Vilma’s career for four decades was as a psychotherapist in Wisconsin, a calling which brought her, nearing retirement, to northern California in the early 1990’s.
She turned to writing in earnest late in life, and became active in the Healdsburg Literary Guild in about 2001, serving on its Board for 15 years and hosting its monthly Third Sunday Salon for 14 years.
She was named the fifth Healdsburg Literary Laureate for 2008/2009.
In 2004, at age 77, she published the first of her seven books of poetry, Colors of Glass, followed by Murmurs & Outcries 2007, Snake Pit 2010, I Don’t Know How to Do This, poems on aging 2011, making noise 2013, octogenarian on fire, 2018, and currently 90 is the new 2018.
She has completed her first two volumes of memoir, When the Iris Blooms 2012, and Mostly Roses 2015, and continues working on others.
Her work has appeared in anthologies Present at the Creation, 2006, A Day in the Life of Healdsburg, 2007, Sometimes in the Open, 2009, When the Muse Calls, 2009, Continent of Light, 2011, World of Change, 2014, and Cry of the Nightbird, 2014.
She has read in many local and area venues, and is proud to support the global peace and justice movement, 100 Thousand Poets for Change.
Her reading of her five fire poems about the October 2017 Santa Rosa [CA] fires has appeared on PBS station KRCB-TV.
Currently, she co-hosts a monthly poetry venue at Friends House where she lives.
Falling in Love – Kenya 1989
Vilma Olsvary Ginzberg
Vilma with an i
from Colors of Glass, 2004
“That’s Vilma, with an i,” I said
as patiently as I could,
this being a new acquaintance,
clarifying my name for the umpty-hundredth time.
After a little banter about it, and other things,
we went about our ways.
Later, she addressed me,
affectionately I thought,
saying, “Hi, Vilma with an i.”
But I heard it as
“Vilma with an eye.”
Vilma with an eye…for what?, I mused.
An eye for beauty, I hope.
An eye for irony, perhaps?
An eye for the sublime, maybe,
for the ridiculous, not often enough.
Vilma with an eye for comfort, yes;
Vilma with an eye on the prize,
satisfaction from being useful ranks high.
Vilma with an eye on the bottom line:
only to keep me in the black
as modestly as possible.
Vilma with an eye for the boys was way long ago…
though not yet dead, the eye now lights
elsewhere than the pecs.
I admit liking my rose-colored glasses sometimes,
especially when the wolves of pain
hover on the perimeters of my despair.
It’s then my tunnel vision comes in handy, too.
And then there is the blind eye,
that yields to the inner ear,
that hears the music of the message,
revealing truth behind the words.
Music is best listened to with eyes closed.
…and lovers, too.
…and liars, too.
With eyes closed I can better tell them apart.
Vilma with an eye:
yes, sometimes short-sighted,
from which I learn the lessons of “Watch out!”
At other times visionary,
second-sighted, third-eyed almost,
a high, euphoric place,
but strangely lonely.
I’d like to be Vilma with an eye giraffe-high:
seeing the large picture,
able to take it all in from far and wide,
but with all four feet on the ground.
“My name? That’s Vilma with an i”:
let me count the ways…
....in Colors of Glass, 2004