Friday, December 25, 2020

CSPS Newsbriefs Vol. 46, No. 4 by Maja Trochimczyk (Winter 2020)

NEWSBRIEFS 2020, No. 4 (Winter 2020)

The end of an era. That’s how we can describe this year 2020, that instead of the perfect 2020 vision gave us crisis, turmoil and plenty of departures. 

After the resignation of Pearl Karrer and Nancy Cavers Dougherty from the California Quarterly’s Editorial Board in the spring, we now face the departures of Terry Ehret from her role as Editor (she will stay on as a Board Director) and Margaret Saine from her role as Secretary and Editor. 

Distinguished poets and dedicated CSPS Board Members, Terry and Margaret have spent years serving the Society with their insights, expertise, and tireless efforts. 

They perfected the CQ, safeguarding the quality of poems and the publication itself, selecting crème de la crème from submissions and exceptional cover art by an international array of artists. Poets and volunteers of this caliber cannot be easily replaced and both Terry and Margaret will be sorely missed.

Meanwhile, Ambika Talwar has graciously agreed to become the Acting Secretary and we now have a new Editor, Bory Thach, whose first issue will be CQ 47:1. We are searching for more talented and hard-working poets to join our Editorial Board.  

The 2020 nominations from the CQ for The Pushcart Prize XLVI, were collected and submitted by Maura Harvey: 

  • “The Moon is an Egret” by Michael Montgomery, CQ 46:1, p. 26; 
  • “Not Mine to Shape” by David Anderson, CQ 46:1, p.14
  • “Ice Walking” by Jeeni Criscenzo, CQ 46:2, p. 39
  • “Like a Rush of Blackbirds” by Pearl Karrer, CQ 46:2, p.37
  • “America” by Dane Cervine, CQ 46:3, p. 18-19
  • “Sunlight Smiling – Three Sedoka” by Margaret Saine, CQ 46:4

Kaecey McCormick, Poet Laureate of the City of Cupertino, CA, selected the 2020 Annual Contest Winners: 

  • 1st Prize — “Respite” by Anara Guard of Sacramento, CA; 
  • 2nd Prize — “Low Sun Angle” by Susan E. Gunter of Santa Rosa, CA; 
  • 3rd Prize — “Boundaries” by Barbara Allen of Palo Alto, CA. 

The award- winning poets receive small cash prizes, and their poems are published in this issue of the California Quarterly vol. 46 no. 4 (pp. 58-60).

The CSPS Monthly Contest Judge, Alice Pero selected winners for August (Joan Gerstein’s “Self-Portrait as Clark Gable One Liner”) and for September (“Empty Chairs” by Louise Moises). These poems will appear on our blog, along with the winners for June (Joyce Futa’s “Kumquat Marmalade”) and July (Jackie Chou’s “Cerulean”). 

The former CSPS Vice-President for Communications, CQ Editor, and hard-working Chair of Monthly Poetry Contests, Keith Van Vliet died at the age of 93 on the 29th of July, 2019. A retired builder/developer and an active Rotarian, Van Vliet published two poetry books, Amber Eyeshades (2004), and Painted Edges (2008), a collection of poems and photographs, Perception’s Journey: A Visual Adventure (2006), research studies in Art Psychotherapy, and many poems in the CQ and various anthologies. 

Among other achievements, he established the San Gabriel Valley Poets that met continually since 1983, published chapbooks and gave many poetry readings. In an online tribute, SG Valley Poets wrote: “Loved and appreciated by friends and family Eldon Keith Van Vliet will long be remembered as a builder of buildings and of dreams, a writer of legendary works and an ever-constant student of the mysteries of life and the wonderment of exploration both scientifically and poetically.” 

As Margaret Saine recalls, “Keith Van Vliet was always gracious and conscientious. He was one of the early editors of the CQ. Although he was very modest and preferred to work in the background, he was quite active and highly esteemed by Julian Palley, John Harrell, and Russell Salamon. For the last six years, he received the submissions to the CSPS Monthly Contest, mailing the winners' poems to me each month, for inclusion in the former Poetry Letter.” In this issue of the CQ, we reprint Keith van Vliet’s Initial Tack from

Since we present our Annual Contest Winners in this issue of the CQ, I cut the Newsbriefs to two pages, allowing for the inclusion of more poems. After all, our focus is poetry. Enjoy! May the New Year 2021 be peaceful, creative, and inspiring! 

Maja Trochimczyk

CSPS President


Note that the newsletter from the National Federation of State Poetry Societies is available online on the NFSPS website, in PDF format:


And all's well that ends well - our troublesome year has ended with a monumental astronomical event that is certain to bring peace and prosperity to all in the future. The great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on December 21, 2020, the Winter Solstice, marked the end of The Age of Pisces and the commencement of the Age of Aquarius. In another calendar, it was also the end of the Kali Yuga and the beginning of the Golden Age.  Or so they say... While it may not be true, it is quite useful to shift your perspective to one of Love and Light... So let's look to the future with confidence and focus on creativity and poetic connections...

The CSPS Editors and Board wish our readers 
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays 
and the Best New Year Ever! 

Constant Return by Julian Stanczak, painting on the cover of CQ 46:4
Courtesy of the Stanczak Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio