Wednesday, July 21, 2021

New Book by Elizabeth Yahn Williams, Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers, and California Quarterly 47:1 edited by Bory Thach on July 25, 2021, 4:30pm Zoom

For its July Monthly Reading on Zoom, the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga present a new book by Elizabeth Yahn Williams, Flourishing - Florescence,  including her poetry published with French translations by Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers. The reading will also feature poetry from the California Quarterly 47 no. 1, Spring 2021, edited by Bory Thach and published by the California State Poetry Society.  

The Monthly Reading will take place on Zoom, on Sunday, July 25, 2021 at 4:30 pm. will forward you the invitation, when requested.

Elizabeth Yahn Williams flourishes as a poet-playwright, educator, speaker, and emcee. A native Ohioan, she has earned grants for studies in several states and foreign countries. Through a Ford Foundation grant at UCLA, she became a California Lifetime credentialed English educator and was named a “most distinguished honorary lifetime member” of the Phi Theta Kappa Chapter at MiraCosta Community College in San Diego for mentoring their honor students.  A graduate of Loyola Law School,  Elizabeth is recognized as a Marquis WHO’S WHO Lifetime Achiever in law and writing. She has enjoyed an imaginative life, from directing in her community’s theatres to teaching creative problem-solving and poetry at  libraries, colleges, and churches. Often performing with Bob Lundy, her Partner-in-Rhyme, she can be reached at and seen on their site:

Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers taught as a professor of French and Spanish at U.C. and other universities in the U.S. and Europe. She first came to this country on a Fulbright fellowship and eventually founded and ran her own language school and translation company. As a scholar in Comparative Literature, she wrote or translated and published many works in French, English, and Spanish. Her poetic translations include works by Mexico’s Octavio Paz and Guadeloupe’s French poet, St-John Perse, both Nobel prize winners. Her expansive interests have led her to translate Latin America’s Helena Araújo and Nela Rio, as well as works of Indian mystics.

Flourishing – Florescence by Elizabeth Yahn Williams with Art by Marion Wong and French Translation by Edith Jonsson-Devillers. Guidelights Productions, 2020. 130 pages. ISBN 978-0-9967170-4-5

About this book: "Poet and California State Poetry Society member Elizabeth Yahn Williams is premiering her new bilingual collection, written in English and French in collaboration with  her gifted translator Dr. Edith Jonsson-Devillers.  A display of the mastery of free verse and rhyme, Flourishing – Florescence includes evocative haiku and senryu, along with other poetic forms. Here, Elizabeth Yahn Williams investigates the many ways that life, enhanced by poetry, encourages each of us to FLOURISH. Whether, as a reader, you are looking for inspiration or for motivation, one or more of her offerings will speak to you in words both lyrical and stimulating. With vivid imagery Elizabeth creates poignant vignettes that will relate to your own life in unexpected ways. You will find humor in the rhymes of “Perusing the Parrot,” pathos in “Grand Piano,” and a mix of emotions from haiku that capture, with brevity, illusions of time and space. With haunting and vivid language, Williams  has a gift for choosing the right word for the right place."

(from a review by Kathy Lund Derengowski, published in CSPS Poetry Letter No. 2, 2021, reprinted on the CSPS blog.

Chagall, "Peace" - stained glass at the United Nations, 1964

 Marc Chagall: One Man Opera

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

Above lovers’ heads, angels fly with acclaim.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

To Homeland Russia he repays his dues.

Its churches and temples he paints into fame.

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

His fables, myths, scriptures, and circus revues

show farmlands and towns from where he came.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

Always his brides are veiled in virtues

and, bearing Godivas, his burros are tame.

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

His acrobat-cocks wear little soft shoes

while tap dancing fiddlers invoke La Fontaine.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

His works for great cities often début

in etchings, ceramics, and glass that is stained.

Chagall recalls history in rainbow-filled hues.

His art reveals levels of multiple views.

 Marc Chagall, l'opéra d'un seul homme 

Chagall rappelle une histoire aux couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Des anges volètent autour de la tête de ceux qui s'aiment.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

Il rend un hommage légitime à sa Russie natale,

et rend célèbre ses églises et ses temples.

Chagall rappelle une histoire au couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Ses fables, ses mythes, ses sculptures, ses critiques de spectacles

représentent les terroirs et les villes natales.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

Ses nouvelles mariées sont toujours voilées de vertus

et ses ânes porteurs de Godivas sont très doux.

Chagall rappelle une histoire au couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Ses coqs acrobatiques portent de petits chaussons

tandis que des violonistes faiseurs de claquettes invoquent La Fontaine.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

Ses oeuvres pour grandes villes souvant débutent

par ses gravures, sa céramique, ses vitraux.

Chagall rappelle une histoire aux couleurs d'arc-en-ciel.

Son art révèle les facettes d'un multiple regard.

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

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

Contents of the journal with the list of poets/poems is found on California State Poetry Society blog:

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.

Photos of Yucca Whipplei in Big Tujunga Wash (c) 2021 by Maja Trochimczyk 

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