The Tenth Poet-Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, 2020-2024
Ms. Alice Pero, an eminent California poet, flutist, poetry teacher and cultural activist, has been named the Tenth Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga for the years 2020-2024. Ms. Pero was selected for her role by a ten-person Poetry and Literature Committee, convened by Village Poets, a local voluntary group presenting poetry readings at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. The Committee consisted of Chair, Joe DeCenzo, the Fourth Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, and of other Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga, all former Poets Laureate – Dorothy Skiles, Marlene Hitt, Pamela Shea, Elsa Frausto, and Dr. Maja Trochimczyk. The Village Poets were joined by invited representatives of local organizations: Ms. Liliana Sanchez, President of Sunland Tujunga Neighborhood Council, Mr. Ardem Tajerian, Senior Librarian, Sunland Tujunga Branch Library, and Ms. Laurell Gells, Executive Director of the McGroarty Arts Center. The applicants submitted poems, biographic notes, and plans for their term of service; they participated in an in-person interview at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga.
Due to ban on in-person events in 2020-2022 in the county of Los Angeles, the "Passing of the Laurels" ceremony for Alice Pero was delayed to April 9, 2022. It will be held at the Wendell Dayton Sculpture Garden in Sunland at 1pm.
In their congratulatory letter, the Committee stated that Ms. Pero’s poetry “is truly accessible, emotional and relatable to many. Her love and appreciation of Sunland-Tujunga is prevalent throughout her work. Her sensitivity and skill as a poet and viable plan to foster the poetic creativity of the youth in our community have set her apart as the person most qualified to express in verse the life and hopes and aspirations of the people of Sunland-Tujunga.” Ms. Pero will start her service on April 26, 2020 and the official Passing of the Laurels Ceremony will take place this summer at the McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga.
Alice Pero’s poetry has been published in magazines and anthologies including Nimrod, National Poetry Review, River Oak Review, Poet Lore, The Alembic, North Dakota Quarterly, The Distillery, Fox Cry Review, The Griffin, and G.W. Review, California Quarterly, Coiled Serpent, Wide Awake, Altadena Poetry Review, and many others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Altadena Poetry Review and California Quarterly. Her book of poetry, Thawed Stars, was praised by renowned poet, Kenneth Koch, as having “clarity and surprises.” In 2017 Shabda Press published a book of poems, Sunland Park Poems, written in Sunland Park by herself and former Sunland/Tujunga Poet Laureate, Elsa Frausto. The book also features photographs Pero took in the park.
Alice Pero and Maja Trochimczyk after a Windsong concert
with Maja as Featured Poet, 2017.
Pero is a teacher of poetry to children in schools for 29 years and a member of California Poets in the Schools. She is the founder of the reading series, "Moonday", ongoing in the Los Angeles area since 2002 and now located in Sunland. An accomplished flutist and former dancer, she created the performing group, "Windsong Players Chamber Ensemble" in 2015 which gives concerts regularly around the Southland. Pero continues to teach poetry to children throughout the Los Angeles area with a current residency at the Delphi Academy in Lake View Terrace.
Pero lives on the edge of a Southland desert wash with her husband, Dennis, a pastoral counsellor, and she is the mother of two and grandmother of five. She frequently takes her five year old grandson on walks in the desert wash in back of her house in Sunland, and he has developed a profound interest in nature, the local flora and fauna, particularly the bees that flourish on her very large rosemary bush.