Sunday, November 22, 2020

California Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 4, Winter 2020, Edited by Maja Trochimczyk

California Quarterly 46, No. 4, Winter 2020

 Cover Art: Constant Return II (1965, 39x39) by Julian Stanczak (1928-2017). 

Acrylic on Canvas. Stanczak Foundation, Cleveland.

Editor’s Note

The end of one year, the beginning of another. Calendar pages measure our days and months, spiraling through the years… This issue of the California Quarterly measures the passage of time with tetragrams by Richard Kostelanetz, a two-line poem by Elsa Samkow-Frausto, three sedoka by Margaret Saine, and a variety of longer verse, marking time with the spacing of their layouts.

I like starting to edit a new issue of the CQ with a set of themes. In this case it was the sun, solstice, and myths or folk-tales. Yes, we received a lot of “sunny” poems, for instance, from Saine (“the sun paints /a turquoise ball / behind my eyelids”) or James Tweedie (“The Silence of Sunrise”). Yet, there were far more poems that celebrate oceans, lakes, hues of water, trees, motion, transience, and the perennial themes of love and gratitude. Poets are grounded in the soil of their gardens, calmed by birdsong (Elina Petrova), or by watching ocean waves. “What do you learn when you face only blue?” asks Hedy Habra. On the quest to unravel secrets (Glory Cumbow, Sonya Sabanac), poets are taken “to that edge where / everything disappears” (Pamela Singer), an experience that “still makes you soft with longing” (David Rosenheim). How real was it in the first place?–asks Jane Stuart. “We are the human starfish,” concludes John Grey, blessing alternate universes of reincarnation.

Fittingly, the cover art is Constant Return II (1965) by Polish American painter, one of the creators of the op-art movement, Julian Stanczak (1928-2017). I am  grateful  to  the  Stanczak  Foundation of Cleveland, Ohio, for allowing us to use this image. Stanczak’s WWII deportation from Poland by occupying Soviet  forces, followed by years  of imprisonment in the gulag,  ended his dream  to become a cellist, but opened a new path, that of an artist  of vibrant  colors  &   intricate   lines.   Monumental,   carefully   crafted  paintings   juxtapose   complementary   or   contrasting colors that he envisioned for us to enjoy. In this process of transmutation of tragedy and trauma  into  the  sublime,  timeless  art,  Stanczak  became  an  alchemist  of   vision,  transforming “Lead into Gold.” Poets also transmute the “Lead” of their experience into “Gold” of  their  poems,  using  words  to  define  and refine what they see, hear, and feel.  The  quest  for  artistic  truth continues on the  pages  of  this  journal,  ending  the  year  2020 with a plethora of real or metaphorical sunrises.

Maja Trochimczyk, Editor
Los Angeles, California

Constant Return II (1965, 39x39) by Julian Stanczak (1928-2017). 
Acrylic on Canvas. Stanczak Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio.


California Quarterly, Volume 46, Number 4

Perhaps the Sun -  Margaret Saine 7
A Dream: Somewhere in Kansas - Gary Metheny 8
Secrets -  Glory Cumbow 9
Inside a Book of Stories - Marilyn Robertson 10
Bookshelves  - Sarah Baker 10
In Light, Hope  - Barbara Swift Brauer 11
Did I overhear Gen say - Elsa Samkow-Frausto 11
A Map of What Already Is - Charlene Langfur 12
Richness - Caleb Coy 13
The Wonder - Sonya Sabanac 14
Childhood Memory - Louise Moises 15
Dandelions - Craig Cotter 16
Unfettered  - Timothy Paul Evans 17
Praising the Untranslatable - Karen McPherson 18
Promessas de Cera - Daniel Dias Callahan 19
Still Life - Beatrice Fazio 20
Initial Tack - Keith Van Vliet 21
Riding the Wind - Cindy Rinne 22
Daybreak, Swimming Walden - Barbara Swift Brauer 23
Corral  - Meagan Arthur 24
How Things Are - Mary Crow 25
Or What Do You Learn When… -  Hedy Habra 26
Aquamarine - Maja Trochimczyk 27
Ocean - Casey Cantrell 28
Almost Square - Mary Crow 29
Emily’s Ocean - David Sapp 30
Watershed of Souls - Lonna Blodgett 31
Reflections on Gillies Lake - Ahmad Aamir Malik 32
My poems aren’t long - Elsa Samkow-Frausto 32
Vernazza - David Rosenheim 33
Things of the Sky - Elina Petrova 34
It’s True! - Gregory Cecil 35
The Mighty - Stefano Bortolussi 36
After the Rain - Thomas Mitchell 37
The Vineyard - Ivan Amaya-Hobson 38
Once my father was young - Elsa Samkow-Frausto 38
Reading a Limbed Monterey Pine - John Schneider 39
Recipe for a Goodbye - Jackie Chou 40
Disappearance - Pamela Singer      41
Pale Horse, No Rider - Jerry Sexton 42
As If - Craig Harris 42
Or Did You Think Crushed Hopes…  Hedy Habra 43
Love’s Jewelry - Patricia Corbus 44
Sunlight Smiling  - Margaret Saine 45
Who’s To Say Eden -  Barbara Swift Brauer 46
Between the bridge... - Elsa Samkow-Frausto 46
Fortieth Birthday - Joanne Holdridge 47
Movement in Three Parts - Mike Dillon 47
Alameda, CA - Ivan Amaya-Hobson 48
Desert Snow - Bryan Kirk 49
Distance - Michael Waterson 50
Moving in Limbo - Jane Stuart 51
Reincarnation Nation - John Grey 52
We Are All Sunrises  -  Manoylov 53
The Silence of Sunrise - James A. Tweedie 54
I look up at the sun - Margaret Saine 54
Two Tetragrams - Richard Kostelanetz 55

CSPS 34th Annual Poetry Contest - List of Winners 56
The Judge’s Comments -  McCormick 56
1st Prize - Respite - Anara Guard 58
2nd Prize - Low Sun Angle - Susan E. Gunter 59
3rd Prize - Boundaries Barbara Allen 60

Contributors in Alphabetical Order 61
CSPS Contest Opportunities 62
CSPS Newsbriefs 2020, No. 4 63
Publishing Opportunities with CSPS 65
2020 CSPS Donors and Patrons 66
CSPS Membership and Patron Information 67
CSPS Membership Form 68


Maja Trochimczyk is a Californian poet, scholar, translator, photographer, and non-profit director from Poland. She studied musicology at the University of Warsaw, Poland (M.A. 1986) and sound engineering at the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw (M.A. 1987). In 1988 she emigrated to Canada and in 1994 she earned her Ph.D. in musicology from McGill University in Montreal. She held Postdoctoral Fellowships from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (1994-1996),and the American Council of Learned Societies (2001-2002).

Dr. Trochimczyk has been giving public readings and publishing her poetry since 2007. She published five books of poetry: Rose Always - A Love Story, 2008, rev. 2020; Miriam's Iris, or Angels in the Garden, 2008, both from Moonrise Press; Slicing the Bread (Finishing Line Press, 2014), Into Light, and The Rainy Bread (Moonrise Press, 2016). She also edited four poetry anthologies: Chopin with Cherries: A Tribute in Verse (2010); Meditations on Divine Names (2012), Grateful Conversations (2018, co-edited with Kathi Stafford), and We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology (2020, co-edited with Marlene Hitt). Her poetry and photographs appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, among others: Clockwise Cat, California Quarterly, Cosmopolitan Review, Magnapoets, Quill and Parchment, Ekphrasis Journal, Edgar Allan Poet Journal, Epiphany Magazine, Lily Literary Review, Loch Raven Review, Lummox Journal, OccuPoetry, Quill and Parchment, Phantom Seed, Pirene's Fountain, poeticdiversity, Poezja Dzisiaj, The Sage Trail, The Scream Online, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Spectrum and anthologies by Poets on Site, Southern California Haiku Study Group, and other collections. She previously edited CQ 44:4 and 45:3.

She published seven books of music studies, including: Gorecki in Context: Essays on Music (2017),  Frederic Chopin: A Reserch and Information Guide (Routledge, 2015, co-edited with William Smialek), Lutoslawski: Music and Legacy (Polish Institute of Art and Sciences in Canada, 2014, co-edited with Stanislaw Latek), and Polish Dance in Southern California (East European Monographs, Columbia University Press, 2008). Her articles appeared in American Music, Contemporary Music Review, Musical Quarterly, Computer Music Journal, Muzyka, Studia Musicologica, Leonardo, Polish American Studies, Polin, Polish Review, The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians II (Macmillan), Women Composers: Music Through the Ages (G.K. Hall), Lutoslawski Studies (Oxford University Press),  The Age of Chopin (Indiana University Press), 100 Lat Muzycznej Emigracji (MEA Kultura 2018), and Homage to Tansman (Wroclaw, 2019). Her musicology work was translated into Polish, German, French, Swedish, Chinese and Japanese.

Dr. Trochimczyk is a recipient of PAHA's Creative Arts Prize (2016) for her two poetry books about WWII experience of Polish civilians, including her family under German and Soviet occupation (Slicing the Bread, 2014 and The Rainy Bread: Poems from Exile, 2016). She was also honored with PAHA's Distinguished Service Award (2014), and the 2007 Swastek Prize for her article about Polish folk dance groups in Southern California published in the Polish American Studies. In 2012 she was presented with a medal for the promotion of Polish culture "Zasluzony dla Kultury Polskiej" from the Minister of Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Poland. She also received numerous city and county honors celebrating her years of volunteering for the Polish-American community.

She was nominated Acting President  of the CSPS in February 2019 and elected President in October 2019. She currently also serves as the President of Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles. In 2009-2020, she served as the Board Secretary and Communications Director of the Polish American Historical Association. She was a member of the Editorial Board of the Ecomusicology Review and manages blogs for the  CSPS, Moonrise Press, Village Poets, and the Helena Modjeska Club, as well as her personal poetry and music blogs: and

Julian Stanczak, "Dual Glare" 1970, Akron Art Museum.

Friday, November 13, 2020

CSPS and Village Poets Present Cindy Rinne and Bory Thach on Zoom, November 22, 2020 at 4:30pm


Village Poets of Sunland Tujunga join the California State Poetry Society in presenting  poets Cindy Rinne and Bory Thach with their collaborative book "Letters under Rock" during Virtual Village Poets Monthly Reading on November 22, 2020 at 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Two Open Mike segments are included before and after the features. This presentation is partly sponsored by the Dignity Health Foundation, through a grant for "Close to Nature" Project for Phoenix Houses of Los Angeles, with the California State Poetry as one of the collaborating partners.  Bory Thach recently joined the Editorial Board of the California Quarterly, the journal of the CSPS, published since 1972.


Maja Trochimczyk, CPSP President, is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Village Poets and CSPS Present Cindy Rinne and Bory Thach

Time: Nov 22, 2020 04:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting by email invitation only!

This presentation is partly sponsored by the Dignity Health Foundation, through a grant for "Close to Nature" Project for Phoenix Houses of Los Angeles, with the California State Poetry Society as one of the collaborating partners. 

Cindy Rinne and Bory Thach with their new book


Cindy Rinne creates fiber art and writes in San Bernardino, CA. Represented Poet by Lark Gallery, LA, CA. She was Poet in Residence for the Neutra Institute Gallery and Museum, Los Angeles, CA. A Pushcart nominee. Her poems have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, art exhibits, and dance performances. Cindy is the author of several books: silence between drumbeats (Four Feathers Press), Knife Me Split Memories (Cholla Needles Press), Letters Under Rock with Bory Thach, (Elyssar Press), and others. Her poetry appeared or forthcoming: Anti-Heroin Chic, The Poetry Barn, Verse-Virtual, LitGleam, and others, plus several anthologies including: “Feminist Pilgrimage” edited by Stacy Russo and We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Marlene Hitt (Moonrise Press, 2020).

 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 holds 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. His work appeared or is forthcoming in: Pacific Review, Urban Ivy, Arteidolia, and Sand Canyon Review, plus We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Marlene Hitt. In 2020, Thach joined the Board of the California State Poetry Society as one of the Editors of the California Quarterly, to serve along with Maja Trochimczyk, CSPS President, Maura Harvey, and Terry Ehret. His first volume to edit will be CQ vol. 47 no. 1, Spring 2021.


Dear Nomad,                                                                               Ancestors/Dream


I lean sideways in front of the cypress mirror and

brush my hair one hundred times as my mother

 taught me. Soak this dress with three figs

across the bodice on powder blue cotton, in the oasis,


squeezing water into my mouth. Beyond my reach,

the inherited dress floats through the layers of stacked


beings encased in clouds while light brown rabbits,

sensitive and kind, scamper like gusty winds in four


directions. Heavenly and earthly realms join.

Ashen wolf and deer my origin.  Date palms


reach, attempting to grab the dress which dodges

like a balloon. I set the brush down, smooth my dress,


and watch rabbits leap in salt grasses.

Tell me the truth.


Be my witness.


The dress. The dress. The dress.



Dear Wanderer,


Love deserves an aftertaste


before night fades into the sunrise.

Purple lightning through dark clouds,


sage green sky over dead tree.

An arm-like hand to hold up the Milky Way.


Infinite stars conquer storm

and preside over turmoil.  A cloud of empty ghosts


moves toward the crows. Lacking strength

I see another trembling

kiss by your lips separated by yin and yang.

Break away from the spider’s web. Awaken


to truth without intoxication

like tornado over water,


the red afterglow above ionosphere,

I become helpless as drifting


leaves of lavender.

A dreamland I miss and regret


where we borrow happiness…


Dear Nomad,                                                                               



Blue dawn brightens

Pleiades, icy sun,

And hibiscus like snowflakes

Planted as totem.


Against the drifting fog,

Three guardian trees

Imprint the shrouded mountain.


I vibrate in the unbroken

Starlight as mist,


As angel.



Dear Wanderer,


The past comes back, gathering like a flower

Withered wishes.  It’s amazing how sea, sky                        

Share the same color.  I watch you fly

Up into that seafloor, 


So endlessly wide and eternal.                                              

We reach the flooded sky—

Widespread wings.

Love unchanged.  My tears flow back to you.

As burning incense turns to snow, and lightning

Bolts dance in our palms.                                                      


One yields a lotus                                                                  

The other a red string.


Dear Nomad,                                                                    



How many tomorrows?


Earth mother, my skin splits like textured

flakes of an old oak tree. Sunken eyes.

My hands unknot the webs. I sit cramped

in the corner radiating pyramids.


I mourn the loss

maiden to crone

alone in an ice cave, an entrance

guarded by Garnr.



encompass me.


Is this not baptism by thorns?

You would salve my wounds.

Instead, I drink tea of holly

leaves trying to heal.


Where are you?


River runs beyond my stomach.

I wear a death mask. Is Hel,

one-half bones, the other divine

preparing the transition of my soul?


Seers and shamans will travel

for my counsel. I will give them

holly for strength and wisdom.


I need

                           to see you.

Dear Wanderer,


Born from the Earth, a child of nature

among purity and innocence.  Spiritual

happiness. Tranquil love between you

and me. Face paler than snow

with ember eyes.


Why do you seem so familiar?


I’m in a stream of stars at night,

reflecting on the waves.

Delicate lilacs cover your wounds.

            Sharp eyes transform into fire.


Birds, paper the sky, only to leave star

trails. Calm, my mind as passionate

mountains where twilight dawns

into late spring, and time itself

spikes non-linear.


Unable to turn away, I stare, moon-eyed

Underwater while a bromeliad emerges

from vibrations of mantras.



                        take away my sorrow.


Cindy Rinne and Bory Thach in Costumes made by Rinne, photo by Edwin Vasquez


Published in October 2019, "Letters Under Rock" is a 82-page volume of Performance Poetry co-authored by Cindy Rinne and Bory Thach and structured as a series of letters exchanged by a Nomad and a Wanderer on their spiritual journey through life. 

ISBN 978-1087421926


Letters Under Rock is part poetry, dance, and wearable art—beyond that it is a rare glimpse of artistic intimacy. Cindy Rinne and Bory Thach move with a sense of purpose and sincerity that leave the audience awed by the power of beauty, love, and friendship. 

        ~ Nicelle Davis, author of The Walled Wife

It’s basically spirit through the medium of body in action.

~ Michael Thomas Cooper, author of Speaking Through Sediment

Cindy and Bory transformed the Lancaster Museum of Art and History - MOAH into a sacred space by being in perfect harmony with each other. There was something intangible that emanated from their words and choreography that transported the viewers beyond time and space. They produced a unique moment of grace where all the distractions of the world disappeared. Thank you, Cindy and Bory for sharing your sacred choreography with the audience.  

~ Marthe Aponte, mixed media artist who specializes in Picoté