Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Announcing "Clocks and Water Drops" - Poetry Book by Marlene Hitt

Cover with photo by Lloyd Hitt
ISBN 978-0-9819693-5-0 , 116 pages.

Moonrise Press is pleased to announce that the next poetry book in our Women Writers series will be by Marlene Hitt, the first Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, former Museum Director at the Bolton Hall Museum, organizer of readings, community events, editor and author. The book includes 73 poems divided into sections on: Children, Marriages, Portraits, Neighbors, Seasons, Small Things, Passages, and Farewells.  The title captures the poet's fascination with the flow of time, as relentless and powerful as drops of water that can shape rocks and move mountains. 

Marlene Hitt

Marlene Hitt is a Los Angeles poet, writer and retired educator with local history as an avocation. She has served for many years as Archivist, Museum Director and Historian at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. She is a native Californian and a graduate of Occidental College. She also studied at CSUN, USC, UCLA, Glendale College and Trinity College in Ireland. As a member of the Chupa Rosa Writers of Sunland for nearly 30 years, she has worked with this small group of poets from whom has sprung readings at the local library, the Poet Laureate Program of Sunland-Tujunga, and the currently popular Village Poets.

Marlene Hitt, Photo by Lloyd Hitt

Her poetry received several first place prizes in annual competitions of the Women’s Club, San Fernando Valley, and many awards from the John Steven McGroarty Chapter of the California Chaparral Poets. Her work appeared in Psychopoetica (UK), Chupa Rosa Diaries of the Chupa Rosa Writers, Sunland (2001-2003), Glendale College’s Eclipse anthologies, two Moonrise Press anthologies, Chopin With Cherries (2010) and Meditations on Divine Names (2012), and Sometimes in the Open, a collection of verse by California Poets Laureate. She published Sad with Cinnamon, Mint Leaves, and Bent Grass (all in 2001), as well as Riddle in the Rain with Dorothy Skiles, and a stack of chapbooks for friends and family.

Ms. Hitt, elected Woman of Achievement for year 2001, served a Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga in 1999-2001, at the turn of the century. She has published several books on local history, including Sunland-Tujunga From Village to City (Arcadia, 2000, 2005) based on columns written for the Foothill Leader, Glendale News Press, North Valley Reporter, Sentinel, and Voice of the Village newspapers since 1998. Over the years, she taught in elementary school, worked in a pharmacy, chaired committees, tap-danced, and played English handbells, autoharp and ukulele. She dedicates her successes to her husband, Lloyd, her children and grandchildren, her biggest fans.

About this Book

Clocks and Water Drops is a book of treasured gifts packed in memories and reflections as tasty as homemade bread, fanciful as a rose petal salad and healing as warm camphor oil on a child's skin. Marlene Hitts’ astute and thoughtful voice paints a world as gentle as lamb’s wool and precious as a girl’s first pony. Open this cedar chest of poems, don its knitted socks and prepare to chase the moon through love and time.
~ Jack Cooper
Author, Across My Silence

Marlene Hitt is an attentive poet, an inspired poet. She listens to the sounds of the past, disappearing from our electrified, virtually connected lives:  the “plodding of beetles,” the ticking of the grandfather clock, the tapping of rain on a window sill.  She watches shifting hues in the sky and the mesmerized faces of children “glued” to their TVs; she sees how the children still brighten at the sight of a Christmas tree.  Marlene shows her readers what a life well lived could be; she makes poems from family stories, community celebrations, and discoveries in a back alley. She portrays her grandparents and her children, yet she does not forget her neighbors, the homeless, the lost… Clocks and Water Drops, her first full-length poetry collection, is a gift of “small things” – a gift of remembrance and affection, a whimsical and wise offering of carefully calibrated images and reflections.  We are thankful for the talent of Marlene Hitt, the first Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, a historian of local communities, and a treasure of poetry in the Foothills.

~ Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D.
President, Moonrise Press

California Poppy. Photo by Maja Trochimczyk 

I Can Hear the Plodding of Beetles

 I have heard of silence
deep enough to hurt the ear,
of quiet strong enough to know
the sound of blood rushing
through one’s own body.
There was once in this valley
quiet enough
to made public a whisper.
Murmured conversation
pushed away miles with silence.
At night, owl called.  Coyote
sang her blessing over a meal. 
From a dusty trail, once,
hooves made rhythm 
for a wagon’s wheels,
a duet that entertained mid day.
The old parson sang
“Lord, I’m Comin’ Home”
and the song was heard
clear to the hills and beyond.
The men, tired, dusty, hot
slept outside on their cots.
Their lullabies-- the cough of a friend
from across the valley, a quiet song
sung in a tent, a murmur..

Years have passed. Since then,
new sounds fill the air. 
Jays still squabble, 
small creatures scurry
breaking branches,
avalanching piles of pebbles. 
 But now, so many years present,
is a deafness from new noise.
Hammers tap duets with hand saw,  
A cement truck
pounds on the ready soil,
covering  the death cry
of the horned spine flower.
Roaring, as relentless as waterfall,
cascades from the freeway.
Big-rigs speed.  Families rush,
the weary hurry to quieter shores.
Over a rocky place
below the asphalt of the 210
empty flatbeds thump,
bounce over that stubborn place
where tough globs of granite
lay miles deep
and three inches too high.
This morning, inside the loudness,
I see a cat’s mouth
meowing a silent cry
that forms from my memory.
Heard only in my mind
is the call of mourning dove
and the sigh of breeze.
In my thoughts
I can hear the plodding of beetles.     

(c) by Marlene Hitt

Italian Pine in Sunland Tujunga, Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

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