Thursday, March 23, 2023

Contents of California Quarterly Vol. 49, No. 1 (Spring 2023), Edited by Konrad Tademar Wilk

California Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 1 (Spring 2023)
Edited by Konrad Tademar Wilk
Cover Image: Untitled by Zdzislaw Beksinski, Historical Museum of Sanok, Poland


The poems change as the pages turn. You have to start somewhere, Cathay Porter did, and this begins our sojourn into this issue. But the change from one poem to the next is as the seasons, eternal. I feel the ripeness of the foreseen fruit and can almost hear Heather Kenealy silently reading her lines. I was struck with the selection's candor and whimsy. 

In Günther Bedson’s “Berlin on Foot” I feel myself at home in that fabled city. Then I pause by a “Roadside Cross” and Oriana Ivy tells me to stand still. But alas I cannot. There are so many verses, so many lines that in the words of Ravi Sonakia beckoned me to a “Transmutation” in Leonard Moon’s sunlight driven lines. There is humor, and an egg. There is sorrow and prayer. There is absurdity in John Rowe’s “Cows in Trees.” Most importantly there is feeling.

Between Black Sands Beach and patterns in the rocks and rice bowls there are those “thousands of roads divergent” ― Czajkow-ska overtakes us right at the start but at some point we reach the moon and “Tranquility Base” and there is still more to come. I looked for words and lines that played on my heart, that reached into my mind, that troubled me or seduced me. These verses did all that and more. 

If you find any of them as appealing as I do, you will be rewarded. If you find them more appealing you will be delighted. I found them ready for print, which is why I chose them. I also found them different. They struck me as finds. I feel attached to them after working with them for this issue, and so I feel possessive of them. I hope you will too after reading them, I hope they will invade your heart.

In “Avithos Beach” Skaldetvind opens the world to us with the words “the past alive” ― each of these poems becomes the living past rendered on a page to be held and cherished by those who value poetry. What kept me going and coming back for more is the salvation one finds in poems, not a simple escape, but an elevation into another dimension. I hope in reading these lines you can join me there for a brief spell.

I want to express my thanks to Maja Trochmiczyk for her extraordinary patience with me. I also want to thank the poets for their work, for the joy they gave me and for the chance to publish these gems.

Konrad Tademar Wilk , Editor



Start Somewhere  ~ Cathy Porter  7

Prophecy ~ Jane Stuart 7

Start Somewhere  ~  Cathy Porter  7

Prophecy   ~  Jane Stuart 7

Eternal Change  ~  Elżbieta Czajkowska 8

Pearling ~   Diane Lee Moomey           9

Message  ~  Julia Cadwallader Staub    9

Berlin on Foot   ~  Günther Bedson 10

Dream-walking a Year Later in the  Gardens of Charlottenburg Castle  ~ Günther Bedson 11

Pilgrimage  ~  Diane Lee Moomey 12 

The Babies Are in Bloom Again ~   Michael Fraley 13

Autumn Leaves in Spring  ~  Lucia Kiersch Haase 14

Roadside Cross   ~  Oriana Ivy 15

Elk and Driftwood ~      Pamela Biery 16

Japan  ~  Kevin Thornburg 18

Under the Mulberry Bush  ~   Konrad Tademar Wilk 19

Enchantment ~  Walker Abel   20

Divine Sculpture  ~  Emory Jones  21

Kisses from You  ~ Antoni B. Frinkley          22

Identity ~    Julia Cadwallader Staub 22

Hadrosaur Soloists  ~    Ruth Berman 23

It Beckoned Me   ~  Ravi Sonakia 23

Night Sounds ~   Michael Fraley 24

Passion ~    Livingston Rossmoor 25

The Cyclops ~    Diana DeCillis 26

The Enlightenment of Touch  ~   Walker Abel 27

The Hard-skinned Fruit ~  Jay A. Adler 28

Painted Desert  ~  Emory Jones                29

Habitat ~   Quito Regalo 30

Bluey  ~  Jenny McBride 30

Tranquility Base  ~  Don Palmer 31

All You Left Me  ~   Günther Bedson 32

It’s All Gone Now ~   Ravi Sonakia 33

Aunt Ruth’s Lace Gloves  ~   Kit Kennedy 34

Transmutation  ~   Leonard Moon 35

My Imperceptible Basket and the  Apathy of Moral Dignity  ~ Adam Torkelson  36

Storm Troopers  ~ Quito Regalo 37

Cow in Trees ~  John Rowe 38

I Don’t Like Pretty ~  Jenny McBride 38

Asimov and the Wonders  ~ Ruth Berman 39

How to Pray ~  Claire J. Baker 40

Nepenthe, O Nepenthe  ~  Leonard Moon 40

Buzzed   ~   John Rowe 41

Princess on Parade ~   E. Martin Pedersen 42

In Answer to Logan’s Question  What’s  Thunder   ~   Adam Torkelson 43

The Plea   ~    Christine Candland            44

At the Jeweler’s  ~  David Romanda 45

Tender   ~  Konrad Tademar Wilk     46

“Curves Are So Emotional”  ~ Diane DeCillis 47

Faith    ~    Greg McBrady 48

The Unseen  ~  Ken Hada 49

Would That It Could  ~   Elżbieta Czajkowska 50

Barcelona  ~  Oriana Ivy 51

The Crumpled Yellow Paper  ~   Johnny L. Wooten 52

Lev and Ora’s Patterns     ~   Jake Marmer        53

Avithos Beach    ~    Nicholas Skaldetvind 54

In the Kaleidoscope of Forgotten Shapes   ~  Diane DeCillis 55

Why Wonder?    ~    Heather Kenealy 56

The Polish Spirit   ~ Oriana Ivy 58


Elected to the Board of Directors of CSPS in May 2020, Konrad Tademar Wilk is an American poet living in Los Angeles. His works range from single sonnets to epic poems on themes including current events, myth, and philosophy. In addition to American subjects, his work is strongly informed by international events and history, especially those of freedom and oppression. Tademar's early childhood was spent in Poland where he was particularly influenced by the rise of the anti-communist Solidarity labor union.

Following his return to the U.S., he studied philosophy and literature at Los Angeles City College where he was president of the Poet's Platform. He then went on to graduate from UCLA. His poetry book Fifty Sonnets, titles like labels only get in the way... is available for purchase on-line.  Other poetry chapbooks are out of print. He is currently working on two epic poems "Prometheus" and "Trafficking In Time" - scheduled for release in the near future. He has appeared in Los Angeles venues such as the Onyx, Ground's Zero, Magicopolis Theater, Wilshire Art Gallery, Bolton Hall Museum, and Pig and Whistle. In 1991, he founded the Witching Hour Poetry Gathering which has met continuously for over 20 years. 

Additionally, he is a founding member of the Pecan Pie Organization, dedicated to artistic promotion and stage performances.  Mr. Tademar recently served as the artistic director for Warsaw 80/75 performance of poetry, dance and music, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of WWII (German attack on Poland), and the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944.  The event was held at the Santa Monica Playhouse in September 2019.

Some of his stories and poems are available on the internet.

Untitled by Zdzislaw Beksinski, Oil on Canvas, 1980, 87cm X 87 cm.

NEWSBRIEFS 2023, NO. 1,  SPRING 2023

Another spring, another crisis, another war… The Wheel of Fortune is turning, on and on, and instead of falling off into a ditch of anger, fear or resentment, we keep doing what we are here to do: publish and honor the best poetry we can find. “The Best” is very personal and individual; what one person cherishes another finds boring. So we do not do anything by committee – our Annual Contest has one Judge per year (Frank Iosue last year, Anna Maria Mickiewicz this  year), our Monthly Contests have one Contest Chair and Judge, Alice Pero, and our Quarterly has a group of Editors, each completely responsible for one issue per year or less often if there are more editors actively involved in the publication work. To lessen their workload we occasionally invite Guest Editors and we recently had the pleasure of working with Margaret Saine and Deborah P Kolodji in that role. Our Editor of CQ 49:1 is Konrad Tademar Wilk who had earlier edited one issue last year. Relatively new to the Editorial Board are also Bory Thach who had edited two issues so far and William Scott Galasso who edited one.

The California Quarterly Vol. 48, No. 4 (Winter 2022) edited by Deborah P Kolodji included many poets not previously published by the CQ. Jeannine Hall Gailey was nominated for a Rhysling Award by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association for her poem, “Cassandra as Climate Scientist.” Margaret Saine wrote: “Congratulations on your issue. I read it cover to cover, it contains remarkable poems. I also think many have a strong affinity with your own dual-authored poem. I am so glad that with you, we have found such a great editor.” Basil Rouskas praised Ms. Kolodji: “What a terrific job you did as the Guest Editor. Also, what a joy to read the poem you co-created with Mariko!” This praise was seconded by Lee Hudspeth: “You did a great job as guest editor ― bravo!” 

With about 600 poems submitted per issue, and multiple withdrawals of poems published elsewhere, we decided to make important changes to our California Quarterly submission requirements, NOT allowing simultaneous submissions as of January 1, 2023 and instead promising to notify all authors within four months of submission. This will hopefully reduce the number of poems to be reviewed, without impacting their quality. 

A second submission change concerns Monthly Contests – we decided to allow previously published poems; this change also starts from January 2023. We expect that it will result in the increase of the number of submissions of high-quality poems for us to honor and reprint. The Monthly Contest winners are posted on our blog and published in the quarterly Poetry Letter. 

CSPS is pleased to announce the 36th 2022 ANNUAL POETRY CONTEST. Submissions are accepted March 15th – June 30th, 2023. The three prize-winning poems will receive cash prizes and will be published in the California Quarterly, Vol. 49, No. 4 (2023 Winter). Poems selected for up to six Honorary Mentions may be published in the CQ or in the Poetry Letter, depending on the Editors’ choices. Submissions are welcome of original, unpublished poems in English, with 80-line (two-page) limit per poem. 

How to submit: Submissions are only accepted by mail.  Send a cover letter with all poet information  (mailing address, email address, name, phone) and a list of the titles of all submitted poems, as well as one copy of each poem with no poet identification, and a check for the appropriate reading fees to:  Annual Contest Chair / P.O. Box 4288 Sunland, CA 91041-4288. Further information is below in the section on Annual Contests. 

Our 2023 Contest Judge, a Polish-British bilingual poet Anna Maria Mickiewicz is also  a writer, editor, translator, and publisher. She is the founder of the publishing house Literary Waves that published many volumes of poetry in English and Polish. Born and raised in Poland, Anna moved to California and then to London, where she has lived for many years.  She is a member of the English Pen. Her poetic works have appeared in the United States, UK, Australia, Canada, Poland, Mexico, Italy, Bulgaria, Hungary, Salvador, India. 

The three prize-winning poems from the 2022 Annual Contest, adjudicated by Frank Iosue of Arizona have been published in the California Quarterly Vol. 48, No. 4 and reprinted in the Poetry Letter No. 1 of 2023, along with Judge’s comments and the poems that won Honorary Mentions. First Prize:  Jeanne Wagner – “Dolores Street”; Second Prize: Susan Wolbarst – “After”; Third Prize: Claire Scott – “Ariadne Auf Naxos”; Honorary Mentions: 1. Claire Scott – “S & H Green Stamps”; 2. Claire Scott – “Motel Rooms of Last Resort”; 3. Claire Scott – “The Sea Squirt Loses Its Mind”; 4. Susan Wolbarst – “Where’s Ginny?”; 5. Claire Scott – “In the Revised Version: A Different Mother”; 6.  Sunny Yim Alperson – “Husband’s Urn”.

The Poetry Letter also features three poems by Les Bernstein from her recent book Loose Magic (Finishing Line Press). Book reviews in the Poetry Letter discuss: Shadows Thrown by Laura Ann Reed (Pauline Dutton), Saffron Skies by William Scott Galasso (Maja Trochimczyk) and Juliusz Erazm Bolek’s Ogród /The Garden in Polish and English (Jan Stępień), with two sample poems included, translated by Anna Maria Mickiewicz & Steve Rushton. Two reviews are by Michael Escoubas, shared from the Quill and Parchment, and presenting Synergy by Kathy Lohrum Cotton & Michael Scott, M.D.; and Alice’s Adventures: A Modern Version of Lewis Carroll’s Classic in Verse by Paul Buchheit. The CSPS Poetry Letters continue to be published online, with PDF versions emailed to about 450 poets and poetry lovers; and the online posts divided into two, book reviews and poems. The ISSN application was submitted and is pending.


At the invitation of Nancy Fernandez, a CSPS member, on 23 March  2023,  our editorial board member Maura Harvey was a guest at a meeting of the "Poetry for Pleasure" group, Fullerton. Poetry for Pleasure is a course offered for over 20 years by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute  (OLLI) at California State University Fullerton. They have published seven volumes of poetry. Maura read from her poetry collections and gave background on her personal experience and also a great deal of information about CSPS and the CQ. The members of the group received Maura enthusiastically and are eager to become members of CSPS. 

My poems and photographs gathered in the Bright Skies collection, dedicated to my grandchildren when they grow up, continues to be positively reviewed, most recently by Michael Escoubas in Quill & Parchment. Earlier praise for my nature-inspired, positive and uplifting poems - many "found" in my garden and during walks nearby - came from Marlene Hitt, William Scott Galasso, Dorothy Skiles and Susan Dobay. 

I’m glad to see our organization grow and thrive, providing a forum for excellent poetry by talented and insightful poets!

~ Maja Trochimczyk, CSPS President

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