Tuesday, October 20, 2020

President's Newsbriefs from California Quarterly 46:3, Fall 2020

NEWSBRIEFS 2020, No. 3 (Fall 2020)

Some say: we live in the times of Armageddon. The Last Battle has begun. Some say: it is a Great Awakening and the New Earth will be born from these pangs of pain after enough people dissolve dense, stagnant pools of ancestral trauma. Some say: we are the ones we have been waiting for. Some say: ACAB. Some say: WW1WGA. Some say: transhumanism. AI technology conquers the Universe. Some say: Shirin-Yoku, Forest Healing… Humans thrive close to the Earth. How do you find your path to truth through this thicket of words? A fortune cookie told me: “Follow your heart. It will never be wrong.” Again: “Let your boundless heart explore.”

So, I do. This summer, I discovered that I could wade in “my” stream. I share it with the whole community, of course. Someone built low rocky dams across the flow, and the water, surprisingly abundant in July, creates small pools, knee-deep at best, with sand, or gravel, or rocks on the bottom. Green algae and moss are gone, either torn away by rushing stream, or cleared by those anonymous magicians that made this summer gifts for all of us. There is a family with kids splashing and playing with a colorful plastic ball. Cheerful music becomes barely a whisper as I walk to the next mini pool: this one is deeper, with more soft sand on the bottom. Here, a pudgy boy is learning to swim, so I wade downstream along a narrow “trickle” in my old shoes, protecting my skin from cuts. I learned this trick from an ancient Tibetan folktale about a wise princess, who thought that shoes could be thrown out, but wounded feet were hard to mend. 

After braving some narrow straits and thicker bushes, I come across the third rocky dam that blocks enough water for a pleasant respite from the summer heat. I see small fish darting this way and that; shifting patterns of sunlight ripples intersect on the sand. Mountain sunflowers, called “black-eyed Susans,” lean over, greeted by mirror images on the gleaming surface of water. Perfection of a moment. 

These wild pools will disappear when the stream dries out. It was dry for so long, I stopped going there. Now, it is alive with visitors – five horse-riders go by and three dog walkers. Their happy pets greet me in the stream, splashing in shallow current, with tails wagging. The “owners” of this place are here, too – a rabbit with a white spot of a tail hops away from the trail. A duck family floats by; the watchful mom guards her brood of five, half her size, voraciously devouring green plants on the edge of the stream. 

Thus, I found my antidote to the pandemic of fear and hate in a mountain stream in the Los Angeles National Forest, on the outskirts of L.A. You could find it in the waves of the Pacific, refreshing like champagne, covering you with sea foam and scratching your toes with small rocks rolling up and down, with each wave closer to becoming sand. In time, these rocks will become sand. In time, the year 2020 will be remembered by something other than the virus, peaceful protests, riots, and… murder hornets. This year, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Italian painter Raphael, the 250th anniversaries of the birth of poet William Wordsworth and composer Ludwig van Beethoven. British-French poet Hilaire Belloc and Italian physician and teacher Maria Montessori were both born 150 years ago. Jazz legends Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker, sitar-virtuoso Ravi Shankar and vagabond poet Charles Bukowski all celebrate their centennials this year. 

John Keats, Photogravure after J. Severn, Wellcome Library, London

The last volume of poems by John Keats appeared 200 years ago. He was only 25 years old when he died in 1821, leaving masterpieces unfinished. I started writing poetry after I turned 35, in Canada, to perfect my grasp of English (Polish is my native tongue) and bury my émigré sorrows in a deluge of words. These poems are destined to remain unpublished. I started publicly presenting my work when I decided I was no longer a victim…. Embracing victimhood is among the most toxic and deadly vices, widespread among displaced persons and émigrés.

Bory Thach

I am pleased to welcome to our Editorial Board another émigré who refuses to be a victim. Bory Thach was born in a refugee camp located on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. His family immigrated to the United States when he was four years old. He served in the U.S. Army and deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has an MFA from California State University San Bernardino. Fiction and creative nonfiction fall under the art of storytelling, while poetry for him is more of a study of language, an art form in itself. His work appeared or is forthcoming in: Pacific Review, Urban Ivy, Arteidolia, Sand Canyon Review and We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology. His recently completed book of poetry dialogues with Cindy Rinne, Letters under Rock (2019), has been presented as a quasi-theatrical performance in art galleries and museums in Southern California. Thach joined the Editorial Board in July 2020 and will start his duties from the CQ vol. 47, no. 1.

Our Monthly Contest Judge, Alice Pero, selected the winners of two CSPS Monthly Poetry Contests: Joyce Futa’s “Kumquat Marmalade” was selected as the best poem in the month of June and Jackie Chou’s “Cerulean” was honored in July. The winners receive a small cash prize and their poems, both published in We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology (edited by yours truly and Marlene Hitt). They are also posted on our blog: CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety.com.

California Quarterly 46:2 (Summer 2020) edited by Maura Harvey received lots of praise. “Congratulations on the selection of poems for the new CQ volume. I’m enjoying the wide variety. Some are lyrical and lovely, others are thought-provoking, revealing (eg. “Hoarder’s Excuse”) or inspirational and a few I found simply puzzling. I like your poem “Message Threads” very much. The imagery is so clear, Cassandra is a strong name, and you take us brilliantly from the everyday, neighborhood sounds she listens to as she embroiders to that powerful ending when she sews in her warning, listening to the sounds of the dying universe. Stunning final lines. I also admire your well-crafted introductory Editor’s Note, as I admire your talent and skills with poetry.” (Mary Willix). “I enjoyed the poems and the playfulness of many.  The one about Hoarding Books. Pearl Karrer's poems are delightful! The sense of movement runs through both - from the granddaughter's ballet to the image of the blackbirds. Congratulations on the issue.” (Nancy Cavers Dougherty).  “Thank you so much for putting together this new collection of poetry. I love it and the cover is beautiful! I especially enjoyed your poem—’Embroidery sharpens her hearing.’” (Mai-Lon Gittelsohn). 

 “It is not often that the world shares a simultaneous cataclysm.  This is not, of course, the comet that killed the dinosaurs.  But it seems close. Even when momentous events are happening, there is usually a variety of things going on to attract the attention of poets.  This year the poetry that is being written for this volume, though perhaps not intended as such, provides a marvelous snapshot of different voices caught in the same moment of shock, but each reacting in a unique way.  Some poets, like Joe Milosch, are drawn to a timeless scene, the wait of a ship for a voyage that might not come.  Elizabeth Yahn Williams focuses on recent travel, interrupted when the world was called to a halt, writing about the last few days before we were pulled up short.  Tomas Gayton comes to terms with the frustrations of epidemiology. Deborah P Kolodji beautifully high-lights social strains with just a single flower. And then there is Deborah again, reminding us that behind it all, we are all still children blowing bubbles.” (Robert Thomas Lundy).

CSPS Member News. Maura Harvey’s poem ‘Waiting” was chosen as part of a display of ekphrastic poems by the Creative Happiness Institute and Florida State Poets Association. It will be displayed alongside the artwork which inspired it in an exhibit at the DeLand Museum of Art. Ambika Talwar published a sestina titled “The Silver River Canticle” in the August 2020 issue of Quill & Parchment. She gave a presentation titled Memory: Longing & Nostalgia to the Gaia Storytelling & Media Hub on Aug.12, 2020. Ambika participated in the Silent River Film Festival by composing four poems based on four different films. She also published a sestina titled "Svarna: Envoy to the New World" in Narrow Road Journal

Maja Trochimczyk with Cile Borman and "We Are Here" Anthology

In August 2020, I finished editing We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology (with Marlene Hitt), published to celebrate the 10th anniversary of monthly readings. Many CSPS poets appear in this volume, to mention only Margaret Saine, Ambika Talwar, Pamela Shea, Konrad Wilk and Kath Abela Wilson. I had two poems published in Polish on Pisarze.pl portal, selected to represent Polish-American émigré voices by Anna Maria Mickiewicz and Dorota Blaszak. My poem “Crystal Light of Crystal Mornings” is included in When the Virus Came Calling: COVID19 Strikes America anthology edited by Thelma T. Reyna. “A Breakup Story” appears in Spectrum No. 24 edited by Don Kingfisher Campbell. 

Thus, we all find our own ways of being of service to others, of service to the poetry world, and to the world at large that does not yet know the value of poetry in times of trouble.

By Maja Trochimczyk Ph.D.

CSPS President

NOTE: Photos of Big Tujunga stream and mountain sunflowers by Maja Trochimczyk

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Submit Poems to Poetry Contests, Apply to Become Poet Laureate of El Cerrito, CA

 Submit Poems to CSPS Monthly Poetry Contests

This contest is open to all poets, whether or not they are members of the CSPS. Reading fees are $1.50 per poem with a $3.00 minimum for members and $3.00 per poem with a $6.00 minimum for non-members. Entries must be postmarked during the month of the contest in which they are entered. They must consist of a first page with all contact information (name, address, telephone number, and email address) and the titles of the poems being submitted. The pages of the poems you submit must have no identifying information on them at all. Submit entries and pay reading fees by mail to:

CSPS Monthly Contest – (Specify Month) 

CSPS P.O. BOX 4288 SUNLAND CA 91041-4288

Poems can also be submitted electronically to CSPSMonthlyContests@gmail.com.

All contests are blind judged by Alice Pero, Monthly Contest Chair. The 1st place winner receives half of the prize pool for pools less than $100. For pools of $100 or more, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners receive $50, $10 and $5, respectively. There are no exceptions to the prize disbursement rules. The monthly contest winners are announced on the website (CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety.org) and published on the CSPS Blog (CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety.com) as they are awarded. The winners for the year are listed in the CSPS Newsbriefs.

The current monthly contest topics are the following:

Month           Topic(s)

January         Nature, Seasons, Landscape, Ecology

February       Romance, Love, Emotions

March           Open Topic

April             Travel, History, Mythology, Other Cultures (other times, other places, alternate worlds)

May              Portraits, Persons, Characters (portraits of animals, objects, places with character)

June              Open Topic

July              Childhood, Memoir, Lessons of the Past

August         Humor, Satire, Joy of Life

September   Open Topic

October        War & Peace, Activism & Politics

November    Family, Friendship, Human Condition

December    Best of Your Best (winning or published poems only; indicate complete name of contest or publication and award/issue date and year)

All poems must be the original work of the poet, in English and, except for the December contest, previously unpublished. There is no limit to the number of poems one can submit, but each poem must be less than 80 lines (two pages). The monthly contest topics are published for each year in December of the previous year.

Apply to Poet Laureate Program of El Cerrito 


The City of El Cerrito announces the release of a Call for Artists for poets to serve as the City's poet laureate. Deadline to apply is Thursday, November 19, 2020 by 4 p.m.

The laureate will encourage the poetic energy of our community by creating and leading activities that inspire writing and performances of poetry among all age groups while initiating a dialogue between local poets, cultural organizations, and community institutions. In an effort to promote literature and the arts in the City, the laureate will bring attention to poetry in less-traditional settings and encourage residents in their writing and personal expression.


The poet laureate must:

  *   Be a resident or work full-time in the City of El Cerrito, CA

  *   Demonstrate a commitment to poetry writing, spoken word performance, and community involvement and outreach

  *   Be at least 21 years of age at time of application

  *   Be able to serve the full two-year term as laureate and maintain residency/work status in El Cerrito throughout the term

Honorarium: The laureate will receive a stipend of $4,000 for the two-year term.

Please visit: el-cerrito.org/poetlaureate This is a program of the El Cerrito Arts & Culture Commission

Illinois State Poetry Society Invites Submissions to Its 27th Annual Contests

The Illinois State Poetry Society organizes a number of poetry contests with cash prizes. 

1. Eligibility. Contest is open to anyone.
2. Original work and unpublished. Not in print or published electronically.
3. Previous Awards. Poems which have  won monetary awards are ineligible.
4. Poem format
  • • In English, typed or computer-generated, 12 or 14 point; no fancy fonts or illustrations.
  • • 40-line limit, unless specified.
  • • One single-spaced poem per  page, 8.5” x 11” white paper.
  • 5. Titles. Except haiku, title all poems.
6. Awards. No poet can win two awards in the same category.
7. Submit two copies of each poem: 
  • Originals. In the upper left-hand corner include: Number and name of contest; your name, address, e-mail, and phone number; the word “MEMBER” if you have current membership in ISPS. 
  • Duplicates. In the upper left-hand corner include ONLY number and name of contest.  
  • Two Stacks. Separate originals from duplicates and stack in numerical order with originals on top. 
Entry Fees • ISPS Members: $8 for up to 8 poems, $1 each additional poem. • NON-ISPS MEMBERS, $10, up to 8 poems, $1 each additional poem. 

Submissions must be postmarked: September 1 to October 31, 2020. Mail submissions with check payable to Illinois State Poetry Society to: 
ISPS Contest % Jim Lambert
300 Twin Lakes Road
Carterville, IL 62918

For the winners’ list by mail, include a stamped, self-addressed envelope with your submission.

For information on how to join ISPS or to see this year’s list of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and three honorable mention awards in each category, visit the website: www.illinoispoets.org

1. Free Verse Award, Sponsored by ISPS
• SUBJECT: Any • FORM: Free Verse • PRIZES: $50, $30, $15

2. Formal Verse Award, Sponsored by ISPS
• SUBJECT: Any • FORM: Any set form: (Identify the form at the top of the page)
• PRIZES: $50, $30, $15

3. Traditional Haiku (5-7-5) Award, Sponsored by ISPS 
• SUBJECT: Any • FORM: Traditional 5-7-5 haiku • PRIZES: $50, $30, $15

4. Modern Haiku Award, Sponsored by ISPS 
• SUBJECT: Any • FORM: Modern haiku • PRIZES: $50, $30, $15

5. ISPS Board Award, Sponsored by ISPS Board of Directors
• SUBJECT: Home, • FORM: Any, • PRIZES: $50, $30, $15

6. Fire & Police First Responders, Sponsored by Judith Tullis in honor of Chief Arthur A. Tullis & Lieutenant Steven A. Tullis
• SUBJECT: Fire & Police First  Responders, • FORM: Any, • PRIZES: $50, $30, $20

7. Wilda Morris Appreciation Award
Sponsored by Jim Lambert in honor of Wilda Morris for her work in ISPS and NFSPS
• SUBJECT: Humor, • FORM: Rhyming, • PRIZES: $50, $30, $20 • LINE LIMIT: 24

8. Swords and Ploughshares Award
Sponsored by Jo Balistreri, Wilda Morris and Michael Escoubas in honor of first responders in our COVID-19 crisis
• SUBJECT: Peace and justice, FORM: Any, • PRIZES: $50, $25, $15

9. Love and Marriage Award, Sponsored by Idella Edwards in honor of the 60th wedding anniversary of Jack and Idella Edwards, 1960-2020
• SUBJECT: Love and Marriage • FORM: Rhyming • PRIZES: $30, $20, $10

10. Nature Award, Sponsored by Donna Pucciani & Beth Staas in memory of Glenna Holloway
• SUBJECT: Nature • FORM: Free Verse • PRIZES: $25, $20, $10

11. Southern Chapter Award, Sponsored by ISPS Southern Chapter, Carbondale
• SUBJECT: Any • FORM: Any • PRIZES: $25, $20, $10

12. Highland Park Poetry Award, Sponsored by Highland Park Poetry 
• SUBJECT: Any • FORM: Huitain, 8 lines, ababbcbc  rhyme, 8 to 10 syllables per line
• PRIZES: $25, $20, $10

13. Down Home Cinquain Award, Sponsored by Gail Denham in memory of her mother, Thelma Huovinen Bottemiller
• SUBJECT: Home Life • FORM: Cinquain (2, 4, 6, 8, 2  syllables; rhyme optional)
• LINE LIMIT: 5 lines • PRIZES: $25, $15, $10

Pensylvania Poetry Society - 69th Annual Contest 
(postmark) Deadline January 15, 2021

~ Contest Rules ~

Deadline/Mailing: Entries must be postmarked between October 15, 2020, and January 15, 2021.

Send by first class mail to:
Pennsylvania Poetry Society
 Annual Contest c/o Ann Copeland,
 330 Powell Drive, Lancaster, PA 17601

Qualifications: All poems entered:
* Must be the contestant's original work.
* Must not be published in any form, nor under consideration for publication.
* Must not be reproduced and distributed in any form, except in workshops.
* Must not be entered in any other contest. 
* May be submitted in only one contest.

Entry Limits:
* Up to 5 poems may be submitted in Grand Prize Award – but only one prize per entrant.
* Only one poem may be submitted in each contest (see Grand Prize Award exception).
Entry Fees: Make checks payable, in U.S. Funds, to Pennsylvania Poetry Society, Inc or PPS, Inc -
– insufficient fees disqualifies entry.

For PPS Members:
* Grand Prize Award: $2 per poem.
* All contests except the Grand Prize Award: $1  per poem, $10 max. if entering more than 10.

For Non-Members of PPS:
* $3 per poem.
* non-members who join before 11/30/20 may  pay the PPS member entry fees.
* for information about membership, see the  PPS web pages at www.nfsps.com/pa

Entry Format: All poems must be:
* Titled – for non-titled forms, use the form in  quotes as your title, example “haiku.”
* Typed in English.
* On one side of 8 1/2” x 11” plain white paper.
*  Submit one original and one copy – photocopy is ok:
* Type name of contest at upper left on both copies
* On one copy only, at the upper right, type your  name, address, email address, and whether you
 are a PPS member or non-member 
* Any comments or writing on the unidentified  copy (judge's copy) will disqualify the poem

Enclose a separate cover sheet stating:
* Your name, address, email address, and whether  you are a PPS member or non-member.
* The name of each contest entered.
* The title of the poem entered in each contest.
* This signed statement: “This is my original  unpublished work. It is not under
 consideration in another contest nor for  publication.” A missing statement will
 disqualify the entries.
Poem length/line width – poems with more lines or longer lines will be disqualified:

* Grand Prize Award:
 Line limit: Poems have a 50 line limit which  includes title, epigrams, quotes, footnotes, and
 all lines and spaces between stanzas and text.  Line width: 60 characters per line including
 spaces between words and characters at the end  of the line. 

* All contests except the Grand Prize Award:
 Line limit: Poems have a 36 line limit unless  specified by Form. The 36 line limit includes
 title, epigrams, quotes, footnotes, and all lines  land spaces between stanzas and text.
 Line width: 60 characters per line including  spaces between words and characters at the end
 of the line. 

You may enclose:
 * A #10 SASE for a winners' list.
 * A SAS post-card for verification your entries  were received.
After entry, no poems may be withdrawn, and none will be returned – keep your own copies. Submitted
poems will be properly discarded after the PPS Spring Meeting.
PPS Responsibility: PPS is not responsible for any entries arriving late, lost in the mail, sent to a wrong
address, insufficient entry fees, or disqualified for failure to follow the rules. Entry fees for disqualified
entries will not be refunded. 

First Rights and Releases: PPS retains the first rights for publication of prize-winning poems in the PPS
Prize Poems book. Only poems that win First, Second, and Third Prizes will be published in the
book. Honorable Mention winners will be listed by name of poet, their poem or title will not be printed.

Winners: A winners' list will be e-mailed to contestants providing an e-mail address, mailed to
contestants providing a SASE, posted on the PPS website, around March 31, 2021, and mailed with the
April 2021 edition of Strophes (NFSPS newsletter). Only the top three (3) winners will receive award
checks and award certificates. Award checks and certificates will not be distributed before the PPS
Spring Meeting, and all winners who attend may read their winning poems. Details of the PPS Spring
Meeting are announced in the Spring edition of The Sylvan (PPS newsletter) and on the PPS website.
Prize Poems Books: The PPS Prize Poems book will be mailed to PPS members, non-member money
winners, and judges. Others may purchase copies of the book by contacting:

CONTEST CHAIR EMAIL: email: pps.poem.chair@gmail.com
WEBPAGE – www.nfsps.com/pa
Pennsylvania Poetry Society, Inc. was founded October 21, 1949

Grand Prize Award, Sponsor: PPS Endowments Fund
Prizes: $200, $100, $50; Form: Any – 50 line limit; Subject: Any significant subject

Wilbur Lee Fake, Sr. Memorial Award, Sponsor: Vicky Fake Weldon
Prizes: $75, $50, $25, Form: Any praise poem, rhymed (some slant rhyme is OK; no forms with
 refraining lines; no found poems); Subject: PA Wildlife, Nature, People,  Places – poem title must indicate the  Pennsylvania connection

Margaret Meagher Memorial Award, Sponsor: Michael Bourgo
Prizes: $50, $25, $15, Form: Free Verse, Subject: Ancestors, 

E. Jean Kishbaugh Memorial Award, Sponsor: Cadence Crafters
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: Rhymed & Metered, Subject: Environment

Leon Geoffrey Memorial Award, Sponsor: Carlisle Poets Workshop
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: Any – 28 line limit, Subject: Humorous

Dorothy Ana Barton Memorial Award, Sponsor: Mark Barton
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: Free Verse, Subject: Nature

William A. Hildebrandt Memorial Award, Sponsor: Mad Poets
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: Any, Subject: Art, Artists, Artistry

Christopher Polvinale Memorial Award, Sponsor: Sandra Polvinale
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Subject: Our World, Form: Any

Winifred G. McDowell Memorial Award, Sponsor: Linda Darkes
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Subject: Memories, Form: Any

Eleanor B. Lapham Memorial Award, Sponsor: Betsey Cullen
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Subject: Mothers, Form: Any

The Raven's Calling Award, Sponsor: Becky D. Alexander
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: Any, Subject: To Honor Trees - nothing about  their destruction e.g.: clear cutting

Robert K. Stern / Robert C. Heydenberk  Memorial Award, Sponsor: The Heydenberk Family
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: Any, Subject: Sea and Sand – any theme about  lakes, rivers, oceans, and/or the beach

Marjorie Thompson Cheyney Memorial Award, Sponsor: Cadence Crafters
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: A Traditional Sonnet – must be a  well-known and generally recognized
 traditional sonnet. Poet must name the  sonnet pattern and follow the pattern  requirements precisely.
Subject: Any

DeAnna Spurlock Honorary Award, Sponsor: Carlisle Poets Workshop
Prizes: $25, $15, $10, Form: Dramatic Monologue – Speaker  addresses Other or Others
Subject: Any

Photos from the garden of Maja Trochimczyk, 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020

California Quarterly on ZOOM - 46:1 Spring 2020 Edited by Margaret Saine, Oct 4 at 4:30 pm


Topic: CSPS Reading from California Quarterly 46:1, Ed. Margaret Saine

Time: Oct 4, 2020 04:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 825 8071 5418
Passcode: 194194
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Manoscritto di una vita 2018 (Manuscript of a Lifetime) by Enzo Patti

With a beautiful cover featuring Manoscritto di una vita 2018 (Manuscript of a Lifetime) by Enzo Patti, this issue is a joy to behold. Congratulations to all the poets. And thanks to Margaret Saine for tirelessly translating poems from so many languages and connecting the California Quarterly to the whole world of poetry and poets.


Ah, the good news, in the plural! David Sapp, 2018 grant recipient of the Ohio Arts Council,
writes: “Thank you so much for publishing ‘Tree Frog’ in the California Quarterly. I am enjoying
other portions of your wonderful publication. What a handsome issue!”

Hey, and which is David Sapp’s praised issue? I search high and low, because we don’t have a
cumulative alphabetical CQ poetry index yet, alas. It was my last issue, 44:4, he praised! And did
not complain one peep about the translations, which I love doing. So I am doubly proud.

And here is a comment from another contributor: Terrence Sykes: ”Ute Margaret Saine, many thanx to
you again for both my appear- ances in this little gem of a journal... I open the pages and read
words of my friends from across the USA and around the world and many I don’t know, yet we are
poetically kin.”

Yes, poetry’s long, embracing arms reach around the world, like a huge, loving octopus; poets talk
to each other, no longer just whis- tling via Paris and New York, but across the globe. That’s what
we want, don’t we?

Love and thanks to all the lovers of poetry!
Don’t hesitate to email me, at umsaine@gmail.com, about anything.

Margaret Saine                                              
Irvine, California                                        

Nascita del Due del Libro e della Poesia, by Enzo Patti


California Quarterly, Volume 46, Number 1, Spring 2020

de Agua Salada - Mario Zúñiga Núñez 7
from Salt Water - Margaret Saine,Tr. 7
Italy Meets Ivory Coast - Kalyna Temertey-Canta 8
Dejaste un papel amarillo... - Javier Campos 9
You left a yellow paper... - Margaret Saine,Tr. 9
Love in a Field of Miners’ Lettuce - Susan E. Gunter 10
Fata Morgana in a Field of Tarweed - Dave Seter 11
Dusk - Aidan Coleman 12
World of Dreams - Alessio Zanelli 13
View from the Ranch - Alice Pero 14
“golden leaves fluttering birds...” - Rebecca Anne Banks 14
Not Mine to Shape -  David Anderson 15
Interlude in the Trader Joe’s... -  Joanne Jagoda 16
Hiking After the Dinner Party - Chris Foster 17
Milton’s Fluid - d.p. houston 17
Мигът - Alexander Shurbanov 19
Moment - Alexander Shurbanov, Tr. 19
What’s Inside - Beth S. Pollak 20
I Was Wild Once - Gwynn O’Gara 21
Elevator -  Cathy Porter 22
Men at Work - Tasha Cotter 23
Kite  - Clarke Andros 24
Recuerdo - Alejandra Castellanos 25
Memory - Margaret Saine, Tr. 25
The Moon Is an Egret - Michael Montgomery 26
Melancholie - Karl Greisinger 27
Melancholy - Margaret Saine, Tr. 27
Committees - David Pratt 28
Home Front: A Remembrance - Jean Esteve 29
Politicians - Pande Manoylov 30
Del Origen - Otoniel Guevara 31
About the Origin - Margaret Saine, Tr. 31
No Cure - Claire Scott 32
The Road of Love - Timothy Fab-Eme 33
Armonia - Rita Stanzione 34
Harmony - Margaret Saine, Tr. 34
Stars Behind Your Eyes - Susan Richardson 35
Impara la tua arte... Claudia Russo 36
Learn your art... Margaret Saine, Tr. 37
Alertos emergen los verdes - Jeanie R. C. Toscano 38
Alert the greens emerge - Margaret Saine, Tr. 39
Epithalamion - John Blair 40
definitorio - Elizabeth Soto 41
in lieu of a definition - Margaret Saine, Tr. 41
Snowmelt - Marianne Karplus 42
A Second Look - John Schneider 42
Do the Garden Snails Know? - Lane Larson 43
de la utilidad de la poesía II - Eliécer Almaguer 44
on the usefulness of poetry II - Margaret Saine, Tr. 45
Sculpture - Lisa Shirley 46
Vision - Matthew J. Spireng 47
The Dame Who Marks Time - Marie Lecrivain 48
My Hollow Window - Marilynn Talal 49
Paying the Ferryman - Ruth Holzer 50
Door - Benjamin Nash 51
Mom & the Bridge - Kristin Lawrence 52
Wish - Patricia Nelson 53
When... Donald Fisher 54
Last Pomegranate - Maja Trochimczyk 55
Hai bevuto una spremuta - Terry Olivi 56
You drank a freshly squeezed - Margaret Saine, Tr. 57
Agonies of Sand - Savita Singh 58

Appunti di viaggio, by Enzo Patti (2018)



Ute Margaret Saine was born in Germany. After a Yale Ph.D. in French and Spanish, she taught languages, literature, and culture in California and Arizona, as well as writing and translating poetry in five languages. Since 1991, she has been a board member of the CSPS and a CQ editor since 1994. She also edits the CSPS Poetry Letter, now on the CSPS website, and formerly served twice as the CQ Annual Contest Chair. For ten years, until June 2019, she gathered all submissions from the Orange PO Box, distributing them to editors. 

Her poems have appeared in many journals here and abroad. She has published five books of poetry in English – Bodyscapes, Words of Art, Lit Angels, Gardens of the World  and A Book of Travel– as well as six haiku chapbooks in five languages. Four books of poems and a postwar childhood memoir have been published in Germany – Das Flüchtige bleibt (The Ephemeral Remains); Das Weite suchen (A Yen to Travel); Atem der Stille (The Breath of Silence); Ein Lied davon (Same Old Song); and Ungeschicktes Kind (Awkward Child). Searching for Bridges is a bilingual English-Arabic book of her poems edited by Palestinian poet and critic Nizar Sartawi. Saine’s poems in Italian are to be published in 2020. She has edited many CQ issues, most recently vol. 44, No. 4. 


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

California Quarterly 46:3, Fall 2020, Edited by Terry Ehret


The fall 2020 issue of the California Quarterly was edited by Terry Ehret and published in September 2020. The cover is graced by a beautiful artwork sent in from Prague, Czech Republic: Mléčná dráha/Milky Way by Andrea Smišková Ehret. The previous issue of the CQ was edited by Maura Harvey and the next one will be edited by Maja Trochimczyk.

Editor’s Note

In these difficult and uncertain times, poetry can be healing and comforting. It can also encourage us to acknowledge our fears and isolation. This issue of California Quarterly has many poems that do just that, from capturing the everyday anxiety of shopping in Shawna Swetech’s “A Trip to Costco,” the disorientation of mandatory face coverings in James Piatts’s “Those Odd Masks,” and our conversations with the dead in Cathy Porter’s “To a Halt.” 

These last few months have also challenged us to re-examine racism and our nation’s violent history. Eliot Schain’s “Young Americans,” Andrew Miller’s “Letter in a Mine Field,” and Dane Cervine’s “America” turn spotlights on the questions of who we are and who we imagine we can be.  

There are poems of personal, excruciating loss, poems of tender intimacy, and poems about the generosity of the natural world. And, of course, there are poems about language itself, such as Gursahiba Gill’s “Panacea,” blending childhood memories with lessons in penmanship; and Ruth Holzer’s “Greek Glamour,” relishing a language in which “cold marble rhymes with rose.”  

I’ve also featured “The Circled Years,” by CQ Editor Nancy Cavers Dougherty, who stepped down this spring. For her years of dedicated service to the California State Poetry Society and her brilliant touch in shaping many issues of the California Quarterly, we thank her deeply.

The voices in this issue come to us from across the U.S. and around the world: Nigeria, Denmark, India, the UK, and Brazil. Among them you’ll discover intimations of hope that help us see our way through this time with faith in the human capacity to change. 

The cover art is Mléčná dráha/Milky Way, by Slovakian artist and art therapist Andrea Smišková Ehret, who lives and works in Prague. 

Terry Ehret, Editor
Petaluma, California 

Mléčná dráha/Milky Way   by Andrea Smišková Ehret, Prague, Czech Republic

Table of Contents
California Quarterly, Volume 46, Number 3

As Long as You - Sandra Kolankiewicz  7
Chaparral Diane Lee Moomey  8
Crossing Over Carla Schick  8
Truth — Camille Kantor  9
Insatiably Satiated — Sean MicKael Wilson  9
Icarus, My Child  — Basha Hirschfeld  10
After Waking — Leslie Hendrickson-Baral  11                                                             
words said at a crossroads —  Mayowa Oyewale  12
Co-Existence — Carla Schick  12
A Trip to Costco — Shawna L. Swetech  13
Kintsugi — D.K. Borowitz   14
The Turning — Ken Autrey 15
Letter in a Mine Field — Andrew Miller 16
Exile — Claire Drucker 17
America — Dane Cervine  18
On the Anniversary of the LA Riots — Philip Asaph  19
Young Americans — Eliot Schain 20
Oh, Sloping Land — Carol Griffin 21
I Had Chosen — Amy Moore  22
Samson — Iain Twiddy 23
Panacea — Gursahiba Gill  24
Negotiations with a Gorgon — Dovilè Meliauskaitè  25
I Invited a Rock, When I Should … — Abigail Selby 26
Summer Trip to Death Valley — Jianqing Zheng 27
Just Cold — Selina Whiteley 28
Is About — Jenny Kempf 29
When Matryoshka Dolls Take … — Rikki Santer 30
Mother Says I Have to Suffer … — Joan Gerstein 31
Those Odd Masks — James Piatt 32
Lyngby Sø  — Michael Pearce 33
Big River  — Joseph Murphy            34
A Kings River Scene at Laton — Bill Simmons 35
New Home — Raphael Block 35
River Road — Penel Alden 36
The Pink — Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue 37
If I were a poet, I would have known — Mariana Kovalic Silva 38
Meditation — Thomas Dorsett 39
the sound  —  Renée Owen 39
Schenectady — John Hazard 40
A Bird Sings — Susan Coronel 41
Cypress  — William Snyder Jr. 42
Ben Brown Answers the Fatalists  —  Michael Spence 43
Playing from Memory   — Frederick Wilbur 44
νησί των γατών (Isle of Cats)  —  Mark Osaki 45
pulse of cricket song —  Renée Owen 45
Greek Glamour — Ruth Holzer 46
Analog — Raynald Nayler 47
Dear Grandfathers — Matthew Williams  48
I Can See It in My Daughters’ Eyes — Livingston Rossmoor  49
Pharaoh’s Boat — Jane Stuart  50
Garden — Warren Slesinger 51
The Tomato Cage — John P. Kristofco 52
After Eons — Amy Trussell 53
To a Halt  — Cathy Porter  54
Thoughts from a Moving Train  — Marilyn Robertson 55
Days of Consequence   — Jean Esteve 56
The Circled Years — Nancy C. Dougherty 57
Permission — Sandra Anfang  58
Contributors in Alphabetical Order  59
CSPS Contest Opportunities 60
Newsbriefs 2020, No. 3 61
Publishing Opportunities with CSPS 65
2020 CSPS Donors and Patrons 66
CSPS Membership and Patron Information 67
CSPS Membership Form  68

The Editor - Terry Ehret

Terry Ehret is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Night Sky Journey. Her poems and poetry books have won a number of literary awards over the past several decades, including the National Poetry Series and the California Commonwealth Club Book Award, and four Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. With a BA from Stanford and an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State, she has taught college and private seminars on poetry and writing for many years and presently offers workshops at the Sitting Room, a community library in Penngrove, California. Terry is one of the founders of the Sixteen Rivers poetry publishing collective in the San Francisco Bay Area; from 2004-2006 she served as Poet Laureate of Sonoma County, where she teaches writing. In the summers she leads writing-travel programs in Ireland, Wales, and Tuscany. In 2018, she received an NEA translation fellowship and is working on a project with John Johnson and Nancy Morales to translate the collected poems of Mexican writer Ulalume Gonzalez de Leon. The first volume of Plagios/Plagiarisms was released this year, with volumes 3 and 4 due out in 2022 and 2024.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

CSPS President's NewsBriefs 46:2, Summer 2020

NEWSBRIEFS 2020, NO. 2 (SUMMER 2020)

The year 2020 is filled with such momentous events, that we will be in an entirely different space by the time our readers hold this issue of the California Quarterly in their hands. Concerns with public health have been replaced by urgent calls for justice and the creation of a more equitable society. On such occasions, I like re-reading a Native-American book of wisdom, The Four Agreements and reflect on its tenets: “1. Be Impeccable with Your Word. 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally. 3. Don’t Make Assumptions. 4. Always Do Your Best.” Strangely, when I try to recall these rules for good life to share with someone else, I keep forgetting one tenet or another, depending on what is not going well in my own life.

As President of the California State Poetry Society, I’m always doing my best to serve our cause of promoting poetry worldwide. I work to ensure the high quality of our publications and activities and the diversity of our team. Therefore, I am delighted that as of May 2020 our Board of Directors has two more Directors at Large, Ambika Talwar and Konrad Tademar Wilk, who will assist us in our various projects. They have joined the first Director at Large, Alice Pero, who now serves as Monthly Contest Chair.

Ambika Talwar is an India-born author, wellness consultant, artist, & educator whose vision is to realize her sacred destiny and invite others to find their brilliance. Composed in the ecstatic tradition, her poetry is a “bridge to other worlds.” A Pushcart Prize nominee, she has authored several volumes of poetry and a poetic-spiritual travelogue, My Greece: Mirrors & Metamorphoses (2016). Her work has appeared in Kyoto Journal; Inkwater Ink; Chopin with Cherries; Grateful Conversations; St. Julian Press; Tower Journal; Enchanting Verses; Quill & Parchment; California Quarterly; Life & Legends; Pratik; Aatish 2 and others. An English professor at Cypress College, California, Ambika makes her home in Los Angeles and in New Delhi, India.

An American poet living in Los Angeles, Konrad Tademar Wilk spent his childhood in Poland, where his maternal grandparents,  Dr. Alicja Burakowska and Mr. Marian Burakowski,  shared  with   him   their patriotism, faith, and high moral standards. They had been honored as The Righteous of the Nations by the Yad Vashem Institute for saving 36 Jews during WWII. Following his return to the U.S., Konrad studied philosophy and literature at Los Angeles City College and later graduated from UCLA. His works range from single sonnets to epic poems on themes including current events, myth, and philosophy. In addition to American subjects, his work is strongly informed by international events and history, especially those of freedom and oppression. In 1991, he founded the Witching Hour Poetry Gathering which has met continuously for over 20 years.

We welcome our new colleagues; their insights and creativity will be an asset tor CSPS. At the same time, we say farewell to two distinguished, long-time Board Members and CQ Editors, Pearl Karrer (Editorial Chair) and Nancy Cavers Dougherty who resigned in April. Stephanie Pressman, graphic designer, has also left the organization. We thank the outgoing Board members for their years of dedicated service to the CSPS, working to make sure that the CQ only contains the highest-quality poems and that it is impeccably produced, with beautiful artistic covers.


Alice Pero completed selecting winners of Monthly Poetry Contests, November 2019 to May 2020. The full titles for all selected poems and the texts of poems awarded first prizes are posted on our Blog.


The Contest winners are as follows: November 2019 –. Winner: Jane Stuart, “October’s Wind Brings War;” with Jane Stuart and David Anderson in the second and third places. December 2019 – Winner: David Anderson, “Windstruck” with Kathy Lundy Derengowski and David Anderson. January 2020 –. Winner: Jane Stuart, “Our Winter Garden,” with Jane Stuart and David Anderson. February 2020 – Winner: Pamela Shea, “Rosebuds and Lovers,” with Jane Stuart in the second place. March 2020 – Winner. Dorothy Skies, “The Coyote’s Howl.” April 2020 – No Winners. May 2020 – Winner: Marlene Hitt, “Enlightenment.” Congratulations to all the winners and many thanks to Alice Pero!


We would like to see more submissions to the Monthly Contests that currently have only a few dedicated aficionados. Please consider participating in the contests and submit your poems, while using Submittable for the California Quarterly. Just one more step: CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety.org has all the details. Submissions can be made by mail to our P. O. Box, or via the website, with the contest reading fees enclosed: $1.50 per poem for members and $3 per poem for non-members.


The cover of the first issue of the California Quarterly in 2020, 46:1, edited by Margaret Saine, features artwork by an eminent Italian artist, Enzo Patti. This issue is a tribute to the diversity of world-wide poetic talent. Margaret received several comments written “to express thanks and gratitude” for this wonderful issue: “Thank you so much for choosing my poem ‘Mom & The Bridge’ for the latest issue of California Quarterly. What a pleasant surprise! I look forward to reading the whole thing.” (Kristin Lawrence). “I gave an audible gasp when I opened the mail to find my name in this amazing publication. I feel honored to be included with so much outstanding work… So thank you again and thank you for doing such great work!” (Clarke Andros). “What a delightful set of poems this issue is! and a great deal of variety of forms and word dexterity. And such a surprise for me, my poem ‘Not Mine to Shape’ among them.” (David Anderson). “Your work as translator cannot be esteemed too highly. Wonderful Italian and Spanish poems! You are a true femme de lettres!” ([Karl Greisinger).


CSPS Members News: CQ editor Terry Ehret has published  translations of the poems of Mexican poet Ulalume Gonzalez de Leon. The collection is called Plagios/Plagiarisms. She and her translation partners, John Johnson and Nancy J. Morales, have been working on this project for six years, partially funded by a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. This is the first of three dual-language volumes of Gonzalez de Leon's work, published by Sixteen Rivers Press.

Margaret Saine’s book is coming out in Spain: Respirando bajo el agua. Translated by Khedija Gadhoum. Madrid: Cuadernos del laberinto, 2020. Her work also appeared in Global Poetry, (“Today I Ate My Muse”), Subterranean Blue Poetry Journal (“Three Haiku Cycles about Winter” and an essay on “Classical Modern American Poetry: The Haiku”); and Setu (“Nymphomania”).

 Thelma T. Reyna's eighth book, Dearest Papa: A Memoir in Poems (2020, Golden Foothills Press), was selected as the "June Book of the Month" by the Latina Book Club. Reyna will issue another new book this year, as Editor, an anthology about the invasion of COVID-19 in the U.S. Featuring 42 poets and prose writers, the book is scheduled for publication in September. As a survivor of a desert ordeal, Ed Rosenthal has been featured on “Fight to Survive” on The Outdoor Channel, and several Weather Channel presentations, LA Magazine, and “The Story” on National Public Radio. His volume of poems inspired by this experience, The Desert Hat, was released by Moonrise Press in 2015. His long-awaited memoirs, Salvation Canyon - A True Story of Desert Survival in Joshua Tree, have been published in June 2020.

 Your President’s poems in English and Polish appeared in Lummox vol. 9,  I am currently finishing the proofs for We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology, co-edited with Marlene Hitt to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Village Poets Monthly Readings at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga, CA. The anthology includes poems by CSPS first Honorary Member, Suzanne Lummis, as well as outstanding work by other CSPS members, talented poets, writers, and artists: Cile Borman, Beverly M. Collins, Thelma T. Reyna, Ed Rosenthal, Pamela Shea, Dorothy Skiles, Konrad Tademar Wilk, Ambika Talwar, and Kath Abela Wilson.

Grateful for the gifts of languages and words that enlighten the world, we wish everyone an inspired and transformative, poetic summer! 


Maja Trochimczyk

CSPS President


photos from CA beaches by Maja Trochimczyk


Thursday, August 13, 2020

California Quarterly 46:2, Summer 2020, Edited by Maura Harvey

The California Quarterly issue for the summer 2020 has been edited by Maura Harvey.


This issue reflects how poets react to changes brought about by the global pandemic.

The California Quarterly is also experiencing changes. Pearl Karrer has retired after 19 years of service, including Membership Chair, Editorial Chair & Managing Editor. In 2019 she set up our Submittable website for submissions and then edited CQ 45:4, her final issue, which presaged her retirement with the themes of winter (an ending) and spring (a beginning). We wish her well as she finds more time for music, gardening and writing. She leaves many friends and fellow poets who will miss her cheerful support and enthusiasm for poetry.

Stephanie Pressman, who volunteered her InDesign formatting skills to CQ, is also stepping down this spring and will be missed.

I had difficulty choosing poems this round. Editor's block? Maura's block? Weltschmerz? Maybe this challenge is due to the plethora of fine pieces sent this spring. Many poems talk about the pandemic. In “Quarantine” Nicola Waldron personalizes the global crisis in the person of her own mother in England., while Torrey Ogilvie honestly shares her Brooklyn reality in “Isolating Guilt.” Jane Ann Flint writes of timelessness as we wait for what is happening/to happen. The themes of time, love, and family occur in many pieces and humor happily serves as a balm for the poets.

In this brave new world, poetry will grow stronger and more relevant.  I am personally strengthened by working with you, the poets and the friends of the California State Poetry Society.  May this volume serve you well as you find your path during the summer of 2020.  I quote here the words of Spanish poet, Antonio Machado:

Caminante, no hay camino,                  Traveler, there is no road,
se hace camino al andar.                       you make your own path as you walk.

I wish you a smooth path forward.

Maura Harvey
San Rafael, California

California Quarterly, Volume 46, Number 2

Sailing - Mark Belair 7
fragile is the rose - Peter S. Hein 7
Carpe, Fool - David Denny 8
Zarathustra Abecedarius - Fred Yannantuono 9
Nuggets from Namibia - Elizabeth Yahn Williams 9
Quarantine - Nicola Waldron 10
Five-Year Old - Roy Mash 10
The Williams Triad - Judith Saunders 11
Arbol a Uno Mirlo en … - Marisa Martínez Pérsico 12
A Tree for a Blackbird in … - Jeanie R.C. Toscano, tr. 13
Look, Stop and Listen - Milton P. Ehrlich 14
Nature’s Retreat - Tomas Gayton 15
Panic Pandemic - Tomas Gayton 15
Free - Esther L. Palmer 16
New Place - Bibhu, Pabhi 17
Obsession’s Motivated Solution - Jerry Sexton 18
Jose Feliciano in Concert - Edwin Romond 19
When the Last Piece of Clothing - Roy Mash 19
Flamingo Dawn - Mary Wilix 20
That Awkward Journey… - Evalyn Lee 21
blowing bubbles... - Deborah P. Kolodji 21
The Pier in Santiago Bay - Joseph D. Milosch 22
Find Me - a.Lynn Brown 23
Sparrow, Reversed - Cathryn Hankla 24
Freud’s Nudes - Ben Nice 24
Not Worth Reading  - Luis Gallo 25
The Carpenter Bee - Joel Savishinsky 26
Set at Oman - Elizabeth Yahn Williams 27
Cold as ICE - Anna Nicolas 28
Cowabunga! The Jam Jar is… - Kit Kennedy 29
Hoarder’s Excuse - Dana Stamps II 30
Cross-polination - Brian Kirven 31
Assessment - David C. Rice 32
It’s News to Me - Elizabeth Yahn Williams 33
Cities of this world… - ayaz daryl nielsen 33
Night Life - Brian Kirven 34
Vida Nocturna - Brian Kirven, tr. 35
Roxy’s Gift - Pearl Karrer 36
Like a Rush of Blackbirds - Pearl Karrer 36
Reading the Romantics - Roy Mash 37
we imagined we were men… - Robert Paul Cesaretti 38
Sage Advice - Jeffrey L. Taylor 38
Ice Walking - Jeeni Criscenzo 39
Suicidal Eagles - Kelly Talbot 40
Awake - Jane Ann Flint 41
Kandi - Marganne Glasser 42
partisan politics… - Deborah P Kolodji 42
A Long Way Away - Christopher Kuhl 43
Benumbed - Douglas Nordfors 44
That Day in Hades - Claire Scott 45
Strange Antlers  - Richard Jarrette 46
Clair de lune - Doreen Stock 48
Message Threads - Maura Harvey 49
Yeats and Lost Love  - Mai-Lon Gittelsohn 50
Sequester - Jane Ann Flint 51
Keeping in Touch - Mo Lynn Stoycoff 52
after our house fire - ayaz daryl nielsen 52
Isolating Guilt  - Terrie Ogilvie 53
Measure Twice, Cut Once- Todd Capeland 53
Warmth - Liz Dossa 54
Coyote Song - A.Downing-Yaconelli 55
Renewal - Lea Aschkenas 56
From A Window - Nicola Waldron 57
Summer Garden Ball - Jeeni Criscenzo 57
Extinctions - Joanne Sharp 58
spring rain - ayaz daryl nielsen 58


Maura Harvey is a bilingual poet, author and artist who has lived in California since 1950. She holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from UC Irvine. Her poetry in both Spanish and English has appeared widely. Dr. Harvey is a founder of Taller del mar, a monthly poetry workshop with members from Tijuana and San Diego. She feels very proud to have published a poetry anthology in Barinas, Venezuela, in 1993 and to have been able to meet Venezuelan and Cuban poets personally while travelling in those countries. She has exhibited her art in many venues in California and had a show in Instanbul, Turkey, in 2006. She joined the editorial board of the California Quarterly in 1999, editing many issues and serving for years also as Secretary of the CSPS and as the CSPS Annual Contest Chair. 

COVER ART: “This Wave” by Kathryn de Laszlo
March 2020, Point Reyes, California, Oil Pastel on Paper