Thursday, April 5, 2018

Moonrise Press Poets in the News - California Quarterly, Pushcart Nominations, and More

There are lots of news about our very active poets published by Moonrise Press: Beverly M. Collins (author of Mud in Magic), Marlene Hitt (author of Clocks and Water Drops), Margaret Saine (author of Lit Angels), as well as Susan Rogers, Lois P. Jones, Maja Trochimczyk, and Dorothy Skiles (published in Meditations on Divine Names and in  Chopin with Cherries  anthologies). Lets review them in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent news.  

Photo by Maja Trochimczyk


The California Quarterly vol. 44 by 1 was edited by Maja Trochimczyk. This volume features almost 60 poets, including Marlene Hitt, Kathabela Wilson, Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, and Margaret Saine - all published by Moonrise Press in the past, as well as Deborah P. Kolodji, Madeleine S. Butcher, and William Scott Galasso.  Cover by Abby Diamond - a portrait of a local yucca in a bud, ready to blossom, using her technique of "torn paper mosaic." (Her work can be found on Etsy: AbbyDiamondArt).

Copies of the CQ may be obtained by ordering online at , or by mailing a request for a specific​ issue together with a check for $10.00 per copy. Do not forget to name the specific issue you are requesting (this one is 44/1) and submit your order to:  CSPS VP/Membership 2560 Calabria Ct, Dublin, CA 94568. Every poet is invited to join the CSP Society, online or by mail. First fill out the form on the website, then print it and send with payments by mail to: 
CSPS Vice President - Membership, 
2560 Calabria Court, Dublin, California  94568

The editor comments: "When editing this volume first I thought I should have a theme of spring, new life, renewal, then i realized that poets submitted mostly about the fall (what was currently written), so I had to revise my theme into the "cycle of life" - in its physical natural beauty and spiritual depth.  I'm thrilled to have encountered so many new wonderful poets, and to be able to publish the work of talented friends. I used some haiku, including two of mine, as comments on shorter poems, and wrote a new poem to close the issue."

You can find the table of contents of the California Quarterly, Volume 44, Number 1 on Poetry Laurels Blog:

Photo of maples in Warsaw by Maja Trochimczyk


                      ~ for my children

No fear, no hate, not even a mild dislike*—
we leave our heavy burdens, shards of memories
broken, all too broken, at the bottom of crystal stairs
beneath clouds of white camellias, petals swirling
through air like the snow of forgetfulness

Perfect symmetry of blossoms
points the way — up, up, always up
rainbow crystal stairs, revealed
one by one as we ascend — inwards,
outwards — dancing spirals of our DNA

We get to know this place — these depths,
these heights — for once, for all lifetimes

With each step, pure notes resonate
and expand into clear, spacious chords —
the music of the spheres rings out, wave by wave
expanding from our open hearts

Each chord — harmonious, different —
each melody in this vast symphony
sweetly twines around another, and another
until all are One Song, One Wisdom —
of stem and flower, of leaf and root
in this Cosmic Tree of humanity

Arbor Cosmica —

We have been here
all along without knowing

(c) 2018 by Maja Trochimczyk

Photo of a maple in Warsaw by Maja Trochimczyk


The editors of the 2017 issue of the Altadena Poetry Review nominated Dorothy Skiles and Susan Rogers for the highly regarded Pushcart Poetry Prize. The full list of nominees included:  Thelma T. Reyna, Cathi Sandstrom, Dorothy Skiles, David Slavin and Alicia Elkort. Nominations for this prize are submitted by editors of poetry books and journals who can present up to six names/six poems for recognition from the year of publications. On April 16 at 7 pm you can listen to their poems at the Altadena Public Library.  

Meanwhile, the same and other local poets will have their work published in the Altadena Poetry Review 2018, the cover is above and the reading will be on April 29, 2018.


Ami Kaye of Glass Lyre Press edited another wonderful anthology, entitled Collateral Damage. In her words: "the mission of the Collateral Damage project is to raise funds and greater awareness about children with basic survival needs, for programs that protect and educate children and foster child advocacy. This book will highlight children traumatized by school shootings and gun violence, children who are abused and exploited, and those caught in the crossfire of wars and political strife. .. As current custodians of this world we need to protect the future: our children. If we work together we can harness the strength to speak up for those not allowed a voice; turning away is not an option anymore."  The cover is by Tracy McQueen and the poets include: Ambika Talwar, Kathabela Wilson, Martin Willitts, Jr., and Maja Trochimczyk. Their work appeared in Chopin with Cherries Anthology in 2010. 


Photo by Arturas Morozovas from Delfi magazine, Lithuania.

Earlier in the spring, Maja Trochimczyk had the pleasure of talking about her immigrant experience, family war-time traumas, and life in general to two journalists from Europe. Polish-Lithuanian journalist Witold Janczys wrote a story based on her interview for a Lithuanian publication, Delfi, the largest portal in Baltic countries. Polish music journalist and broadcaster Ewa Szczecinska from the Polish Radio recorded an interview to be broadcast in installments - the series has just began - in Polish  Here are the links, and a photo from the Lithuanian publication - translated from Polish into Russian!


Beverly M. Collins and Maja Trochimczyk at Phoenix House Venice with their books.

On Saturday, February 24, 2018, eminent poet Beverly M. Collins visited Phoenix House Venice residential treatment program for adult men to celebrate Black History Month with poetry.  An accomplished, prize-winning author of two books and hundreds of poems published in a variety of journals, Beverly read her poems and discussed their inspirations. Some of her witty and wise verse has been collected in two books Mud in Magic (Moonrise Press, 2015) and Quiet Observations (2006).

Beverly M. Collins with her 2015 book Mud in Magic

Beverly was joined in the reading by Maja Trochimczyk (poet and Senior Director of Planning at Phoenix House who organized the event) and two patients from the treatment program who read excerpts of their excellent work in progress. The audience of nearly 50 men was very attentive and interested. The afternoon ended with the listeners using one word to describe what they love the most in life: family, sports, art, sunsets, etc... At the end of a poetic afternoon, Beverly and Maja donated books of poetry to Phoenix House.

Meanwhile, Maja Trochimczyk wrote and posted for everyone spring holiday wishes, for all ways of celebrating the spring, from Easter to Spring Equinox: 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

"Gorecki in Context" at PAHA 75th Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. (January 2018)

Maja Trochimczyk presents Gorecki in Context. Photo by Marcin Szerle

The edited volume "Gorecki in Context: Essays on Music" (by Maja Trochimczyk, published in December 2017) had its public debut at the 75th Annual Meeting of the Polish American Historical Association in Washington, D.C.  The book was placed on display with other book by PAHA members, and was discussed during the paper by Dr. Maja Trochimczyk, entitled: "The Myth of the Third Symphony: Gorecki in California"

Photo by Marcin Szerle

The presentation focused on the performance history of the Third Symphony Symphony of Sorrowful Songs (composed in 1976, world-famous since the Nonesuch recording of 1992, and conducted by Gorecki himself in Los Angeles).  The author organized his visit and ensured that the composer, who was not thrilled about metropolitan performances, but rather interested in small-town ambience of "ordinary people" was comfortable and able to express his unique musical vision. 

Since the projector malfunctioned, the presentation became more traditional - with copies of the handout distributed among the audience. Among other aspects of the Third Symphony, its use of the lullaby as an expressive and melodic model was pointed out and illustrated by singing the Polish lullabies. Luckily, the audience did not go to sleep. 

The lullabies are characterized with limited melodic outlines, reduced to three or two notes, slow repeated motion, that may be associated with rocking a baby to sleep. The step-wise semitonal motion in Bzi-bzi-bzibziana is cited in the strings in the opening of the Third Movement of the Third Symphony.

Photo by Marcin Szerle

The audience was fascinated with Gorecki's views on the extremely slow and tranquil music in the Third Symphony - and quite difficult to perform in sustained way, without losing focus or intonation.  Dr. Trochimczyk cited Gorecki's words to USC Thornton School of Music students who played his work with dedication and attention to every detail. As a result, the composer was very pleased with their interpretation. The symphony clocked at 65 minutes, compared to typical 55-56 minutes length in other interpretations. The main difference stemmed from the much slower tempi in the monumental, arch=like first movement, consisting of two canons framing an entry of the solo soprano. 

The composer discussed in detail the general expressive character of the symphony as follows:

Movement No. 1, Lento sostenuto tranquillo ma cantabile (34’53’’): 

Górecki: "Some general remarks: Please sustain the half notes, without diminuendo, in a contemplative mood. It should all be sostenuto and very tranquil, very cantabile. That is all […] Did you practice this section slower or faster?" 

Students: "Faster!"   

Górecki: "Nonetheless, I would like to play it slower. This is the whole problem. […] Here, in this music, we have to surrender ourselves to this other dimension of time. We have to slow down. Only then the sonority will be fantastic: the higher the music will go, the more distinctly it will sound. I dream of writing such tranquil music. I do not want to compose anything that echoes the modern "rush" - the cell phones, the telephones and faxes. It has to be calm. Life is too beautiful to be wasted in this way, by rushing things so much. How should I explain it to you? Perhaps you should think about an elevator: you leave behind the basement of everyday life, filled with noises, distractions and anxieties, and you take the elevator up to the tenth floor, or even into the sky of timelessness. When you are in this music, time slows down, it is as if you were in heaven, it is like eternity. "

Movement No. 3, Lento cantabile – semplice (21’16’’)

Gorecki: "Let us now take a small "breathing space" so that you can understand my intentions. This is a mother's song. This song has to be expressed both by the orchestra and the soloist. It has to be contemplative in mood, but still maintain the tempo. It approximates the speed of slow walking, when one walks alone, lost in thought. We have to enter into this mood. It is as if we were walking, or even slowly dancing. You have to think about walking here."
"For me it is a very difficult movement because I do not usually engage in conducting and I do not know how to enchant you with my hand movements, but music carries me away and I may at some spots (and please forgive me if I do) make a wrong movement at a certain time, but you know the score and could play on. So then do not look at me, at what I am doing, but listen to each other, listen to what happens around you."

Gorecki in Context among Polish American books at PAHA's 75th Annual Meeting.

paperback, 420 pages, $40.00, published in December 2017.

The paperback, due to its large size, is divided into four e-books in E-Pub format

More information about the book is available on this blog, with the table of contents: 

and on Moonrise Press websites: