Tuesday, March 9, 2021

California Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1, Spring 2021, edited by Bory Thach

California Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 1 (Spring 2021)
Cover Art: Harmony (ink and watercolor on paper, 11 by 15 inches) 
by Sylvia Van Nooten, Montrose, Colorado
Reading from CQ 47:1 on YouTube:


Editor’s Note

Being a new member of CSPS I find that this is a learning experience for me. Maja Trochimczyk calls poetry a “cure for chaos” and I agree with her.  Many times we go through periods of difficulty and sadness, but it is important to remember that these dark times will eventually pass by like the seasons. With winter comes spring. The universe has a way of balancing itself out in the end. I, for one, have to remind myself constantly how lucky it is to be alive and every day is a new day to see the world differently. From the mundane to the extraordinary, each experience that we find ourselves learning whether it be through obstacles at work like in Richard Matta’s “Another Play Day” where he wishes that he could be a kid again, or the act of simply giving a little boy a bath before bed in “The Completeness” by Alice Pero, an insight into childhood innocence. The joy we find in our daily activities allows us to overcome grief with a brighter outlook when disaster strikes. It is a reminder to never give up hope no matter how difficult the loss. Therefore, nothing should be taken for granted not even our struggles. For the obstacles we defeat and the fears that die away become our strength, teaching us more about ourselves than any college or university.

After wildfires we can learn “To Plant A Tree” as a gift, to “put down roots” and “stand our ground” the way Miriam Aroner does because this is how the world grows anew. Mother Earth has a way of healing herself. Animals possess sacred knowledge in their simplicity, knowing what they know we too may survive the ravages of time. To live in the moment, that is true enlightenment through mindfulness. Claire Scott captures this in her poem “Cedar Waxwings” where hundreds of them are observed landing in the backyard. She describes watching the “show from the window, a kaleidoscope of colors, sound and motion.” Even after they have flown away, she continues to stare at the empty Privet tree in silent serenity. A journey of self-discovery, chaos and turmoil threaten us, but the wisdom of the ancients survive throughout the ages.  We live and learn from personal experiences.  What better way to discover one’s true self than to go through failure and heartbreak, reaching our breaking point and knowing that we can continue on further. I hope that you will also find these poems enjoyable and insightful to the soul.

Bory Thach
San Bernardino, California

Harmony - ink and watercolor on paper by Sylvia Van Nooten

“As I planted flowers specifically for hummingbirds and bees, my garden has an abundance of hummingbird activity.  Watching these birds who represent voices from other worlds in some mythologies, I felt the beauty of their beings.  This painting is about a perfect moment  of harmony when two hummingbirds pause, unmoving except for their wings, over a flower.  The painting is a mixture of collage, ink and watercolor, using asemic text to portray an unwritten poem.” 
                                                                                                                 ~ Sylvia Van Nooten


Blue Fantasia - Ruth Holzer 7
Mondegreen - Lavina Blossom 8
Another Play Day  - Richard Matta 9
Nature’s Cure - Nancy Folley  10
White Owl  - Cindy Bousquet Harris  11
It is Possible to Maintain Happiness - Charlene Langfur 12
Golden - Anna Jasinska   13
Hummingbirds and Eagles - Marcia Arrieta 13
The Tree Massacre - Anne-Marie Brumm 14
these seismic tremors  - ayaz daryl nielsen 15
Grave Sight  - Carlo DiOrio 16
To Plant a Tree  - Miriam Aroner 17
Waves and Eddies  - Karen Carter 18
A Modest Poetics - Margaret Saine 19
Half-Life  - Edward Fisher 20
Responding to the Internet - Ken Letko 21
Asian Eyes - Wendy Blackwell 22
Cedar Waxwings - Claire Scott 23
Ottawa Boy - Craig Cotter 24
The Completeness - Alice Pero 26
Meandering - Charlene Langfur 27
North - Diana Donovan 28
Mortal Absence - Beverly Burch 29
Arrivals and Departures  - Jean McDonough 30
Cobbled Stones - Amy Moore 32
Big Sur Coastline - Joseph Bottone 33
Okunoin Cemetery - Doreen Beyer 34
Regrets  - Joan Gerstein 35
Ways to Pray - Marilyn Robertson 36
Island - Jena Sangram 37
Autobiography - Amy Nocton 38
Eulogy for Love - Jean McDonough 39
Asleep - Jenavieve Dance 40
Culpable Poet - Daniel Potter 41
Sheer Optimism - Lavina Blossom 42
Ovation  - Cindy Bousquet Harris 43
baby finch parents Barbara Huntington 43
The Monk by the Sea (1809) - Anne-Marie Brumm 44
Lotus Bearer - David Bethel 45
Soul of the Beloved - Sharon Lopez Mooney 46
Bleeding into Light - R.S. Mengert 47
On a Cold Winter’s Night  - Wendy Blackwell 48
Constellation - Sarah Platenius 49
I Want to Write an Irish Poem - Meghan Adler 50
View Down the Street - Cindy Rinne 52
Muse - Sue Leigh 53
Waves. Sandstorms - Marcia Arrieta 53
Or Would It Have Made a Difference, Had I Known? - Hedy Habra 54
My Inner Critic - Takwa Sharif 55
The First Snow - Steve Pelcman 56
we wait for the rain  - Barbara Huntington 56
Year’s End - David Stephenson 57
trying to get home - Barbara Huntington 57
Respite River - David Bethel 58
At Dawn - Bory Thach 59


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. He recently completed a book of poetry dialogues with Cindy Rinne, Letters under Rock (2019) that has been presented as a quasi-theatrical performance in art galleries and museums in Southern California. He joined the Editorial Board in July 2020 and started his duties from volume 47 no. 1 of the California Quarterly.

Sun Flows Source Energy by Sylva Van Nooten
mixed media on paper, 24 by 36 inches


Sylvia Van Nooten is an asemic artist living in western Colorado. Asemic art, with its pastiche of ‘language’ and images, allows her to merge texts and painting creating a hybrid form of communication which is open to interpretation. Her work has appeared in The South Florida Poetry Journal, Experiment-O Issue 13, The Raw Art Review, Spring 2021 and she has a painting on the cover of the summer 2021 edition of The Raw Art Review.