Poets Laureate of Sunland Tujunga
DOROTHY SKILES
POET LAUREATE 2012-2014


"Poetry has always been in my blood," claims Dorothy who has been writing poetry since her teenage years. The first poem she wrote was about her grandmother who died when Dorothy was fourteen years old. In 1970, Dorothy graduated from San Fernando Valley State College earning a B.A. in English. That same year she started her career with the County of Los Angeles, Department of Public Social Services, and retired after 34 years of public service.

While married, raising twin boys, and managing a career, Dorothy published her first chapbook entitled The Sidewalk Gallery (1979). Other chapbooks followed including Ear to Earth (1996), Spine Flower Blues (1999) - a collaborative effort with fellow members of the Chuparosa Writers of Sunland-Tujunga, and Riddle in the Rain (2003) - a joint venture with Marlene Hitt, former Sunland-Tujunga Poet Laureate. Over the last 15 years Dorothy has read her poetry in coffee shops, book stores, and other venues including special church services. Also, her poems have appeared in various community publications.

Dorothy is currently the President of the Village Poets Planning Committee and is an active member of the Chuparosa Writers. She is also an active member of SAGE, which offers continuous learning for seniors and operates under the sponsorship of the Tseng College at CSUN and the Lutheran Church in the Foothills located in La Canada.


WINDS

Early Autumn calls...

and Santa Ana winds whirl and bend
the half-barren white birch trees
before early dawn when
first day's light dances among
Sunland-Tujunga's old oaks.

Early Autumn calls...

Winds howl through the San Gabriels
until late afternoon brings calm,
and the promise of
the red hawk's tranquil flight
above the Wash before dusk falls.

DEEP IN MY DREAMS

Deep in my dreams

In the middle of the forest
there is a house,
unafraid, I walk in.

Deep in my dreams

Weariness enfolds me
bringing me to my knees,
I lay by the cold, stone fireplace.

Deep in my dreams

God's Spirit is translucent.
I am transparent, for
Her Truth is very near.

Deep in my dreams

I awaken, unafraid,
to a house with
no windows, no doors.





MY ACTIVITIES AS A POET LAUREATE

  • Memorial Day Service: On 5/28/12, read my poem, "Let us Remember," at the American Legion Post 337, Memorial Day Service at Sunland Park, Sunland, CA.
  • July 4th Parade: As Poet Laureate, participated, along with former Poet Laureates, Maja Trochimczyk and Joe DeCenzo, in the July 4th Sunland-Tujunga Parade. We all road in a convertible along Foothill Blvd., from Verdugo High School to Sunland Park. I read my poem, "Celebration," to the crowds in passing, and volunteers passed out glossy cards with my poem and information about the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga.
  • International Arts Day: On 8/10/12, a day of drawing, making crafts, and reading poems). I performed several of my poems, along with Joe DeCenzo and Jamie Rodriguez. Later in the evening, I judged a light-hearted poetry contest.
  • Watermelon Festival at Sunland Park: On 8/11/12, I, along with fellow poets Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, Maja Trochimczyk, Mari Werner and Bev Collins, established a "Children's Corner." We read poems and rhymes and stories out-loud and passed out balloons and prizes.
  • Lutheran Church in the Foothills:

    • On 10/28/12, Annual Talent Show - I, along with fellow poet, Marlene Hitt, performed a poem we wrote in tandem, "A Thanksgiving to Remember ". I also performed with Percy the Owl (hand puppet), my poem "Mercy, Mercy, It's Percy the Owl." Marlene performed her poem, "Thanksgiving."
    • On 02/17/13, by invitation, I read 2 of my poems, "Blue Split Bonnet" and "Ear to Earth" in celebration of ELCA Women's Recognition Day at the Lutheran Church of the Foothills.
    • On April 16, 2013, by invitation, read my poems to the Women of the ELCA group - "Ear to Earth," "Denials", "Shroud of Darkness," "The Quiet Disciple," "Three Women at the Tomb," "I Never Saw Anything Like it, "Morning Prayers," and "I Light a Candle For You."
    • On May 26, 2013, by invitation, read my Memorial Day poem, "Let Us Remember."
  • County of Los Angeles - La Canada Branch Library Reading: On April 20, 2013, by invitation, I facilitated a Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga poetry presentation from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participants included 3 past Poet Laureates: Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo, and Maja Trochimczyk, along with three fellow poets: Mari Werner, Bev Collins, and Bryan Story who are actively involved in the Village Poets' Monthly Poetry Reading Series. The program included reading our own work, and performing three group poems.
  • Reading at Verdugo Hills YMCA Senior Monthly Luncheons: (composed a poem fitting for the theme of the program)

    • 08/27/12: "There's No Place Like Hawaii."
    • 09/24/12: Read several poems.
    • 10/22/12: "Morning Prayers, " and "Hollow's Eve."
    • 11/26/12: Read my poem: "Give me a Bowl of Chili."
    • 03/25/13: "Do Your Heart Good."
    • 04/15/13 "Hurray – Happy Birthday Bolton Hall!"
  • Facilitating Verdugo Hills YMCA Poetry Group: (readings by participants, topic lessons, class exercises)

    • 10/01/12: (topic - writing prose poem).
    • 11/05/12: (topic - line breaks)
    • 12/03/12: (read Christmas/holiday poetry)
    • 01/07/13 (topic- repetitive lines)
    • 02/04/13: (topic - metaphors)
    • 03/04/13: (topic- reading a poem for an audience)
    • 04/01/13: (topic- alliteration)
    • 06/03/13: (topic: haiku)
  • Senior Center at Sunland Park: (read my poems and visit with the seniors)

    • 07/11/12: "Elusive Are the Sparrows," "Irish Coast," and "Butterfly"
    • 08/01/12: "August Yearnings," "Griffith Park" and "Watermelon Festival"
    • 08/15/12 "Pie or Cake," "The Sun, He Shines," and "Jimmy Can Draw"
    • 09/05/12: "Sidewalk Gallery," "Santa Monica Pier," "Sleeping Children," "Fall," and "Where Do the Crows Go?"
    • 09/19/12: "Time for the Plantin'", "Blue Split Bonnet", and "How Deep is the River"
    • 10/10/12: The Sinking of the Brother Jonathan", "Wild", and "Autumn in Portland"
    • 10/31/12: Marlene Hitt and I joined the Halloween celebration at the Senior Center. Each of us read several Halloween poems
    • 10/31/12: Sunland Park, Evening Halloween Party - Joined by Lloyd & Marlene Hitt, and Joe DeCenzo, we all read Halloween poems to the children.
    • 11/14/12: Marlene and I went to the Senior Center and read our tandem poem, "A Thanksgiving to Remember." Marlene also read, "What I am Thankful For." I read another poem as well.
    • 01/16/13: "Wishing the Cold Away," and several other poems
    • 02/20/13: Read "A February Wind," "The Seaman", and "Give me a Bowl of Chili"
    • 03/27/13: Read "I love my Roma Tomato!" and "Japanese Plum in Bloom"
    • 05/29/13: Read for Memorial Day, "Let Us Remember" and "Butterfly"
  • P.E.O. Chapter KU in La Cresenta: By invitation, on 02/04/13, I was the featured speaker for the evening and read my poetry to approximately 25-30 women, all members of the P.E.O Chapter in La Crescenta. They are a national philanthropic organization..
  • McGroarty Arts Center Art Exhibition 2013: On March 9, 2013, by invitation, opened the exhibit with my poem, "I Love My Roma Tomato!" which was in keeping with the theme of the Gallery, "Bite Me!" (All about Food).
  • McGroarty Arts Center: On March 16, 2013, by invitation, joined fellow poets for a poetry reading while the gallery was open to the public. Fellow poets who participated included the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga (Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCnzo, Maja Trochimczyk and me. As well as Alice Pero, Rick Wilson, Mina Kirby, and Bryan Story. I read "I Love My Roma Tomato!" and "Gathering At Gale's."
  • La Canada Kawanis Club: On May 22, 2013, by invitation, read my Memorial Day poem, "Let us Remember.
  • Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council: On June 12, 2013, read my poem, "Remember Old Glory!" to celebrate Flag Day on June 14.
  • Other Activities:
  • May 2010 to present: President of the Village Poets of Sunland-Tujunga Planning Group, which is also composed of the following former Poet Laureates of Sunland-Tujunga: Marlene Hitt, Joe DeCenzo and Maja Trochimczyk. We plan, publicize and facilitate a Monthly Poetry Reading Series at the Bolton Hall Museum, Tujunga, CA (a declared Los Angeles Historical Monument #2). We provide a place where poets can gather, read their work and enjoy the work fellow poets. We also spotlight a featured poet every month. See the Village Poets of S-T website at: villagepoets.blogspot.com.
  • August 1996 to present: Active member of the Chiparosa Writers Worshop, Sunland , CA.
  • August 2012 to present: Active member of the Verdugo Hills YMCA Senior Advisory Board
  • September 2012: Active of the Bolton Hall Centennial Committee.
  • January 1988 to present: Active member of the Lutheran Church in the Foothills, La Canada. Co-Chair of the Church Staff Support Committee.
  • Publications:
  • "How Deep is the River," appears in From Benicia With Love, a collection of love poems, Accent Digital Publishing, Redding, CA, 2013.
  • "I Never Saw Anything Like it" and "Morning Prayers" appear in Meditations on Divine Names, a Poetry Anthology, edited by Maja Trochimczyk, published by Moonrise Press, 2012.
  • www.AlamedaPDX.org published "Autumn in Portland, Dec. 2008, "George Ivan Smith, editor of ANA newsletter and website, Portland, Oregon.
  • Chapbooks: "The Sidewalk Gallery" (1979), "Ear to Earth" (1996), "Spine Flower Blues" (1999, a collaborative effort with fellow members of the Chuparosa Writers), and "Riddle in the Rain" (2003, a collaborative effort with fellow poet, Marlene Hitt).
  • As of May 2012, on a monthly basis, my poems appear in Sunland-Tujunga's local newspaper, Voice of the Village.



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