Monday, May 15, 2017

Two Versions of Spinoza's Ethics Start a Classic Wisdom Book Series

Benedict Spinoza: Ethics, 292 pages, $20.00

EPub EBook, $8.00 available on, BarnesandNoble, Nook, Kobe and other distributors:

Moonrise Press has started a new book series of reprints of classic texts in English translation, entitled Classic Wisdom. The first volume in this series is Benedict Spinoza's Ethics. This is a reprint of a 19th century translation of "Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata" by Benedict de Spinoza (Baruch Spinoza, 1632-1677) first published in 1677. The  translation by William Hale White (1831-1913), published in 1883, was prepared for publication by Dr. Maja Trochimczyk.  The book is available in paperback and EPub ebook formats.

The book consists of five parts: I. Of God; II. Of The Nature and Origin of the Mind, III. Of The Origin and Nature of the Affects; IV. Of Human Bondage, or of the Strength of the Affects; And V. Of the Power of the Intellect, or Of Human Liberty.

Born in a Jewish-Portuguese family in Amsterdam in 1621, at 23, Spinoza was expelled from the Jewish community and is buried in a Christian Nieuwe Kerk, The Hague (he died at 44, in 1677). He was neither Jewish nor Christian in his views, and, from today’s perspective may be called one of the early Classics of Awakened Wisdom, aware of the intrinsic unity of the Universe with God, the Source of all.


The more things change, the more they stay the same. After taking a philosophy class way back in college and not caring one way or another for Spinoza whose geometric way of presenting his philosophical, religious, ethical, ontological and epistemological views did not appeal to me at all, I finally discovered his immensely significant, timeless wisdom and decided to share it by reprinting the Ethics in an 19th-century English translation by William Hale White, in convenient paperback and EBook formats. This is the first in our new reprint series, Classic Wisdom.

This wisdom is evident starting right in the first Part, on God: “PROP. XI. — God or substance consisting of infinite attributes, each one of which expresses eternal and infinite essence necessarily exists. PROP. XV. — Whatever is, is in God, and nothing can either be or be conceived without God.”

Thus, God by virtue of being infinite, cannot be outside of this world (transcendental), God has to be and is immanent, God is in everything that exists. Everything that exists is in God, i.e., Divine. This, of course, is a path straight to the modern understanding of the united Universe, permeated by the creative energy of its Source, the One Divine Being that is all in all. This of course, is not compatible with the dogmas and teachings of any temple or church that separate the One into Many, or cut-off the Divine Spirit from matter. What an amazing revolution, hidden in plain sight! To obfuscate things, Spinoza’s theories have been called “Philosophical Monism,” “Pantheistic” or “Rationalist” and engendering ideas that gave the birth to  Enlightenment.

Born in a Sephardic Jewish-Portuguese community in Amsterdam in 1621 (his ancestors excepted the Inquisition), he was expelled from the Jewish community at 23 years old, and is buried in the courtyard of a Christian Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague (he died at 44 years old in 1677). He was neither Jewish nor Christian in his views, and, from today’s perspective may be called one of the early Classics of Awakened Wisdom: the awakening is to the intrinsic unity of all that exist with God, the immortality of the human spirit, and the primacy of Love over all, Divine Light and Love guiding humans along their individual paths towards awakening, increased awareness and wisdom.

Philosophers love Spinoza for the elegance of his writings and the depth of his logical analysis of theorems and dogmas that he, time after time, proves absurd.  The book consists of five parts: I. Of God; II. Of The Nature and Origin of the Mind, III. Of The Origin and Nature of the Affects; IV. Of Human Bondage, or of the Strength of the Affects; and V. Of the Power of the Intellect, or Of Human Liberty.

Just like the ancient Gnostics, Pythagoras, Plotinus, Hermes Trismegistos ( many who wrote under his name), Giordano Bruno, and, to skip half a millennium, modern deep ecologists (Arne Dekke Eide Næss, and James Lovelock of the Gaia hypothesis), Spinoza found and shared the unified understanding of nature, humanity and divinity that dispels darkness, sorrows and doubts, while crowning the human being with the unperishable Divine Light that exists within. As he said: “The affect of Joy and its offspring increases the perfection of the mind and therefore is good; the affect of Sorrow and its offspring decreases the perfection of the mind and therefore is not good.” Thus, to seek Joy and intellectual Love that unites the seeker with the Divine is the ultimate goal of human life.

This idea reminds casual readers of the recently popular “The Secret” teaching millions about the power of  positive thinking, based on a premise that the “Universe” gives the individual an exact response to what that person thinks or feels like – the haters will be hated back and hurt, the lovers will be loved, the fearful –  scared, and  the joyous will have a lot more to en joy. Who knows how it really works, but there are many things worth doing less than reading Spinoza.

For convenience of those who did not grow up studying Latin, we added Arab numerals to the Propositions and other numbered lists. We also added more paragraph breaks to make the text easier to follow on the page. The  index, due to changed pagination, had to be redone, only the main entries were preserved, and additional items added. Finally, the title was changed to plural, Ethics, not Ethic as White had it, following the original.

Spinoza’s wisdom will reach you if you are patient and read this volume with a discerning mind.


~ Maja Trochimczyk

Benedict Spinoza, Ethics: An Outline, edited by Maja Trochimczyk
156 pages, $12, paperback

This is an abridged reprint in gender-neutral language of a 19th century translation of "Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata" by Benedict de Spinoza (Baruch Spinoza, 1632-1677) first published in 1677. The 1883 translation by William Hale White (1831-1913), was rendered gender-neutral by Dr. Maja Trochimczyk. This second volume of Moonrise Press's Classic Wisdom Book Series, consists of five parts: I. Of God; II. Of the Nature and Origin of the Mind, III. Of the Origin and Nature of the Affects; IV. Of Human Bondage, or of the Strength of the Affects. And V. Of The Power of the Intellect, or Of Human Liberty.

The Editor writes about the purpose of the shortened version as follows:

"For convenience of those who did not grow up studying Latin, we added Arab numerals to the Propositions and other numbered lists. We also added more paragraph breaks to make the text easier to follow on the page. The  index, due to changed pagination, had to be redone, only the main entries were preserved, and additional items added. Finally, the title was changed to plural, Ethics, not Ethic as White had it, following the original. Spinoza’s wisdom will reach you if you are patient and read this volume with a discerning mind. In this abbreviated version, we took out most of the scholastic arguments about the nature and attributes of God, substances, and the like. Instead, we kept all the conclusions and lessons about ethical living, affection, and virtues, because of their practical applications."

"For practical use as a guide to ethical life, the demonstrations and arguments why the Propositions are true are not needed. But it is important to easily number and find them, as well as to be able to read it and apply to a personal life, whether the reader is a man or a woman. In accordance with the principles of gender-neutral language that does not discriminate against women, the use of “man/men” was replaced with “human being,” “person” and “people” throughout. Similarly, since God in Spinoza’s concept is not a male, the pronouns He and His have been replaced throughout by God and God’s respectively. This infinite, eternal Being that is immanent in the Universe is the same Being as that known in Awakened circles as Father-Mother-God, or Source, or the One. The use of just the word “God” is more convenient in this case."

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Moonrise Press Authors, Hitt and Trochimczyk, at Pasadena LitFest, May 21 (3:30) in Zona Rosa Alley

Altadena Poetry Review Presents

Poet Laureates from the 2016 and 2017 Altadena Anthologies will be the Featured Poets on our Pas LitFest panel at the Zona Rosa Alley, next to the Pasadena Playouse, in Pasadena on SUNDAY, MAY 21, 2017, from 3:30pm-4:45pm. Five Laureates will present their work:

--Marlene Hitt

--Mary Langer Thompson
--Radomir Vojtech Luza
--Maja Trochimczyk
--Thelma Reyna


Pasadena LitFest will be on May 20 and 21, with multiple venues and lots of great poets and writers to hear. Visit the website of the LitFest 2017 for details, check out the schedule, or read the bios of the poets and writers.  Below are instructions for parking:


Marlene Hitt is a Los Angeles poet, writer and retired educator with local history as an avocation. She has served for many years as Archivist, Museum Director and Historian at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. She is a native Californian and a graduate of Occidental College. She also studied at CSUN, USC, UCLA, Glendale College and Trinity College, Ireland. Her work appeared in Psychopoetica (UK), Chupa Rosa Diaries of the Chupa Rosa Writers, Sunland (2001-2003), Glendale College’s Eclipseanthologies, two Moonrise Press anthologies, Chopin with Cherries (2010), Meditations on Divine Names (2012), and Sometimes in the Open, a collection of verse by California Poets Laureate. She published Sad with Cinnamon, Mint Leaves,and Bent Grass (all in 2001), as well as Riddle in the Rain with Dorothy Skiles, and a stack of chapbooks for friends and family.

The first Poet Laureate of Sunland Tujunga (1999-2001), Marlene Hitt was honored as the 2016 Woman of the Year by the Congressman Adam Schiff and her name was entered into a congressional record.

Clocks and Water Drops - Poetry Collection by Marlene Hitt

Published in May 2015. 118 pages.  ISBN 978-0-9819693-5-0, $15.00
This collection of poetry includes 73 poems divided into sections on: Children, Marriages, Portraits, Neighbors, Seasons, Small Things, Passages, and Farewells.  The title captures the poet's fascination with the flow of time, as relentless and powerful as drops of water that can shape rocks and move mountains. 
                                            MARY LANGER THOMPSON, Ed.D.

Mary Langer Thompson’s poems, short stories, and essays appear in various journals and anthologies. She is a contributor to two poetry writing texts, The Working Poet (Autumn Press, 2009) and Women and Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching (McFarland, 2012), and was the 2012 Senior Poet Laureate of California. Her first collection of poems, Poems in Water, was published by Green Fuse Poetic Arts of Loveland, Colorado in 2014, and she is working on a second collection entitled “It’s a School Night.” Her children’s book How the Blue-Tongued Skink got his Blue Tongue was recently released by Another Think Coming Press. A retired school principal and former secondary English teacher, Langer Thompson received her Ed.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles. She continues to enjoy conducting writing workshops for schools, prisons, and in her community of the high desert of California.


Thelma T. Reyna’s books have collectively won eight national literary awards. She has written four books: a short story collection, two poetry chapbooks, and a full-length poetry collection, Rising, Falling, All of Us. Her fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, textbooks, and regional media for over 25 years. As Poet Laureate in Altadena, 2014-2016, she edited the Altadena Poetry Review Anthology: 2015, as well as the 2016 anthology, which was the Winner in two national book competitions in 2016 (Anthology category). She was selected as a “Top 10 San Gabriel Valley Poet, 2016” by Spectrum Publications. She is also chief editor/publisher at Golden Foothills Press, based in Pasadena. Visit her site at .


Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D. (McGill’94), is a poet, music historian, and photographer born in Poland and living in California. She published six  books on music (After Chopin, The Music of Louis Andriessen, Polish Dance in Southern California, A Romantic Century in Polish Music, Frederic Chopin: A Research and Information Guide, and Lutoslawski Legacy), six books of poetry (Miriam’s Iris, 2008; Rose Always, 2011; Slicing the Bread, 2014; The Rainy Bread,2016; and Into Light, 2016) as well as  two anthologies, Chopin with Cherries (2010), andMeditations on Divine Names (2012). She also published 17 book chapters, 26 peer-reviewed articles, and hundreds of essays and poems that appeared in English, Polish, German, French, Chinese, Spanish and Serbian translations. A recipient of ACLS and SSRCC post-doctoral grants, and many honors for the promotion of Polish culture, she taught music history at the University of Southern California and ethics in jail. She recently received the 2016 Creative Arts Prize from the Polish American Historical Association. She serves as Secretary and Communications Director for Polish American Historical Association and was the Sixth Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga in 2010-2012. In 2008, she founded Moonrise Press. More... or visit the website:

Into Light: Poems and Incantations 

This poetry and prayer collection presents 35 poems and 12 "incantations" that focus on the intertwined spiritual concepts of Light and Love. The poems, initially written within the Catholic mystical tradition of contemplation and adoration of the Divine presence, gradually evolved to encompass a broader scope of spiritual insights, without losing the main focus: reaching out in Love to the One Light, the Source of All. The simple and repetitive meditations and incantations are meant to inspire, uplift, and fill the heart with Light and Love.  Available as a Paperback with 82 pages in a standard trade size 6' by 9' (ISBN 978-0-9963981-8-3, $10.00),  as a Full Color Paperback, ISBN9781945938030 ($30.00) and as an E-Book in the EPUB Format, ISBN 978-0-9963981-9-0, $8.00).

Saturday, May 6, 2017

New Review of "Mud in Magic" by Beverly M. Collins

Wonderful Poems and Prose - by Patricia Nolan Stein 
“Mud In Magic” is a powerful book. This collection of poems and prose, written by Beverly M. Collins, is thoughtful and beautifully expressed.

Each poem contains the richness of a wonderful novel or an uplifting film. Every sentence tells a tale of love, joy, gratitude, courage and reflection.

And each “story” Beverly shares through her prose is unique. Every poem contains a strong storyline with vivid images.

Beverly includes a variety of subjects in this book—from Picasso and the beauty of autumn to relationships, growing up in New Jersey and visiting India. But there are many more wonderful topics, all written with an enjoyable slice of humanity, that will make any reader smile.

Beverly’s poems are very special to me. She writes from the heart and expresses herself in a very personal way. But as she shares her innermost feelings, she seems to speak for many of us. There’s a stream of consciousness that makes each poem fascinating.

I love Beverly’s prose and poetry and I recommend "Mud In Magic" to anyone who enjoys feeling enlightened through the written word.

Bevery M. Collins with Maja Trochimczyk at the Altadena Poetry Review Reading, April 2017.

Mud in Magic by Beverly M. Collins

Published in July 2015

Beverly M. Collins’s "Mud in Magic" is her second poetry book, filled with the wisdom 
of experience, Her skillful and often aphoristic or narrative poems portray a scene or a character that we could encounter on our streets, in our cafes. The poems are organized into three parts: Thought Bistro (Part I), Tinder Flames (Part II), and Elixir Café (Part III). The beauty and wonder of daily life fill these pages and delight the readers. Beverly M. Collins is fourth in a family of five daughters. Although born in Milford, Delaware, Bev is a Jersey-girl to the bone. She is also a graduate of Taylor Business Institute, a great admirer of Art who carries a deep appreciation and respect for other Artists. As a singer, Collins is a former national finalist for Talent America. As a poet, she is one of three 2012 prize winners for the California State Poetry Society whose works appear in a growing number of publications. More information and a sample poem may be found on another issue of the Moonrise Press Blog.


Beverly M. Collins' poetry is much like her: Courageous, wise and imaginative. It is a thunder clap in the middle of Manhattan, a bolt of lightning on a desert island off of Spain. But in the end, it is its power, rhythm and clarity that make it rise to the level of art. Miss it at your own risk.  ~ Radomir Vojtech Luza, Poet Laureate of North Hollywood, Pushcart Prize Nominee

Beverly M. Collins writes poetry that is a celebration of woman. She takes everyday experiences however varied and transforms them into a serene acceptance which is emotionally extremely fulfilling. Beverly M. Collins' (her) poems are gems of rare understanding.  ~ Mary A. Mann, Author,

Monday, February 20, 2017

Village Poets Feature Margaret Saine's Lit Angels on February 26, 2017

The first reading from Margaret Saine's newest book, Lit Angels, published by Moonrise Press in February 2016 will take place on the Oscar Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 4:3O p.m. Saine was invited to be the  Featured Poet at the Monthly Village Poets Reading for the month of February 2017. She will be accompanied on the classical guitar by Eva Zmijewska. 

The Village Poets Monthly Readings present poets and musicians of note, since 2010 over 60 poets have read their work. The reading on Sunday will take place at Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga (10110 Commerce Ave. Tujunga, CA 91042and will include two segments of open mike and refreshments.  You can read more about this reading and other poets featured at Bolton Hall Museum on the Village Poets Blog. 


Margaret Saine lives in Los Angeles. After a doctorate in French from Yale, she taught Spanish at universities in California and Arizona. She writes poetry, haiku, and short stories in five languages and also translates other poets. Her books are “Bodyscapes,” “Words of Art,” and 5 haiku chapbooks. Poetry mss. ready for publication are “The Five Senses,” “Reading Your Lips," "Words of Winter," and "While Alive," as well as “Paesaggi che respirano” [Breathing Landscapes], to be published in Italy. She has recently completed “As You Were Saying,” a dialogue with American poet William Carlos Williams.

Lit Angels (=Literature Angels ~ Angels of Light) is a collection of poetry inspired by literature and the arts. Written in English, the volume includes several translations into German, Arabic, French and Italian.

The Tree Outside

Above the window sill
the minuscule stippled leaves
dance in the breeze

Mulberry trunk
cut by the window sill 
as if as if—

By inner eye we know 
the tree to be intact

Trunk reaches down to roots
where the atoms come from
roots and trunk 
spread into sky
rhizomes breathing 
the vital breath 
that sustains us

(c) by Margaret Saine, from Lit Angels

Lit Angels by Margaret Saine 
96 pages (xiv + 82 pages), illustrated with 14 photographs by Saine
Moonrise Press, February 2017
Distributed by, soon on Amazon and other online sites.

Paperback, ISBN  978-1-945938-02-3, $15.00
Color Paperback, ISBN 978-1-945938-04-7  , $35.00
EBook, for  iTunes, Nook, etc., ISBN 978-1-945938-05-4, $10.00


This book is Margaret's elegant, wise, and worldly oeuvre - a distilled reflection of her sagesse and sophistication. Enjoy it!

~ Mani Suri

Like her photography, Ute’s poems breathe movement, shadow and light that immediately transports the reader to the experience of moving within the social fabric of her woven words.

~ Virginia Jasmin Pasalo, poet, editor of "The Tree Anthology," Manila, the Philippines 

The poetics of Margaret Saine is a pleasant flight, ranging back and forth between sigifiers and the signified, giudiciously exploring art and nature. Each element is endowed with meaning, connecting it with human presence and human feeling. Under the poet’s gaze, a movement in time occurs that returns it to us, it tells us of other voices who are leaving traces in personal and universal history. An interesting, marvelous exchange occurs between the forms of being and their most profound abode, like a window to the sun, opening and smiling at us.

Rita Stanzione, poet and science instructor, Salerno, Italy

Right after the reading all guests and poets are invited to the Back Door Bakery and Cafe for the Artist's Reception celebrating "Rose of Roses" photography exhibition by Maja Trochimczyk - during the Oscar Night at the Cafe...Read more about the exhibition
on the Poetry Laurels Blog. Two other events for the exhibition include: An Evening of Poetry and Roses (St. Valentine's Day), and Shandy & Eva among the Roses on February 25, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Rose of Roses Exhibition and Poetry Readings for the Month of Love, 2017

St. Valentine’s Day 
Evening of Poetry & Roses
The “Rose of Roses” Exhibition

Hosted by Dr. Maja Trochimczyk 
Featuring Mariko Kitakubo with Roger
and Kathabela and Rick Wilson

The Back Door Bakery and Café 
8349 Foothill Blvd, Sunland, CA 91040
February 14, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Moonrise Press presents the second solo exhibition of photographs, "Rose of Roses" by Maja Trochimczyk. It could be subtitled "Rose Photos for the Month of Love." The title is a tribute to the Song of Songs, of course.  

This exhibition is held in the Back Door Bakery and Cafe in Sunland (8349 Foothill Blvd.),   on display for a month, from February 4th to March 4th, 2017. The Valentine's Day Evening of Poetry and Roses is on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at 7-9 pm. and the Artist's Reception is on Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 7-9 p.m. after the Village Poets Monthly Reading at the Bolton Hall Museum in Tujunga. We will have live music, poetry readings and more...

The "Rose of Roses" exhibition features roses from Trochimczyk's garden and from Descanso Gardens, as seen after rain, in the evening, in the morning, with sharply contrasted shadows, in the shade and in direct sunlight. As she writes on her Poetry Laurels Blog:

"I discovered an endless variety of patterns in their petals and decided to capture the blossoms for far longer than the five days they remain on the bushes. The result was my private collection of electronic rose photos, that I used on my website and on margins of poems. I also used them to illustrate my second book of poetry, Rose Always. It was fun." 

Rose Garland

I thought roses.
I thought rich, velvet blossoms.
I thought a red rainbow 
from deep crimson to delicately pinkish.

The secret was underground
where the roots sustain 
the multi-hued orgy of sensuous allure – 
flowers opening to dazzle and fade.

The strength of the rose
is invisible – you see the blush
of seduction in each leaf and petal, 

You admire their charms.
Yet, you care for what’s out of sight,
not for the obvious.

I thought your love.
I thought how you adore me.
I went deeper down to the source.

The rose, Sappho’s lightning 
of beauty, breathes love,
laughs at the wind and wonders

how the mystic rosebush twirls, 
crowned with the royal 
garland of fire. 

Published in Rose Always (Moonrise Press, 2011)

Trochimczyk continues: "I previously wrote many stories and poems about both love and roses, and the title of Rose Always is the proof of the importance of this connection  to my concept of romantic poetry. I am so glad I am not an "academic" poet and can use the word "love" as often as I want, without being censored by politically correct and artistically crippled ultra-ambitious snobs.  How liberating!  It is so simple, not "precious" - but simple and basic , to be moved by the beauty of the rose, and to think, while admiring its petals of the beauty of a kiss..."


For you, I'm a pear
with persimmon flavor
bathed in vanilla milk,
my skin is smooth, electric
it tingles when you touch me
I sing -
Of all the gardens of the world,
all the orchards,
all the fruit-bearing trees,
all the roses,
I'm the richest.
my blossoms are most abundant,
my fragrance - the rarest,
beyond reach

From Rose Always (Moonrise Press, 2011)

For lovers of love poetry, the romantic novella in verse,  Rose Always - A Court Love Story comes highly recommended. It is all in dew-drop rose-red, and filled with love poetry of delight, desire, fulfillment, and heartbreak. The website features 12 sample poems from the book. 

Inspired by the Songs of Songs and centuries of love poems, from Sappho to Milosz, this novella in verse consists of 85 lyrical poems and 24 brief, narrative fragments, based, in part, on authentic court documents. A range of literary allusions enriches this unlikely love story of a gentle crime victim and a troubled man, an ex-offender, rising above their traumatic past and learning to love.  Revised paperback edition, Moonrise Press, 2011, 152 pp. ISBN 978-0-9819693-4-3.

Rose Window

I place you in the heart
of my rose, dark red one
with dew drops on its leaves.
Like a tricked-up baby
from Ann Geddes' postcard
you rest, snugly wrapped
in the comfort of my love.
"That too shall pass," they say,
"That too shall pass.
The rose will wither,
love will fade away."

Respectfully, I disagree.
I know the symmetry
of velvet petals
is but an opening
into a different universe,
a cosmic window,
I see it in the shyness
of your smile. Yes.
You are that lucky.
In the morning
when the curtains of mist
open above silver hills
carved from time
like a Japanese woodcut,
you taste freedom.
You found your true self
under the detritus
of disordered life.
Isn't it strange
that you've been saved
by the perfection
of just one rose?

From Rose Always (Moonrise Press, 2011)

All lovers should be happy, even if their love is gone, dead, or lost in the mist of time. It is the supreme gift of having been able to feel what generations of poets have felt, from the divine Sappho until today...