river of gold
flows through charcoal valley –
Water Tiger Year
The year 2022 is supposed to be of turmoil, transformation, trauma – the tiger showing its stripes, as it were. At least it is a “Water Tiger” so its fierce energy is cooled off with waves of tranquility. I live near the coast of the Pacific and love watching the gentle waves relentlessly caressing the sand. Their gentleness is an illusion – an enormous power is hidden within the mass of water that is all a part of one united ocean encircling our globe. Jeff Graham celebrates the sea while reflecting on what it means “to live in a sea of light” in his poem, “The sea only gives.” Like the oceans, we are all united, even if we do not know it, and spiral into loneliness and despair.
Submissions to this issue of the California Quarterly included many traumatic or post-traumatic experiences captured in words. Old circus horses go “round and round” under the whip of merciless Ring Master (Lynn White); ghost towns disappear (Stephen Benz), grief becomes a black hole “from which nothing escapes…not one particle of hope” (Lynn Domina). We miss those who left us (Terry Olivi). But then we look up and see that “anchoring night sky / kite holds moon” (Jeffrey L. Taylor). Then, we start to think “of what is fleeting / of what touches the heart / and makes it vibrate” (Paolo Staglianò). Healing begins. We are so delighted as we realize that “Earth was made for breathing” that we too may look up and “become/ blue/ and cloudless” (Frederick Livingston).
We notice the living things that grow, sprout, and flourish. It is Spring, after all. Suddenly, as snow melts, we want to “wake crocuses, make snowdrops unfurl” (Holly Day). We plant seeds in the garden waiting for “the tiniest sprouts opening with the light” (Charlene Langfur). We admire “every inch of matter / a filament of light / gasping to the sun” (Brittany Nohra). Poets also celebrate their ancestors, both poetic (Horace, Wallace Stevens) and actual, elders reminding youth that “The Gift Inherited / That is our Life” (Sean McGee Brown of the Bishop Paiute/Shoshone Tribe). I am truly grateful for the riches of poetic expression I encountered while seeking these gems to share.
~ Maja Trochimczyk, CSPS President
TABLE OF CONTENTS
California Quarterly, Vol 48, Number 1, Spring 2022
Reception — Charles Grosel 7
The Mime — Jane Stuart 7
Stationary Hobo — Dana Stamps II 8
anchoring night sky — Jeffrey L. Taylor 8
Christmas Tree Aftermath — Richard Schiffman 9
Round and Round — Lynn White 10
Early — Holly Day 11
Letter to Taylor Swift — A. Dearborn Goldsmith 12
anachronistic — Scott Moss 12
Mountain March — Bertha Rogers 13
On the Bridge Across the Stream — Harris Coverley 13
Tahquitz Peak Lookout 1999 — Terry Wilhelm 14
Ghost Towns Out West — Stephen Benz 16
Ruins — Keith Gorman 17
[alla mia madre morta:] — Terry Olivi 18
[To My Dead Mother:] — Margaret Saine, tr. 19
Will tomorrow be another day? — Charlie Brice 20
Shavasana — Ida Marie Beck 21
loud waterfall rush — Connie Tettenborn 21
Thirty White Horses — Angie Nam 22
Wyvern — Holly Day 23
the nearness — Gregory Cecil 23
Mixed Media: Grief — Lynn Domina 24
Lessons of the Pomegranate — Tammy C. Greenwood 25
Sea Shanties — Angelika Quirk 26
Bullfrog Pond — Pamela Stone Singer 27
King Tide — Ron Renspie 28
Waterfall Symphony — Dana Stamps II 29
The Sea Only Gives — Jeff Graham 30
Crossing the Causeway — Julia Park Tracey 31
Unsolid State — Connie Tettenborn 31
Daphne — Brittany Nohra 32
Anemophilous — Holly Day 33
Looking Up at the Sky — John McKernan 33
Unbridled — Tammy C. Greenwood 34
We All Lie — Annie Schumacher 34
Purpose — Cathy Porter 35
Centering — Charlene Langfur 36
Curriculum Vitae — Margaret Saine 37
Puzzle — Claire Scott 38
Loneliness — Edward Curtis 38
Rectius Vives, Licini, Neque Altum — Andrew Miller 39
Green Grass — Alice Pero 40
From Minium Chronicles — Maja Trochimczyk 41
[Ciò che fugge] — Paolo Staglianò 42
[What Is Fleeting] — Margaret Saine, tr. 43
Simple Things — Charlene Langfur 44
Santa Cruz — Annie Schumacher 45
Anna Livia — Jonathan Cannon 46
When Two is Greater than Home — Ida Marie Beck 47
Still Blue — Loise Moisess 48
Unfurling Seasons — Hedy Habra 49
Immigrant — Angie Nam 50
Varanasi — Laine Derr 50
My Prayers — Carlo diOrio 51
Beyond Silence — Jeffrey L. Taylor 51
Assopirmi ora — Rita Stanzione 52
getting drowsy now — Margaret Saine, tr. 52
The Phoenix — Oliver Egger 53
Generational Waves — Sean McGee Brown 54
Practical Advice for a Frazzled Passer-by — Maja Trochimczyk 56
Existence by Origin by Existence — Jeff Graham 57
Light — Frederick Livingston 58
Seeker — Beverly M. Collins 59
Contributors in Alphabetical Order 60
CSPS Contest Opportunities 61
CSPS Newsbriefs 2022, No. 1 62
Publishing Opportunities with CSPS 65
2022 CSPS Donors, Patrons, and Membership 66
CSPS Membership Form 68
We are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the California State Poetry Society in 2022. While the date of founding the organization falls into 2021, the first volume of the California Quarterly was published in 1972. We are now in Volume 48 because in the past some volumes were published over the course of two years. Just to make things more confusing, I guess. Over these five decades, the CSPS and CQ thrived thanks to the dedicated work of many volunteers who have considered investing their time in poetry instead of money-making ventures a worthwhile endeavor. In several community organizations that I volunteer for the average age of these selfless volunteers is typically well over sixty – retired people have time to contribute. It is much harder to interest younger generations in hard, unpaid labor. Perhaps, they too will join, once they retire. Meanwhile, our volunteers are working very hard.
Alice Pero read hundreds of poems through the year to select Monthly Contest Winners, published together in Poetry Letter No. 1, 2022 and including the following winners:
January 2021 - Theme: Nature, Seasons, Landscape
· First Prize: Dr. Emory D. Jones, "Sanctuary"
· Second Prize: Marlene Hitt, "Summer of Fire"
· Third Prize: David Anderson, "The Coming Snow"
February 2021 - Theme: Love
· First Prize: Claire J. Baker, "Speculation"
March 2021 - Theme: Open, Free Subject
· First Prize: Julia Park Tracey - "Just One Thing"
April 2021 - Theme: Mythology, Dreams, Other Universes
· First Prize: Jerry Smith "Aboriginal Americans"
· Second Prize: Teresa Bullock "Plain Air, Oxford"
· Third Prize: Ruth Berman "Praxilla's Folly"
May 2021 - Theme: Personification, Characters, Portraits
· First Prize; Louise Kantro "Is That a Bird?"
· Second Prize: Elaine Westheimer "Mending Its Own Business"
· Third Prize: Elizabeth Kuelbs "The House Knows"
June 2021 - Theme: The Supernatural
· First Prize: Gail White, "The Ghost in the Restaurant"
July 2021 - Theme: Childhood, Memoirs
· First Prize: Corey Weinstein "Mezzrow's Mistake"
· Second Prize: Keala Rusher "On Butterflies"
· Third Prize: Chryss Yost "Canid"
August 2021 - Theme: Places, Poems of Location
· First Prize: Ahmad Aamir Malik (from Pakistan) "Montreal from a Departing Plane's Window"
· Second Prize: Eileen Carole "Caribbean Dreams 1 & 2"
· Third Prize: Lynn M. Hansen "Anacapa, Island of Mirage"
September 2021 - Theme: Colors, Music, Dance
· 1st prize: Catherine McCraw, "Blue Plate Special"
· 2nd prize: Carla Schick, "Other Miracles I Failed to Notice.(Remembering Coltrane's Dear Lord)"
· 3rd prize: Jonathan Ansley Ward, "Are Islands Alive"
October 2021 - Theme: Humor, Satire
· First Prize: Joan Gerstein, "A Day of Races"
November 2021 - Theme: Family, Friendship, Relationships
· First prize: Marilyn Robertson, "Cannery Row Mural, 1946"
· Second prize: Cathy Porter, "Insatiable"
· Third prize: Jeff Graham, "Ode: the 2020's"
December 2021 - Theme: Best of Your Best (award-winning or published poems)
· First prize: Lynn M. Hansen, "Storm Spiders"
· Second prize Elizabeth Kuelbs, "Flower Moon"
· Third prize Louise Kantro, "By the Campfire, Borrego Desert"
The prize winning poems are published in three posts on our blog CaliforniaStatePoetrySociety.com; there is a search box on the right,
We already announced the Annual Contest Winners for 2021 in CQ 47:4, and thanked the Contest Judge, Georgia Jones-Davis and Contest Chair, Joyce Snyder. For the 2022 Contest, we invited Frank Iosue of Arizona to adjudicate the submissions, while the position of the Contest Chair is still vacant. We welcome enthusiastic and hard-working volunteers!
The California Quarterly 47:4, Winter 2021, took a while to print and when it finally appeared, with a cheerful cover by Vera Campion, it turned out that a draft was sent to the printer and the issue was numbered 47:3, Autumn. We are now reprinting the contributors’ copies that will be mailed soon. It is such a beautiful issue, edited by William Scott Galasso, that we want poets to have the right cover in their personal archives. Apart from the printing error, the issue was very well received. Russell Rowland send his congratulations, noting “many riches here, as always, much hard work on [the editor’s] your part in evidence, and an honor to be included.” Diane Lee Moomey, a poet and artist noted “such a fresh, joyful look, as always! Like a piece of fresh, ripe fruit…” Ellyn Maybe wrote: “Thank you both so very much, the California Poetry Quarterly issue is truly beautiful!” Finally, Jane Hilary observed: “I received a copy of California Quarterly a couple of days ago and have had the pleasure of reading it from front to back then back to front. You've done a truly brilliant job with it. I love your Jim Volvano quote, how true. Volume 47 ably affords the opportunities for a ‘full day’ with the (sometimes not so) simple effort of sitting down to read it! So many wonderful poems and what joy to actually have them in a book! The whole thing is an absolute feast!”
The lovely cover image of the current issue, entitled “Surrender” was designed by Diane Lee Moomey, a poet and artist from northern California. She is also among our contest winners, and poets included in the California Quarterly. I selected an image of kites above gently rolling hills, because I survived the last two years by spending afternoons with my kites either on the Oxnard beach or in the local hills (having to brave the chaparral at times to retrieve the fallen kites, since the winds are so unstable in the canyon). It is a relaxing activity to be alone with the sun and wind, and look up at the sky, where hawks circle around the colorful invaders. I took some videos of my kites, and wrote a longish poem, with the following stanza: “Flying kites is defying gravity. Flying kites is pure joy. / This is freedom itself, soaring towards the Sun, /circling around the Moon, tracing patterns among clouds.” Indeed, sometimes it is really good to “go, fly the kite” – and find joy in the simples of things.
~ Maja Trochimczyk, CSPS President