    Dry Heat (Origami Condom)   http://www.origamicondom.org/Chapbooks/DChorlton.01.pdf

2008    The Dreaming House (Chippens)   http://www.chippens.com/chapbooks/The_Dreaming_House.pdf


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