Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Village Poets Return to Bolton Hall Museum with Katerina Canyon poet and Karen Winters, artist, November 13, 2022 at 4:30pm

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga are pleased to return to the Bolton Hall Museum for a first in-person reading in three years, featuring Katerina Canyon, our Poet Laureate No. 2 (2001-2004) and presenting California landscape artist Karen Winters of La Canada Flintridge.  The reading will take place on Sunday, November 13, 2022, at 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.  The Bolton Hall Museum is located at 10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA 91042-2313.

Two segments of open mic will be available and refreshments will be served. Suggested donation $5 per person for the cost of refreshments and to donate to the Little Landers Society that manages the Bolton Hall Museum,  a Los Angeles Historical Landmark built in 1913.


Katerina Canyon is a 2020 and 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her stories have been published in the New York Times and Huffington Post. From 2000 to 2003, she served as the Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. During that time, she started a poetry festival and ran several poetry readings. She was featured in the Los Angeles Times and was awarded the Montesi Award from Saint Louis University in 2011, 2012, and 2013. She has published multiple chapbooks and an album.

While living in Sunland-Tujunga, she was active in the local community, coaching girls basketball, teaching writing classes through the McGroarty Arts Center, and organizing both the Sunland-Tujunga Poetry Festival and local poetry slams. She also hosted the Eccentric Moon Poetry Reading Series at Tujunga Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library.

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. 

More information on her website:

Village Poets presented Canyon on zoom in November 2021: 

Link to Video from the  reading

Staring Across the Atlantic

My people were born underwater

In the hulls of slave ships.

My people were pulled from farms in Nigeria

From trade ships along the Nile river

From the rainforests of Cameroon.

My people were tossed in cages

With people who didn’t speak their language,

But we learned to speak a new tongue

From the end of the whip’s lash.

We learned the mood of the ocean.

We learned to read the stars through knot holes,

And to sing songs in tune with the waves.

That’s when we became American.

We were slaves to the British, the Dutch, the Portuguese,

We were even slaves to the Cherokee.

We not only marched the Trail of Tears

We carried their bags, their homes,

Their children on our backs.

We have fought in every single war

Since the American Revolution.

We are not America, but we are American.

As the years passed, we forgot the Baka, the Nok, the Hyksos 

But in our songs, our jazz, our blues,

We can hear their ghosts.

That’s why we are Africa but not African.

We are cultural orphans

Grasping for the hem of our mother’s dress. 

Sudden Sparkle, 11 x 14 oil painting, Ca. Northern coast

After poetry it will be the time for art: Karen Winters will show six of her landscape paintings and discuss her artistic interests and technique. 


 Karen Winters is a native Californian, for whom "art and the love of nature have been lifelong passions."  She received my BA from UCLA, with a minor in Art History. A subsequent masters in journalism (also from UCLA) led to an award-winning career in advertising, followed by new ventures in broadcast news and documentary film making. Through all the years and all the travels, a sketchbook has been her steady companion, recording Egyptian archaeological digs, the movements of killer whales, or the dances of Tibetan monks. Now a full-time artist, she actively travels and paints on location throughout California and the western United States. 

She writes: "My work is inspired by the natural world, whether the medium I choose is watercolor, oil, acrylic or pastel. I am most interested in capturing the quality of light as it defines a landscape, a still life or floral portrait. I make a practice of painting daily, either in studio or, my preference, in the beautiful California landscape. I would characterize my style as borrowing from the best of impressionism and realism. Among my historical influences have been tonalist George Inness, Edgar Payne, J Bond Francisco, and many of the other early California impressionists."

Through group and solo shows, her work has been exhibited at the Autry National Museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art, the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art, the Riverside Museum of Art, the San Luis Obispo Art Museum, the Santa Paula Art Museum, the Riverside Museum of Art, The Pasadena Museum of History, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in LA,  and is in the collection of the Huntington Library. Her paintings have been in National Watercolor Society shows, and won awards at Bowers Museum invitational events.

Affiliations: Artist member, California Art Club; American Impressionist Society; Pasadena Society of Artists.

The Oak on the Hill, 11 x 14 oil painting, Central California

Selected Recent Juried Exhibitions and Awards


Art Tehachapi Plein Air Invitational

Mars: An Artistic Mission - "NASA and JPL, Bringing worlds together" - California Art Club

Welcome to California -"Palms of Dawn" - California Art Club

"Aqua Activated" show, Pasadena Society of Artists


U.S. Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, "Upper Yosemite Falls, Yosemite National Park" On loan to the embassy until 2022 as part of the "Art in Embassies" program of the U.S. Dept. of State.

Pasadena Museum of History - Art Night exhibition and demonstration

"The Golden State" - Old Mill, California Art Club

"Wildflower Springtime - Central California" 14 x 18 inches oil painting


Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History "Magnificent Migrations" "Red Fox"

Gold Medal Show, California Art Club "California Roll Sushi" - Pasadena Museum of California Art

Spring Show - "Quiet Spring Reflections" Old Mill, California Art Club

Summer Show - "Calafia Cliffs, San Clemente" Old Mill, California Art Club

Autumn Impressions: Painting the American Landscape, Muckenthaler Cultural Center, Fullerton, CA "Cottonwood Breezes"

Los Osos Autumn, 18 x 30 inches, oil painting
Ca. Central Coast, Los Osos Valley Road


Yosemite Renaissance 34 - Yosemite Museum and Gallery, Yosemite National Park "Yosemite Awakening"

Art Matters - Huntington Museum and Botanical Gardens "Delphinium Dance"

Signs of Spring - A Day in the Garden - Old Mill, California Art Club "Blue Heron Lake"

Canyons to Coves - Old Mill, California Art Club - "Sculpted by Time"

SLOPOKE Fine Art of the West, Juried Exhibition and Sale (October 2018), Solvang, CA


Descanso Gardens - Sturt Haaga Gallery juried "Bloom" show "Clivias" and "Descanso Sunflowers"

"Idyllic Impressions" - Old Mill, California Art Club

"Journey down the California Coast" - Old Mill, California Art Club

Central Coast Fields, 12 x 12 inches, oil painting
Central California


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Village Poets Present Sharon M. Williams on Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 4:30 pm on Zoom

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga are pleased to present poet Sharon M. Williams on Sunday, August 28, 2022 at 4:30 pm via Zoom.  The invitation is sent by email to Village Poets mailing list; you may request to be added to the list by contacting 

Ms. Sharon Michele Williams is an author, poet, teacher and entrepreneur in the greater Los Angeles area. She was a teacher and counselor of high school youth and adults for over 20 years with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Currently, she continues to teach and mentor as a business owner in the field of education. Her written work appears in The Storyteller and Oak magazines

and most recent poems can be found in A Spiritual Journal of Healing, Scenes of Southern​ California and Spectrum: The Miracle Experiment. She is also the author of Two Truths Wise: A​ Collection of Poetry and Anecdotal Stories and her new book, Dark Days Light: A Poetry​ Collection for You. Sharon is passionate about living, writing and healing so when she’s not​ working, she spends her time exploring museums and art festivals, facilitating her writing group,​ staying healthy and enjoying time with family and friends.



When you died,

I saw God. He told me about 

your alpine days and black-widowed nights. 

He said it was enough.

When you died, 

I knew in advance. You came to me 

across miles of sky, across the starred galaxy

of our youth. You called me by name 

to the water. We smiled and walked 

to the deep end, without our feet 

touching the coral sand.

It was how we used to be.


When you died, 

You were at peace, strolling along, 

mind and body, lacquered, without any fear.

I could see your steps, ordered along the pyramid.

Your journey was your journey.

You didn’t negotiate 

the rain.

When you died,

The heavens became a monsoon gray

but when the nectar of the sun rose again, 

there sat a reflective gem, a raven of clear skies,

with a cello and a saxophone breeze.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

Happy Independence Day 2022! Village Poets are Baaaack in the Parade!


Happy Independence Day 2022! 

from Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga and Friends at the California State Poetry Society and Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club - Joe DeCenzo, Elsa Frausto, Marlene Hitt, Alice Pero, Pamela Shea, Dorothy Skiles, Maja Trochimczyk, Susan Rogers, Bory Thach, Ambika Talwar, and Beata & Ella Czajkowska

It's that time of the year! The Independence Day Parade in Sunland Tujunga starts at 10 am on Monday, 4 July 2022 from the crossing of Mt. Gleason and Foothill. The parade goes down Foothill Blvd, and ends by Sunland Park.  It takes about an hour to walk.  Above is one of the previously decorated Poets' Convertibles (lent to the poets by Joe DeCenzo). Below a photo from the parade that featured Pamela Shea, then Poet Laureate as the Statue of Liberty, with her crown and torch Those were the days.... and now we are coming back to this patriotic fun! 

Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga will be represented by the Poet Laureate Alice Pero riding in the Poets' Convertible driven by Joe DeCenzo (ST Poet Laureate No. 4), with guests Beata Czajkowska, Secretary of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, poet Susan Rogers, and Village Poets volunteer, Josephine.  Walking along the decorated car, poets will distribute postcards with "America the Beautiful" and poems they selected for this occasion. 

 The "walking" poets will include Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, ST Poet Laureate No. 6 (2010-2012) and President of the California State Poetry Society, Ambika Talwar, secretary of the California State Poetry Society, Bory Thach, one of the Editors of the California Quarterly and member of the Board of CSPS, and Elzbieta Czajkowska, representing Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club as its volunteer web designer. 

Maja Trochimczyk, Bory Thach and Ambika Talwar (2021).

Alice Pero started her term in 2020, however all public events were cancelled and her first public appearance in a large Village Poets event was at the Passing of the Laurels Ceremony held this spring. You can read her bio and a list of achievements on our site, and about the Passing of the Laurels on this blog.

Alice Pero

Some of the poems to be given out will be on the theme of the celebration, for instance Marlene Hitt wrote about the fireworks:

These are not bombs
up there in the sky
only fireworks
It's the Fourth of July!

Bursting to celebrate
freedom for all,
sparkling promises
begin to fall

         (c) Marlene Hitt

Maja Trochimczyk's "Independence Day" poem that was given out as a postcard previously, received a new design:

Independence Day

Red - are the rocks of the Grand Canyon
White - are the mountains, covered with snow
Blue - are the waves of Pacific Ocean

Red, White and Blue - colors of all.

Red - is the Earth from which we come
White - is the Air that fills our lungs
Blue - is the Water inside us, with Stardust

Red, White and Blue - connected in all.

Red - is pure Love, deep in our hearts
White - is the Brightness of our minds
Blue - is the Peace of well-lived lives

Red, White and Blue - freedom for all.

(C) 2018 by Maja Trochimczyk

Maja Trochimczyk decided to also distribute one poem from her new book, Bright Skies - a version of a poem written for one person, now transformed from singular into plural - so it is a poem about all of US and our strengths, together. We are all perfect! 

Today – For Us


We are a miracle of life

We do what we want

We want what we do

We are perfect

We are cosmic trees

We grow by the calm lake of light

Its smooth opal surface

Reflects the sun’s smiling face

Our roots drink liquid light

Our crown sparkles with stars

Our leaves are green with peace

Our flowers are gold with joy

Our fruit is ripe with wisdom

We are a living miracle

We are perfect

From noon to midnight

From midnight to noon

We love what we do

We do what we love

We are—we  shine

We are one with the One

We are perfect

                     (c) 2022 by Maja Trochimczyk, from "Bright Skies"

Ambika Talwar follows the theme of "Today"  with an excerpt from a longer poem: 


  laugh silently and aloud

for the winds are your messengers

  spread your love

wherever these miniscule spores wander



 proclaim freedom for all those

 who choose to give nourishment to

  their inner hearts’ miraculous ways



is the day we each promised eons ago

 we would shift the ley lines

  of our thoughts and ways of being



 my blessed beloveds, we are on the path

  of discovery and new creation


Today … be free

     And freely choose life liberty wisdom…
        and happiness …

                                   ~ Ambika Talwar

Joe DeCenzo will bring his poem inspired by America the Beautiful, "From Sea to Shining Sea," that we previously published on this site:

Here are links to photos and stories from our previous parades. The last one of these was in July 2019:

Joe, Marlene, Maja and Josephine at the Parade in 2018.


Happy Independence Day! We had the largest crew ever in the Village Poets entry in the Sunland-Tujunga Parade - two people to carry the banner (poet Joe DeCenzo and Josephine), three in the poets' convertible (ST Poet Laureate Alice Pero, poets Dorothy Skiles and Bory Thach who served as a driver), and three "walkers" to give out poems - myself, Ella and Beata Czajkowska! Then, a party at home and great conversations with another guest, India-born poet Ambika Talwar. So much fun! 

In one group we had immigrants from Poland, Mexico, Germany, Cambodia and India, plus those born in the USA. A true celebration of freedom, diversity and friendship!  I wore the gold scarf made by my Mom who died on the 4th of July 2013, and I always remember her joyous generosity and love on this lovely, happy day!  Ella, a poet and "walker" giving away poems, said that  people were moved to tears to get cards, especially the Hymn of Light I wrote new words for... America the Beautiful was the biggest hit on my side. I had people coming up to ask for extra cards... We'll have to print 800 for next year!

First, we gathered at my house on Sunday evening to decorate the Poets' Convertible - the car is lent for this occasion by Joe DeCenzo who, after the parade is over, has to remove the "goo" of glue from tape that melts into the varnish. Thanks a lot Joe! In some years, we totally overdecorated the car - see the photo on the top of this post. This year, I think we managed to stay classy! 

July 3, 2022 Decorating Poets' Convertible with Alice trying out her seat

Almost ready - Poets' Convertible covered in silk flowers, bunting and flags!

Josephine and the stars

Bory Thach and the front grille, tricky job!

Alice and Josephine put the final touches on the front

Maja, Joe, Josephine and Alice so happy together!

Joe and Josephine attach the bunting to the front

We have some words on magnets, and the Poet Laureate picks up mini-poems 

Two of Alice's choices are here. 

I asked poets for some comments about the Parade and received the following from Alice Pero, our current Poet Laureate. 

Alice with her special umbrella from Joe and scarf from Maja.

"Here is the story about me and the little girl today.

When I was waiting in the car to start off in the parade,
a man and little girl came and seemed very interested in
our car and the man asked what we were doing and I
said, "This is the Poet Laureate Car."  I directly addressed
the little girl who was standing wide-eyed at me. I asked her,
"Do you know what a poet is?"  She didn't answer, so I said,
"A poet is someone who makes poems. Here is a poem:
'The bright yellow sun is up high in the sky
will you be my friend today on the 4th of July?"

She smiled broadly at that point and then we got into
a conversation about how she could make up a poem herself,
maybe about the unicorn on her tee shirt.

These are the things that make being a Poet Laureate so much fun.
Thank you for including the Poet Laureate in the Sunland/Tujunga
4th of July Parade!

Alice Pero"



The crew ready to roll!  Alice in her chair on top of the convertible, 
Josephine, Joe, Ella, Bory, Dorothy, Beata and Maja stand in costumes. 

Ella and Beata Czajkowska with poems to give away

Bory as the driver, Joe and Josephine to carry the banner.

Maja with the flag

Beata with postcards of poems and America the Beautiful

Joe made the banner, and this year carried it with Josephine. Fantastic outfits! 

The crew with Alice, Dorothy and Bory in the car, Joe and Josephine in the back

The second smallest car, a truck with its driver and Joe.

The crew at the end of the route.

After the parade with the car

Joe and Josephine

Maja, Joe, Josephine in front of her house.

Maja Josephine, Beata and Ella 

Josephine designed her dress and had it made to order specially for this parade! 

Maja and Ambika in patriotic hats

The next step for the poets will be....CSPS Board representatives
Maja Trochimczyk President, Bory Thach, CQ Editor, and Ambika Talwar, Board Secretary.