Bright Skies
by Maja Trochimczyk
85 poems ~ 160 color photos ~ 6 portraits ~ 184 pages
Price: $48.00 color paperback, $10.00 ebook
Publisher: Moonrise Press
ISBN: 978-1-945938-49-8 (color paperback)
ISBN: 978-1-945938-52-8 (ebook)
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Maja Trochimczyk dedicates this collection of poems, “Bright Skies,” to her children and grandchildren, asking them to read and enjoy her verse “when they grow up.” The volume features 85 poems written in 2009-2022 and organized into five sections–Spring, Summer, Babie Lato, Autumn and Winter. The seasons of poetry include reflections on nature, beauty, love, life, and spirituality. The focus is on positive emotions, learning to be calm and content, full of compassion and wisdom. It is a life-long quest, and these poems are an invitation.

The poems are illustrated with 160 photographs taken in the poet’s neighborhood–Big Tujunga Wash, Angeles National Forest, Descanso Gardens, and Oxnard Beach. The surprising “Coda” brings a set of recipes for old-fashioned Polish dishes mentioned in poems. Bringing together favorite memories of her Polish childhood–making and flying kites, plays with soap bubbles–and the delights of sunny Southern California gardens, parks, and beaches, the book includes lessons how to seek and find the daily dose of domestic bliss. This book is a legacy from a well-lived life, and a companion to Into Light: Poems and Incantations–another collection of positive, inspirational poetry illustrated with photos.


"From pears in a California garden to a recipe from her Polish grandmother for pickled pears, Maja Trochimczyk leads her readers into a lovely world. She sees the beauty of a rose, a bird, a sunrise. She has brought her childhood memories from faraway Poland into the splendid light of Southern California. Woven into each poem is a word picture, accompanied by a photograph of local scenes from her neighborhood–Big Tujunga Wash, Descanso Gardens, Oxnard Beach. These wonderful, heart-warming poems are full of exquisite metaphors and images, where spirituality comes through clearly, without labels, devotions, or being overly didactic. My favorites, “Mason Bees” and “On Landscapes: A Guidebook,” bring together vivid descriptions of Nature with inspirational life-lessons that Nature imparts. They are perfect in substance, style and language. Seeking contentment in domestic life–peaceful home and garden–is an important message for everyone today. The book includes even an original version of marriage vows and ends with a surprise: a selection of old-fashioned recipes for traditional Polish dishes mentioned in poems. Readers will grow in knowledge of beauty and joy surrounding them, shared in daily doses of bliss."
–Marlene Hitt, poet and historian, author of Clocks and Water Drops


Maja Trochimczyk, PhD, is a Polish American poet, music historian, photographer, and non-profit director. She is the author/editor of eight books on music and Polish culture in Polish and English, as well as five poetry volumes and four anthologies, most recently We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology (co-edited with Marlene Hitt, 2020). A former Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga, she is the founder of Moonrise Press, President of the California State Poetry Society, Managing Editor of the California Quarterly and Poetry Letter published by the CSPS, and President of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club, promoting Polish culture in California. Hundreds of her poems, articles and book chapters appeared in English, Polish, and in a variety of translations. She presented her research at over 90 international conferences and received many awards from Polish, Canadian and American institutions. Among other honors, she is the winner of the Creative Arts Prize from the Polish American Historical Association (2016) for her two poetry books about Polish civilian experience during WW II and its aftermath, Slicing the Bread and The Rainy Bread. Since 2010, she has maintained a series of blogs on poetry, Polish history and culture, with a total readership of over 970,000 visitors.


Only in California

by Maja Trochimczyk

The desert is rich with the noise
of our ghost river, suddenly filled
with mocha cappuccino, a swirl
of white frothy foam on the surface.

Chuparosa and sunrose blossom.
The moving white spot of a rabbit’s tail
disappears between sticky snapdragons,
goldenrod, and pearly everlasting.

The last red leaves tremble on the tips
of tree branches. The liquid amber
is bare; the gingko, no longer golden–
a skeleton waiting for summer.

One by one, scarlet star-shapes fall
onto the green carpet of new grass.
The shoots of narcissus and hyacinth
peek through the weight of dead foliage.

Puffy pink clouds surround the disc
of the moon, shining on the smooth
turquoise. Seasons melt in a day.

The sun smiles at the audacity
of this preposterous, beyond belief,
one and only, California spring.


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