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 Concerns with public health have been replaced by urgent calls for justice and the creation of a more equitable society.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: 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