Sunday, September 26, 2010

Serving as the Sixth Poet Laureate

In 2009, I wrote a poem called "Illuminata" and inspired by a Buddhist crown from the permanent collection of Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena. The poem starts with a line: "I want that crown" (and can be heard and read on the website of the Museum). After having heard it several times and laughing at the intensity of an entirely non-Buddhist desire, my friends commented on my election as the Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga: "See? You got your crown."

On April 25, 2010, the Passing of the Laurels Ceremony was held at the McGroarty Art Center, Tujunga, with Joe DeCenzo doing the honors on behalf of the Sunland-Tujunga Poetry and Literature Committee. The event included presentations by Claire Knowles, Director of McGroarty Art Center, Dorothy Skiles, President of Village Poets, Mary Benson from Paul Krekorian's office, music performances and poetry readings by Joe DeCenzo, Elsa Frausto, and myself. I was thrilled to have received Certificates of Congratulations from State Senators Bob Huff and George Runner, and Los Angeles Councilman Paul Krekorian.Actually, I was so happy, I could not stop smiling! It was awesome! This is the best neighborhood in LA: with 20,000 people we have a museum, historical society, arts center, and more poetry, literature, art, and civic groups that you could count.

My reading at the "crowning" included a poem I wrote especially for this occasion, What I love in Sunland. You may download the poem in Word format here. It is also reproduced below. For more photographs from the event, see its Picasa Photo Album.

My motto for her two years as Poet Laureate is

"Poetry ... in pursuit of happiness"

I picked these words for two reasons: first, as a new citizen of these here United States, second, as a poet in search of happiness expressed in poetry. My planned activities include public readings, appearances at civic ceremonies, participation in art festivals and community events, and a publication of an anthology with work by local poets.

So far, I have written three sets of occasional poems, commissioned by various local civic groups and individuals: Councilman Paul Krekorian, Sunland-Tujunga Alliance for their Art Sale, Little Landers Historical Society for the retirement party of outgoing President of this group, Lloyd Hitt. I have also started a regular column in our local paper, Voice of the Village, also contributing verse to its poetry corner. In this blog I'll post some of this occasional work that is created for the enjoyment of my friends and neighbors, to celebrate, laugh, and, sometimes, grieve with them.

You may see the list of events below and selected photographs in my Poet Laureate Picasa Photo Album.
There are samples of poetry from my three books online in various places (Rose Always, Miriam's Iris, and Chopin with Cherries selected for the Cosmopolitan Review). I have also published online some chapbooks that are there because I like them (Glorias & Assorted Praises, Poems for My Friend, and Poems and Stories). Other poems were published on various sites, including a photo-album My Hat Collection, "Look at me..." in Loch Raven Review, (2010) and A Monument of Time and Memento Vitae in Clockwise Cat (2009).

If you want to know more of my poetry, you may consult the list of published poems, events and readings, and photos from recent events, as well as Picasa albums from Chopin with Cherries I, Chopin with Cherries II, the Spiritual Quartet readings and other events that will be added on. Here's my poem for the Passing of the Laurels Ceremony:


(C) 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk

The strong arms of the mountains
embracing, protecting our town

The lights scattered in the night valley
during my drive to the safety of home

How clouds sit on the hilltops
squishing them with their fat bottoms

The river playing hide-and-go-seek under the bridge
to nowhere: “now you see me – now you don’t”

The towering white glory of yucca flowers in June –
we are Lilliputians in the giants’ country

The mockingbird’s melodies floating above
red-roofed houses asleep on little sunny streets

Armenian fruit tarts sweeter than fresh grapefruit
and pomegranate from my trees

Hot, shimmering air, scented with sage and star jasmine,
carved by the hummingbird’s wings

The rainbow of roses, always blooming
in my secret garden


To request an occasional poem or poetry reading at an event, you may contact me at

Dates Events
November 13, 2010"Chopin with Cherries IV" Reading at Loyola University, Chicago, IL, with a pianist and 8 other poets
September 25, 2010, 1 p.m."Chopin Lecture, Recital, and Poetry Reading" at Polish Fest LA, Polish Church, Los Angeles, with Mira Mataric and Lois P. Jones
September 23, 2010, 7 p.m.Featured poet at Cypress College, with Susan Rogers,Dani Antman and Taoli Ambika Talwar, Cypress College
September 22, 2010, 2 p.m."Voices of Recovery" - Poetry celebrating National Recovery Month, with Jon Epstein and Susan Rogers, Phoenix House, Venice
September 19, 2010, 3 p.m."Poetry in the Foothills" - Featured Poet with James Pinkerton and Ross Peterson at the Flintridge Bookstore, La Canada-Flintridge
September 18, 2010, 5 p.m.Poets on Site group reading for Exhibition from the Annual Henry Fukuhara Plein Air Workshop at APC Gallery, Torrance
September 16, 2010, 2 p.m."Voices of Recovery" - Poetry celebrating National Recovery Month, with Susan Rogers at Phoenix House Orange County, Santa Ana
September 12, 2010, 3 p.m."Chopin with Cherries III" Group Reading at Beyond Baroque, Venice, with 15 other poets and Rick Wilson playing historical flutes
August 28, 2010, 6 p.m.Poets on Site at Arlington Gardens, Pasadena, group reading; see the event's Facebook Photo Album.
August 15, 2010, 2 p.m.Summer Poetry Reading at Watermelon Festival, Sunland Park, Sunland
August 8, 2010, 4 p.m.Reading "Six Poems for Lloyd" at his Retirement Ceremony, Bolton Hall, Tujunga.
July 31, 2010, 2 p.m.Reading "Illuminata" at Celebration of Poets on Site's Audio Tour of Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena. See photos from this event at Picasa Web Albums.
July-August, 2010, ongoingTeaching a Creative Writing Class for Children, McGroarty Arts Center, Tujunga.
July 4, 2010, 10 a.m.Participation in the Fourth of July Parade, with Susan Rogers, Elizabeth Kanski, and Anna Harley-Trochimczyk. Picasa Photo Album
From June, 2010, ongoingPublication of "Chopin with Cherries" blogs on poetry and music, at Open Salon, and Blogspot.
From May, 2010, ongoingPublication of poems in journals and anthologies: The Cosmopolitan Review, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, My Poem Rocks, etc. See the list of poems.
From May, 2010, ongoingPublication of poems in the local newspaper, The Voice of the Village: "Mamma and me" in vol. 1 no. 7 (May), p. 4 , "Mountain Watch" and "Interlude - Of Bliss" in vol. 1 no. 8 (June), p. 25, "Rose Window" in August.
June 5, 2010, 4-9 p.m."Maja and Friends" Poetry for Puppetry booth and stage presentations by Maja, Sharon Rizk, Marlene Hitt, Beverly Collins, Justin Kibbe, Don Kingfisher Campbell, and CaLokie. Picasa Photo Album