The Sultan & Winter: Second of Several Parts

The Sultan & Winter: Continuing the First of Several Parts

Haajj decided to spend the day alone in his garden.  He walked through the acacia groves, he smelled the orchids, smiled at the hyacinths, dallied with the butterflies when they let him.  He tried to imagine what summer might look like.  The idea tormented him.  He finally lay down to stare at the sky.  It wasn’t so bad, all in all.  Perhaps he could suffer never seeing summer.  He possessed a beautiful garden.  He had outfoxed winter.  He was the envy of the world.  He didn’t need to see summer.
King Winter “You are the Sultan?”
“What?”  Haajj quickly sat upright.  A boy in tattered clothes stood over him.  His hair was ragged.  He was healthy yet strangely gaunt.  “Who are you?”
“I know a story,” said the boy.  “Would you like to hear it?”
“How did you get in my garden?” asked Haajj.
“It’s a good story,” said the boy.  “I think you’ll like it.”
“Who let you in?”  Haajj persisted.  “Tell me which guard it was.”
“I shan’t keep you long,” said the boy.
“It wasn’t a guard.”  Haajj mused.  “Was it one of the maids?”
“Here’s my story…”
“Did you find another way in?” Haajj interrupted.  “Tell me.  How did you get in?”
“Try this.”  The boy held out an apple.  “Then I will tell you.”
“It is poisoned,” said Haajj.  “I won’t try it.”
“It is not!” the boy answered.  “I got in with these!”
“Well…maybe.”  The Sultan eyed the apple.  “Give it to me.”

The apple was the sweetest the Sultan had ever eaten.  He might have wanted to say something more but the sweetness of the apple all but silenced him.  The boy began again.  The Sultan quietly ate his apple.

“There was once a fox,” said the boy, “who, by his cleverness, had come to possess all the riches a fox may desire.  He lived in a foxhole lined with the trophies of his exploits.  Furs from all the animals he had eaten at one time or another covered the floors and hung from the ceilings.  Yet, of all these things and more, is most cherished possession was his feather mattress.  Every evening he lovingly circled it three times before he lay down.  There wasn’t another fox who slept as well he did.  Yet, day by day, he noticed this or that feather missing.  He was always careful to notice these things.  One evening, determined to find out why, he caught a mouse stealing one of the feathers.  The fox was furious.

‘I should swallow you whole!’ he snarled.

‘For a feather?’ asked the mouse.  ‘I only came for a feather.’

‘You cannot have mine!’ snapped the fox.  ‘If I catch you again then I will swallow you whole!”

‘But I need only one to sleep on,’ said the mouse.  ‘The cat  is always ready to eat me.  If I go to the bird for a feather, it will carry me far away and not bring me back.  The beaver has made a lake where I might have looked in a better place.  I shall drown if I go there now.  The bull will trample me if I wander through its field.  The woodsman’s wife always hopes to trap me if I am not careful.  Where else shall I go?  You have many feathers.  It shall not harm you if I take what few I need for myself and my children.’

‘What is a mouse to me?” asked the fox.  ‘You are nothing!’  If I were to eat you, I would swallow you whole!  Why should I care for you?  You are nothing! – nothing but a tiny mouse!  Run!  Run away!  If you ever return I shall eat you! – and I shall eat your children too!’

And so the selfish fox sent the mouse away with nothing.  For a short time the fox was happy.  No more feathers were stolen from his mattress.  Yet it wasn’t long, perhaps two or three days, before a knock came at the door.  The fox had just lain down!  He was ready to go to sleep!  Yet when the knocking continued he angrily rose from his mattress.  It was a cat!  A cat had come to his door!

‘Please pardon me,’ said the cat, ‘but have you seen any mice?’

‘I have chased them away!’ snapped the fox.  ‘Have you nothing better to ask me?’

‘I had hoped,’ said the cat, ‘that you could entice them back.’

‘I’ll do no such thing!’ snarled the selfish fox.  ‘If you mean to catch a mouse you’ll have to find it elsewhere!

What are your problems to me?  You are just another cat in a world with cats too many!  Now go away!  – or else I’ll bite your tail off!’

The fox slammed the door and returned to his feather mattress.  The cat did not return, which was just as well.

The fox would have surely bitten its tail off.  Yet it wasn’t more than another two days before someone knocked at his door.  The fox angrily climbed out of his feather mattress.  ‘Who is it?’ he demanded, fully expecting to see the cat.

‘Please pardon us,’ said two birds, ‘but we’ve come to ask a kindness.’

‘I was nearly asleep!’ snapped the fox.  ‘Come another time!’

‘We had hoped,’ said the birds, ‘that you could entice the mice to return.’

‘I won’t do it!’ snapped the selfish fox.  ‘What are mice to birds?’

‘The cat will not let us be,’ answered the birds, ‘because you have chased the mice away.’

‘And I,’ said the fox, ‘will swallow both of you whole.  Now go away!  What are your problems to me?  You are just two birds in world already too full with birds!  Now go away!  I’ll brook no more of you!’

The fox slammed the door.  The birds did not return, which was also just as well.  The fox surely would have eaten them whole.  Yet, once again, it wasn’t two days before another knock came at the door.  The fox angrily uncurled from his mattress.  It was always when he was about to go to sleep!  He opened the  door and there was a beaver!

‘Pardon me,’ said the beaver, ‘but I have a favor to ask of you.’

‘I’m tired,’ complained the fox, ‘come back some other time.’

‘It’s something small,’ said the beaver.  ‘Let the mice back in your house.’

‘It will never be!’ snarled the fox.  ‘Why should I let any more mice steal my feathers?’

‘The birds are in the tallest trees,’ said the beaver, ‘because the cat will eat them however it can.  Yet the tallest trees are the best for my dams.  I don’t want to harm the birds.  They sing to me as I work!  Let the mice come back, and the cat will go away, and the birds will find other trees, and the best and tallest will be free to cut.’

‘I’ll do no such thing!’ snarled the fox impatiently.  ‘Now go away and never come back! – or, one by one, I shall carry away the sticks of your dam until you and the dam are washed away!’

The fox slammed the door.  This time, he was sure, no one would knock at the door.  He prided himself on his fortitude.  No one was going to talk him into doing what he didn’t want to do.  Yet, sure enough, another two days passed and a knock came at the door.  The fox furiously jumped out of his mattress.  This time he was going eat, with one bite if he could, whatever or whoever it was at the door.  He slammed it open, and there was a bull!

‘Pardon me,’ said the bull, ‘but I have just a small thing to ask you.’

‘I’m tired!’ said the fox.  ‘I haven’t slept well!  Go away!’

‘But it’s such a small thing,’ said the bull.  ‘Couldn’t you let just one mouse back into your house?’

‘A mouse?’ snapped the fox.  ‘What is one tiny mouse to a bull?’

‘My fields are flooded,’ said the bull, ‘because the beaver has let his dam break.  The beaver has let his dam break because the birds are hiding in the tallest trees.  The birds are hiding in the tallest trees because the cat cannot find any mice to eat.  And the cat cannot find any mice to eat because you have chased them all away.’

‘Then find some other fields,’ the fox barked.  ‘If you bother me again I shall dig holes for you to stumble in.  I shall dig so many you will break every leg and the farmer will shoot you and have you for his evening meal!’

The fox slammed the door.  And he would not, he decided, answer the door again.  He was rid of the mice once and for all.  Nothing whatsoever was going to change his mind.  He happily curled atop his mattress and slept well for the next several days.  Yet, just when the fox was sure, another knock came at the door.  His fur bristled.  He furiously leapt up.  He slammed open the door.  He was ready to pounce on whoever it was – but it was the woodsman.  And his great bow and arrow were pointed straight at the fox’s snout.

‘Pardon me,’ said the fox, ‘what might I do for you.’

‘I’m tired!’ said the woodsman.  ‘I haven’t slept well!’

‘Why?’ asked the fox.  ‘What could I possibly do to help you?’

‘My fields are flooded,’ said the woodsman, ‘and my bull is too weak to pull the plow.  He has not eaten.  He has not eaten because the beaver will not cut the tallest trees to build his dam.  The beaver will not build his dam because the birds are hiding in the tallest trees.  The birds are hiding in the tallest trees because the cat cannot find any mice.  The cat cannot find any mice because you have chased all the mice away!’

‘Why shoot me?’  The fox saw what was coming.  ‘It could be any fox.’

‘The bull told me to ask the beaver,’ said the woodsman.  ‘The beaver told me the birds would know.  The birds told me I should ask the cat.  The cat told me to find a mouse.  I found a mouse and she told me you were the fox and this the foxhole!’

‘I could be of use to you,’ pleaded the fox.  ‘I really don’t think you should shoot me.’

‘What is a fox to me?’ bellowed the woodsman.  ‘You are nothing!  If I had known you were here, I would have been rid of you long ago.  Why should I care?  You are nothing! – nothing but a mangy fox!  I’ll brook no more of you! You are nothing but a fox in world with foxes too many!’

And with that the woodsman shot the fox straight between the eyes.  So, you see,” said the boy to Haajj, “a mouse, even the smallest thing, can mean a world of difference.   There is nothing which is unimportant.  What you sow, you will reap.  You should think on this very carefully.”

“I like it not.”  Haajj finished the apple.  “Animals do not speak.  And I do not like these stories that tell me how I must be good and how not to be bad.  I care not for these stories.  Yet it is, in its way, a nice little story.  You may go now.  You have entertained me.”

“Alas,” said the boy, “you have understood nothing.”

Continued: The Third of Several Parts

Vermont Poetry Newsletter & Event Calendar March 15 2009

[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

March 14, 2009 – In This Issue:

  1. Newsletter Editor’s Note/Notes to Otter Creek Poets
  2. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  3. John Engels Memorial Reading
  4. April Ossmann
  5. New Vermont Lit Journal – The Queen City Review
  6. 2 Publications for Sale by PSOV
  7. Bowdoin College Poetry Link
  8. Burlington Poetry Journal – Mud Season 2009 Issue
  9. Red Hen Reading
  10. Greg Delanty
  11. White House Poetry Reading-2003
  12. Love and the Night Sky Poetry Contest
  13. All Around the World the Same Song
  14. “poet.” T-Shirt
  15. Joni B. Cole Writing Workshop
  16. This Week’s Review: Poetry Matters-NBCC Picks 2 Books
  17. Did You Know? Twitter Shuts Down Angelou Impostor
  18. Ponderings – Letter To The Editor
  19. Poetry Quote (Yevgeny Yevtushenko)
  20. US Poets Laureate List
  21. Linebreak Poem
  22. American Life in Poetry Poem
  23. Vermont Poets Past and Present Project
  24. Vermont Poet Laureates
  25. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  26. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  27. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  28. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  29. Poetry Event Calendar

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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.

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1.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

With National Poetry Month (April) right around the corner, be sure to clear your calendar for what should be a tremendous month of readings and activities.  Last year was truly unforgettable, with the written and spoken word gaining momentum year after year.  I hope many of you who receive the Vermont Poetry Newsletter will be reading, and if you do, please send me the information, and I will be glad to post it!

I know that many of you were chomping at the bit to get this latest copy of your VPN; thank you all for your patience and kind words.  My new job as General Manager of the Rutland Co-op has left me little time to attend to my favorite things in my personal life, but I will slowly make the necessary amendments to my schedule.  I happen to work at a place I love and which is important to our community, so it deserves all the attention I can give it without going absolutely crazy.  Sitting here writing to all the poets who receive and read the VPN is my therapy from going headlong into that craziness.  Thank you for your understanding.

As it turns out, I will be scheduling myself for a half-day at work on Thursdays so that I can get back to the Otter Creek Poets poetry workshop on Thursday afternoons.  If you’d like to join us, then meet us at the Middlebury public library, the Ilsley, between the hours of 1:00 and 3:00 (parking in the rear).  Bring a poem to be read and critiqued.  See you there!

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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2.)

THIS WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:
Assignment: Inspired by the I Ching
In the ancient Chinese divination practice of I Ching, one of the outcomes is this hexagram.

18. Ku / Work on what has been spoiled

Work on what has been spoiled
Has supreme success.
It furthers one to cross the great water.
Before the starting point, three days.
After the starting point, three days.

From a commentary on this image:

What has been spoiled through man’s fault can be made good again through man’s work. IT is not immutable fate, as in the time of STANDSTILL, that has caused the state of corruption, but rather the abuse of human freedom. Work toward improving conditions promises well, because it accords the possibilities of the time. We must not recoil from work and danger- symbolized by crossing of the great water-but must take hold energetically. Success depends, however, on proper deliberation. This is expressed by the lines, “Before the starting point, three days. After the starting point, three days”….

Assignment: Think about your world, your life, your mind, your art.  Write a poem that works on what has been spoiled. For extra credit: Make it a true poem, not an exercise or a lark.

Good luck!

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3.)

For those who missed the John Engels Memorial Reading, a St. Michaels College Lecture Series, you missed family and friends (David Huddle) reading many of John’s work, work that described our feelings for the man, the poet, the fly tyer and fly fisherman.  For a last time, we were again friends on the stream, casting to brookies, connected by our incredible love of words and beauty.

We’ll miss you, John!

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4.)

Q&A: April Ossmann’s Alice James Fix by Kevin Larimer (For Poets & Writers)

[Extract]

April Ossmann recently stepped down as executive director of Alice James Books, the Farmington, Maine–based nonprofit cooperative poetry press founded in 1973; after more than eight years in the post, she left to begin working as a freelance editor and small press consultant. Carey Salerno has since been named acting director. The author of the poetry collection Anxious Music (Four Way Books, 2004), Ossmann spoke about her time at Alice James from her home in Post Mills, a snowy hamlet in eastern Vermont….

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5.)

New Vermont Lit Journal
The Queen City Review

  • Burlington College’s Queen City Review, whose inaugural issue is labeled as Fall 2008, is a true Vermont gem, as much as is our fall foliage, or a scoop of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey.  The founding editor, Heidi Berkowitz, who teaches in the college’s Interdisciplinary Studies program and coordinates its writing center, sent me three complementary copies, and I cherish each one.  Dartmouth lecturer Kevin McCarthy, who oversees the poetry, has gone out of his way to make ensure there are no loose gems in this first collection.  The familiar names, or at least they should be familiar to anyone who follows poetry closely, ring out clearly: poetry slam champ Geof Hewitt, fast-rising star Oregonian Matthew Dickman (he was just declared the winner of the 2009 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for his first book All-American Poem, which also won the APR/Honikman First Book Prize, and the inaugural awarding of the May Sarton Award from the American Academy of Arts & Sciences), and several others, including some nice surprises.  Between the lovely color cover, drawn by Aaron Mitton, and its last many brief bios, is a collection that will keep you entertained to the point of energizing you to submit your best unpublished work to them, or pick up your writer’s journal and get to it!  This is a lit journal that I will be glad to share with my close fellow poets, but one they will grudgingly give back to me. – Ron Lewis

Submission Guidelines

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.

All submissions and queries should be emailed to:queencityreview@burlington.edu by April 20, 2009.

Their submission period is rolling and accepted writers and artists will be notified by email. All submissions must be in English, formatted in WORD or RTF, and previously unpublished. Please submit no more than three poems at a time, fiction and screenplays under 5000 words, and photography and artwork in JPEG format. Simultaneous submissions are also acceptable as long as they are notified immediately if the manuscript or artwork is accepted for publication elsewhere. Be sure to include phone, address, and e-mail contact information.

The Fall 2008 issue is on sale now. The 2009 issue is slated to come out in early autumn.

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6.)

Support your state poetry association!
PSOV (Poetry Society of Vermont) 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.

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6.)

POETS CAREY MCHUGH & LYTTON SMITH

Even though we’ve missed this live broadcast, you can still listen to it through internet magic and the link from Bowdoin College.  Follow the link below:

From the Fishouse and the Poetry Society of America (PSA) are pleased to present a reading by poets Carey McHugh and Lytton Smith, PSA’s 2008 New York Chapbook Fellows, this Thursday, February 26, 2009, at 7:30 p.m., which will be broadcast live on the Web: http://www.bowdoin.edu/video/campus-live.shtml

Simply visit the above link any time after 7:30 and watch the reading as it happens from the comfort of wherever you may be.

For more information, and to listen to poems by McHugh and Smith, visit From the Fishouse: www.fishousepoems.org

Thank you,

Matt

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7.)
Matt O’Donnell
Editor & Executive Director
From the Fishouse

Other webcasts at the Bowdoin College site are:

1) Poetry and Social Activism in Latin America
Enrique Yepes, Bowdoin’s Peter M. Small Associate Professor of Romance Languages, examines the vibrant emergence of new poetic voices in “Poetry and Social Activism in Latin America.”

2) Excerpts of Longfellow’s poem “The Song of Hiawatha

February 27, 2007 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Bowdoin Class of 1825, a native Mainer, and one of the College’s most illustrious graduates. The occasion is being celebrated on campus, locally, and around the country during the entire month of February. Among the holdings of the George J. Mitchell Archives & Special Collections in Bowdoin’s Hawthorne-Longfellow Library are various translations of Longfellow’s epic poem “The Song of Hiawatha” in six languages.

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8.)
Burlington Poetry Journal
Mud Season Issue 2009

On Mar 3, 2009, at 10:15 PM, Editors wrote:

The Mud Season issue of the Burlington Poetry Journal is out.  Copies are in the usual Burlington locations now:  Uncommon Grounds, Muddy Waters, and Radio Bean.  We’ll be making runs to other locations, including Montpelier and Middlebury,  later this week and will e-mail exact locations when we know them.  We hope that you enjoy this issue.  Thanks again to each one of you.

Eds.
Burlington Poetry Journal

PUBLISHER’S NOTE (RON): Congratulations to the rather exclusive list of poets who made it into this little lit journal.  These poets include Crow Cohen, Jesse Wide (2 poems), Emily Eschener, Caylin Capra-Thomas (2 poems), J.L. McCoy, Johanna Hiller, Ann Day, Suzanne Lunden, Elizabeth Melcher, Sarah Carpenter, Heather Tuck, David Weinstock, Ben Aleshire, Mike Wheeler, Ray Hudson (2 poems), and even Ron Lewis (me!)

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9.)

National Poetry Month: April

Celebrate with us at the Red Hen

Sunday, April 26, 7:00 pm
Come and read poetry — your own or your
favorites — or listen to others.

More info? Call Earline at 223-6777

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10.)

Sometimes we forget that we are blessed in this small state, beyond the natural beauty, maple syrup and autumn leaves.  I’m referring to all the wonderful poetry being read and written all around us.  Let’s not take for granted the great poets that make their homes in the state.  One such poet is Greg Delanty, who teaches at St. Michael’s College, Vermont.  For a part of the year he lives in Derrynane, County Kerry.  His recent books are The Ship of Birth (Carcanet Press 2003), The Blind Stitch (Carcanet) and The Hellbox (Oxford University Press 1998). His Collected Poems 1986-2006 is out from the Oxford Poet’s series of Carcanet Press.  He has received many awards, most recently a Guggenheim for poetry.  The Guggenheim is to assist him in with his next book of poems The Greek Anthology, Book XVII– a selection of his owm poem using the template of the sixteen books of The Greek Anthology.  I invite all of you to let Greg Delanty into your lives, to purchase one of his lovely books.  You know, as a general manager of a co-op, I find myself professing on buying local, sustaining the “little guy.”  In that same vein, I say to you, “keep your poetry purchases local.”  Here in Vermont, we have many “small farms” of poetry, many poets of distinction.  Support them by purchasing their books.  You can’t go wrong.  Try Greg for starters.

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11.)

Remember this event?  My thanks to Galway Kinnell (see below).
POETRY REVIEW: Ambiguity Is a Guest At a Readers’ Evening
New York Times
By KELEFA SANNEH
February 19, 2003

[Extract] The event was called ”Poems Not Fit for the White House,” and the idea seemed simple enough: a few dozen poets went to Avery Fisher Hall on Monday night to read poems and express their opposition to an attack on Iraq.
This was an entertaining show, well packaged and paced, and the hall was nearly full, despite the blizzard. But all night an uncomfortable question hung in the air: Do poets have some sort of special moral authority? And if so, why? ….

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12.)

  • Most poets I know have some poems dedicated to the topic of the night sky.  Being an amateur astronomer myself, I can’t help but write about all the wonders I see through my telescopes.  I happened across a very interesting poetry contest in Maine that some of you might want to explore further.

The Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine presents

AMOR ET ASTRA: A Poetry Contest on the theme “Love and the Night Sky.” Deadline April 1, 2009.

Love comes in many forms, and there are no restrictions – the love in the poem might be for a parent or a place, a friend or even for the sky itself. (Adult poets are asked to keep their poems PG-rated.) Prizes will be given in the following age categories: Grade 4 and younger; Grades 5 through 8; Grades 8 through 12; Adult. Winning poets will receive: An invitation to read publicly Friday, May 1, at “Beltane Fires,” one of three annual poetry events held at the planetarium; a commemorative booklet of poetry from the contest. (By entering the contest, you agree to permit Southworth Planetarium to publish your work in this booklet.) How to enter: Each poet enter up to three poems. The entry fee, which benefits educational programs at the planetarium, is $2 per poem or three for $5. Poems will not be submitted for judging until the fee is received. All entry fees must be submitted by check or money order to the address below. Please indicate clearly name of the poet. Poets may submit work electronically to: starpoetry@branchbrookmedia.com in Word, Rich Text Format (RTF), plain text or in the body of an e-mail. Poets may also submit work on paper to: Poetry Contest, c/o Southworth Planetarium, P.O. Box 9300, Portland, ME 04104-9300. Questions, contact Planetarium Manager Edward Gleason, egleason@usm.maine.edu, Jane Raeburn, jane@janeraeburn.com.

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13.)

All Around the World the Same Song
How globe-trotting poetries may not beat scrawls in a cave.

BY C. K. WILLIAMS

[Extract] A few years ago, when I gave a reading at one of a series of conferences an old friend of mine organizes for people from various fields—scientists, inventors, architects, designers, show-biz folk, and even one poet, me—my friend said to the audience, after I was finished, something about how moved he was to think of all the years I’d spent, had to spend, working by myself, all alone and, he implied, lonely. I was startled: I’m quite a gregarious person, and sometimes I do become lonely, but it’s something that never happens to me during the hours I’m at work. When I’m at my desk, my room is filled, overflowing with the presence of a vast number of poets I love, and some others I don’t know at all, whose books or poems have recently arrived but who are there waiting for me to become acquainted with and possibly love, too. ….

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14.)

EXPRESS YOUR LOVE OF POETRY!

For those duotrope fans, or for poets in general, duotrope has a great shirt that has the design “poet.” on the shirt face.  If you’re interested, go to: http://www.zazzle.com/duotrope

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15.)


How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier Workshop at the Grist Mill

Joni B. Cole will be returning to Chester on Sunday, March 29th to facilitate another incredible workshop at the Grist Mill Wellness Center on Route 103.

How to Write More, Write Better, and Be Happier: Workshop Intensive, will take place from 10 am to 4 pm in the beautiful Sun Room at the Grist Mill.

This fun, interactive session will feed your creative process, help you sharpen your writing skills, and push you to start a new piece or make solid progress on an existing work.  You’ll be doing in-class writing exercises to uncover new material and overcome blocks.  You’re also encouraged to bring in a work-in-progress (up to four double-spaced pages) to read aloud to the group for constructive feedback and appreciation.

Open to beginners or experienced writers.  Limited enrollment.  Preregistration required.  Recommended reading: Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive (available wherever books are sold, or $17 at the workshop).

Joni Cole is the author of Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive.  “Strongly recommended” by Library Journal for all writers, teachers, and workshop participants, the book also earned praise from American Book Review, which reported, “I can’t imagine a better guide to (writing’s) rewards and perils than this fine book.”

Joni is also the creator of the acclaimed This Day book series, including the recent release Water Cooler Diaries: Women across America Share Their Day at Work, described as “both fascinating and eye-opening” by Publisher’s Weekly.  Joni’s essays appear in literary journals, and in her monthly newspaper column “Life as I Know It.”  She is also a contributor to The Writer magazine, and is the co-founder of The Writer’s Center of White River Junction, Vermont, http://www.thewriterscenterwri.com.

For more information, visit http://www.toxicfeedback.com or www.thisdayinthelife.com.

Please call or email Joni at 295-5526 or email joni.cole@Alum.Dartmouth.org with questions about the workshop content.

Registration is required.  Please send your name, phone number, email address along with a $20 check made out to Joni B. Cole to R. Salem, 693 Lovers Lane, Chester, VT 05143 to reserve your spot.  A confirmation letter and schedule will be sent upon receipt of your deposit.

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16.)

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW

Poetry Matters: NBCC Chooses Two Books for Award

[Extract] When the National Book Critics Circle announced its annual award in poetry yesterday, two poets shared the honor — a situation new to the NBCC but resulting from strong feelings for both books among the selection committee members. The co-winners were Juan Felipe Herrera’s Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems(University of Arizona Press) and August Kleinzahler’s Sleeping It Off in Rapid City (Farrar, Strauss), which the NBCC called “capstone books to important careers—works that were resonant, weighty, and accomplished.”

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17.)
Did You Know?

Twitter Shuts Down Angelou Impostor

[Extract] The Twitter user claiming to be Maya Angelou has come clean as an impostor, David Sarno reported yesterday on the L.A. Times technology blog. Several weeks after Angelou’s agent, David LaCamera, discovered the fraudulent account and alerted Twitter, the impersonator, whose tweets were followed by 2,495 Twitter users, revealed himself yesterday as a twenty-year-old male artist named Lee….

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18.)


“Ponderings”

Letter to the Editor

[Extract] I was interested in your November portfolio of visual poetry. I believe that visual poetry began with the invention of the printing press. Writers were challenged to work within the confines of what the press would allow, just as today they are challenged to work within the confines of the computer….

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19.)

‘Poetry is like a bird;
it ignores all frontiers.”

Poetry Quote by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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20.)

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.

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21.)

Linebreak is an online journal with a bias for good poetry. Here is a link to this week’s featured poem:

Argument From Design by T.R. Hummer

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22.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 207

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-2006

People singing, not professionally but just singing for joy, it’s a wonderful celebration of life. In this poem by Sebastian Matthews of North Carolina, a father and son happen upon a handful of men singing in a cafe, and are swept up into their pleasure and community.

Barbershop Quartet,  East Village Grille

Inside the standard lunch hour din they rise, four
seamless voices fused into one, floating somewhere
between a low hum and a vibration, like the sound
of a train rumbling beneath noisy traffic.
The men are hunched around a booth table…. [Extract]

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23.)
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.

Ronald Lewis

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24.)
VERMONT POET LAUREATES

1) Robert Frost – 1961
2) Galway Kinnell
3) Louis Glück
4) Ellen Bryant Voigt
5) Grace Paley
6) Ruth Stone

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25.)

If you ever have a need to contact me, here’s how to go about doing so:

Ronald Lewis:
Phone: 802-247-5913
Cell: 802-779-5913
Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733
Email: vtpoet@gmail.com

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26.)
YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BELLOWS FALLS

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. 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 vsbooks@sover.net or  jfowler177@comcast.net.

GUILFORD

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.

MIDDLEBURY

1) 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.

NORWICH

This group meets on the first Sunday of every month at the Norwich Library, 6:30 p.m.

PLAINFIELD

The Wayside Poets share their poetry publicly from time to time.  They meet at the Cutler Memorial Library, 151 High Street, Plainfield.  Members include Diane Swan, Sherry Olson, Carol Henrikson and Sarah Hooker.  You can contact them through Sherry Olson at: solsonvt@aol.com or 454-8026.

STOWE

There is another poetry workshop happening in Stowe, but unfortunately I know nothing much about this group.  If you do, contact me!

WAITSFIELD

The Mad River Poets consists of a handful of poets from the Route 100 corridor.  More on this group in the future.
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27.)

OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

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)

The following event has already happened, but I’ve listed it here because it will probably be held again in 2010.

The Ossmann Method Poetry Workshop: Building Your Tool Kit
Instructor: April Ossmann

Build or improve your poetic techniques tool kit and 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 I will assign reading and generative exercises meant to teach or improve writing skills. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8 (minimum enrollment for the course to proceed is 4). Info: (802) 333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com 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.

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28.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

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/.

UNDERHILL

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 sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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29.)

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.

Poetry EventSat, Mar 14: 51 Main, At The Bridge, Middlebury, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Poetry Readings.  Featuring a collection of student-poets from Champlain and Middlebury Colleges.  For info, 388-8209.

Wed, Mar 18: 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, Mar 19: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Sat, Mar 21: Cutler Memorial Library, 151 High Street, Plainfield, 11:00 a.m.  Poetry Morning.First Day of Spring, poems with Cora Brooks.  For info, Mary Wheeler, Librarian, bandwheeler@juno.com, 454-8504.

Wed, Mar 25: 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.

Thu, Apr 2: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Rosanna Warren to read.  Rosanna Warren was born in Connecticut in 1953. She was educated at Yale (BA 1976) and Johns Hopkins (MA 1980). She is the author of one chapbook of poems (Snow Day, Palaemon Press, 1981), and three collections of poems:  Each Leaf Shines Separate (Norton, 1984), Stained Glass (Norton, 1993, Lamont Poetry Award from the Academy of American Poets), and Departure (Norton, 2003).  She edited and contributed to The Art of Translation:  Voices from the Field (Northeastern, 1989), and has edited three chapbooks of poetry by prisoners. She has won fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, ACLS, The Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Lila Wallace Readers’ Digest Fund, among others.  She has won the Witter Bynner Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Lavan Younger Poets’ Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and the Award of Merit in Poetry from The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2004. She is Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities at Boston University.

Fri, Apr 3: Misty Valley Books, On The Green, Chester, 7:00 p.m. Celebrate Poetry Month with Two Celebrated Poets: Wendy Mnookin and Baron Wormser.  In her book, The Moon Makes It’s Own Plea, Mnookin explores the idea of self and how that self is strengthened and abraded by relationships. Anchored in everyday life, the narrative is fluid and the poems coalesce around the condition of mortality. Her poems probe this question with bravado, defiance, fear, anger, humor and hope. Mnookin graduated from Radcliffe College and the Vermont College MFA Program. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.  For info, 875-3400.

Sun, Apr 5: Plymouth State University, Smith Recital Hall, Johnson, NH, 7:00 p.m.  Poet Wesley McNair.  2008 – 2009 Eagle Pond Author’s Series.  Wesley McNair is the recipient of fellowships from the Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Guggenheim Foundations and a United States Artists Fellowship to “America’s finest living artists.” Other honors include the Robert Frost Prize; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry (for Fire); the Theodore Roethke prize from Poetry Northwest; the Pushcart Prize and the Sarah Josepha Hale Medal.  McNair is currently Professor Emeritus and Writer in Residence at the University of Maine at Farmington.  Free.  (603) 535-5000 to reserve spaces.

Tue, Apr 8: Middlebury College, Axinn Center Abernathy Room, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.  Reading by Major Jackson.  Sponsored by Creative Writing Program, The Office for Institutional Planning and Diversity and The Academic Enrichment Fund.  For info, 443-5276.

Sat, Apr 11: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Tue, Apr 14: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m.  12th Annual Open Poetry.  Yes, we have been doing this for twelve years, and the event never fails to draw a lively crowd of bards. You do need to sign up, and you do need to limit your poetry to five minutes. Sign up by phone (802) 229-0774 or come into the store and put your name on the list.

Wed, Apr 15: 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.

Sat, Apr 18: Cutler Memorial Library, 151 High Street, Plainfield, 11:00 a.m.  Poetry Morning.  Poems with Phyllis Larabee.  For info, Mary Wheeler, Librarian, bandwheeler@juno.com, 454-8504.

Mon, Apr 20: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Eric Pankey to read.  Eric Pankey is the author of six books of poetry: Reliquaries, Cenotaph, The Late Romances, Apocrypha, Heartwood and For the New Year. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a NEA Fellowship, the Academy of American Poets’ Walt Whitman Award, and an Ingram Merrill Grant. His work has appeared in many journals, including Partisan Review, The New Yorker, Triquarterly, DoubleTake and The New England Review. He teaches at George Mason University and lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

Thu, Apr 23: Middlebury College, Robert A. Jones ’59 Conference Room, 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.  A talk by Adina Hoffman, on her new book, My Happiness Bears no Relation to Happiness: Poet Taha Muhammad Ali and the Palestinian Century, (Yale University Press), the first biography of a Palestinian poet, and the first portrayal of Palestinian literature and culture in the 20th Century. Sponsored by the Program in Jewish Studies, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Middle East Studies Program.  For info, 443-5151, E-mail: schine@middlebury.edu.

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 vsbooks@sover.net 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.

Thu, May 14: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Michael Harper to read.  Michael S. Harper was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1938. He earned a B.A. and M.A. from what is now known as California State University, and an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa. He has taught at Brown since 1970.  Harper has published more than 10 books of poetry, most recently Selected Poems (ARC Publications, 2002); Songlines in Michaeltree: New and Collected Poems (2000); Honorable Amendments (1995); and Healing Song for the Inner Ear (1985). A new poetry collection, Use Trouble, is forthcoming in fall 2008 from The University of Illinois Press.  His other collections include Images of Kin (1977), which won the Melville-Cane Award from the Poetry Society of America and was nominated for the National Book Award; Nightmare Begins Responsibility (1975); History Is Your Heartbeat (1971), which won the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Award for poetry; and Dear John, Dear Coltrane (1970), which was nominated for the National Book Award.  Harper edited the Collected Poems of Sterling A. Brown (1980); he is co-editor with Anthony Walton of The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (2000) and Every Shut Eye Ain’t Asleep: An Anthology of Poetry by African Americans Since 1945 (1994), and with Robert B. Stepto of Chant of Saints: A Gathering of Afro-American Literature, Art, and Scholarship (1979).  Harper was the first poet laureate of Rhode Island (1988-1993) and has received many other honors, including a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation and a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Award. Harper is also a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow, and the recipient of numerous distinctions, including the Robert Hayden Poetry Award from the United Negro College Fund, the Melville-Cane Award, the Claiborne Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts, and the Black Academy of Arts and Letters Award.

Mon, Jun 1: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Eamon Grennan to read.  Eamon Grennan was born in Dublin in 1941 and educated at UCD, where he studied English and Italian, and Harvard, where he received his PhD in English. His volumes of poetry include What Light There Is & Other Poems, (North Point Press, 1989), Wildly for Days (1983), What Light There Is (1987), As If It Matters (1991), So It Goes (1995), Selected and New Poems (2000) and Still Life with Waterfall (2001). His latest collection, The Quick of It, appeared in 2004 in Ireland, and in Spring 2005 in America. His books of poetry are published in the United States by Graywolf Press, and in Ireland by Gallery Press. Other publications include Leopardi: Selected Poems (Princeton 1997), and Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century, a collection of essays on modern Irish poetry. His poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in many magazines both in Ireland and the US.  Grennan has given lectures and workshops in colleges and universities in the US, including courses for the graduate programs in Columbia and NYU. During 2002 he was the Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University. His grants and prizes in the United States include awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Leopardi: Selected Poems received the 1997 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and Still Life with Waterfall was the recipient of the 2003 Lenore Marshall Award for Poetry from the American Academy of Poets. His poems have been awarded a number of Pushcart prizes. Grennan has taught since 1974 at Vassar College where he is the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English.

Wed, Jun 10: 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.

Sat, Jun 13: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Thu, Jul 9: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Michael Ryan to read.  Michael Ryan has published three collections of poetry, including In Winter, Threats Instead of Trees, has been a finalist for the National Book Award, and God Hunger, as well as A Difficult Grace: On Poets, Poetry, and Writing, and the memoir Secret Life. His work has appeared in Antaeus, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, New Republic, and elsewhere. Ryan has been honored by the Lenore Marshall Prize, a Whiting Writers Award, the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, and a Guggenheim. Ryan is Professor of English and Creative Writing at UC, Irvine.

Sat, Jul 11: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Mon, Jul 27: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Doreen Gilroy to read.  Doreen Gilroy’s first book, The Little Field of Self  (The University of Chicago Press, 2002), won the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares.  Her second book, Human Love, was published by the University of Chicago Press in October 2005.  Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Slate, TriQuarterly and many other magazines.

Sat, Aug 8: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Mon, Aug 17: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Cole Swensen to read.  Cole Swensen is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Denver. She is the author of five collections of poems, including Try (University of Iowa Press, 1999), winner of the 1998 Poetry Prize; Noon (Sun and Moon Press, 1997), which won a New American Writing Award; and Numen (Burning Deck Press, 1995) which was nominated for the PEN West Award in Poetry. Her translations include Art Poetic’ by Olivier Cadiot (Sun & Moon Press, Green Integer Series, 1999) and Natural Gaits by Pierre Alferi (Sun & Moon, 1995). She splits her time among Denver, San Francisco and Paris.

Thu, Sep 3: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Marge Piercy to read.  Marge Piercy has published 17 books of poetry, including What Are Big Girls Made Of, Colors Passing Through Us, and most recently her 17th volume, The Crooked Inheiritance, all from Knopf. She has written 17 novels, most recently SEX WARS in Perennial paperback now.  Her memoir Sleeping With Cats is also in Harper Collins Perennial.  Last spring, Schocken published Pesach for the Rest of Us.  Her work has been translated into 16 languages. Her CD Louder We Can’t Hear You Yet contains her political and feminist poems. She has been an editor of Leapfrog Press for the last ten years and also poetry editor of Lilith.

Sat, Sep 12: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Thu, Oct 1: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Pattiann Rogers to read.  Pattiann Rogers has published ten books of poetry, a book-length essay, The Dream of the Marsh Wren, and A Covenant of Seasons, poems and monotypes, in collaboration with the artist Joellyn Duesberry. Her 11th  book of poetry, Wayfare, will appear from Penguin in April, 2008.   Rogers is the recipient of two NEA Grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a 2005 Literary Award in Poetry from the Lannan Foundation, and five Pushcart Prizes.  In the spring of 2000 she was in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Study and Conference Center in Bellagio, Italy.  Her papers are archived in the Sowell Family Collection of Literature, Community and the Natural World at Texas Tech University.  She has taught as a visiting professor at various universities, including the Universities of Texas, Arkansas, and Montana, Houston University, and Washingon University.  She is currently on the faculty of Pacific University’s MFA in Writing Program.  Rogers has two sons and three grandsons and lives with her husband in Colorado.

Sat, Oct 10: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Tue, Oct 20: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Major Jackson to read.  “Jackson knows the truth of black magic. It is a magic as simple as the belief in humanity that subverts racism, or the esoteric and mystical magic of making jazz, the music of hope and love.” —Aafa Weaver.  Major Jackson is the author of two collections of poetry, Hoops (Norton: 2006), a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry. and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia: 2002), winner of the 2000 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.  Poems by Major Jackson have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Callaloo, Post Road, Triquarterly, The New Yorker, among other literary journals and anthologies. He is a recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. He has received critical attention in The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Parnassus, Philadelphia Inquirer, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.  Jackson is an Associate Professor of English at University of Vermont and a faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. In 2006-2007, he was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Sat, Nov 14: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Tue, Nov 17: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Sebastian Matthews to read.  Sebastian Matthews is the author of the poetry collection We Generous (Red Hen Press) and a memoir, In My Father’s Footsteps (W. W. Norton).  He co-edited, with Stanley Plumly, Search Party: Collected Poem s of William Matthews. Matthews teaches at Warren Wilson College and serves on the faculty at Queens College Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. His poetry and prose has appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, New England, Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Seneca Review, The Sun, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review and The Writer’s Almanac, among others. Matthews co-edits Rivendell, a place-based literary journal, and serves as poetry consultant for Ecotone:
Re-Imagining Place.

Sat, Dec 12: 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 vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

2010:

Mon, Feb 22: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet David Shapiro to read.  David Shapiro (born January 2, 1947) is an American poet, literary critic, and art historian and . Shapiro has written some twenty volumes of poetry, literary, and art criticism. He was first published at the age of thirteen, and his first book was published at the age of eighteen. Shapiro has taught at Columbia, Bard College, Cooper Union, Princeton University, and William Paterson University. He wrote the first monograph on John Ashbery, the first book on Jim Dine’s paintings, the first book on Piet Mondrian’s flower studies, and the first book on Jasper Johns’ drawings. He has translated Rafael Alberti’s poems on Pablo Picasso, and the writings of the Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Shapiro has won National Endowment for the HumanitiesNational Endowment for the Arts fellowships, been nominated for a National Book Award, and been the recipient of numerous grants for his work. Shapiro lives in Riverdale, The Bronx, New York City, with his wife and son.

  • Again, if you become aware of an event that isn’t posted above, please let me know. My apologies if I have left off anything of importance to any of you, but it can always be corrected in the next Vermont Poetry Newsletter.

our finitude as human beings
is encompassed by the infinity of language
Hans-Georg Gadamer


Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis

Rhyme & Meter Online: March 15, 2009

  • Many discussions on various forums which, though interesting, are too changeable to reference.
  • If any readers would like to recommend sites or blogs please do! Feel free to recommend your own blog or poem if you like but please don’t post your poem in the comment field (provide a link and the first lines).
  • Search terms used to find these posts: Rhyme, Meter, Formal, Formalist, Poetry

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Life, an epic Poem

Analysis: William Blake

William Blake’s poems are methodical in construction of the meter and rhyme, every word seemingly painstakingly chosen. He uses standard formal poetry constructions like trochaic and iambic tetrameter, rhyming couplets, and quatrains in almost every one of his poems, which helped me to fully grasp these concepts in ways I never did in high school English class.

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Mike Snyder’s Formal Blog

Stephen Edgar’s Stanzas

…today I just want to point out his use of regularly varying line-lengths in rhymed, metrical poetry. I’ve seen such verse called “heterometrical,” or “het-met,” for short, but Lew Turco don’t like that, not one bit, so I won’t use the terms. Not today, anyway…. A fairly simple example is the stanza Edgar uses in “Transit of Venus,” from the sequence “Consume My Heart Away.”

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Poetry Foundation

Wernicke’s Area

By Martin Earl

Since poetry is now written largely without rules (or written with self-invented rules), since the common craft of metrics, rhyming, quantifying are no longer taught, largely dispensed with by the community, the result is a less universal and a more personal poem, a poem that can no longer be “read”, except by the writer and the writer’s closest cohorts – those who know the language. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this. There is simply no need in today’s world to write or to read epics composed in ottava rima which tell the life-stories of unlikely heroes…

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The Poetry Archive

Stephen Edgar

What is most immediately distinctive about Edgar’s work, certainly among poets of his generation, is his commitment to formal verse “and for showing considerable panache in handling [it]” (Kevin Hart, Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry). This has drawn comparisons, in Australia, with poets such as A D Hope and Gwen Harwood, but also to the likes of Anthony Hecht and Richard Wilbur. Poetry Chicago says of him that “he achieves, overall, a supple classicism that earns him a place next to the best twentieth-century American formalists.”

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[Looks like this book (the paperback version?) was just posted at Amazon. The publication date is June 1, 2009.]

Amazon.Com

Fourteen on Form: Conversations with Poets (Paperback)

Fourteen on Form: Conversations with Poets by William Baer. Interviews with Willis Barnstone, Robert Conquest, Wendy Cope, Douglas Dunn, Anthony Hecht, John Hollander, Donald Justice, X. J. Kennedy, Maxine Kumin, Frederick Morgan, John Frederick Nims, W. D. Snodgrass, Derek Walcott, and Richard Wilbur. When free verse and its many movements seemed to dominate poetry, other writers worked steadfastly, insistently, and majestically in traditional forms of rhyme and meter. Such poets as Anthony Hecht, Donald Justice, Derek Walcott, and Richard Wilbur utilized sonnets, villanelles, blank verse, and many other forms to create dazzling, lasting work. Their writing posed a counterpoint to free verse, sustained a tradition in English language verse, and eventually inspired the movement called New Formalism. Fourteen on Form: Conversations with Poets collects interviews with some of the most influential poets of the last fifty years.

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Poetry Foundation

By Annie Finch

Listening to Poetry: On The Free Verse Brain and the Metrical Brain

Poetry’s connection with music and the right brain may be its basic identifying use and distinction as an art form, the reason it has survived through the millennia. And perhaps this essential connection is the reason that, after a century dominated so hugely by free verse, the caricature of poetry in the popular mind still remains, against all apparent reason and the weight of a century’s lived experience, inherently associated with meter…

Metrical poetry, traditionally, offers up its riches to the receptive, listening mind. The meter itself guides, and the inner or outer ear has only to hear. Reading a metrical poem aloud is rather like performing a piece of music using the instrument of your voice (and just as in music, the degree of skill in composition will significantly affect the result). When John Donne opens a sonnet with “Death be not proud, though some have called thee / Mighty and dreadful, for, thou are not so,” the weight and length of the stressed first syllable of each of these lines, in contrast to the unstressed syllable of the iambic openings of the rest of the lines in the poem, are very specifically determined. Because a metrical poem modulates individual phrases against the scaffolding of a rhythm and line-length that is mutually expected by both poet and reader, the poet can indicate, even on the page, the exact timber, tempo, and other physical characteristics the reading-aloud process should take at each point in the poem…..

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PoemShape

The Art & Writing of Iambic Pentameter

The art to writing Iambic Pentameter is partly in knowing when not to write it.

Chaucer was the first poet to write full length “poems” in Iambic Pentameter. But his language was middle English, not modern. The first drama (that we know about) written in Modern English and in Iambic Pentameter (Blank Verse) was Gorboduc not by one author, but two – Sackville and Norton. Since this was probably their first crack at Iambic Pentameter, and since they wanted to make a good impression, they didn’t vary the pattern one iota. In other words, they didn’t quite know when not to write it.