Village Poets Welcomes Lois P. Jones and William O’Daly on Sunday, June 25
Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga is pleased to invite poets and friends of poetry to our Monthly Reading held in-person, on Sunday, June 25, 2023 at 4:30 pm. at Bolton Hall Museum, located at 10110 Commerce Ave, Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA 91042-2313. In June our features will be celebrated poets Lois P. Jones and William O’Daly.
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.
Lois P. Jones was recently awarded the 2023 Alpine Fellowship which this year takes place in Fjällnäs, Sweden. She was a finalist in the annual Mslexia Poetry Competition judged by Helen Mort and will be published in Spring 2023. In 2022 her work was a finalist for both the Best Spiritual Literature Award in Poetry from Orison Books and the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest. Other honors include a Highly Commended and publication in the 2021 Bridport Poetry Prize Anthology Jones’ awards include the Bristol Poetry Prize, the Lascaux Poetry Prize for a single poem, the Tiferet Poetry Prize and winning finalist for the Terrain Poetry contest judged by Jane Hirshfield. In collaboration with filmmaker Jutta Pryor and sound designer Peter Verwimp, her poem La Scapigliata won the 2022 Lyra Bristol Poetry Film Competition. Her work appears or is forthcoming in the Academy of American Poets - Poem A Day, Poetry Wales, Mslexia, Plume, Guernica Editions, Terrain, Vallentine Mitchell of London; Verse Daily, Narrative and others. Jones’ first collection, “Night Ladder,” was published by Glass Lyre Press and was a finalist for the Julie Suk Award and the Lascaux Poetry Prize for a poetry collection. Since 2007 Jones has hosted KPFK’s Poets Café, and acted as poetry editor for the Pushcart prize-winning Kyoto Journal. She is a screening judge for Claremont University’s Kingsley-Tufts Awards.
Three Poems by Lois P. Jones
Housekeeping: Frida’s Future Kiss
After the palm reader told her no man would ever claim her, she asked to be claimed by the white horse she dreamt of each evening. It always began with a nuzzle, a warm breath, like a kiss made of clouds that hovered and finally released its rain. As if life only existed in the closed rooms of her eyes. And there, the scent of crushed grapes and the white shadow of a horse becoming human. Not a satyr but a transmogrification like a moon-impersonating streetlamp. A tenderness that lived inside the small of her waist, his hand, this gentleness, and the tongues that mixed their silence. She does not need her knees, fingers, thighs, saliva – only this window where she looks into the mind’s vanishing frame. A flutter like a valve opens and he turns to her. Their love like silk sheets toppling over the wicker basket.
~Published in Plume
Big Sur Redwoods by Full Moon: Shifting Voices, October 2020
After Joanna Klink’s Sea by Dusk
Comes to you from titans and says be shadow,
be silence. Gathers the length of longing
and says crown the sky with impermanence.
Comes in the middle of caution,
an October felled into acres
of loss. Drinks the light, lulling the waves
of disaster that brought you here.
Enters the path at midnight when the deer’s eyes empty
into trembling. Says you who know strength, keep standing,
no fires will catch the heartwood
where you live. No oceans will drown you
in their history.
Dream, the path calling you
beyond evening’s bleed of wood smoke into the clearing.
walk in the certainty there is no blindness,
only what comes between you and this act of knowing.
Fall like a nocturne in to the river,
rushing like grain beneath your pillow,
shifting the rhythm of your breath beyond the newly dead.
Tonight is a long hour without minutes,
this blue bead of moonlight on your brow.
Be the spirit girl who stands in clear water
stilling everything – trees, stones, root skin,
invisible creatures who pause as you think of them.
Shelter in the mirror of her image,
her cape of grey doves, dense as the moss that surrounds her,
be stunned as the shaft of light on her face.
Move like a hymn in the hidden worlds,
be here, only here.
~Published in Tiferet
Frida Travels by Train to Meet Rilke for the First Time
Against all expectations, I, a young and inexperienced girl, was selected out of many applications …to keep house for the poet Rainer Maria Rilke at Muzot.
~ Frida Baumgartner, October, 1921
The sky is complicated and flawed and we’re up there in it. Opening its letters. Crossing countries to clean someone’s clouds. Crossing mountains stacked with chanting. Stacked with secrets. Strange tongues that want to define us, that refuse to taste us. As in tasting the last honey-dipped slice of apple on this train. I watch the sun spark rivers without faces. Watch my face disappear in the passenger window. Disappear like Borges and never return. He won’t believe I’ve read Borges. Won’t believe I can attend to his silence. Silence is a letter you never open. A ball of yarn knitting sky in a corner. What we want, we fashion. Fashion the proper weather for our wanting. Wanting what is always made of what we cannot make ourselves. There are his blue eyes in the window. He makes what I want, I will fashion what he needs. I will make a cowbell of wishes. I will not ring it.
*With a line from Lisa Robertson.
~Published in Mslexia
William O’Daly has translated eight books of the late-career and posthumous poetry of Chilean Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda and most recently Neruda’s first volume, Book of Twilight, a finalist for the 2018 Northern California Book Award in Translation. The author of four chapbooks of poems, he published his first full-length volume of poems, The New Gods, with Beltway Editions in September 2022. In March 2023, the Los Angeles Master Chorale including three poems from The New Gods and one from his chapbook, Waterways, in the world premiere of Reena Esmail’s “Malhaar: A Requiem for Water,” at the Walt Disney Concert Hall. A National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, he received the American Literary Award from the bilingual Korean American journal Miju Poetry and Poetics in September 2021. Currently, he is Lead Writer for the California Water Plan, the state’s strategic plan for sustainably and equitably managing water resources.
Three Poems by William O’Daly
Love in a Changing Climate
Touching your absent hand, I am like the saint
who wanders with the first yellow leaf,
the ease of what might be mistaken
for our familiar love. It’s never easy
to sustain in the eyes what changes inside,
to feel the fear, the abandonment, and shame.
Listen . . . the wind is scattering our names. We are
the question the stone and the river ask.
Had I been with you when you died, I’d know
him who knows how to shepherd the dying home.
Illiterate birds ravel our lives with twelve strings
and we find love that takes the leap with us,
stays to clean up the birth of the cosmos,
the benevolent trees that burn like us.
~from The New Gods (Beltway Editions, 2022)
Like you, I have sought
the fate of the wave,
the burnt mast, the water birds
gliding near as a prayer. And so
as the eastern sea passes
its ring of opal light to the sky,
I promise I will pass the ring
of the sea to my daughter.
Always, the mermaid speaks of love.
The beggar cries that his sandals
were stolen by Jesus. My daughter
asks me to hold those fragile rings,
to hold the sea that breaks with gravity’s secret
and washes over our cold bare feet
until she has a song to sing to it.
~from The New Gods, (Beltway Editions, 2022)
Heron Dances Over the World
Even you’re not watching
as you spread your black tattered wings
and step among the colors of the physical world—
spindly legs conjure the symbol for infinity
in red earth, in fresh blue snow and white mist.
Endangered islands bloom, the wetland fills
with mountain shadow. In a parallel universe
your reflection moves to its inner calling,
to folded granite, music of the waterfall.
You live as hidden origami, with creases
and abandon, intricate patterns that resist
the receding shore. You circle, an equation
neither eyes nor lips can touch—motion that can’t be solved
or written on the tongue. You do not stop to preen
among the battered dunes.
Your cry wrings iron from irony,
recalls the silent bells, laments the love
I’ve forgotten. You breathe closer to the swaying aspen
than to the orphaned moon and the tide’s pull.
In this dance you create, like a beetle,
your own being.
~from The New Gods (Beltway Editions, 2022)
PLEASE NOTE OUR "ALMOST" MONTHLY READINGS CONTINUE IN 2023:
25 June (4th Sunday) Lois P. Jones & William O’Daly
27 August (4th Sunday) Beverly M. Collins & A. Jay Adler
24 September (4th Sunday) Marlene Hitt & RG Cantalupo
22 Oct (4th Sunday) Ambika Talwar & Susan Suntree
No dates Nov/Dec due to holidays