Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Kathi Stafford (May 2018)


Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology 

Edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Kathi Stafford

Paperback, 280 pages, with black and white illustrations
ISBN  978-1-945938-22-1  
Color Paperback, 280 pages with color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-945938-24-5 
E-Book in EPUB format with color illustrations
ISBN 978-1-945938-23-8

Moonrise Press is pleased to announce the publication of Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology, edited by Maja Trochimczyk and Kathi Stafford. Grateful Conversations is a portrait of a group of female poets from California, who come together each month to hone their craft and share their verse.  Known as Westside Women Writers and active as a group since 2008, they include Millicent Borges Accardi, Madeleine S. Butcher, Georgia Jones Davis, Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Kathi Stafford, Sonya Sabanac, Ambika Talwar and Maja Trochimczyk. 

In the words of the WWW founder, Millicent Borges Accardi, this is “a community of women writers working together to support each other with strong attention to craft, to grow as writers and as people in community.” The volume includes poems written for seven workshops and  poetic self-portraits of the nine writers.  Many photographs by the poets (Madeleine S. Butcher, Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Sonya Sabanac, Ambika Talwar and Maja Trochimczyk) provide illustrations for the poems. 

WWW at the Norton Simon Museum.August 2013.
L to R: Maja, Susan, Lois, Georgia, Sonya, Madeleine and Millicent.  


“In the language of poetry, where every word is weighed, nothing is usual or normal. Not a single stone and not a single cloud above it. Not a single day and not a single night after it. And above all, not a single existence, not anyone’s existence in this world.”
— Wisława Szymborska

Poetry is an elusive gift. The women whose work is reflected in this volume have supported each other in their ongoing writing—some of them for as long as ten years. We express our support and gratitude to all the family, friends, and fellow writers on this journey with us.

Our group expanded and contracted: some women traveled a lot, others moved away, still others had to deal with illness and pain. Yet, we continued to meet and share poems, to be an inspiration for each other, especially in “arid” creative times. 

The title of our anthology “Grateful Conversations” comes from a prompt by our “Fearless Leader” Millicent Borges Accardi that was given back in 2010 to a then-smaller group. It resulted in poems that remained among the favorites of their authors.  Indeed, writing and participating in a poetry group leads to may “Grateful Conversations” – filled with appreciation for different sensitivities and life-experiences, and for shared interests in the poetic craft. 

During the workshops, we often had the eerie experience of bringing poems on related themes without planning this in advance. Interestingly, the “communion of minds” also permeated the critiques: if most poets thought that a line, ending, beginning or a metaphor were awkward, too wordy or uninspired – it was clear that revisions were in order.  

The idea of putting together an anthology based on our workshops was born in early 2016 and it has taken over two years to assemble the materials. 

We are fascinated with the diversity of poetic responses to the same prompt – be it word, image, or place. Thus, we present poems from our workshops and field trips, hoping that our readers will find their diversity refreshing.  The only criterion for inclusion of a workshop in this anthology is to have at least three poems that resulted from it.  

We asked poets to contribute mini-essays about their personal experience with poetry and the Westside Women Writers group. The poets selected their favorite poems for a self-portrait. Poems in this section may or may not have been presented for critique during our workshops; some poems may have been previously published somewhere else. They have been chosen with great care to represent what each poet thinks of herself – as samples of her most important work, or testimonials to the most significant steps in life journey, commemorated in poetry.

We are thrilled to reach the finish line and present to our readers poems, essays and photographs by Westside Women Writers. 

Let the Grateful Conversations continue…

— Maja Trochimczyk & Kathi Stafford

Madeleine and Millicent at the Norton Simon Museum, August 2013.


Prior Publication Credits, xi
Preface by the Editors, Maja Trochimczyk &Kathy Stafford, xiii
Introduction by Millicent Borges Accardi, xv

Part I — Workshops, 1

Workshop 1 —Writing on a Prompt, 3
By Millicent Borges Accardi (2011): ”grateful conversations never had but now taking place”

Grateful Conversations Never Had — Millicent Borges Accardi, 5
Culver City, ICU — Kathi Stafford, 7
The Ultimate Destination — Sonya Sabanac, 8
The Lake of Claret — Maja Trochimczyk, 9
The Next Flight — Ambika Talwar, 11
Grateful Conversations — Susan Rogers, 12

Lois, Ambika, Kathi, Maja and Susan after Lois’s featured reading at Bolton Hall Museum, Tujunga, August 2017.

Workshop 2 —The Harpist at the Getty Villa13
Organized by Kathi Stafford in March 2013, to see the “Cycladic Harp Player” (2700 -2300 BC), an ancient sculpture at the Getty Villa, Pacific Palisades

Still — Madeleine S. Butcher, 15
Harp Player — Lois P. Jones, 16
Harp Player — Susan Rogers, 18
Seven Strings — Kathi Stafford, 19
Proposal — Ambika Talwar, 21
A Song of Stillness — Maja Trochimczyk, 23

WWW at the Norton Simon Museum.August 2013.
L to R: Maja, Susan, Lois, Georgia, Sonya, Madeleine and Millicent.  

Workshop 3 —Van Gogh at Norton Simon Museum25
Organized by Maja Trochimczyk in August 2013. Based on two paintings by Vincent Van Gogh, “The Mulberry Tree” and “Winter (Vicarage Garden under Snow)” in the permanent collection of the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena.

Wild Hair — Millicent Borges Accardi, 27
Winter in the Vicarage Garden — Millicent Borges Accardi, 28
After Vincent Van Gogh’s “Winter (The Vicarage Garden under Snow)”— Lois P. Jones, 29
Premonition — Sonya Sabanac, 30
Into Color, Into Light — Maja Trochimczyk, 31
Half Summer - Half Wintergreen — Ambika Talwar, 33
Sophie and Vincent — Madeleine S. Butcher, 34
The Mulberry Song — Maja Trochimczyk, 36
Mulberry — Kathi Stafford, 38
Greenery — Georgia Jones-Davis, 39
Café Terrace with Tarkovsky —Susan Rogers, 40

Madeleine, Millicent, Sonya and Kathi in Sonya's Garden, 2016.

Workshop 4—Grandparents, 41
Proposed by Georgia Jones-Davis and Kathi Stafford, 2015

Baba —Madeleine S. Butcher, 43
My Grandmother Danced the Kazatzka — S. Rogers, 47
Grandfather’s Ring — Susan Rogers, 52
Emily at Auschwitz — Georgia Jones-Davis, 53
In That Banat Land — Sonya Sabanac, 54
A Letter to My Ancestor — Sonya Sabanac, 56
How to Make a Mazurka—Maja Trochimczyk, 58
Ciocia Tonia — Maja Trochimczyk, 60
Philosophy of the Skillet — Kathi Stafford, 62
Trail of Tears — Kathi Stafford, 64
Vajir Dei – Minister Goddess — Ambika Talwar, 65

Workshop 5 —The Museum of Jurassic Technology, 69
Organized by Lois P. Jones, Culver City, February 2016.

Tea with Canis Major — Ambika Talwar, 71
Cat’s Cradle — Georgia Jones-Davis, 73
The World Is Bound with Secret Knots — Sonya Sabanac, 74

WWW Poets at the Broad Museum. L to R: Maja Trochimczyk, Sonya Sabanac, 
Kathi Stafford, Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers and Ambika Talwar, 2016

      Workshop 6 — The Broad Museum, 77
Organized by Lois P. Jones, April 2016

At the Broad — Kathi Stafford, 79
Blue Venus – I, Your Witness —Ambika Talwar, 80
The Infinity Room — Maja Trochimczyk, 82

    Photo by Lois P. Jones, Switzerland.

    Workshop 7 — Rivers, 85
    Proposed by Maja Trochimczyk and Sonya Sabanac, 2016

    Find the River — Susan Rogers, 87
    Varanasi - Luminous City — Ambika Talwar, 89
    Shifting — Sonya Sabanac, 91
    White River — Kathi Stafford, 92
    Easter Apocalypsis — Maja Trochimczyk, 93

    Marbles by Charles Accardi


    1. Millicent Borges Accardi, 97

    Here Lies the Thing I Most Desire, 98
    Faith, 100
    Coupling, 103
    Ciscenje Prostora, 104
    Only More So, 106
    Adore the Field, 108
    May You Vanish Like the Wind, 109

    2. Madeleine S. Butcher, 111

    Essay, 112
    Awesome, 114
    My Seeing Eyes, 115
    Aftermath, 116
    Picture This, 117
    Device, 118
    To Come, 119
    How Do I Know Thee, John Lee? 120
    Black is the Night, 121
    Meadow, 121
    Bonsai, 122

    Photo by Neil Gruen, Gruen Photography.
    3. Georgia Jones-Davis, 123

    Essay, 124
    Safety, 126
    The Indifference at the Molten Core, 128
    Monumental Dog, 129
    This Rajasthan, 131
    Understudy, 132
    The Visitors, 134
    I’d Like To Travel Like William Stafford, 137

    Points of Destination, 138

    4. Lois P. Jones, 141

    Self Portrait, 142
    Red Horse, 143
    One, 145
    Shema! 146
    Günther’s Tree, 147
    Trélex, 148
    The Scent of Ariel, 150
    Foal, 151
    The Landscape of Flight, 153

    5. Susan Rogers, 155

    Essay, 156
    The Origin is One, 157
    Kuan Yin, 160
    Grass, 161
    First Night in Takayama, 162
    Longing for October, 164
    What the Trees Say, 166
    Across Bridges, 169
    Shiawase, 171
    The Poem Inside, 172
    And the Soul Shall Dance, 174
    This Lotus, 175
    What Returns, 176

    6. Sonya Sabanac, 177

    Essay: Poetry – Everlasting Moments, 178
    A Magical Prayer, 180
    No Man’s Land, 181
    Mirjana, 184
    Kristina Hugging a Tree, 186
    Somewhere Far Across the Ocean, 188
    Shifting Balance, 190
    The Last Call, 191
    The South Tower, 194
    Upon Listening to the Sretensky Monastery Choir, 196
    The White Fields of Sky, 198

    7. Kathi Stafford, 199

    Essay: Tulsa Town, 200
    These Bones, 202
    Division, 203
    Hive, 204
    Blank Check, 205
    To May in her coma after the motorcycle, 207
    Desire, 208
    Never Unlock, 209

    8. Ambika Talwar, 211

    Essay: Poetry of Source Within, 212
    Hunger of Fireflies, 216
    Golden Pear: Patience or Penance? 217
    Sweet Fire Dance of Dissent, 219
    Kindlings…, 221
    The Waking, 223
    Singularity, 225
    Love: Salt of the Earth, 228
    The Fragrance of Prayer, 230

    9. Maja Trochimczyk, 231

    Essay: Why, Write? 232
    Definition: Writing, 234
    In Millicent’s World, 236
    An Ode of the Lost, 237
    On Eating a Donut at the Kraków Airport, 239
    Shambhala, 241
    The Lady with an Ermine, 243
    On Divine Comedy and Ice Cream, 245
    Repeat after Me, 247
    In Morning Light, 249

    Photo by Maja Trochimczyk

    Biographies, 253

    Millicent Borges Accardi, 254
    Madeleine S. Butcher, 254
    Georgia Jones-Davis, 254
    Lois P. Jones, 255
    Susan Rogers, 255
    Sonya Sabanac, 255
    Kathi Stafford, 256
    Ambika Talwar, 256
    Maja Trochimczyk, 256

    Photo by Madeleine S. Butcher

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