Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Spiritual Quartet in Ventura on May 28

The Spiritual Quartet consisting of four female poets - Lois P. Jones, Susan Rogers, Taoli-Ambika Talwar, and Maja Trochimczyk - will be featured at the gorgeous Artists Union Gallery, on May 28 (Saturday) at 7:30 p.m. in Ventura, CA. Each poet comes from a different spiritual background, while sharing the focus on compassion, beauty, enlightenment, and a creative expression of positive energy. They weave their poems around themes of light, love, forgiveness, hope, and friendship. They contemplate nature, mountains, birds and gardens, and draw inspiration from the poetry of Rumi, Rilke, the music of Chopin and Gorecki, and their own spiritual traditions.

Below are short introductions to the worlds of each poet, and a sample of their poetry read during the SQ appearances.

LOIS P. JONES’s poetry and photographs have been or will soon be published in American Poetry Journal, Raven Chronicles, Qarrtsiluni, Rose & Thorn, Tiferet, Kyoto Journal, and other print and on-line journals in the U.S. and abroad. She is co-founder of Word Walker Press and a documentarist of Argentina’s wine industry. You can hear her as host on 90.7 KPFK’s Poet’s Cafe (Pacifica Radio) on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month at 8:30 p.m. and see her as co-host of Moonday’s monthly poetry reading in La Canada, California. She is the Associate Poetry Editor of Kyoto Journal and a 2009 and 2010 Pushcart Nominee. In August 2010 her poem “Ouija” was selected as Poem of the Year by judge Dana Goodyear.

"Show what the light gave her

washing warmth into a neck
until it’s dune, a cliffside

that holds a head of surf.
Paint as you would before you awaken,

when sunlight falls like milkweed
and you are an empty silo

letting her grain fill you–
buttery malt and biscuit

for the love of honey."

(From "Ways to Paint a Woman" by Lois P. Jones)

SUSAN ROGERS considers poetry a vehicle for light and a tool for the exchange of positive energy. She is a practitioner of Sukyo Mahikari— a spiritual practice that promotes positive thoughts, words and action. She is also a photographer and a licensed attorney. Her poems were part of the 2010 Valentine Peace Project and have been performed at museums and galleries in Southern California. Her work can be found in the book Chopin and Cherries, numerous journals, anthologies and chapbooks Her work can be heard online or in person as part of the audio tour for the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California. She was recently interviewed by Lois P. Jones for KPFK’s Poets Café.

"The dove knows the way
follow her.

Your heart knows the way
listen well.

Within your deepest self
are wings of light.

They cover the earth
with waves of love.

Do you remember?
You once knew.

Stand in the warmth
of sunlight and recall.

The origin of the world
is one."

From The Origin is One, a poem dedicated to Kotama Okada and inspired by a painting by Susan Dobay.

Long-time educator, published author, artist, TAOLI-AMBIKA TALWAR has been involved in holistic arts/sciences for many years. Her mission is to be a reflective, gentle and creative change agent. Her film, “Androgyne” won the best script award at a festival in Belgium. She has published two books, Creative Resonance: Poetry¬Elegant Play, Elegant Change (2006) and 4 Stars & 25 Roses (2007) and has two chapbooks from Laguna Press, Words for Hungry Tongues (2000) Songs of the Body. Kyoto Journal published her poem titled, “What the Trees Say” for their biodiversity issue. Taoli-Ambika has also been published in the anthology, Chopin with Cherries, Inkwater Ink, vol. 3 and other collections. Her photographs and paintings have appeared in Tiferet Journal. She teaches English at Cypress College, Cypress. “Because poetry is the bridge to new worlds.”

Where Flowers Wander

cells love it
when we smile
even if worlds break

nothing matters
but the great empty
from which all comes

chalice is passages
for the flow
of the fountain

always traveler
longs for the great empty
flowers grow there

© 2011 Taoli-Ambika Talwar

MAJA TROCHIMCZYK, the Sixth Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, is also a music historian and non-profit director born in Poland, educated in Poland and Canada and residing in Sunland. As an author of four scholarly books and hundreds of articles, she is well established in the music history world, with two main specializations: Polish music of the 19th and 20th centuries, and 20th-century contemporary music. She founded Moonrise Press and published three books of poetry: Rose Always, Miriam's Iris and the Chopin with Cherries anthology. Her poetry and photography appears in such journals as the Epiphany Magazine, Loch Raven Review, The Huston Literary Review, Ekphrasis Journal, Phantom Seed, PoeticDiversity and many anthologies by Poets on Site and others. See:,

Mountains of Grief

For Henryk Mikołaj Górecki, the composer
of The Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,
in memoriam

"Euntes ibant et flebant..."
(Psalm 126:6, The Vulgate,
used as one of Gorecki's titles)

“Mom, don’t cry – Mamo, nie płacz –“
the soprano soars above
lush chords of the orchestra

Sorrow, endless sorrow

He grew up bitter,
alone at the keyboard,
waves of sound crashing all around him

His Mama, smothered with a pillow
on her hospital bed,
an orphaned child, sickly

With a leg damaged by illness,
limping gait – a great man comes,
truly great

How do I know? He taught me –

To do everything well,
with my whole heart, whole being,
dance despair into frenzy,
relish that last plate of barszcz

Laugh loudly, play the second fiddle
in góralska muzyka,
find Chopin's mazurka under my fingers

Look beyond the edge of grief,
toward the mountains,
shrouded by the clouds of unknowing

Sing lullabies of consolation,
weave music from strands of pain,
sudden glimpses of grace

Seek safety in the cocoon of timelessness,
under gold stars on the blue cloak
of Mother Mary –
sixteen portraits on one wall
of his studio in Katowice

Give of myself fully –
an offering of daily bread,
beg for crumbs of mercy,
morsels of blessings

Carry the cross, my cross

Walk towards the glimmer of light
on the horizon,
bearing the fruit of my harvest

(c) 2010 by Maja Trochimczyk

Gorecki in his studio, April 1998
The Gorecki poem is reprinted here in honor of the upcoming performances of his music by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Master Chorale in the next two weeks.

Notes to the poem:

* Henryk Mikołaj Górecki (6 December 1933 – 12 November 2010), Polish composer of: Euntes Ibant et Flebant op. 32 (1972), Third Symphony “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs” op. 36 (1976), and Kleines Requiem für Eine Polka, op. 66 (1993).
* “Euntes ibant et flebant portantes semina sua – venientes autem venientes in exultatione…” “He went off, went off weeping, carrying the seed. He comes back, comes back singing.” Psalm 126: 6
* “Mamo, nie płacz” – the first words of an inscription on the wall of a Gestapo prison in Zakopane by young Helena Błażusiak, text used the second movement of the Third Symphony.
* “Barszcz” – traditional beet soup we shared in Katowice in 1998.
* “Góralska muzyka” – folk ensemble of four strings playing music from the Tatra Mountains, Górecki’s chosen home. His last name means “of the mountains” and he settled in the village of Ząb in the Foothills area (Podhale) after spending most of his life in his native Silesia, in Katowice.


Photos of Gorecki and apple blossoms by Maja Trochimczyk

Photos of members of the Spiritual Quartet - various photographers

"Mountains of Grief" was first published in The San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly and reprinted on this blog.