[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this.]
Vermont Poetry Newsletter
Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State
April 29, 2009
- Newsletter Editor’s Note/Notes to Otter Creek Poets
- Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
- Putting Life Into Words – Ruth Stone
- A Few Thoughts On Why I Write
- Brad Leithauser
- Why Poets Should Own Their Domain Names
- Shakespeare Portrait Unveiled
- Literary Publishing Workshops
- Poetry Readings Resume At The Book King
- Poetry Readings at “51 Main” in Middlebury
- In Memoriam: Chris “Doc” White
- Great River Arts Institute Writing Programs
- Wordsworth Aficionados Have A New Destination
- This Week’s Review (1): M.S. Merwin
- This Week’s Review (2): Susanne Dubroff
- Did You Know? Iowa Summer Writing Festival
- Ponderings – Breyten Breytenbach
- Poetry Quote (Robert Frost)
- US Poets Laureate List
- Failbetter Poem
- Linebreak Poem
- Copper Canyon Press Poem
- American Life in Poetry Poems (3)
- Vermont Poets Past and Present Project
- Vermont Poet Laureates
- Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
- Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
- Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
- Writer’s Prompt Anyone?
- Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
- Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
- Poetry Event Calendar
- About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network The Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network is made up of people of all backgrounds, ages and skills who appreciate the craft of poetry and want to promote it in the beautiful state of Vermont. The network consists of a free e-mail list, an eventual web site, workshops, open mics, poetry performances and other literary events. The network provides opportunities to meet local poets, talk about and enjoy poetry, and motivate and inspire yourself in whatever writing projects you are involved.
Dear Friends of Poetry:
I hope all of you are enjoying the feast of readings during National Poetry Month. I think the two most exciting months for me are April, for obvious reasons, and the month of August, when I attend the readings at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. If you’ve never attended Bread Loaf before, make a commitment this year! As soon as I know who’s reading, I will post them in the Vermont Poetry Newsletter.
The Otter Creek poets, 15 of them, recently hosted a visit by poet Tom Smith. Tom mentioned that poetry was a product of rescuing language, that is was about sequestering opposites. You should be able to “taste the words.” Another comment of Tom’s to think about: “The butterfly remains a worm when you look at it.”
THIS WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:
Writing is, and always will be, an art practiced in solitude. So why would you want to write in a room full of other people?
My aim is to give you a change of scene, a safe place to try new directions, and a fun time. This special writing marathon workshop, part of the Otter Creek Poets’ celebration of National Poetry Month, is a chance to write, write, and write some more.
No just for poets . . . work in any genre or style you choose. There will be chances to share what you write, but that is 100% optional; feel free to keep work private.
Bring pen and paper, a bag lunch, and whatever else you will need to be comfortable for 3-1/2 hours. Laptop computers are permitted, but bring your own extension cord. You should also know that the library’s wireless signal does not penetrate into the meeting room.
No preparation is required. However, if your writing life hasn’t been going your way – if you are stuck, blocked, frustrated, obsessed, or otherwise dissatisfied with your work – gather your thoughts about that difficulty in advance and I will try to address them in the group setting or privately.
The afternoon of writing went a bit differently than what was identified above. Here is what actually took place:
National Poetry Month Writing Marathon: Ground Rules
1) NO CRITIQUES: The purpose of this session is to generate new writing in first draft form. We will not be critiquing, editing, or perfecting any work that is shared.
2) CONFIDENTIALITY: In order for members to be able to write freely, please remember to treat what you hear confidentially. What happens here, stays here.
3) TACT: Assume that all writings shared here is imaginative, and that the characters and speakers in poems and stories are fictional. Do this even when the writing is obviously autobiographical.
4) USING THE TIME FAIRLY: Give everyone a chance to share and speak.
12:00 – 12:30 Introductions
Who we are and why we write
Write down brief answers to these questions. At your turn to introduce yourself, read what you have written.
1) Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do in the world?
2) As a writer, what is your particular gift?
3) What is the hardest thing for you to write about?
12:30 – 1:00 Loosening up. The Writer’s Body
Like it or not, we are beings who live inside bodies. All of our consciousness, memories, and experience are stored in the body. Get comfortable – sit, stand, move, whatever feels right. Close your eyes and notice your body, from the inside. Now ask your body, one part at a time, to tell you some stories. Write down the stories.
1:00 – 1:30 Secrets and Lies
Our writing emerges over the course of a lifetime. Some things emerge early, some later. Today, try writing something you’ve been putting off. Maybe something you didn’t have the skill to attempt until now. Maybe something you weren’t free to say until recently. Write it now.
2:00 – 2:30 Your Best Story
There is a story everybody makes you tell over and over again. It’s the story you tell so well. Oddly enough, you have never written it down. Do that now.
2:30 – 3:00 Questions & Answers
3:00 – 3:30 Sharing Our Writing
LAST WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:
Epistolary Poetry. Writer John McPhee has said that every one of his books began with the phrase “Dear Mother” – although those words do not actually appear in the books. Letter writing reframes us, puts us into a different part of our writerly brains. In letters often we can or may say what we cannot say otherwise. Letters can be chatty, or seductive, or loving, or angry, or deceptive.
Assignment: Write an epistolary poem, a poem in the form of a letter, or an exchange of letters.
(All Assignments are products of David Weinstock unless otherwise indicated)
By JOSH O’GORMAN
[Extract] Ruth Stone, the state poet of Vermont, expresses surprise when told it is National Poetry Month.
“Oh, really? That’s nice,” she says, although it is certainly possible she’s just having fun with a reporter one-third her age. For half a century, Stone, now 93, has written and taught, publishing 13 volumes of poetry and leading classes at colleges and universities from New York to California.
“It came when she was pretty old,” says Stone’s daughter Marcia Croll of her mother’s appointment in 2007 as state poet, following the likes of Grace Paley and Robert Frost. “If it had come earlier she might have done more with it.”
Stone no longer gives readings. Her vision is poor, and she doesn’t venture beyond her Middlebury apartment without an escort. What she still does is what she has perhaps always done best, and that is write. Her newest collection, “What Love Comes To: New and Selected Poems,” was one of three finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize….
- This seemed like a timely article, from Poetix, Poetry for Southern California, after reading through the Otter Creek Poets assignment:
by Frankie Drayus
[Extract] Why do I write? Why does anyone write?
I write in order to have what I call “the conversation”— to create an exchange with my reader, even if I’ll never meet her. I try to leave enough space in my work for this unknown other to answer. I do the same with other people’s written art— I listen, and then I answer. Then perhaps I ask them something, too.
I used to think that everyone else wrote for the same reason, all of us carefully folding and sliding our little messages into little bottles and dropping them into the water from the islands where we’d marooned ourselves. But I have since learned that this is not the case. When I was teaching undergrads, I discovered that most of them had no idea why they wrote…
New Book from Brad Leithauser – Curves and Angles
About this book (per Random House)
In his first collection since the widely acclaimed Darlington’s Fall, Brad Leithauser takes the reader on a bracing poetic journey. Curves and Angles begins in a warm, soft, populated world (these are the curves of the human body, as well as the elliptical pathways of human motivation), and it concludes in a cooler, sharper, more private place—the less-giving angles of an inanimate universe. The first section, “Curves,” introduces us to a couple of passionate young lovers, indoors in the city on a rainy afternoon; to a vociferous cluster of children playing on a Midwestern summer evening; to a godlike scuba diver, “all long gold limbs and a restless halo of long gold hair.” In a pair of long poems, two aging men—one a science-fiction writer of the 1950s, the other a traveler in an airport bar—confront their mortality. “Angles” guides us to a rarely opened north-looking attic room, made brilliant by a nearby maple in full fall orange; to a sunny Louisiana kitchen, where two bowls—one brimming with semiprecious stones, one filled with seashells—are locked in an eternal silent beauty contest; to a frozen Icelandic lake; and to a narrow unmarked entryway that possibly leads to our “true and unbounded kingdom.” Curves and Angles wanders from the balmy waters of the South Pacific to the crystalline wastes of the Arctic, unified throughout by an embracing love of the natural world in all its inexhaustible variety—whether lush or spare, peopled or solitary, curved or angled. It’s a journey made unforgettable by these wise and exuberant poems.
26 April 2009, the poet @ 9:35 pm
[Extract] I was one of those Geocitizens with a presence in the little community that came to be owned by Yahoo! The year was 1997. I thought it would be cool to publish some of my poetry on a website so Geocities was a nice place to stack my pens. It really didn’t last long. I went on to buy my own domain name and built an actual website using HTML (though I won’t reveal what that website is because it’s just too much an embarrassment). But I was cool for about a year.Imagine my surprise when I read the other day that Yahoo! was shutting down Geocities. They weren’t even selling it. Or replacing it with anything. Not even a plan to revamp it. Just killing it. Splat! (…)
[Extract] The Bard, or not the Bard? That is the question posed by Monday’s unveiling of a centuries-old portrait of a dark-eyed, handsome man in Elizabethan finery.
Experts say it is the only portrait of William Shakespeare painted during his lifetime _ in effect, the sole source of our knowledge of what the great man looked like.
But they can’t be certain. In the shifting sands of Shakespeare scholarship, where even the authorship of the plays is sometimes disputed, nothing is written in stone. (…)
Certificate in Literary Publishing
[Extract] Have you been thinking or dreaming about starting your own literary magazine, or founding a press to publish books? Do you have a vision of what works you would like to bring to life? Or would you like to work for a literary magazine or small press? The Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs at Emerson College offers the Literary Publishing Program, which is open to poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and individuals who would like to learn the publishing skills needed to start and run their own literary magazines or their own book publishing ventures, or work for a larger literary publishing enterprise. The program in Literary Publishing is held as a two-week intensive during Emerson College’s May intersession (5/11-5/22). Outside of classroom instruction, participants will work on a business plan on their press or magazine. Participants who complete the intensive and submit a rough business plan for their literary magazine or press will earn the Literary Publishing Certificate. This program is non-credit. This non-credit program provides five two-day modules and a half-day panel designed to give the basics in starting and running a literary magazine or small press, giving those enrolled a way to avoid common, and costly, mistakes…
Click Here for Details
Poetry Readings Resume at The Book King, Center Street, Rutland
The Book King is returning to having public poetry readings, to be held on the last Friday of each month, the first of which would be May 29th, at 6:00-7:00 p.m. I will be organizing the readers, develop the flyers, and do the promotion of the events through the local newspapers and radio stations. There will be flyers at the Book King in order to have available for handouts.
I am hoping to have several poets lined up for this inaugural reading. Please contact me if you’d like to read at what should be a grand kick off. For this reading, I am looking for poems containing the idea of “Spring” or “Signs of Spring” for a common theme.
For future readings, I am thinking along the lines of having readers from:
1) The Killington Arts Guild and their writers from the publication “A Gathering of Poets”
2) Members of the Otter Creek Poets, who have published 4 anthologies
3) Readers from the Vermont Young Writers Project
4) Youthful “Slam Poets”
5) Anti-war poets
- Another new place to read poetry is at “51 Main.” This is both the address and the name of a new coffee house of Middlebury College students. Although I haven’t yet visited this establishment, I believe it to be, based on the events that have taken place there, much like Carol’s Hungry Mind Café. For instance, yesterday, April 28th, they had an 8:00 p.m. poetry reading that included the likes of:
Karin Gottshall (“Whose book of poetry, Crocus, is a must read.” – Ron Lewis)
- Castleton State College’s glossy magazine, Castleton, recently had a beautiful article about the late Chris White. I ended up typing it into the Poetry Society of Vermont’s web site (I’m their Webmaster), and have copied it over here for you to read.
Remembering Professor Chris “Doc” White, 1937-2009
Retired mathematics professor Chris White died January 14 in his home next to campus. He taught full-time at Castleton from 1970 until spring 2007, and since then has been teaching advanced courses part-time and tutoring upper level math students. He was looking forward to teaching Calculus III this spring.
Professor’ White’s nephew, Stuart Linden, told the Castleton community, “As everyone was aware, Chris’s life revolved around the college. It was his ‘family.’ He was brilliant, eccentric, kind, funny, thoughtful, dedicated, generous — and sometimes he acted like a young kid.”
He was on campus daily to visit friends among the faculty and staff, to eat in the snack bar, or to take long walks. His jacket pocket always held biscuits for the dogs he met.
Meg Thompson, a senior mathematics major who studied geometry and advanced Calculus with White last summer, remembers his excitement when he got an interesting idea. “It was a look in his eye. It was like he perked up. If he explained it, you probably couldn’t follow him.” Students learned to respect and enjoy these private moments of brilliance.
Thompson says that math students have started to refer to White when confronted with a difficult problem. She heard the saying first from her roommate and it’s catching on: “What would Dr. White do?”
White was working on a book on identities of Pascal’s Triangle with Professor Chris Schwaner, a former student and now a colleague in the Mathematics Department. Schwaner is now looking for a publisher.
White was a man of many talents. He played the violin. He wrote reviews for a leading mathematics journal and translated articles from Russian. He was a poet and was president of the Poetry Society of Vermont for ten years. He continued to serve on the society’s board of trustees, helping to promote a creative writing contest for young people.
Last spring White donated his house and property to Castleton as a life estate. Under the terms of the gift, he continued to live in the house, which was maintained by the college.
“He was always happy, always had a smile, and always had nice things to say about everyone,” recalls Rita Geno, administrative assistant in the Dean’s Office. White stopped in to see Geno and Karen Craig, administrative assistant to the President, nearly every day. They made sure his birthday was celebrated in Woodruff Hall. “We lost a wonderful member of the Castleton family when we lost our dear Chrissy.”
- Taken from Castleton Magazine, Spring 2009, Campus News, Page 4
- PS: What the article didn’t mention was Chris’s ties to another activity of mine, table tennis (ping pong). He was the first player in Vermont to use “smooth rubber.” While everyone else was using “pips out” rubber, Chris was able to beat them all with this new type of rubber, which brought a great new element to the game: SPIN. From Chris’s family I was able to secure his famous paddle, which I have framed. It is now hanging in our club’s (the Green Mountain Table Tennis Club’s) storeroom, as a true momento of the past, and Chris’s legendary status.
If you have any desire to donate money in Chris’s memory, you can do so to two separate enterprises:
1) Alumni & Development Office, Woodruff Hall, Castleton State College, Castleton, VT 05735-9987. Specifically mention that you would like your gift to go in the memory of Chris White, so that it can be applied to a specific area that Chris’s family would feel it should go toward. For additional info, phone Liz Garside in the Development and Alumni Office, 468-1240; you can also go online at http://www.alumni.castleton.edu, and make gifts with a credit card on line.
2) Green Mountain Table Tennis Club, 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733. The club has established a special youth fund that finances table tennis equipment for teen members of the local Boys & Girls Club, with which the GMTTC has partnered.
Wordsworth Aficionados Have a New Destination
By ALAN COWELL
Published: June 21, 2005 – New York Times
OWN END, England, June 15 – The season for daffodils is past and there is a bitter edge to what should be a gentle breeze on the lake called Grasmere, but the people at the Wordsworth Trust seem untroubled by what their namesake poet called “the business of the elements.”
A fresh batch of poets in residence have arrived for sabbaticals of up to six months, escaping “the vast city, where I long had pined, a discontented sojourner,” as William Wordsworth described a similar journey in his autobiographical poem, “The Prelude.”
A program of poetry readings, initiated this year by the Irish poet Paul Muldoon, who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, continued June 14 with Fleur Adcock, an English-New Zealand poet. But most notable, alongside Dove Cottage – the home of Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, from 1799 to 1808 – and the Wordsworth Museum, a new center was opened this month by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney to offer scholars access to a collection of manuscripts, books and other material that gathers 90 percent of Wordsworth’s known papers….
THIS WEEK’S REVIEW (1)
[Extract] Port Townsend, WA—W.S. Merwin has been awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his most recent book of poetry, The Shadow of Sirius, published by Copper Canyon Press. The $10,000 cash award honors the best book of poetry published by an American during the given year. The prizes were established in 1917 as an incentive to excellence in journalism and the arts….
“It is an honor to publish William Merwin’s poetry,” Said Michael Wiegers, Executive Director of Copper Canyon Press, “and we couldn’t do it without the support of the donors and other poets who make Copper Canyon Press possible. We are thrilled by the recognition another Pulitzer brings to the organization and are pleased that we’ve been a part of William’s most recent awards. This critical recognition helps to further our mission of fostering the work of poets at every stage in their career.” (…)
THIS WEEK’S REVIEW (2)
- I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to receive two wonderful books that somehow eluded my grasp, until now:
1) The One Remaining Star
This is a recent book of poems by Susanne Dubroff, of Hanover, NH. Her others are chapbook size, one of which is internal with Mid-American Review 1999, translations and her own small first collection of published poems, all out of print. She’s been published widely for some time in good journals (even some translations of her work have come out in French and Belgian journals), but not as much in New England as other parts of the country. Here’s one poem from the book:
The Sweetest Smile
I spotted you the way I
first spot a poem –
limp, out of breath
thread of self’s how
it starts. Hold the line,
you told us. Tip it right
and you’ve got the fish.
Goad, mystery you don’t
like in poems. You’ve got
the sweetest smile, I said
that last night, as we dropped
into chairs, side by side, listening
to all that blind piano player’s
jazz about surviving pain.
I think, no, I know for sure that you will love this book even more than Robert Bly mentions on the back cover. She has a tight closure on each poem, and that’s important, and difficult. You only need to flip through the pages, pick any poem to read, and realize the poet’s grasp of language and thought. You will not put the book down again until you’re telling the cashier that you’d like to purchase it.
2) This Smoke That Carried Us
The poems here are from translations of René Char, by Susanne Dubroff. Susanne shows her high level of skill in making you see the way Char had seen things in the terror of his experiences in France during WW II. Char, one of France’s key poets of the 20th century, is laid bare here, instead of being lost to many of us who are unable to read French. Take this one with you:
The horse with his narrow head
has condemned his enemy,
the lazy-heeled poet,
to harsher winds
than those drifting in his voice.
The ruined earth recovers,
although a sword keeps wounding her.
Go back to your farms, gentle ones,
age and youth stream
in Spring in the almond trees.
Death smiles at the edge of time,
which gives him some magnificence.
The poet rebels in high summer,
draws his vision and his madness
from the inferno of harvest.
If you’d like to get the books directly from the author, Susanne Dubroff, who will sign them for you, then go ahead and give her a shout.
42 Lebanon St. 8C
Hanover, NH 03755
“Susanne Dubroff” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Did You Know?
- “Iowa – the City of Literature. Don’t we all secretly wish we had gone to college at the University of Iowa? Well, go hide your BS in Business Administration, and sign up to go to the Summer Writing Festival, June 7th through July 24th!” – Ron Lewis
- “In case you missed the Middlebury College reading back in December 2008, and pondered what it was like, here’s the write up that was done in the college’s newspaper” – Ron Lewis
Say what you will about the word “networking,” but sometimes it really is about who you know. In this case, it was Melissa Hammerle who proved to be a useful connection; this local resident put D.E. Axinn Professor of English & Creative Writing Jay Parini in contact with her a friend of hers, none other than Breyten Breytenbach, the world-famous poet, fiction writer, painter and activist. Breytenbach graciously accepted an invitation to come to the College, which culminated in a standing-room only reading in the Axinn Center’s Abernethy Room on Nov. 20.
Interspersed between riveting introductions brimming with anecdotes seemingly out of the movies, Breytenbach read selections from “Windcatcher: New and Selected Poems, 1964-2006″ and “Lady One: Of Love and Other Poems.”
Said Parini, “He has a wonderful sense of language: highly particular, musical, and full of vivid images. He has an appealing sense of place, and he has a strong political angle…
A poem begins with a lump in the throat.
Poetry Quote by Robert Frost
Poets Laureate of the U.S.A.
- A Net-annotated list of all the poets who have served the Library of Congress as Consultant (the old title) or Poet Laureate Consultant (the new title). Biographies & general reference sites are linked to the poets’ names — for the recent Laureates these are our own poet profiles with book-buying links at the bottom. Many of the other linked biographies are pages from the Academy of American Poets’ Find a Poet archive, a growing & invaluable resource. If there is no general information site about the poet, we have searched the Net for sample poems or other writings or recordings & listed those below the poet’s name.
- Joseph Auslander 1937-41
Allen Tate 1943-44
Robert Penn Warren 1944-45
Louise Bogan 1945-46
Karl Shapiro 1946-47
Robert Lowell 1947-48
Leonie Adams 1948-49
Elizabeth Bishop 1949-50
Conrad Aiken 1950-52 (First to serve two terms)
William Carlos WilliamsAppointed to serve two terms in 1952 but did not serve — for more on this & other Laureate controversies see the history in Jacket magazine.
Randall Jarrell 1957-58
Robert Frost 1958-59
Richard Eberhart 1959-61
Louis Untermeyer 1961-63
Howard Nemerov 1963-64
Reed Whittemore 1964-65
Stephen Spender 1965-66
James Dickey 1966-68
William Jay Smith 1968-70
William Stafford 1970-71
Josephine Jacobsen 1971-73
Daniel Hoffman 1973-74
Stanley Kunitz 1974-76
Robert Hayden 1976-78
William Meredith 1978-80
Maxine Kumin 1981-82
Anthony Hecht 1982-84
Robert Fitzgerald 1984-85 Appointed and served in a health-limited capacity, but did not come to the Library of Congress
Reed Whittemore 1984-85 Interim Consultant in Poetry
Gwendolyn Brooks 1985-86
Robert Penn Warren 1986-87 First to be designated Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry
Richard Wilbur 1987-88
Howard Nemerov 1988-90
Mark Strand 1990-91
Joseph Brodsky 1991-92
Mona Van Duyn 1992-93
Rita Dove 1993-95
Robert Hass 1995-97
Robert Pinsky 1997-2000
Stanley Kunitz 2000-2001
Billy Collins 2001-2003
Louise Glück 2003-2004
Ted Kooser 2004-2006
Donald Hall 2006-2007
Charles Simic 2007-2008
Kay Ryan 2008-Present
I have bitten a little too closely
into a Bartlett Pear
and there are the seeds, three, four
on the other side…
failbetter.com is an online journal that publishes original works of fiction, poetry and art
Sign up in order to get their online newsletter: http://failbetter.com/29/AboutUs.php
- Linebreak is an online journal with a bias for good poetry. Here is a poem from their web site this week. This week’s poem from Linebreak:
by Daniel Nester
The main plotlines are never important.
As in Shakespeare, it’s merely the précis
Over which laureate neighbors quiver.
Remember the Judge, crying, indignant…
- Here’s a poem from Copper Canyon Press, in its “Reading Room”.
Hiding Our Lo
by Carolyn Kizer
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006
Some of you are so accustomed to flying that you no longer sit by the windows. But I’d guess that at one time you gazed down, after dark, and looked at the lights below you with innocent wonder. This poem by Anne Marie Macari of New Jersey perfectly captures the gauziness of those lights as well as the loneliness that often accompanies travel.
It is a soft thing, it has been sifted
from the sieve of space and seems
asleep there under the moths of light…
We’ve published this column about American life for over four years, and we have finally found a poem about one of the great American pastimes, bowling. “The Big Lebowski” caught bowling on film, and this poem by Regan Huff of Georgia captures it in words.
Alice’s first strike gets a pat on the back,
her second a cheer from Betty Woszinski
who’s just back from knee surgery. Her third–
“A turkey!” Molly calls out–raises everyone’s eyes…
BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006
Bill Holm, one of the most intelligent and engaging writers of our northern plains, died on February 25th. He will be greatly missed. He and I were of the same generation and we shared the same sense of wonder, amusement, and skepticism about the course of technology. I don’t yet own an Earbud, but I won’t need to, now that we have Bill’s poem.
Earbud–a tiny marble sheathed in foam
to wear like an interior earring so you
can enjoy private noises wherever you go,
protected from any sudden silence…
KEEP PAST VERMONT POETS ALIVE! I’M SOLICITING YOUR HELP:
POETS OF VERMONT PAST AND PRESENT PROJECT
I’m looking for a copy of:
1) The Literature of Vermont: A Sampler – FOUND!
2) Poets and Poetry of Vermont, by Abby Maria Hemenway, 1858
3) “Driftwood,” a poetry magazine begun in 1926 by Walter John Coates
- If you have any books of poetry, chapbooks, or just poems written by Vermont poets, dating 1980 and earlier, famous or not, I’d like to know about them. I’m beginning a project that deals strictly with Vermont poets, from Vermont’s past, with summaries of the poets themselves, a portrait photo or drawing of the poet, along with a small sampling of poems. If you think you can help, you probably can! Please contact me by replying to this newsletter.
VERMONT POET LAUREATES
1) Robert Frost – 1961
2) Galway Kinnell
3) Louis Glück
4) Ellen Bryant Voigt
5) Grace Paley
6) Ruth Stone
If you ever have a need to contact me, here’s how to go about doing so:
Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733
VERMONT LITERARY JOURNALS
1) The Queen City Review
Burlington College’s The Queen City Review is a yearly journal of art and literature and accepts the work of new and established writers and artists in the areas of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, photography, and fine art, as well as essays and criticism on all aspects of the aforementioned. They seek to publish high quality work that ranges broadly in topic and genre.
The Queen City Review can be purchased by 2-year subscription or individually. The price of one issue is $8 plus shipping charges ($1) for a total of $9. Subscriptions can be purchased for #$14 plus shipping charges $2) and includes the Fall 2008 and upcoming 2009 issues. They accept cash, check, and credit cards. You can mail your payment to them or by calling (802) 862-9616 ext. 234 to place your order over the phone. If mailing your payment, mail details to:
ATTN: Heidi Berkowitz
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT 05401
Bloodroot is a nonprofit literary magazine dedicated to publishing diverse voices through the adventure of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction. Their aim is to provide a platform for the free-spirited emerging and established writer.
The price of a single issue is $8.
Editor, “Do” Roberts
Bloodroot Literary Magazine
PO Box 322
Thetford Center, VT 05075
3) New England Review
A publication of Middlebury College, a high quality literary magazine that continues to uphold its reputation for publishing extraordinary, enduring work. NER has been publishing now for over 30 years.
Cost: $8 for a single issue
$30 for a single year (4 issues)
$50 for two years (8 issues)
New England Review
Middlebury, VT 05753
4) Willard & Maple
A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Champlain College, Burlington.
Willard & Maple
163 South Willard Street
Freeman 302, Box 34
Burlington, VT 05401
A low-tech literary journal of only 20 pages, but it seems to be gaining speed and popularity. You can find it free at small cafés, etc.
VERMONT STATE POETRY SOCIETY
The Poetry Society of Vermont, founded in 1947, is an association of poets and supporters who join in promoting an interest in poetry through meetings, workshops, readings, contests, and contributions to the society’s chapbook. Anyone may join the society including high school and college students and non-residents of Vermont. We welcome both writers and appreciative readers.
In September 2007, The Poetry Society of Vermont will celebrated its 60th Anniversary.
Membership in PSOV Benefits:
- 2 luncheon/ workshops a year where a professional poet critiques your poems
- one hands- on writing workshop and reading under the direction of a professional poet
- the opportunity to enter contests judged by professional poets and to win awards
- fellowship with appreciative readers and writers of poetry
- opportunity for publication in the PSOV chapbook, The Mountain Troubadour
- opportunity for publication in upcoming anniversary anthology
How to join:
mail dues of $20.00 to
P.O. Box 1215
Waitsfield, VT 05673
include your name, mailing address, telephone, and e-mail address for Membership List
memberships are renewed by January 1 of each year
The PSOV has 2 current books available for sale:
1) The Mountain Troubadour – 2008 – Curl up with 44 pages of interesting, award-winning poetry from a wonderful group of poets. This book is only $8 (+$1 to mail). To get yourself a copy, call or write to Betty Gaechter, 134 Hitzel Terrace, Rutland, VT 05701, 773-8679. This little booklet may be just the thing to get you involved with the PSOV for a lifetime of friendships.
2) Brighten the Barn – 60th Anniversary Anthology – 1947-2007 – An Anthology of Poems by Members of the Poetry Society of Vermont. 99 pages of quality poetry; that’s a lot of beautiful poetry for only $12. If you get it through me (Ron Lewis), it’s only $12. If you want it shipped to you, the PSOV wants an extra amount to cover tax and shipping ($0.72 + $3.00). This book retails for $15, but a reduced price is now in play to unload the few remaining copies.
WRITER’S PROMPTS, ANYONE?
Looking for more writer’s prompts? Go to The Young Writers Project web site!
YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT
1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter
2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat). The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Poetry Workshops on Monday mornings (9:30-12:30 I believe)- Jim Fowler’s sessions continue, with periodic break for a few weeks between sessions. Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the River Voices Writer’s Circle, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Wayside Poets, who share their poetry publicly from time to time, have been meeting irregularly for the past 25 years. They used to be called The Academy Street Poets. Membership is by invitation only. They meet now at the Wayside Restaurant & Bakery in Berlin. Members include Diane Swan, Sherry Olson, Carol Henrikson and Sarah Hooker. You can contact them through Sherry Olson at: email@example.com or 454-8026.
The Guilford Poets Guild, formed in 1998, meets twice a month to critique and support each other’s work. Their series of sponsored readings by well-known poets which began at the Dudley Farm, continues now at the Women and Family Life Center.
The Otter Creek Poets offer a poetry workshop every Thursday afternoon, from 1:00 to 3:00 in the basement meeting room of the Ilsley Public Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury. This workshop, the largest and oldest of its kind in the state, has been meeting weekly for 13 years. Poets of all ages and styles come for peer feedback, encouragement, and optional weekly assignments to get the poetry flowing. Bring a poem or two to share (plus 20 copies). The workshops are led by David Weinstock. There is considerable parking available behind the library, or further down the hill below that parking lot. For more information, call David at 388-6939 or Ron Lewis at 247-5913.
This group meets on the first Sunday of every month at the Norwich Library, 6:30 p.m.
There is another poetry workshop happening in Stowe, but unfortunately I know nothing much about this group. If you do, contact me!
The Mad River Poets consists of a handful of poets from the Route 100 corridor. More on this group in the future.
OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT
Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse-writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street. Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Free. Contact information: 862-1094.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION
Thinking Like a Poetry Editor: How to Be Your Own Best Critic – Note: Course is Filled!
(“The Ossmann Method” Poetry Workshop – Crash Course)
Instructor: April Ossmann (author of Anxious Music, Four Way Books, 2007, writing, editing and publishing consultant, and former Executive Director of Alice James Books)
The Writer’s Center
58 Main Street, White River Junction, Vermont
Here are my workshop offerings for the next couple of months. These are both one-day workshops, and generative as well as critical (if you don’t want to perform the exercise, it’s fine to bring any new (one-page) poem. The deadline for sending poems and checks is ten days in advance of the workshop dates which are May 9th or 12th, so if you want to participate, signing up soon will give you more time to perform the exercise.
The Ossmann Method Poetry Workshop: Building Your Tool Kit
Instructor: April Ossmann
Saturday, May 9th from1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. OR
Tuesday, May 12th from 9:30am – 12:00pm
$45 (each date)
Learn how to think like a poetry editor! In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. This workshop will be both critical and generative, so the instructor will assign reading a generative exercise in advance meant to teach or improve writing skills. Participants will receive written editorial suggestions for their poem from the instructor. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8. Info: (802)333-9597 or firstname.lastname@example.org and www.aprilossmann.com
- Note: If you know of any others, or have personal information about the workshop in Stowe and Guilford, please send me that information. I realize that there are several smaller groups or workshops around the state. However, because of their intimacy, they are not posted above, allowing them to offer “memberships” to close friends or acquaintances that they feel would be most appropriate.
YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT
A Writer’s Group has started to meet at the Springfield Town Library on the fourth Monday of each month, from 7 to 8 pm. For more information, call 885-3108.
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION
The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers. The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write. One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman (www.aprilossmann.com). Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center! For more info, http://www.thewriterscenterwrj.com/.
Women Writing for (a) Change supports the authentic experience of women who honor themselves through creative writing. Our community supports reflection as we move into our questions and awaken to change. Participants enhance expressive skills, strengthen their voices, deepen themselves as women as writers for positive change in all spheres of life. Creative writing in all genres is our shared vehicle. Women Writing for (a) Change is for women who, 1) dream of writing for self-discovery, for personal or social healing, 2) hunger for creative process in their lives, 3) yearn to explore their feminine voice, 4) crave reflective, space, and 5) are in transition. For more information, go to their web site at www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or email@example.com.
POETRY EVENT CALENDAR
Below please find the most current list of poetry happenings in Vermont for the near future. Please be aware that these events can be found on Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com. Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders. If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.
Wed, Apr 29: The Fleming Museum, 61 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. The Painted Word Poetry Series Poetry Readings: Poets Katy Lederer & Jill McDonough. The Fleming Museum presents a poetry series hosted by Major Jackson, associate professor, UVM Dept. of English. This reading series highlights established and emergent New England poets whose work represents significant explorations into language, song, and art. Co-sponsored with the English Department and funded in part by the James and Mary Buckham Fund. Kay Lederer is the author of the poetry collections The Heaven-Sent Leaf (BOA Editions, 2008), Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002) and the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown, 2003), which Publishers Weekly included on its list of the Best Nonfiction Books of the Year and Esquire Magazine named one of its eight Best Books of the Year. Lederer is the daughter of bestselling non-fiction author Richard Lederer and the sister of world-class poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. Katy Lederer’s poems and prose have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Harvard Review, GQ, and elsewhere. She has been anthologized in Body Electric (Norton), From Poe to the Present: Great American Prose Poems (Scribner), and State of the Union (Wave Books), among other compilations.
Educated at the University of California at Berkeley and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she serves as a Poetry Editor of Fence Magazine. Her honors and awards include an Academy of American Poets Prize, fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a Discover Great New Writers citation from Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Program. Jill McDonough has taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education Program since 1999. Her poems have appeared in The Threepenny Review, The New Republic, and Slate. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. In her first book, “Habeas Corpus”, acclaimed poet Jill McDonough gives us fifty sonnets, each about a legal execution in American history. From four hundred years of documentation she conjures – and honors – a chorus of the dead. The sonnets, headed meticulously by name, date, and place, are poignant with the factual, with words and actions reported by eyewitnesses and spoken by the condemned – so limpidly framed that at moments one forgets the skill that tautens and crystallizes all this into authentic poetry. With a rare control of indignation by sorrow, of subjectivity by the subject’s own truth, McDonough’s unsparing sonnets reveal the enormity that is the death penalty in America. Taking the words of fifty out of the nearly 20,000 men and women executed since 1608, she reflects them back to us in works of self-effacing artistry. Resurrected from their obscurity these individuals speak our secret history. For info, 656-2090.
Wed, Apr 29: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Poetry Reading. A new place for poets to read and hear new work. This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.
Thu, Apr 30: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. Stephen Donadio talks about editing the New England Review and the role of literary journals.
Thu, Apr 30: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m. Poetry Jam. This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.
Thu, Apr 30: Borders Bookstore, Church Street, Burlington, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. PSOV POETRY READING. If you’re a member of the PSOV, then you’re invited to read. Please contact Yvette Mason at (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are wishing to read. Also, if you have books that have been published and the contact at Borders can order some from your publisher, let Yvette know ASAP as they need turn-around time to make sure they can get books IN THE STORE in time. Note to PSOV members: you are not allowed to SELL your own books, but you can have a display.
Sun, May 3: Parima’s Restaurant, Acoustic Lounge, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 4:00 p.m. David Cavanagh Poetry Reading. Burlington resident David Cavanagh waxes poetical (and political) with readings from his dark new collection, Falling Body. The book is just out from Salmon Poetry of Ireland. The painting featured on the cover (below) is by Gail Salzman of Fairfield. For info, 864-7917.
Wed, May 6: Shoreham Historical Society, Shoreham. David Weinstock, Director of the Otter Creek Poets, will be reading from his collection of poetry. More details as I learn them.
Sat, May 9: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month. The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet. Listeners are welcome to attend. Light refreshments are served. To reserve a place at the table, e-mail email@example.com or call (802) 463-9404.
Tue, May 12: The Galaxy Bookshop, 7 Mill Street, Hardwick, 7:00 p.m. Poet Jody Gladding will be at The Galaxy Bookshop to read from and sign copies of her new book, Rooms and Their Airs.Drawn from the environments of northern Vermont and the South of France, the poems in “Rooms and Their Airs” explore the interface of the human and natural worlds, further eroding that distinction with each poem. The verse here merges subject and object, often giving voice to natural phenomena — a vernal pool, a fossil, a beam of light. These poems sparkle with humor, sophisticated word play, and intellectual examination, reflecting an elegant and contagious curiosity about history, language, and the world. Linked poems give voice to garden vegetables while drawing inspiration from the archival illustrations in “The Medieval Handbook.” A mother and daughter’s trip to see France’s cave paintings uncovers living vestiges in prehistoric depictions and reaffirms the enduring nature of art. With this collection, Jody Gladding cements her reputation as the literary heir to A. R. Ammons, Gustaf Sobin, and Lorine Niedecker.
Wed, May 13: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity. Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s spring poems. Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving. Refreshments served. RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.