Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Newsbriefs 45:1, Spring 2019

It is with great pleasure that I’m sharing with all of the California poets news about recent activities of the California State Poetry Society and its members. I have been elected Acting President of the CSPS in late February 2019, taking over this position from Dr. John F. Harrell, who remains on the Executive Board as Treasurer and Web Master, but will no longer serve as one of two Managing Editors of the California Quarterly, nor as the Acting President of CSPS.

I’m honored and grateful to be selected to this important position and I will do my best to serve all poets associated with the CSPS and the CQ. I hope to help everyone share the best of their poetry with the world of readers. In my work, I will continue to rely on the support and guidance of John F. Harrell, Pearl Karrer, Margaret Saine, Richard Deets, and all the editors of our wonderful journal. I am especially grateful to Margaret Saine, who invited me first to submit to the CQ, then to become one of the editors. I owe thanks to Pearl Karrer who helped me format my very first issue of CQ, and to Dr. John F. Harrell who shared some of his rich knowledge about the history and workings of this wonderful organization.

The second major personnel change has been caused by the retirement of Keith Van Vliet from his twin positions of Vice President of Communications and Chair of Monthly Contests. I am delighted to share with you the news that our new Vice President of Communications will be Richard Modiano, Director Emeritus of Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, CA.

Elected Executive Director of Beyond Baroque in 2010, Modiano is a writer, curator, and editor. In 2007 he produced Beyond Baroque’s “On the Road” 50th Anniversary Production and in 2009 he produced the marathon reading and panel discussion of “William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch at 50.” He was on Board of Directors for Valley Contemporary Poets from 1997-2005 and served as Board President in 2004-2005. His poems have been published in Blue Satellite, Big Scream, Maintenant, Mas Tequila Review, Malpais Review, the Los Angeles Cultural Weekly, and he is a contributor to The Bukowski Anthology. Modiano has been elected unanimously by e-mail vote and we are very pleased to gain his expertise and experience to help CSPS spread its wings. He will also serve as the Chair of Monthly Poetry Contests, and will be assisted in judging the submissions by another wonderful California poet, Alice Pero as Co-Chair of Monthly Contests.

Alice Pero’s work has been published in over 40 journals and anthologies (including CQ 44:1) and her first book of poetry, Thawed Stars (1999), was hailed by Kenneth Koch as having "clarity and surprises." Her recent chapbook Sunland Park Poems, co-written with Elsa Frausto, is a lovely example of what poetry of place could be at its best. Pero is also an accomplished flutist as well as a teacher of poetry to grade school children and she has developed a unique curriculum that utilizes her experience with music. In October 2002, she founded a poetry reading, Moonday (now at Flintridge Bookstore in La Canada), which she co-produces with Lois P. Jones.

The third major news item about CSPS is the use of Submittable as the preferred way of submitting poems to the CQ editors. With six to eight editors and rotating contact information, poems have been submitted for publication in many different ways – snail mail, email to various editors, and online submissions. The Executive and Editorial Boards voted “YES” and we are shifting to the electronic format for one year in order to try it out. In the transition period, we will still accept other submission formats, while encouraging the use of Submittable (

The most recent issue of the California Quarterly, edited by Margaret Saine was welcomed with praise by readers, including the following comment from contributor Terrence Sykes: “Many thanks to you again for both my appearances in this little gem of a journal.” I praised the volume as “passionate and courageous” and revealing the diversity of poetic interests of our Editors that is one of the strengths of the CQ – Saine’s passion being translations.


Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, edited by Lucille Lang Day (long time CSPS member) and Ruth Nolan, has been published by Scarlet Tanager Press. Here’s a link to a review:…/an-ecopoetry-collection-that-artic…/.

CSPS member Stephanie Pressman has had her long poem, “Lovebirdman,” published in an illustrated volume, available on Amazon.

CQ Managing Editor, Pearl Karrer will have her poem, “The Leather Shoe,” appear in the May/June 2019 issue of SLANT. 

CSPS member Kathabela Wilson continues her poetry column in Pasadena newspaper, Colorado Boulevard,, and her service as Secretary of Tanka Society of America, and as President of Poets of Site group in Pasadena, that published over 30 anthologies of poetry inspired by art.

CSPS member Pamela Shea, Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga, continues bringing poetry to the most unlikely places – not just schools, libraries, and art exhibits, but also relay races or coffee shops.

Our CQ poet Alun Rees now has his poems available online at

A CQ poet and new member of CSPS, Eliecer Almaguer has founded a Latino poetry group in Santa Ana. It is called Taller Literario Arymex and introduces poets wanting to write in Spanish to the plethora of Spanish and Latin American poets they were never able to read during their school years.

Finally, some news about your President: In June 2018, I was elected President of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles for 2018-2020 and, due to this role, I was invited to give a talk “Who Was Helena Modjeska?” on March 28, 2019 to over 100 attendees at the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach, on the occasion of an exhibit of a unique fairy-tale written and illustrated in 1896 by the famous Polish-American actress, director, producer, and celebrity.

After editing CQ 44:1 I finished editing (with Kathi Stafford) the Grateful Conversations anthology of my writing group, Westside Women Writers (Moonrise Press, May 2018). A wonderful review has just been published by Michael Escoubas in Quill and Parchment, April 2019. Then, I translated Andrzej Wendland’s Górecki, Penderecki. Diptych (Moonrise Press, 2018). Three essays about Polish American composers appeared in 100 lat muzycznej emigracji, a dictionary edited by Marlena Wieczorek in Polish (MEA Kultura, 2018). My article on “American Years of Alexandre Tansman (1941-1946)” was published in English and Polish in Homage to Tansman by the University of Wrocław, Poland (2018, 2019, ed. Anna Granat-Janki). My poems appeared in Spectrum, vol. 17 (December 2018) and vol. 18 (April 2019); Quill and Parchment (August 2018); Collateral Damage anthology from Glass Lyre Press (2018); Eclipse Moon, anthology of Southern California Haiku Study Group (2018), and other collections and journals.

As you see I like being busy, and I’ll be very content to work with all of you to strengthen and grow the CSPS and our wonderful California Quarterly.

~ Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D., Acting President of CSPS