Vermont Poetry Newsletter July 29 2009

[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this. PLEASE NOTE: I have edited his newsletter so that links are provided rather than text.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter

Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State

July 29, 2009 – In This Issue:

  1. About VPN/How To Print
  2. Newsletter Editor’s Note
  3. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  4. Mark Strand & Paul Muldoon Perform In Vermont
  5. UC Berkeley’s Lunch Poems
  6. AllBookstores.com
  7. Bookfinder.com
  8. Brave New Voices – Youth Poetry Slam Festival
  9. The Cost of Our Dead Poets
  10. Growing Sentences
  11. Exit Wounds – War Poetry
  12. Robert Frost Farm Fund
  13. Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference – Fellows and Tuition Scholars For 2009
  14. Iowa’s Poet Laureate
  15. World’s Biggest Thesaurus Coming Soon
  16. Ruth Lilly Fellowship Winners
  17. Book King Readings
  18. Did You Know? Beat Museum in San Francisco
  19. Ponderings – Writing vs. Memorizing Poetry in Schools
  20. Poetry Quote (Adrienne Rich)
  21. US Poets Laureate List
  22. Failbetter Poem
  23. Linebreak Poem
  24. American Life in Poetry Poems (2)
  25. Vermont Poet Laureates
  26. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  27. Vermont Literary Journals
  28. State Poetry Society (PSOV)
  29. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  30. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  31. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  32. Poetry Event Calendar

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1.)

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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2.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

Here’s some exciting news – you can listen to Mark Strand on Monday, August 10th in Rochester, as part of the town’s BIG TOWN BIG TENT  Summer Festival.  Yes, that’s Mark Strand, the US Poet Laureate of ‘96/’97.  Also Paul Muldoon will be reading as well.  See the details below!

Always be sure to check the Calendar below, immediately upon receiving your VPN, as there are usually poetry events happening that very same day.  I wouldn’t want you to miss anything important!  For instance, this evening there will be a Poetry Slam in Craftsbury Common, put on by Stardust Books and Café, probably with a little help from Geof Hewitt.  And aren’t we blessed to have right here in Vermont, this nation’s top instructor of youth slam poetry – Geof, we love ya’!  Keep up the tremendous work that you do.

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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3.)

Writing ExercisesWRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISES

CURRENT WRITING PROMPT:

Make the Simple Sublime Poem
Take any ordinary object – the more ordinary the better. Can be a cereal bowl, a fingernail, doesn’t matter. Look at it. Really see it and then glorify it or decimate it in poetic verse. Bring that non-descript thing to life and give it meaning as something extraordinarily beautiful or awful.
In order to do this well, you are going to have to view that object through a creative eye. Connect with it, if you will, otherwise your words will lack real feeling and purpose.

If you need an example of what I mean, read Poe’s work.  His stories are rich with emotion filled connections, not only to people.  Sometimes an eye, an imaginary heartbeat, a cat.
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4.)

MARK STRAND, US POET LAUREATE ‘96/’97

Mark Strand Reading

  • Reading under the tent on Monday, August 10th, 7:30 p.m.  You must purchase a ticket, however, and it costs $15 to hear Mark.  Call (802) 767-9670 for tickets; limited seating!

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5.)

Lunch Poems

  • Watch this year’s series of campus readings, or watch and listen to last year’s.  You can partake in the entire webcasts – by watching them on YouTube, or listening to them on iTunes.  There is nothing else quite like this on the web!

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6.)

Bookstores

  • If you’re a book collector, like I am, you’ll enjoy being able to compare book prices from several bookstores at once – at one place!  AllBookstores.com has undergone some major changes, so you should give them a try when you next need that hard-to-find poetry book. – Ron Lewis

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7.)

Bookfinder

  • Another search engine for books is BookFinder.com.  You should also bookmark them, as they are very comprehensive. – Ron Lewis

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8.)

The passion of Brave New Voices

By Scoop Jackson

ESPN ArticleCHICAGO
For 12 years, there has been a tournament that is more intense, more sincere, more remarkable, more brutal, more honest, more powerful, more moving, more salient, more life-altering, more life-discovering, more life-saving than any other in America. Maybe the world. The reason no one has recognized it for what it is and what it does: It has nothing to do with sports.

Those who have found the strength and courage to recite are the ones who put bravery on display. The 12th annual Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival proved to be the battleground no sport can match. Throughout the NCAA-style tournament, 50 teams of poets dug deeper into their personal mental fitness than probably Lance, Tiger or Michael ever have had to…

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9.)

  • And, from the UK:

The cost of our dead poets society

the cost of dead poetsThe enormous sums spent on dead authors’ houses should be used to support those with few other chances to write

Keats House in Hampstead, the low pale villa where the poet lived, has been renovated and will be opened to the public tomorrow. It is proudly proclaimed to be the house where he penned Ode to a Nightingale and asked the girl next door to marry him. Yet Keats lived there for just two years, albeit his most creative. It prompts the question – does this postcard-pretty house of a writer who died at 26, which will attract those who like visiting pretty houses in Hampstead, deserve a £424,000 grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund, supplemented by the Corporation of London?

Let’s contrast the apparent ease of finding the money for the young man Keats with the struggles over Mrs Gaskell, whose former house is at 84 Plymouth Grove, Ardwick, Manchester. It is a Grade II*-listed Regency-style villa, and it is on the English Heritage buildings at risk register. The Gaskell Society says it needs over £2m to save it, yet it has secured just £260,000, covering the first phase of renovation. I hope the society does not find the rest of the money…

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10.)

Growing Sentences

Growing Sentences with David Foster Wallace
A Primer for Kicking Ass

Being the Result of One Man’s Fed-upped-ness With ‘How to Write’ Books Not Actually Showing You How to Write

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11.)

Exit wounds: With the conflict in Afghanistan escalating and the Iraq inquiry pending, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy commissions war poetry for today

Exit WoundsCarol Ann Duffy

The Guardian, Saturday 25 July 2009

Poets, from ancient times, have written about war. It is the poet’s obligation, wrote Plato, to bear witness. In modern times, the young soldiers of the first world war turned the horrors they endured and witnessed in trench combat – which slaughtered them in their millions – into a vividly new kind of poetry, and most of us, when we think of “war poetry” will find the names of Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon coming first to our lips, with Ivor Gurney, Isaac Rosenberg, Rupert Brooke … What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? … There’s some corner of a foreign field … Such lines are part of the English poetry reader’s DNA, injected during schooldays like a vaccine.
But other poems – not all by soldiers – also come to mind: Walt Whitman’s civil war poems; the poetry of Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam, written (or memorised) during the Stalinist terrors; Lorca’s poems from the Spanish civil war; the poems of the brilliant young Keith Douglas who was killed in the second world war…

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12.)

Robert Frost Farm Fund

College establishes Frost-related funds 
to maintain farm, support writer in residence

Frost Farm Fund

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13.)

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

The Conference will take place from Wednesday, August 12, to Sunday, August 23.

Bread Loaf Writer's Conference

Clicking on the link will open a PDF file.

  • Please note the one of my absolute favorite new poets, Matthew Dickman, will be here!  This is very exciting news to me! – Ron Lewis

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14.)

The Kalona NewsRural Kalona resident Iowa’s Poet Laureate

Perched on a hill several miles north of Kalona is small, pristine-white former Amish one-room schoolhouse. Home to Iowa’s new poet laureate, a large garden sets in back next to a small pasture inhabited by three goats. It is here that Mary Swander has found both a sanctuary and inspiration for her writing.

Iowa Gov. Chet Culver recently appointed the Iowa State University professor the state’s poet laureate. Her most recent work is a quirky, book-length narrative poem (The Girls on the Roof) about a mother and daughter trapped on the roof of Crazy Eddy’s café during the 1993 flooding of the Mississippi River. She will be reading from the book July 23 at 7 p.m. at the Kalona Public Library…

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15.)

Times OnlineTimes Online: After a 44-year labour of love, world’s biggest thesaurus is born

Nicola Woolcock

Dr Johnson famously took nine years to write his dictionary, but the biggest thesaurus in the world will be published this autumn after a labour of love spanning five decades.
Work on the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1965. The mammoth enterprise has survived fire and funding problems and has had to be constantly updated to incorporate new words.
With 800,000 meanings for 600,000 words organised into more than 230,000 categories and subcategories, the thesaurus is twice the size of Roget’s version.

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16.)

  • I’d like to announce the results of an incredible honor and prizes to 5 young poets.  What I could write with the time that $15,000 would allow me to have!  Unfortunately, youth is not on my side, as I believe one has to be between the ages of 21 and 31.  I can’t wait to read their work in November’s issue of Poetry! – Ron Lewis

2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship Winners Announced

Poetry Foundation Prizes Announced

$75,000 in prizes awarded to five young poets

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17.)

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, at 6:00 p.m.  The next reading will be on July 31st.  There will be flyers at the Book King counter.

Please contact me (Ron Lewis – vtpoet@gmail.com) if you’d like to read; we need readers!

The theme is:

“POEMS THAT BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE”

Poets and listeners will be checked at the door for happy poetry.

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18.)

  • Did You Know?

Beat MuseumBeat Museum a ‘Howl’ of a time
Kenneth Baker, Chronicle Art Critic
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Only at the Beat Museum will you find an emergency exit warning you that an alarm “will HOWL” if the door is opened.
References to Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997) and his epic poem “Howl” make many appearances besides this one in this offbeat “museum” of all things and personalities tied to the Beat phenomenon in San Francisco.
The Chronicle’s own Herb Caen (1916-1997) gets credit here more than once for coining the term beatnik. (The Beat Museum has no fear of redundancy, or no confidence in the viewer’s short-term memory.)
The Beat Museum’s North Beach neighbor, City Lights Books, first published “Howl and Other Poems” in 1956, a year after Ginsberg’s first public reading of the poem at the Six Gallery…

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19.)

  • “Ponderings”

Poetry in SchoolsWriting vs. Memorizing
Poetry in Schools

Poetry in and Out of the Schools

Recently on her blog, Barbara Jane Reyes agreed with Eileen Tabios’s assertion that poetry is marginalized because it, like much of the arts, is absent from the K-12 curriculum. This discussion reminded me of a comment somebody in the audience at the Small Press Traffic conference on Aggression made about students needing to write poetry rather than memorize it in school. In an aside, Bob Gluck, suggested that maybe students actually needed to be doing more memorizing of poems. I think this is a good idea as well. Of course, not all poems are suitable for memorization, but how wonderful, to get some language inside you. My daughter Alex, who is now thirteen, had quite a bit of poetry while she was in a public Spanish immersion school here in San Francisco. There was poetry in Spanish and in English. Middle School seems to have offered less poetry though there are some popular books the kids are reading that are written in “verse.” (…)

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20.)

“The moment of change
is the only poem.”

Poetry Quote by Adrienne Rich

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21.)

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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22.)

Autumn Crocus
Kyle McCord

Failbetter July 31 2009

Failbetter.Com

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23.)

  • Linebreak is an online journal with a bias for good poetry. Here is a poem from their web site this week. – Ron Lewis

This week’s poem from Linebreak

Some Unsettling Connections
By Kimberly Quiogue Andrews

Some Unsettling Connections - Linebreak

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24.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 224

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

When we’re young, it seems there are endless possibilities for lives we might lead, and then as we grow older and the opportunities get fewer we begin to realize that the life we’ve been given is the only one we’re likely to get. Here’s Jean Nordhaus, of the Washington, D.C. area, exploring this process.

Column 224

******************************

American Life in Poetry: Column 226

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

Elizabeth Bishop, one of our greatest American poets, once wrote a long poem in which the sudden appearance of a moose on a highway creates a community among a group of strangers on a bus. Here Ronald Wallace, a Wisconsin poet, gives us a sighting with similar results.

Am Life in Poetry 226

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American Life in Poetry: Column 227

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

Jane Hirshfield, a Californian and one of my favorite poets, writes beautiful image-centered poems of clarity and concision, which sometimes conclude with a sudden and surprising deepening. Here’s just one example.

Am Life in Poetry 227

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25.)

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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26.)

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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27.)

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
Burlington College
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT  05401

2) Bloodroot

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
(802) 785-4916
email: bloodroot@wildblue.net

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
Attn: Orders
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

NEReview@middlebury.edu
(800) 450-9571

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

email: willardandmaple@champlain.edu

5) Vermont Literary Review

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Castleton State College, Castleton.

The first issue of Vermont Literary Review was published in 1994. The review is published once a year. Work featured in the review includes poetry, fiction, drama, and personal essays from and about New England.

From its inception until 2006, students and professors reviewed the work submitted and selected work to be published. They used to jointly edit and design the review as well. After a brief lapse, the Vermont Literary Review has resumed publication in 2008 as a journal edited and designed solely by English Department faculty. The Literary Club, which used to help create this journal, is now putting out a publication of student work.

Vermont Literary Review receives funding from Castleton State College, Castleton, Vermont.

Submissions

Vermont Literary Review invites creative work from and about New England. Poetry, fiction, drama, and personal essays should not exceed 4,000 words. All submissions must be postmarked between September 30 and March 31. Include SASE. Payment: two copies. Vermont Literary Review, Department of English, Castleton State College, Castleton, VT 05735. Editor is Flo Keyes. No simultaneous submissions. Submissions will not be returned unless SASE with adequate postage is included. Authors will be notified by mail and/or e-mail. Electronic submissions are not acceptable.

Purchasing Information
Current issues are available for $8.00 plus shipping. Shipping is $1.50 for 1 copy, $2.25 for two copies, $4.00 for 3-5 copies, and $5.00 for 6-10 copies. Checks should be made out to Castleton State College, but Vermont Literary Review should be noted somewhere on the check.

Vermont Literary Review
Department of English
Castleton State College
6 Alumni Drive
Castleton, VT  05735

Editor: Flo Keyes, (802) 468-6049
email: vir@castleton.edu

6) Green Mountains Review

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Johnson State College, Johnson; in publication since 1987.

The Green Mountains Review is an international journal publishing poems, stories, and creative nonfiction by both well-known authors and promising newcomers.  The magazine also features interviews, literary criticism, and book reviews.  Neil Shepard is the general editor and poetry editor of the Green Mountains Review.  The fiction editor is Leslie Daniels.

The editors are open to a wide range of styles and subject matter. If you would like to acquaint yourself with some of the work that we have accepted in the past, then we encourage you to order some of our back issues here. The following is a short list of writers of varying styles who have published in Green Mountains Review: Julia Alvarez, Robert Bly, Charles Bernstein, Charles Bukowski, Hayden Carruth, Stephen Dobyns, Mark Doty, Carol Emshwiller, Linda Gregg, Donald Hall, Michael Harper, Yusef Komunyakaa, Maxine Kumin, Phillip Lopate, Heather McHugh, William Matthews, Valerie Miner, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Molly Peacock, Robert Pinsky, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Ntozake Shange, Reginald Shepard, Alix Kates Shulman, Gary Soto, Debra Spark, David St. John, Gladys Swan, James Tate, Walter Wetherell, Meredith Sue Willis, and Charles Wright.

There have been several special issues: one devoted to Vermont fiction writers, a second called Women, Community and Narrative Voice featuring short stories by women, a third filled with new writing from the People’s Republic of China, and another devoted to multicultural writing in America.  Our 10th anniversary double-issue surveyed the state of American poetry at the end of the millennium, our fall 1999 issue featured works of literary ethnography and our 15th anniversary issue, also a double-issue, featured comedy in contemporary American poetry. Our 20th anniversary issue, Literature of the American Apocalypse features poems and prose, darkly comic or deadly serious, that centers on American dread, inspired by everything from the current Administration’s war on terror and war on privacy, to continuing threats of environmental degradation, nuclear annihilation, world-ravaging disease, corruptions of culture and language, takeover by clones and computers, natural disasters that some say are caused by global warming and others say are acts of an angry god, or whatever else can be imagined by an end-of-days mind.

Subscriptions to the Green Mountains Review are $16.50 for one year (includes postage within the U.S.A.).  For Mexico and Canada, please add $2 per issue. For an overseas subscription, please add $7 per issue for shipping.

Green Mountains Review
Johnson State College
337 College Hill
Johnson, VT  05656

email: GMR@jsc.edu

7) Burlington Poetry Journal

The Burlington Poetry Journal is a new nonprofit publication interested in creating a means for provoking opinions, ideas, and thoughtful responses for poets in the Greater Burlington area. While there are numerous outlets for writers to gather and share privately in Vermont, there is no publication that brings together poetry of all styles and writers of all ages for the enjoyment of the general public. It is our hope that this journal will inspire writers to share their work with others who may be unaware of their talent, and for those who have never considered themselves writers to try their hand at poetry. We invite you to submit your work and share with others your thoughts and abilities with the Burlington community. The work you share will produce a dialogue as writers become aware of each other and begin to expose themselves and others to new poetry. The eclectic nature of the Burlington Poetry Journal will serve to stimulate its readers and authors.

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28.)

STATE POETRY SOCIETY
Poetry Society of Vermont

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

How to join:

  • mail dues of $20.00 to Membership Chairman, 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.


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29.)

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

3) InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop runs through the Vermont Independent Media’s Media Mentoring Project and is held at the Rockingham Public Library at 65 Westminster Street in Bellows Falls.  No previous writing or journalism experience or even class attendance is required.  Participants are invited to bring a project or share successful techniques.  The workshop aims to lift poetry from the page and reveal how it is a living force in daily life.  Originally taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago to great acclaim, its interactive nature and inclusion of multiple art forms leaves dry, academic notions of poetry behind.  It functions through three tenets: 1) Presentation of the art form as a living element of our daily world, 2) individualized, personal enrichment and free range of expression for each student, and 3) artistic ecultivation through unexpected means.  Taught by seasoned arts journalist, cultural critic and poet Clara Rose Thornton, this free event explores the poetry we encounter all around us – in songs we hear, the ways we express ourselves, even the advertisements we see.  In the final session students then create their own works with an increased sense of connection to the way words construct meaning.  All materials are provided.  Instructor Clara Rose Thornton is an internationally published film, wine and visual arts critic, music journalist, poet and former book and magazine editor.  Her writings on culture and the arts have appeared nationally in Stop Smiling: The Magazine for High-Minded Lowlifes, Honest Tune: The American Journal of Jam and Time Out Chicago.  Currently residing in an artists’ colony in Windham County, she acts as the biweekly arts columnist for the Rutland herald, staff writer for Southern Vermont Arts && Living and a regular contributor to The Commons.  A portfolio, bio and roster of writing and editing services can be found at http://www.clararosethornton.com.  For more information about the Media Mentoring Project, visit http://www.commonsnews.org or call 246-6397.  You can also write to Vermont Independent Media at P.O. Box 1212, Brattleboro, VT 05302.

BERLIN

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: solsonvt@aol.com or 454-8026.

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

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.

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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30.)

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

The Writer’s Center
58 Main Street, White River Junction, Vermont

Instructor: April Ossmann (author of Anxious Music, Four Way Books, 2007, writing, editing and publishing consultant, and former Executive Director of Alice James Books)

Info: (802)333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and http://www.aprilossmann.com

ANYWHERE, VERMONT

Revived for the 2009 academic year is the InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop, designed for upper-elementary and high-school-age students, grades 7-12. The curriculum functions through three tenets:

·     Innovative presentation of the art form as a living element of our daily world
·     Individualized, personal enrichment and free range of expression for each student
·     Artistic cultivation through unexpected means

The workshop debuted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, during a three-week summer program, entitled Project C.H.A.N.C.E., for underprivileged sophomore and senior students from area high schools. It was a fantastic success, and the program director requested its return. With this encouragement, I decided to expand and adapt the workshop for various age levels, as an educational/arts supplement for after-school programs and enrichment programs and an arts elective for more traditional academic settings. The response has been wonderful.

The curriculum is designed for a six-week duration, with one class held per week, per age group. The InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop can be tailored to your program’s needs. It is especially conducive to schools with a progressive, child-centered philosophy. Please view the synopsis below.

CURRICULUM:

A) Duration of Workshop: 6 weeks (also available as a 3-week session); one 1-hour class each week

B) Classes 1 and 2: Presentation of poetry as a force in our everyday lives, as opposed to it being a dry notion that people are forced to study in schools and think of as separated from their lives and reality. Poetry is in the music we hear, the stories we read, even the advertisements we see. These introductory segments aim to bring poetry off of the page and show how it is a lot closer to the students’ lives than they may realize. These segments serve as a way to introduce poetry by connecting it to things students are already familiar with and enjoy.

Classes 3 and 4: The study of two songs’ lyrics as poetry. I choose two songs of very differing genres, and have copies of the lyrics printed out for each pupil. Without the class being told what the songs are, their titles, or who they are performed by, we study them for meaning and expression, and the way the meaning is expressed through words. Studying them anonymously, without the connotation or attachment of what the songs may mean popularly, lets us focus on the fact that it is poetry and study how the words and metaphors are connected. At the end of class four, we listen to each song, and the students can compare what they’d imagined about the sound in their minds purely from the words, to the actual song.

Class 5: Each student creates his or her own poem, and I collect them at the end.

Class 6: I return students’ poems with any corrections for grammar and spelling and work with anyone who has questions, so that students can gain a better grasp of written expression. Then, volunteers read their poem aloud, and we discuss them as a class–what the poet was trying to express, and the unique route to that expression that he or she took–to gain better understanding of the art form and allow it to become a personal experience.

C) Instructor Fee: $600 (or $300 for 3-week session)

If you are interested in having the InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop taught at your school or program, please, get in touch.  (802) 275-7799, clara@inkblotcomplex.com, http://www.clararosethornton.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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31.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

The Burlington Writer’s Group (BWG) meets on Tuesday evenings from 7-9 PM and has a new home at the Unitarian Church in the church’s little white house off of Clark St., 2nd floor. They’d like to let people know and also invite anyone interested to join them whenever folks are in town or as often as they’d like.

The Burlington Writer’s Group is a free drop-in group. They decide on a prompt and write for 20 minutes, followed by a go-around reading. They can usually get in two writes depending on group size. All genres and experience levels are welcome and there really are no rules other than demonstrating courtest while people are writing (don’t interrupt).  They don’t do much critiquing though some spontaneous reactions occur. Mainly it’s good practice to just show up and write for 40 minutes and share the writing, if so inclined…

SPRINGFIELD

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/.
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 http://www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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Poetry Event

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, Jul 29: Stardust Books, 1276 North Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury Common, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.  Back by popular demand–Stardust Books & Café is pleased to host their second Poetry Slam of 2009.
Poets, listeners, and art enthusiasts of all ages are invited to attend this high-energy literary event. Poets should bring two original poems. A voluntary donation of $1 is requested at the door. Income from donations goes to the winner. Poets are free to perform original works in any style on any subject. No props, costumes or instruments.
All members of the public are invited to listen, compete or judge. Free refreshments will be served.
Poetry Slam, the art of competitive poetry can incorporate
elements of storytelling, hip-hop and stand-up comedy. The open format of the competition, along with the absurdity inherent in trying to quantify art, have inspired slammers to take the stage for over 20 years.
For more information, call Stardust bookstore at 586-2200 or email stardust AT vtlink.net.

Thu, Jul 30: 51 Main @ The Bridge, 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.  Middlebury’s Spanish School Poetry Reading.  For info, jthiesen@middlebury.edu. or 443-5538.

Fri, Jul 31: Book King, Center Street, Rutland, 6:00 p.m.  Poetry reading: Poems That Put a Smile On Your Face.  Ron Lewis and friends will read from their own poetry with aforementioned theme, upstairs in the beautifully restored historical building in downtown Rutland.  Gauze and bandages will be available.  For info, Ron at 247-5913.

Fri, Jul 31-Sat, Aug 1: At various locations in Woodstock, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Fri), 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. (Sat).  Bookstock: The Green Mountain Festival of Words.  Readers unite to celebrate the wonder of words in this two-day fest including performances, lectures, participatory poetry, readings and a mammoth book sale.  For info, 457-3981.  Free.

Sat, Aug 1: Norman Williams Library, Woodstock, 1:30 p.m.  Poetry Workshop and All-ages Poetry Slam.  Free workshop at 1:30, followed by 3:00 p.m. slam, both led by Geof Hewitt.

Sat, Aug 8: Northeast Kingdom Festival, East Albany, VT, at noon.  All–ages Poetry Slam.  You’ll need to buy a ticket for admission to this terrific festival of great music. http://www.nekmf.com/.

Wed, Aug 5: Hardwick Town Hall, Hardwick, 8:00 p.m. Benefit performance ($10) for Awassa (Ethiopia) One Love AIDS/HIV Awareness Theater, featuring playwright/humanitarians David and Aurora Schein, musicians Chuck Meese, Jan Monteagudo-Meese and Jim McGinniss, and poet Geof Hewitt.

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.

Sun, Aug 9: Platt Memorial Library, Shoreham, 7:00 p.m.  Poet and musician Dawn Potter from Harmony, Maine, will be reading with her mother, Janice Miller Potter. Dawn is the author of BOY LAND AND OTHER POEMS (2004), and is a freelance book editor and associate director of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching in Franconia, New Hampshire. Her memoir Tracing Paradise: Two Years in Harmony with John Milton is due out from the University of Massachusetts Press in May 2009. In 2010 CavanKerry Press will publish her second poetry collection, How the Crimes Happened.  New poems and essays are appearing in the Sewanee Review, Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals. A member of the Beloit Poetry Journal’s editorial board, she has taught at Haystack Montain School of Crafts and for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. She has also worked extensively in the public schools, both as a visiting poet and as a staff music teacher.

Wed, Aug 12-Sun, Aug 23: Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Ripton.  Poetry readings TBA.

Wed, Aug 12: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30-6:30 p.m. “You Come, Too.” Spend autumn lingering on Robert Frost’s celebrated depictions of the rural life with Peter Gilbert’s readings and discussion of his seasonal poems.  Free.  For info, 262-2626, x307.

Wed, Aug 12: Bradford Academy, Main Street, Bradford, 7:00 p.m. “Poems & Pieces.” Audience members contribute to an evening of poetry readings by sharing their favorite works – with special emphasis on local materials.  Free.  For info, 222-4423.

Wed, Aug 12: Outer Space Café, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:45 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.  “Get the Word Out.”  Mouths form a medley of audible thoughts through slam poetry, open mic spoken word, rap battles and more.  Free.  For info, 318-6162.

Sat, Aug 15: 9 Bausch Lane Hill, Chittenden, 5:00 p.m.  BirchDel Poets. Regular potluck gathering to share poetry, prose, music, social discourse and personal commentary. Bring friends, words, music/instruments, potluck food/beverages.  Only $1.  Contact Chris Laro or Genie Rayner at woordswoman@yahoo.com, http://www.druidfarmcreations.com.

Wed, Aug 19: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, 11:00 a.m.  Alice B. Fogel,  Strange Terrain: A Poetry Handbook for The Reluctant Reader.  This book and workshop fills an empty place.  It is an essential resource for anyone who wants to feel more comfortable with reading poetry: individuals, reading groups, teachers, even friends and families of poets.  In 8 simple steps, readers will find the tools they need to make their own confident way through poetry’s strange terrain.  For info, 463-9404, vsbooks@sover.net.

Thu, Aug 27: First Congregational Church, Route 13, Newcomb Room, Thetford, 7:30 p.m.  Readings by the authors in Bloodroot literary magazine.  Readings of poetry and prose are by VT and NH authors published in the 2008 and 2009 editions. The event is free, open to public and there will be light refreshments served after the reading.  (Also, Bloodroot is accepting submissions for the 2010 edition, deadline is Sept. 1, 2009, and The Poetry Contest deadline is Sept. 15, 2009. Guidelines are on their website: http://www.bloodrootlm.com.)

Wed, Sep 9: St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury School, St. Johnsbury, 7:00 p.m.  “Readings in the Gallery” Series: Poet Marge Piercy, author of the 17 poetry collections and most recently Sex Wars, shares her printed words aloud.  For info, 748-8291.

Wed, Sep 9: Outer Space Café, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:45 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.  “Get the Word Out.”  Mouths form a medley of audible thoughts through slam poetry, open mic spoken word, rap battles and more.  Free.  For info, 318-6162.

Thu, Sep 10: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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. (Event originally scheduled for September 3.)

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.

Wed, Sep 16: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30-6:30 p.m. “You Come, Too.” Spend autumn lingering on Robert Frost’s celebrated depictions of the rural life with Peter Gilbert’s readings and discussion of his seasonal poems.  Free.  For info, 262-2626, x307.

Mon, Sep 21: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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. (Event originally scheduled for August 17.)

Thu, Oct 1: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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 13: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier.  Poet David Cavanaugh reads.  More on this event later.  For info, 229-1069, info@bearpondbooks.com.

Tue, Oct 20: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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, 8:00 p.m.  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, 8:00 p.m.  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

Bookstock: The First Annual Green Mountain Festival of Words!

BookStock

  • I wish I had known about this earlier but, if I have any readers in Vermont who are free this evening and tomorrow, try Woodstock’s first annual literary extravaganza! I have copied the brochure. Hopefully the promoters of  Bookstock won’t mind. To see the brochure in its native environment, along with links to its sponsors, click on the image above.

Program for Bookstock, the Green Mountain Festival of Words

Held July 31 to 1 August 2009 in Woodstock, VT, Bookstock is a community-wide celebration of books & authors – especially those connected with Vermont – & their role in helping us explore a wide range of human experiences.

Conceived as an inclusive event for all ages & literary inclinations, Bookstock features performances, lectures, workshops, participatory poetry events & readings for children & adults from Friday evening through Saturday evening. Many nationally recognized writers will be participating, as well as others familiar to Vermonters. (Speaker, writer and poet bios here.)

Bookstock is also designed to be a book browser’s & buyer’s nirvana. A mammoth book sale combining the North Universalist Chapel Society’s annual “Worlds Greatest Book Sale” with the Norman Williams Public Library’s “Summer Book Sale” will offer tens of thousands of new & used books for sale.

Most Bookstock events will be free. All events are open to the public. Programs will be held at various sites including the Town Hall Theatre, the Woodstock Elementary School, the Norman Williams Public Library, the North Universalist Chapel the Woodstock Inn, & the Woodstock History Center. All venues are within easy walking distance & are universally accessible. This program includes a map for your convenience.

If you have any questions please speak with one of our volunteers at any of the venues or visit our hospitality tents in front of the Norman Williams Public Library & in front of the Woodstock Elementary School.

Have fun & happy reading!

Events

Friday, July 31
7 PM
SpeakChorus: “The Incomparable Miss Welty”
Harriet Worrell, the Yoh Theatre Director in Woodstock, leads her students in a performance drawing from the work of Eudora Welty. North Universalist Chapel

7:15 PM
Keynote Speech, Reeve Lindbergh: “Of Words & Wings”
Anne & Charles Lindbergh left a combined legacy of flying & writing with their youngest child, Reeve. She will talk about the books she has written – for children & adults – & the stories behind them. North Universalist Chapel

8 PM
Opening Reception & Read-a-thon Kickoff, North Universalist Chapel
From 8 PM Friday to 8 PM Saturday, readers of all ages participate in continuous “relay reading.” Reeve Lindbergh kicks off this event reading from her book,Under a Wing. Participants will then walk to the Library for the remainder of this event. Norman Williams Public Library

Saturday, August 1

World’s Greatest Book Sale & Exhibitors

9 AM until 4 PM, Woodstock Elementary School
Tens of thousands of new, used & antiquarian books for all ages at great prices under one roof.

Exhibitors
Countryman Press
Everybody Wins! Vermont
Harbor Mountain Press
Otter Pond Bindery
Pleasant Street Books
Quechee Public Library
Thistle Hill Publications

10 AM-11 AM
Scavenger Hunt
Children ages 8-12 search the Norman Williams Public Library for clues left in the stacks. An exciting journey through one of the most beautiful libraries in America. Prizes awarded to all participants. Norman Williams Public Library

11 AM-NOON
Lecture & Panel Discussion on the Graphic Novel
Presented by the Center for Cartoon Studies. Woodstock Elementary School

Become an Exciting Clown Character
Jennie Lindheim will teach us different clown walks, voices, how to use clown props, & why clowns are happy all the time! For ages 10 & older. Norman Williams Public Library

Mystery & Danger in Vermont
The Darkness Under the Water is Beth Kannell’s historical mystery set in Waterford, VT. The book presents a dark & disturbing period in the state’s history as seen through the eyes of a teen. Beth will describe the events & narratives that led to her novel. She will read from it & answer questions. Ages 12 & older. Woodstock Elementary School

11 AM-12:30 PM
Make a Simple No-Sew Book
Susan Bonthron of Otter Pond Bindery will demonstrate & help you make (with materials provided) a simple book of your own, using decorative paste, paper & other materials. She will provide printed instructions so you can make more books without the need for special tools or equipment. All ages. Woodstock Elementary School

NOON
Book signing with Reeve Lindbergh
The Yankee Bookshop, 12 Central Street, Woodstock

1:30-3 PM
Writer’s Workshop
Vermont poet Geof Hewitt will lead a writing workshop emphasizing “quickwriting” as a means to get beyond the inner critic. Bring a pencil or pen & your notebook or paper! All ages. Norman Williams Public Library

Food & Wine Pairing with Deirdre Heekin & Caleb Barber
Local restaurateurs & authors, Deirdre & Caleb will lead a workshop on the flavors & scent of terroir in food & wine pairing. They will encourage participants to find the language to describe what defines taste & scent & how to apply it to the alchemy of creating & combining what we eat & drink. Food & wine tasting. Small fee of $10. North Universalist Chapel

Pearls, Politics & Power
Madeleine Kunin, Vermont’s only woman governor, discusses how women can win & lead in politics. Norman Williams Public Library

Write Next Door
Come listen to local authors Bruce Coffin, Peter Fox Smith & Joseph Olshan
as they share selections from their respective works. Following the readings & commentary, there will be a question-and-answer period, book signings, & refreshments. Woodstock History Center

Drawing Funny Faces with Anna Dewdney
Learn how this children’s illustrator makes her books & where she gets her ideas. Program features a reading & drawing presentation. Woodstock Elementary School

3-4 PM
Poetry Reading Featuring former Vermont State Poet Ellen Bryant Voigt
This Pulitzer & National Book Award finalist will read from her extensive collection of poetry. Norman Williams Public Library

3-4:30 PM
Make a Canvas-Covered Sewn Book
Maine book-art artist Annie Lloyd & local book designer Edie Crocker lead
us in crafting an eight-page sewn book with a decorative linen cover. This class is designed for ages 12 & older & is limited to 20 participants. Woodstock Elementary School

3:30-4:30 PM
Storytelling & readings for all ages
Stories for all ages with some of your favorite local librarians & storytellers. Norman Williams Public Library

Vermont Observed: An Essayist’s Viewpoint
Castle Freeman, an essayist for The Old Farmer’s Almanac & Vermont Life Magazine, will share his observations & writing experiences. He will read from his latest novel & answer questions. Woodstock Elementary School

4-5:30 PM
All Ages Poetry Slam*
Bring two original pieces of writing, each of which you can read or recite in three minutes or less. Our “slam-master,” Vermont slam champ Geof Hewitt, will provide modest prizes. *Slam is a lighthearted competition. Audience members, chosen at random, act as judges. Norman Williams Public Library

7:30 PM
Film: Inkheart
A young girl discovers her father has an amazing talent to bring characters out of their books & must try to stop a freed villain from destroying them all, with the help of her father, her aunt, & a storybook hero. Town Hall Theatre

9:30 PM
Writers’ Salo(o)n
After the pages of readings & workshops & lectures & book sales have all been turned, take an informal breather with like-minded, lit-minded folk. An opportunity to rhapsodize about the festival or favorite authors, read, recite,or just unwind with a glass or pint & chat: a book-lover’s medley in one of Woodstock’s most convivial venues. Richardson’s Tavern @ the Woodstock Inn

Sponsors & Supporters
Many thanks to our generous sponsors, supporters, organizers, presenters & volunteers!

Sponsors
Anything Printed
The Ardmore Inn
The Quechee Public Library
The Woodstock Elementary School
Woodstock Home & Hardware
The Woodstock Inn & Resort
The Yankee Bookshop, est 1935

Supported in Part by
The National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Humanities
The Vermont Arts Council
The Vermont Humanities Council

Partners
Norman Williams Public Library
North Universalist Chapel Society
Pentangle Arts Council
Thompson Center
Woodstock Historical Society

Thank You
Hartland Public Library
Howe Public Library
Woodstock Coffee & Tea
Woodstock Chamber of Commerce

Special Thanks
Program Front Cover Art & Bookstock Poster, Carol Egbert 2009
Back Cover Art, Katherine Roy 2009

It’s not me, it’s you.

A Bad Date

This, in a nutshell, is what too many modern poets and the poetry establishment, publicly and privately, has been telling themselves and telling the modern reader for over half a century: It’s not me, it’s you. Just recently I was discussing the matter with another blogger, who I like, but who contemptuously characterized the modern reader as only interested in greeting card poetry or  poetry for children.

Why I Wake Early - Mary OliverThe poetics of the last 60 years has largely been a failure. And who’s to blame? You.

What do I mean by failure? I mean that poetry, as a genre, has failed to engage the modern reader and audience.

There are exceptions. Mary Oliver would be an exception. So would W.S. Merwin. Oliver and Merwin, like all poets, have written good poems and bad poems (they don’t need me to defend them), but  they have engaged the modern reader in a way that no avant-garde  poet has equaled – certainly not Ron Silliman or Ashbery. At Amazon.com, Mary Oliver’s “Why I Wake Early” has a sales ranking of 8,636 (the best, so far, of any poetry I’ve found). John Ashbery CollectedBy way of comparison, the best John Ashbery  (the darling of the modern poetry establishment) – The Library of America’s Collected Poems: Volume 1 – has a sales ranking of 245,215. The book that is considered by many to be his masterpiece and very best, Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, comes in at 427,389. Ron Silliman’s Alphabet ranks at 523,241.

This means that, at Amazon, Oliver’s sales rank, compared to Ashbery, is 28 to 1; compared to Silliman 60.5 to 1.

And yet Ashbery was the poet who Library of America chose to glorify. In fact, according to Amazon, Oliver has consistently outsold every English speaking avant-garde poet on the planet. What does this say about her poetry? The ignored poets will tell you that popularity is no indication of quality, let alone greatness because: what do you know? – even while they themselves yearn to be read by you (read popular). This is a convenient belief and goes some way toward explaining why a poet like Oliver or Merwin, both of whom are far more widely read and appreciated by the modern reader, is overlooked in favor of Ashbery. And it gives you an idea of what the modern poetry establishment thinks of your taste: if the modern reader wasn’t such a lazy dolt with child-like attention spans and greeting card aesthetics, then the truly deserving poets (apparently not Oliver) would be popular. Really, it’s you.

By the way, and because the subject will inevitably come up, here’s how Amazon’s Sales rankings can be understood:

47.9% of Amazon’s sales consisted of titles ranked better than (under) 40,000. 39.2% of their sales were books ranked between 40,000 and 100,000.5 Titles ranked between 100,000 and 200,000 accounted for 7.3% of sales, while titles ranked from 200,000 to 300,000 accounted for only 4.6% of sales.5 Anything above that accounts for only 1% of sales.

Researchers at MIT (Brynjolfsson, Yu and Smith) studied publisher-provided data of one publisher’s weekly sales for 321 titles, and compared the figures to Amazon’s sales rankings for the same week. The observed weekly sales of these books ranged from 1 to 481 copies and the observed weekly rankings ranged from 238 to 961,367.5 Morris Rosenthal of Foner Books also analyzed performance based on a brand new book he published. Combining the information culled from both studies, if a book is ranked 100,000 you’re looking at selling about 1 copy per day. At a ranking of 30,000 it’s averaging between 1 and 2 copies per day. The 10,000 ranking calculates to 2 copies a day. The 1,000 ranking is estimated at 11 sales that day. A book with a rank of 10 is estimated to get 700 sales a day.

Keep in mind that a ranking at any single point in time is not indicative of actual sales. Selling two copies of a title, regardless of whether it has ever sold before, will propel it into the top 50,000 for at least a few hours. If the same book otherwise sells very rarely, or never, it will drop 100,000 rankings the next day, 400,000 rankings over the course of the week, another 200,000 rankings the next week, and so on. Eventually it will hover around 2,000,000.

So, keeping that in mind, I’ve been watching the sales rankings of both books, Oliver’s I Wake Early and Ashbery’s Collected Poems, for the last 8 weeks. They have both remained fairly stable. And as this post ages, you can check them again and update me. I’ll do the same. I’m all about the evidence. The long and short of it is this: Oliver’s book represents a part of the 47.9% described above, Ashbery’s book represents a part of 4.6% (which is all the more damning given the fanfare surrounding the Library of America’s publication). And if we’re making a fair comparison (single book to single book), Ashbery’s Masterpiece is found in 1% of Amazon’s sales.

Lastly, and as of 2008, Amazon represented 70% of the online book market. By any standard, that makes Amazon a fairly reliable indicator.

Is the audience out there?

Another refrain you will hear is that the audience for poetry no longer exists; poetry isn’t a genre that people care about. And you may also hear that the modern American reader can no longer distinguish between great poetry, good poetry or bad poetry. Both of these have to be among the most self-serving arguments ever concocted. It’s you, really, it’s you. We’re writing great poetry, you are just too clueless to recognize it.

In Tyler Hoffman’s book, Robert Frost and the Politics of Poetry, he opens with a lovely anecdote: “In 1919, Frost wrote a letter to his daughter Lesley. who had entered and lost a poetry contest, urging her to beware of caring about the reception of one’s [sic] work: ‘Setting our heart when we’re too young on getting our poems appreciated lands us in the politics of poetry which is death.'”[Intruction p. 1]

Hoffman continues:

As Vernon Shetley has shown, this hostility to modernist difficulty is not unique to Frost; other sophisticated readers saw that such difficulty spelt the demise of the “common reader” – a condition Shetley argues, from which we have not recovered: “The last time they [general readers] were sighted in large numbers was in Frost &  Politics of Poetrythe 1960s, refreshing themselves in the New England landscapes of Robert Frost.” Although the recent rap-meets-poetry scene has done much to reenfranchise the common reader, or, more accurately, the common listener, Shetley’s point is well-taken. [Ibid 2]

And finally:

To be sure, Frost’s poems seem on the surface fairly accessible by virtue of their colloquial sounds, and the appearance of his poetry in such mainstream magazines as Haper’s, New Republic, and Scribner’s attests to his success in attracting a popular audience. (…) In a 1913 letter, Frost made clear his ultimate intention of getting out beyond the poetry circle in his hunt for money and fame:

[T]here is a kind of success called “of esteem” and it butters no parsnips. It means a success with the critical few who are supposed to know. But really to arrive where I can stand on my legs as a poet and nothing else I must get outside that circle to the general reader who buys books in their thousands…. I want to be a poet for all sorts and kinds. I could never make a merit of being caviare to the crowd the way my quasi-friend Pound does. I want to reach out, and would if it were a thing I could do by taking thought. [Ibid 3]

And this is what Frost’s poetry continues to do, along with Oliver’s. They reach the crowd. And the crowd, contrary to the insinuations of modern poets, has no trouble recognizing the good poetry from bad. They continue to buy Yeats, Frost, Dickinson, Cummings (today’s sales rank 32,675), Keats, Eliot, etc… If they didn’t sell, publishers wouldn’t stock bookstores with multiple issues – never mind the numerous books on haiku, sonnets, love poetry, erotic poetry, etc…

Don’t be fooled. The audience is out there, but if sales are any indication, they don’t want to read disjunctive, non-grammatical poetry. A great poet may emerge out of the conceptual or avant-garde aesthetic, but it won’t be by badmouthing or ignoring the judgment of the “common reader”.  If these poets want to succeed (and with more than that success “of esteem” or the teapot-approbation of their own establishments) they will have to do it the same way every great poet has done it, by engaging the “common reader” intellectually and emotionally (which is what those other best-selling writers condescend to do, otherwise known as short-story writers, dramatists and novelists).

If  the vast majority of latter, 20th century poets aren’t read as widely as they might be, maybe it’s because their poetry isn’t as good as it might be?

Is it them, and not you?

And of course, my standards apply to me. If my own poetry is abysmally under read (and it is), then I’m not going to blame the readership. The audience is out there. I’ve certainly failed to reach it and I have failed to market myself (this blog is a start). I happen to think my poetry is great poetry but I haven’t put it to the test. I blame myself for that. Given the chance and exposure, suppose I fail?

Emily DickinsonThen it’s likely I’m a poor judge of poetry, especially my own.

I’m not going to blame my lack of success on the mediocrity of the masses.

Is popularity the same as quality?

This is the direction these discussions inevitably go. If one judges the worth of a work according to its sales, what about all those mediocre poets and artists who were also, in their own day, best selling? Think of Longfellow or Salieri.  Longfellow wasn’t a bad poet, but was hardly the equal of Whitman or Dickinson.

But the question isn’t whether mediocre artists can’t also be popular, but whether the better poets weren’t.

The foremost example of the great poet who wasn’t popular is Emily Dickinson. But her example is flatly misleading. In her own lifetime, Dickinson never courted the public. She effectively sequestered both herself and her poetry. What if she had tried to court the public? We don’t know. What we do know is that once her poems reached the public, after her death and, albeit , in an edited form (primarily normalizing punctuation and spelling according to scholars), they were a definitive success – rapidly adopted by the reading public.

Poetry FreedomWalt Whitman achieved considerable success during his own lifetime. So did Tennyson, Shelley, the Brownings and Wordsworth. Keats didn’t live long enough to see success in his own lifetime. And though his reputation ebbed and flowed, his influence was ever present. Among the moderns, T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost were both recognized by the general public and saw their work widely disseminated.

Looking back through history, the pattern is the same (though what it meant to be successful depended on the era). Shakespeare retired a rich man.

The bottom line: modern poets can’t argue that obscurity or neglect doesn’t portend continued obscurity and neglect. If this generation’s self-selected great poets are being largely ignored by the general public then, according to history, it’s a reliable sign that they will continue to be ignored.   How long will the current generation’s establishment continue to champion poets who aren’t being read? Probably right up until the next generation quietly (or not so quietly) removes them from their pedestals. That’s the way it’s always been.  While popularity isn’t a reliable sign of greatness, it’s a fairly reliable sign of mediocrity. Poets who courted the general public and were marginalized in their own day continue to be marginalized by later generations. Right now, I can’t think of any exceptions.

What poets are being read by the general public? They are, first and foremost,  the poets who write to be understood. Their poems possess imagery that the average reader can make sense of, along with clarity and unity of thought. The public continues to buy and read poetry written in rhyme and meter. The youngest audiences instinctively gravitate toward language that possesses rhythm (accentual and accentual syllabic meters) and rhyme. They find it in nurseryThe Shadows of Sirius - Merwin rhymes and later in rap and popular music. Go to a site like Poetry Freedom if you want to see what the youngest poets and readers enjoy.

It’s easy for modern poets to dismiss these young poets and their poems as trivial and mawkish, but the techniques they use, are learning and enjoy are the techniques of the great poets: Frost, Keats, Shakespeare, Cummings, Dickinson, Eliot, Yeats, along with poets like Simic, Merwin and Oliver. They’re the audience of the future.

My bet is that they know great poetry when they see it.

(W.S. Merwin’s Book, The Shadows of Sirius, as of July 22nd, 2009, has a sales rank of 5,406. Just checked at 4:30. Someone must have bought another copy, Merwin’s ranking jumped to 2,879.)

[The Frost book which I’m following is the Library of America Edition – same as the Ashbery. So is the Whitman, which I’ve included just out of curiosity. Ron Silliman is represented by his new book, the Alphabet. Christian Bök is represnted by Eunoia.]

———–Oliver-|-Ashbery–|-Merwin-|-Frost—|-Silliman-|-Bök——-|Whitman

July 23: 8,632 –|-346,513—-|-15,010—|-181,394-|-630,876—-|-555,938—|43,348
July 24: 8,192–|-371,296—-|-4,085—-|–71,003-|-678,531—-|-631,346—|38,318
July 26: 5,255–|-87,204——|-11,116—-|-184,614|-705,812—-|-206,932—|127,792
July 27: 8,618–|-94,564——|-8,527—–|-87,657-|-252,553—-|-344,750—|122,208

Robert Frost’s “Out, Out”

Buzz Saws and Saw Machines

When I first read this poem, barely a teenager, I got it into my head that Frost’s buzz saw was just another word for a chain saw. But chain saws, as we know them, didn’t make it to the general public until the mid 1920s. The types of saws Frost and New England farmer’s were familiar with are scattered throughout the post.

The saw at right is probably very close to the kind of saw Frost was imagining – called a buzz saw. Here’s how it worked: The flat surface that looks like a table slid forward and back on the two rails. The farmer would put the log on the table and push it through the circular saw.

If you look closely, underneath the front left corner, you’ll see a small iron wheel that rides on the rail. Behind the table, another close look will reveal another larger round metal wheel – the pulley. A belt went around this wheel and could be attached to any kind of motor: steam, gas, or even a horse. (By 1910, Ford was already producing and widely selling gas powered traction machines – later called tractors, that could be attached to a buzz saw.) But having both the buzz saw and the early tractor would have been an expensive proposition.

To get a better idea of how these saws worked, here’s an old gas driven rig, the kind that sawyers would have used (expensive in its own day).

Because I don’t see these rigs run anymore, even up here in Vermont, I joined an antique chainsaw forum to get my facts straight. Here’s what Tom Hawkins, a forum member to whom I’m most grateful, had to say:

[The video shows] a single cylinder (or one lunger) type gasoline engines, some of which are known as “Hit & Miss” or “Make & Break” engines. These terms refer to the engine ignition systems where the spark in constantly interrupted to maintain a set or governed engine speed. In some case it is not the spark, but rather the fuel charge that is temporarily interrupted, these are throttle governed engines. Those two engines pictured above are also hopper cooled type engines, where a large case iron tub filled with water surrounds the engines cylinder for cooling. Note it is not steam powered (…) but steam from the coolant that’s seen in the video. The stream is not uncommon for a working engine, and considered as a normal sign of proper engine operating temperatures, they run best when the stream is present.

Since the machines were too expensive for most, farmers and landowners would cut and stack logs during the winter. Later in the spring and summer, (with the wood close to the homestead) the Sawyers could bring their rigs right into the dooryard and cut the wood into “stove length pieces”. These pieces would then have to be split for cook stoves. Once again, here’s Tom:

A farm family would cut down small sized trees (about 9″ at the butt), beginning in the late fall (after the crop harvest) though early spring, dragging the logs over the winters snow was easier than the bare ground. This work had to be completed before the farmers time would be consumed with the springtime task of cultivating his fields. ¶ The firewood was needed for the next winters home heating and cooking supply, the cleared land for expanding their field crops. ¶ The logs were piled close to the wood shed or home for cutting into stove length pieces, then stacked inside for dry storage and winter access. ¶ The farmers would then arrange a time when the sawyer would be available in his area, the sawyers travelled from homestead to homestead doing several cutting jobs before moving on. Many people did however cut their own firewood by hand with an axe and buck saw.

What is clear, in both Frost’s poem and the newspaper clipping that inspired it, is that the saw was machine powered. These are the kinds of machines New Englanders used before the advent of chainsaws. They could be easily moved by a team of oxen or horses wherever the cordwood needed to be bucked. And there was very little in the way of safety.

On the Writing of the Poem

The title of Frost’s poem will immediately remind knowledgeable readers of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The title echoes what are, perhaps, some of the most famous lines in all of Shakespeare:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Macbeth Act 5, scene 5, 19–28

The feeling of exhaustion and surrender and life’s futility is palpable. And it warns, all too tragically, of the death (and its tenor) in Frost’s poem. Earlier in the play, and in keeping with Shakespeare’s habit of thought, the doubled combination of out appears in the character of Lady MacBeth.

Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One–two—
why then ’tis time to do’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie!
A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it,
when none can call our power to account? Yet who would
have thought the old man to have had so much blood in
him?

Macbeth Act 5, scene 1, 26–40

Lady Macbeth’s utterance expresses abhorrence – abhorring a deed that cannot be undone, cannot be washed out or slighted. The blood of murder, the spot, has irrevocably stained her hand. Likewise, the boy’s hand, all but severed by the saw, cannot be redone or restored. There will be no backward step.

Shadow Newman on FrostIn her indispensable book on Frost’s most famous poems, Lea Newman observes that Frost based Out, Out on a real incident. She writes:

The March 31, 1910, edition of The Littleton Courier of Littleton, New Hampshire, carried the following story:

Raymond Tracy Fitzgerald, one of the twin sons of Michael G. And Margaret Fitzgerald of Bethlehem, died at his home Thursday afternoon, March 24, as a result of an accident by which one of his hands was badly hurt in a sawing machine. The young man was assisting in sawing up some wood in his own dooryard with a sawing machine and accidentally hit the loose pulley, causing the saw to descend upon his hand, cutting and lacerating it badly. Raymond was taken into the house and a physician was immediately summoned, but he died very suddenly from the effects of the shock, which produced heart failure… {March 31, 1910]

I can’t recommend Newman’s book enough. Clicking on the image will take you to Amazon.com and the book will take to her more detailed introduction. Buzzsaw & TractorBriefly, as part of her introduction, Newman mentions that Frost didn’t write Out, Out until his return from England, the summer of 1915. She writes that, “he bought a farm outside the village of Sugar Hill, near the Lynches, with a view overlooking the five peaks of the Franconia Range(…) It overlooked five mountain ranges to the west toward Vermont, the same view described in the poem.” He wrote the poem in 1916.

The newspaper clipping doesn’t call the saw a buzz saw but a saw machine. In 1910, the terms saw machine could refer to just about any saw (including circular saws).

Note: The tractor at left is a Farmall from the 1930s.The Howell Drag Saw Machine

However, I’ve noticed that a machine called a drag saw was almost always referred to as a saw machine (when circular saws sometimes weren’t).

The illustration at right comes from the Encyclopedia of American farm implements & antiques. The motor (which could have been just about anything – including an animal) driving the drag saw isn’t in the illustration. To truly appreciate how these machines worked, I’ve found a youtube video of a steam driven drag saw machine. Notice that the saw hangs from a pulley (as well as in the illustration). Now imagine if the pulley was hanging loose or unsecured (or the rope of the pulley) and that someone accidentally bumped the rope or pulley. The blade might suddenly release. If the machine was running, imagine the damage to ones hand.

The Scansion

Now to the poem. Without further ado, here is the poem and it’s scansion. All unmarked feet are Iambic. Pyrrhic feet are yellow. Trochaic feet are red. Spondaic feet are purple. Green indicates a feminine ending. Blue indicates an anapestic foot. The colorized scansion is my own invention and I try to keep the colors consistent throughout my scansions. As far as I know, this little innovation is all my own. The colors, to my eyes, help to quickly visualize the Frost’s metrical patterning, his use of variant feet. If scansion and its symbols are new to you, visit What is Iambic Pentameter (The Basics).

A scansion of Robert Frost's Out, Out

Meter and Meaning

The very first thing to note is that the poem is written in unrhymed Iambic Pentameter, otherwise known as blank verse.

The second thing to note is that the repetition of a Pyhrric foot followed by a Spondee is one of the more interesting patterns in this poem. While I don’t think repeating the figure is, in and of itself, significant, each individual occurrence nicely underpins the text of the poem. While it might be too much to say that every one of Frost’s variant feet are meaningful, he certainly was aware of when he was varying the iambic pattern and the effect it would have.

First Lines Metrical Example

These are strongly varied lines. The second of the three has only one Iambic Foot. All the rest are variant. Frost must have liked the effect of the trochaic dust in the first line. The snarling, rattling saw made dust (where the word dust disrupts the normal metrical pattern. This foot is followed by the spondaic dropped stove. Here too, the meter nicely emphasizes the dropping of the stove length sticks with two consecutively stressed syllables. Did Frost plan this all out? I don’t know, but in this line at least meaning and meter work well together.

Sears & Roebuck Circular Saw Machine Ad 1897I chose to read the first foot of the second line as spondaic. However, one could also read it as Iambic and I have a hunch that Frost read it this way. (Frost usually emphasized the iambic pattern of his poems when reading.) The second line would then read as follows:

Sweet-scen | ted stuff | when the | breeze drew | across it.

The real virtuoso display comes with the phrase “when the breeze drew across it“. To my ears, the pyrrhic foot followed by the spondaic “breeze drew” nicely mimics the rise and draw of a breeze followed by its “fall” in the feminine ending: across it. It’s a lovely touch and I suspect Frost was aware of the effect.

The third line could also be read as iambic pentameter, thus:

And from | there those | that lif | ted eyes | could count

I could imagine Frost reading it like this but I haven’t found a recording. It’s said that Frost rarely read it. I’m guessing that he felt the poem ought to be more private than public, having been based on real events. The next lines that give a nice metrical example also both demonstrate a repeated pattern of thought in this poem, the pyrrhic foot followed by a spondaic foot.

And the Saw Snarled - Metrical Example

Note: For those readers and poets who really enjoy understanding how the minds of poets (and by extension all of us) work, there’s a fascinating little book by Edward A. Armstrong called Shakespeare’s Imagination. Armstrong traces what he calls image clusters in the works of Shakespeare. Swing Saw AdvertIn other words, when a goose shows up in Shakespeare’s imagery, the bird is usually associated with disease, lechery and even the plague. Likewise, when Shakespeare is reminded of a violet, his thoughts almost invariably turn to breath, which becomes wind, sweet airs and even tempests. Not only Armstrong, but other Shakespearean authors have noticed, if in passing, these same habits of thought. Caroline Spurgeon, in Shakespeare’s Imagery, notes similar patterns, including Shakespeare’s negative association with dogs. M.M. Mahood, in Shakespeare’s Wordplay , observes patterns of wordplay. When one word shows up, another associated word will usually show up with it. The reason I mention it is because I’ve noticed similar habits in the writing of meter. In any given poem or stage in a poet’s career, certain variant feet will show up and in habitual combinations. Compare the hard Iambic regularity of Mending Wall with Birches. The varying use of meter in all these poems certainly reflects on the intent and mood of the poem, but I also wonder if it reflects on the poet’s state of mind.

Back to Out, Out. Everyone who has heard a chainsaw knows how the engine revs and rattles. The two lines above, to my ears, capture that sound. The pyrrhic foot followed by the doubly stressed spondaic foot and the amphibrach (feminine ending) all contribute to a kind of metrical onomatopoeia: and the saw snarledand rattled/ as it ran light. By no means does every variant foot feel so nicely wedded to meaning, but Frost, like all great metrical poets, knows how to take advantage of the art when the opportunity arises. Mediocre poets will frequently dilute the power of such variations by introducing them meaninglessly and even contrary to the textual meaning.

All spoiled

The disruptive spondee |Don’t let| disrupts the iambic pattern – a kind of shock and outcry both textually and metrically.

The hand was gone

With this line the blank verse pattern breaks down. There are two ways to scan this line. Above, I’ve scanned the line as an Iambic Tetrameter line with a spondaic first foot and a feminine ending. It’s a nice little trick of meter. The hand is missing and a metrical foot is missing. With an Iambic Tetrameter scansion, the meter neatly reinforces the meaning of the text. Something is missing. The experienced reader of metrical poetry may subliminally or consciously sense the missing foot in the poem. The effect can be powerful, causing both the reader and the listener to pause, to palpably sense an absence. The line is the turning point of the poem.

Another way to scan the line (and the two ways of scanning the line are not mutually exclusive, though that may sound odd) is to treat the first two syllables as monosyllabic feet.

The hand was gone (monosyllabic feet)

Many, if not most, poets and metrists claim that monosyllabic feet don’t exist. I don’t agree. Metrical Art with ShadowI go along with George T. Wright, author of Shakespeare’s Metrical Art. He writes:

Occasional lines appear to be missing an unstressed syllable in some other position than at line -beginning or after a midline break. Anomalous lines of this kind appear in some early plays, sometimes (as in the work of Shakespeare’s predecessors) without notable expressive effect. But as Shakespeare develops the technique in his middle and later plays, it becomes a deliberate device for conveying emotional excitement. All of the following lines appear to involve a foot-long monosyllable intended to be spoken with great force or weight [The following is the second of the two examples Wright offers p. 178]:

King Lear Monosyllabic Feet

In like manner, I’ve read Frost’s So and But as monosyllabic feet. (This makes the line a five foot line.) While the variant feet don’t convey emotional excitement, they do convey a profound emotional turning point in the poem. I imagine the intonation as profoundly sad – a kind of tragic acknowledgment. The words could be spoken slowly with a generous pause – a tragic acceptance (though there are other equally powerful ways to read the poem).

Whether one reads the line as Pentameter or Tetrameter, the effect of both scansions can be felt simultaneously. And this is partly what scansion can do. It demonstrates the different ways readers and poets are affected by speech stress and rhythm in language, and sometimes there is more than one way to scan a line.

The final lines worth considering is the following:

Little, less, nothing

It’s the second line that’s especially noteworthy – a trochaic foot (the heart skips a beat), a spondaic foot (the last two heartbeats) and a pyrrhic foot (then nothing, no stresses, no beats). The boy dies. …such is Frost’s mastery of meter. I give him this one. I think he knew very well how he was playing the meter with the meaning. It’s an effect free verse can approximate, but can’t equal.

The Storyteller

A comparison of the newspaper clipping with Frost’s poem shows a number of changes. He changed the young man to a boy; and Frost clearly means for us to think the boy is more child than man – calling him “a child at heart”. If only given the newspaper clipping, I think most readers would imagine someone in his early to mid teens, rather than a “boy”.

Frost doesn’t want the reader to think this was simply carelessness – a young man who should have known better.

This was a boy, a child at heart, who didn’t know better. Frost suggests where the real responsibility rested: Call it a day, I wish they might have said. They, presumably, are the boy’s elders. Some critics and readers have read, in the poem’s closing lines, a cold callousness. Homemade Swing Saw (Side View)But if the narrator is assumed to be Frost, then there is also compassion and empathy in these lines. Frost possessed strong political opinions. And though his poetry is not overtly political, his philosophical and political views inevitably informed his poetry. Artists can’t escape their personalities (or at least I’m not aware of any).

Note: The saw at left is called a swing saw or swing saw machine. The swing saw in the image is homemade but is representative of the kind of saw that turn-of-the-century word workers would have been familiar with. (Cross-cut saws and chop saws would eventually replace them.) Notice how the saw is hanging like a pendulum. The weight of the circular saw blade (and assembly) were usually counterbalanced by another weight – like the “window weights” in old double-hung windows. If the counterweight hung from a pulley and someone bumped the weight or pulley, the saw might descend on the users hand. However, these saws were primarily shop saws and wouldn’t have been used in a dooryard for bucking lumber. In my view, a swing saw is probably not what was being referred to as a saw machine.

Some readers and critics have taken Frost’s poem as a criticism of child labor laws. Frost had spent time as an educator and so one might expect his sympathies to be attuned to the young. When Frost wrote the poem child labor was still a pernicious practice. It wasn’t until 1938 that the Federal government regulated child labor in the Fair Labor Standards Act. Frost, by this point, was already in his early sixties.

The other change was from a sawing machine to a buzz saw. Saw machines (like the larger drag saws) were probably less apt to be operated by a single person. The newspaper clipping states that Fitzgerald was assisting someone else (or others). A buzz saw, on the other hand, could easily be used by one person handling smaller logs. The impression Frost gives is of a boy working alone (his sister has to come out to tell him supper is ready). A child working after hours and alone only adds to the feeling, not of carelessness, but of tragedy. Frost additionally resists blaming the boy. He writes that the saw leaped out at the boy’s hand, as if it knew what supper was. The modern reader might wonder how a buzz saw could leap, but here’s Tom Hawkins again:

Now I’ve run many a cordwood saws in my life, so I kinda understand that poem a bit. Those old one lunger type gasoline engines had counterweighted flywheels to keep up their momentum as they were running, this caused the saw rig to bounce somewhat. The engines also had a make and break ignition, spark on and off as engine needed to maintain it’s governed speed, so as a new charged fired the whole unit would jump. ¶ I remember that when were cutting real dried out Oak or more so Locust (very hard wood), a large cloud of sawdust would surround an encompass us. ¶ It’s very possible that the saw did leap right out and take the hand, these type of saws really do jump, especially when their slowing to a stop, which appear to be the case here. The jump or leaping is caused by those counterweighted flywheels rotating at lower than normal balance speed.

Was it the boy? Was it the saw? Did the “boy give the hand”? It was fate. These things simply happen. The effect is to express the inexplicable.

Frost and the Poem’s Reception

As I’ve mentioned already, many of Frost’s readers were perplexed by the seeming callousness and indifference of the poem. Consider, as well, the reference of the poem’s title.

Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Is this how readers are to understand the boy’s death? – as signifying nothing? Other words and images occur in Frost’s poem that may or may not have their source in Shakespeare’s passage. Consider these lines:

all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

Then consider how dust appears within the first lines of Frost’s poem:

The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust…

And the saw does just that. The buzz saw turns the boy’s own life to dust. It makes dust both literally and symbolically. And the poem, like Shakespeare’s soliloquy, closes with the word nothing.

They listened at his heart.
Little — less — nothing!

Just as with the poor fool, the actor who frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more, so too is the boy’s heart “heard no more”.

Belief & UncertaintyRobert Pack, one of the only authors to offer a detailed analysis of the poem, writes in Belief and Uncertainty in the Poetry of Robert Frost:

The poem’s narrative arc is of dust returning to “dusty death” (Shakespeare’s phrase), although the narrator and reader are at first misled by the sweet-scented odor of the cut wood in the breeze. The narrator, along with those other would-be believers who have lifted eyes, appears to be enjoying a vision of great depth into nature itself — “the Five mountain ranges one behind the other / Under the sunset, far into Vermont” — as if nature were beautiful and benign, a spectacle of Wordsworthian and biblical revelation. But the narrator will subsequently realize that he has had, rather, a vision of nature’s beautiful indifference. [p. 158-159]

Pack calls the poem a confrontation with nothingness. And the feeling of nothingness and utilitarian purpose is only emphasized by the choice of words that close the poem, “no more to build on there“. This was more than the loss of a child. The work of building, of preparing for the season, the next season and the years to come never stopped. Frost’s words are hard. What had to be considered was not just the loss of a child but what the child contributed. Life in New England, at the turn of the century, was not easy. The response to the poem, among some of Frost’s closest readers and associates, seems to have put Frost on the defensive. Pack quotes a passage from a letter that may capture some of that defensiveness:

“And I suppose I am a brute in that my nature refuses to carry sympathy to the point of going crazy just because someone else goes crazy, or of dying just because someone else dies.” [p. 160]

Though Pack calls this passage “revealing” he doesn’t indicate why (or if) he thinks Frost was referring specifically to Out, Out. This sort of “hard pragmatism” can also be found in Home Burial. But even more revealing than this brief passage is the poem The Lesson for Today. As with the poem For Once, Then, Something, Frost seems to be responding to his critics, readers and even, perhaps, to his closest friends and family – acquaintances who may have accused Frost, himself, of that same hard callousness.

Major Themes of RFWe are all doomed to broken-off careers,
And so’s the nation, so’s the total race.
The earth itself is liable to that fate
Of meaninglessly being broken off.
(And hence so many literary tears
At which my inclination is to scoff.)
I may have wept that any should have died
Or missed their chance, or not have been their best,
Or been their riches, fame, or love denied;
On me as much as any is the jest.
I take my incompleteness with the rest.
God bless himself can no one else be blessed.

O hold your doctrine of Memento Mori.
And were an epitaph to be my story
I’d have a short one ready for my own.
I would have written of me on my stone:
I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.

Radcliffe Squires, who also noted the relationship between this poem and the poem Out, Out, comments:

What matters is that [Robert Frost] could hold together in one poem the two severe and mutually accusing ideas that one must be moved to pity and compassion and that one must coldly and sternly pursue the duty of endurance and survival.

The beauty of the poem, and it’s powerful effect on the reader, arises from the balance Frost obtains. The accident is both carelessness, “the boy gave the hand” and accident “the saw leaped”. The narrator is both compassionate, “call it a day I wish they might have said”, and coldly pragmatic, “since they / Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs”. The narrator is almost like nature itself – the passionate and dispassionate observer – that leaves us, the readers, to wonder at its design and purpose. That’s the best kind of poetry.

Vermont Poetry Newsletter July 16 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

July 16, 2009 – In This Issue:

  1. About VPN/How To Print
  2. Newsletter Editor’s Note
  3. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  4. Poems By Dawn Potter
  5. An Interview With Dawn Potter
  6. The Poetry of Science
  7. Slam Poetry Books In The New York Times
  8. Is Slam In Danger Of Going Soft?
  9. League of Vermont Writers Meeting 7/25
  10. Cleave Poetry, A New Poetic Form
  11. Digital-Poet-In-Residence
  12. The United States of Poetry
  13. Peter Cook, A Deaf Poetics
  14. Meetinghouse, NH Readings (Note Change)
  15. Robert Frost Farm Fund
  16. Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference –
  17. Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House
  18. Poetry Workshop: 001
  19. Interview With Kathryn Stripling Byer
  20. Book Review: Darwin By Tony Lopez
  21. Interview With Ron Silliman
  22. Book King Readings
  23. Did You Know? Table Of Forms (Poetic Techniques)
  24. Ponderings – The Marginalization of Poetry
  25. Poetry Quote (James Dickey)
  26. US Poets Laureate List
  27. Failbetter Poem
  28. Linebreak Poem
  29. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  30. American Life in Poetry Poems (2)
  31. Vermont Poet Laureates
  32. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  33. Vermont Literary Journals
  34. State Poetry Society (PSOV)
  35. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  36. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  37. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  38. Poetry Event Calendar

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1.)

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.

About Printing the VPN, or select pages:

Note: I don’t expect many of you will take the time (and paper/ink!) to print out the Vermont Poetry Newsletter in its entirety, but there are some of you that do.  Warning, each VPN can be 45-90+ pages long!  If you want to print out a certain page or two, then you can always take that route as well.  To do so, go to File, Print, Preview.  Then, find the pages that you’re interested in printing, then select Cancel.  Go again to File, Print, then type in that page or pages you’re interested in printing, then Print.  A second way to go about it is to open the VPN, highlight the area you want, go to Edit, Copy, then Paste it into an already opened Word document.

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2.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

I took part a week ago in one of the finest poetry readings in Vermont, ever (since Nov. 3rd, 2006, when accomplished Vermont poets, inspired to give personal expression to the threat of climate change, met at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester)!  Headlined by Paul Muldoon, there were such fine poets as Gary Margolis, David Huddle, Ray Hudson, David Weinstock, Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Leonard Gibbs, Mary Pratt, and more!  Half the Vermont Bookstore was standing-room only!  It was a true privilege to read in front of such a large crowd, and to friends of poetry.  That all poets could feel the power of such words, such community!

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISES

Writing Prompt (July 16)

Click on the image for the current writing prompt.

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4.)

Poems by Dawn Potter

  • On August 9th, you will have an opportunity to hear Dawn Potter read her poetry in Shoreham!  Along with her, Dawn’s mother will also be reading her own poetry!  Don’t miss this double treat.  Here are examples of Dawn’s work.  Below, I’ve also placed a poem written by her mother, Janice Miller Potter.

Dawn Potter - Three Poems

Psalm for Appalachia
By Janice Miller Potter

Turning shifts for decades, he left a chair by the door
where he tied and untied the broken laces in his boots.

The pencil-marked white table hosts his dinner bucket
whose lid should clank it another dent, whose waxed

paper is balled up for the garbage. But he’s left that.
Damp as dug coal, the night has hauled out hard scrabble.

Shirring and bounding, crickets clear weeds and grass.
A moth-eaten beam passes over the room and shatters

the table and the ladderback chair, coal-stained as a lung.
In the skillet, soot marls the sickly white bacon grease

left for a supper of fried eggs which never break.
Nobody is coming back. Nobody is ever coming back.

[from the chapbook Psalms in Time (Finishing Line Press, 2008)]

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5.)

An Interview with Dawn Potter
Dawn Potter lives and writes in rural Maine with her husband and two sons, teaches poetry, and chops her own firewood. The SR recently caught up with Dawn to discuss her work with Milton, literary influences, and the pains and triumphs of writing.

Sewanee Review

Click on Image to read the Interview.

A Second Interview with Dawn Potter!!

Potter Second Interview

  • Potter is one of several poets taking part in the Frost Place conference on Poetry and Teaching from June 30th to the Fourth of July in Franconia, NH. For more info visit the Frost Place website:

Frost Place Interview with Potter

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6.)

The Poetry of Science
By DAVID CORCORAN
NY Times, July 15, 2009

NY Times Poetry is Science

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7.)

Slam Poetry Books in the New York Times
By Joe Kraynak

NY Times Poetry Slam Books

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8.)

Is Slam in Danger of Going Soft?
By Larry Rohter
NY Times
June 2, 2009

NY Times Slam Going Soft

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9.)

League of Vermont Writers

“Writing on the Lake”

July 25, 2009 – LVW July Meeting

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Vergennes, Vermont

with Kate Messner – “You Had to Be There…But What If You Weren’t?”
and Daniel Lusk – “Lake Studies: Meditations on Lake Champlain”

10:15 am – 2:15 pm

Register here (only $23 for non-members): http://www.leaguevtwriters.org/July09meetingregistration.pdf

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10.)

WHO SAID THERE WAS NOTHING NEW IN POETRY?

CLEAVE POETRY, A NEW POETIC FORM

What is Cleave Poetry?

What is Cleave Poetry

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11.)

DIGITAL-POET-IN-RESIDENCE

The Bowery Poetry Club is pleased to announce our first Digital-Poet-in-Residence-

Dr. Christopher Funkhouser

Over the next year BPC will commission a series of digital poems. These poems will reside in the front window of the BPC. As part our new media outreach BPC has installed a digital display to bring cut-edge digital poems to the Bowery.

Click here to see Dr. Funkhouser’s commissioned poem.

Dr. Christopher Funkhouser is a poet, scholar, and multimedia artist who teaches in the Humanities Department at New Jersey Institute of Technology. A leading researcher in the developing genre of digital poetry, Funkhouser was a Visiting Fulbright Scholar at Multimedia University in Cyberjaya, Malaysia, in 2006; in 2007 he was on the faculty of the summer writing program at Naropa University. He is a member of the scientific review committee of the digital literature journal regards croises, based at Universite Paris 8, and has produced and edited many online and printed publications, including an early Internet-based poetry magazine, (We 17, 1993), the first literary journal on CD-ROM in the United States (The Little Magazine, Vol. 21, 1995), and ConVERSations with Nathaniel Mackey (1999). Since 1986 he has been an editor with We Press, with whom he has produced poetry in a variety of media.

Funkhouser is author of a major documentary study Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms, 1959-1995, published in the Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series at University of Alabama Press (2007). A bi-lingual collection of his creative and critical writings, Technopoetry Rising: Essays and Works, which includes a CD-ROM of electronic artwork, is forthcoming in Brazil. The Faculty of Creative Multimedia at Multimedia University issued Selections 2.0, an eBook (CD-ROM) of his writings and artwork (Malaysia, 2006). His critical work and creative work is widely published, and he has lectured in numerous countries, including France, Great Britain, Brazil, Thailand, and Singapore.

For more info see:
http://web.njit.edu/~funkhous (homepage)
http://writing.upenn.edu/pennsound/x/Funkhouser.html (PennSound)
http://www.wepress.org (We Press)
http://epc.buffalo.edu/authors/funkhouser/ (Electronic Poetry Center)
http://www.trickhouse.org/vol1/sound/chrisfunkhouser.html (book review: not a b (pdp remix)
http://web.njit.edu/~funkhous/prehistoric.html (Prehistoric Digital Poetry)
http://www.myspace.com/2007eleven (Myspace)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Funkhouser (Wikipedia)

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THE UNITED STATES OF POETRY

Sounds kinda’ funky, doesn’t it?  But worth a little of your time to explore: http://www.worldofpoetry.org/usop/

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13.)

This is also the site that I learned of Peter Cook:

  • PETER COOK is the most astonishing poet “writing” in American Sign Language today. Of course, for Peter the poem is composed “on” (in? through?) his body, where prepositions fail. For those who cannot speak (read?) sign, his language appears as an amalgam of gesture, dance, and almost-mimed theatrics. With the overlay of the (unspoken) language of the deaf, Peter’s performance becomes a metaphor for “The United States of Poetry”: giving voice to those who have not been heard. A native of Rochester, New York, Peter now lives in Chicago, where he teaches ASL Literature in high schools and acts in Deaf Theater.

A Deaf Poetics

Part I: A Poem

AboutPoetry Deaf Poetry Part 1

Part II: An interview with ASL/deaf poet Peter Cook

AboutPoetry Deaf Poetry Part 2

Part III

AboutPoetry Part III

Poetry is out of hand for masters of signing
From: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle – Rochester,NY,USA – Jan 29, 2005

Words alone can’t convey what they have to say
Greg Livadas 
Staff writer
Poetry is Out of Hands

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14.)

  • I usually don’t promote poetry events happening outside Vermont, but I find the following exceptional, and within an easy drive outside our state’s boundaries.

PLEASE NOTE: A Change for July 16th – Cleopatra Mathis is taking the place of Robert Pinsky.

2009 Meetinghouse Readings
Canaan, NH
Canaan Meeting House
Canaan Street & Roberts Road

Thursday, July 9, 2009
7:30 pm Pamela Harrison and Tracy Winn
Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing
Canaan, NH
Phone: 603.523.9650
Info: http://www.meetinghouse.us/

Thursday, July 16, 2009
7:30 pm Cleopatra Mathis and Elinor Lipman
Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing
Canaan, NH
Phone: 603.523.9650
Info: http://www.meetinghouse.us/

Thursday, July 23, 2009
7:30 pm W.E. Butts and Paul Tremblay
Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing
Canaan, NH
Phone: 603.523.9650
Info: http://www.meetinghouse.us/

Thursday, July 30, 2009
7:30 pm April Ossmann and Ha Jin
Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing
Canaan, NH
Phone: 603.523.9650.  Info: http://www.meetinghouse.us/

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15.)

Robert Frost Farm Fund

College establishes Frost-related funds 
to maintain farm, support writer in residence

Frost Farm Fund

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16.)

Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

The Conference will take place from Wednesday, August 12, to Sunday, August 23.

Bread Loaf Writer's Conference

Clicking on link will open a PDF file.

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17.)

Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House

“The Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House at NYU has proved to be the loveliest of boons to the New York literary community at large. It is a total delight to be there. The intimacy of the place combines with the fervor of literary enthusiasm, and the result is both charming and nourishing.”
-Alice Quinn, Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America

Lillian Vernon Writer's House

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18.)

  • Here’s a nice piece of work, showing how critiquing a poem works, how a poem gets rewritten.

Poetry Workshop: 001
Posted by Robert Lee Brewer

Poetry 101

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19.)

  • This is a particularly nice piece, talking about the “literary community” of a state, something the VPN has tried to bring to Vermont.

Interview with poet Kathryn Stripling Byer
Posted by Robert Lee Brewer

Interview with KS Byer

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20.)

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW
(From Ron SILLIMAN’S BLOG)

Darwin
By Tony Lopez

Silliman Reviews Darwin

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21.)

Ron Silliman Interview (1985)
Modern American Poetry

Interview with Ron S

Ron Silliman has written and edited over 30 books to date. Silliman was the 2006 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, a 2003 Literary Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts and was a 2002 Fellow of the Pennsylvania Arts Council as well as a Pew Fellow in the Arts in 1998. He lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania, with his wife and two sons, and works as a market analyst in the computer industry.

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22.)

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, at 6:00 p.m.  The next reading will be on July 31st.  There will be flyers at the Book King counter.

Please contact me (Ron Lewis – vtpoet@gmail.com) if you’d like to read; we need readers!

The theme is:

“POEMS THAT BRING A SMILE TO YOUR FACE”

Poets and listeners will be checked at the door for happy poetry.

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23.)

Did You Know?

Table of Forms

FITZPATRICK-O’DINN, Dominique. Table of Forms. Urbana: Spineless Books, 2006. Bridging the sonnet and palindrome through a rich taxonomy of new literary forms, Table of Forms is a collection of experimental, ludic, constraint-driven poetry; a puzzle book; and a writing manual. Dominique Fitzpatrick-O’Dinn and her skilled team of collaborators have created the most comprehensive survey of noncanonical poetic techniques since the Oulipo Compendium. Offering myriad reading paths, this multisequential anthology includes a Table of Contents, Table of Forms, Glossary of Forms, and a matrix on the back cover.

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24.)

“Ponderings”

And now for a Rosetta Stone in the language writing movement:

By Ron Silliman
The Marginalization of Poetry by Bob Perelman

marginalization of poetry

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25.)

“Poetry lies in order to tell the truth.”

Poetry Quote by James Dickey

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26.)

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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27.)

Black Roses
by Karen Rigby

Black Roses

failbetter.com is an online journal that publishes original works of fiction, poetry and art

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28.)

  • 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

If There’s Nothing You Need
by Adam Houle

If there's nothing you need

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29.)

Richard Jones

Noon

The Blessing

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30.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 224

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

When we’re young, it seems there are endless possibilities for lives we might lead, and then as we grow older and the opportunities get fewer we begin to realize that the life we’ve been given is the only one we’re likely to get. Here’s Jean Nordhaus, of the Washington, D.C. area, exploring this process.

Column 224

******************************

American Life in Poetry: Column 225

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

There have been many poems written in which a photograph is described in detail, and this one by Margaret Kaufman, of the Bay Area in California, uses the snapshot to carry her further, into the details of memory.

Column 225

******************************

American Life in Poetry provides newspapers and online publications with a free weekly column featuring contemporary American poems. The sole mission of this project is to promote poetry: American Life in Poetry seeks to create a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.

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31.)

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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32.)

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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33.)

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
Burlington College
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT  05401

2) Bloodroot

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
(802) 785-4916
email: bloodroot@wildblue.net

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
Attn: Orders
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

NEReview@middlebury.edu
(800) 450-9571

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

email: willardandmaple@champlain.edu

5) Vermont Literary Review

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Castleton State College, Castleton.

The first issue of Vermont Literary Review was published in 1994. The review is published once a year. Work featured in the review includes poetry, fiction, drama, and personal essays from and about New England.

From its inception until 2006, students and professors reviewed the work submitted and selected work to be published. They used to jointly edit and design the review as well. After a brief lapse, the Vermont Literary Review has resumed publication in 2008 as a journal edited and designed solely by English Department faculty. The Literary Club, which used to help create this journal, is now putting out a publication of student work.

Vermont Literary Review receives funding from Castleton State College, Castleton, Vermont.

Submissions

Vermont Literary Review invites creative work from and about New England. Poetry, fiction, drama, and personal essays should not exceed 4,000 words. All submissions must be postmarked between September 30 and March 31. Include SASE. Payment: two copies. Vermont Literary Review, Department of English, Castleton State College, Castleton, VT 05735. Editor is Flo Keyes. No simultaneous submissions. Submissions will not be returned unless SASE with adequate postage is included. Authors will be notified by mail and/or e-mail. Electronic submissions are not acceptable.

Purchasing Information
Current issues are available for $8.00 plus shipping. Shipping is $1.50 for 1 copy, $2.25 for two copies, $4.00 for 3-5 copies, and $5.00 for 6-10 copies. Checks should be made out to Castleton State College, but Vermont Literary Review should be noted somewhere on the check.

Vermont Literary Review
Department of English
Castleton State College
6 Alumni Drive
Castleton, VT  05735

Editor: Flo Keyes, (802) 468-6049
email: vir@castleton.edu

6) Green Mountains Review

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Johnson State College, Johnson; in publication since 1987.

The Green Mountains Review is an international journal publishing poems, stories, and creative nonfiction by both well-known authors and promising newcomers.  The magazine also features interviews, literary criticism, and book reviews.  Neil Shepard is the general editor and poetry editor of the Green Mountains Review.  The fiction editor is Leslie Daniels.

The editors are open to a wide range of styles and subject matter. If you would like to acquaint yourself with some of the work that we have accepted in the past, then we encourage you to order some of our back issues here. The following is a short list of writers of varying styles who have published in Green Mountains Review: Julia Alvarez, Robert Bly, Charles Bernstein, Charles Bukowski, Hayden Carruth, Stephen Dobyns, Mark Doty, Carol Emshwiller, Linda Gregg, Donald Hall, Michael Harper, Yusef Komunyakaa, Maxine Kumin, Phillip Lopate, Heather McHugh, William Matthews, Valerie Miner, Naomi Shihab Nye, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Molly Peacock, Robert Pinsky, Lynne Sharon Schwartz, Ntozake Shange, Reginald Shepard, Alix Kates Shulman, Gary Soto, Debra Spark, David St. John, Gladys Swan, James Tate, Walter Wetherell, Meredith Sue Willis, and Charles Wright.

There have been several special issues: one devoted to Vermont fiction writers, a second called Women, Community and Narrative Voice featuring short stories by women, a third filled with new writing from the People’s Republic of China, and another devoted to multicultural writing in America.  Our 10th anniversary double-issue surveyed the state of American poetry at the end of the millennium, our fall 1999 issue featured works of literary ethnography and our 15th anniversary issue, also a double-issue, featured comedy in contemporary American poetry. Our 20th anniversary issue, Literature of the American Apocalypse features poems and prose, darkly comic or deadly serious, that centers on American dread, inspired by everything from the current Administration’s war on terror and war on privacy, to continuing threats of environmental degradation, nuclear annihilation, world-ravaging disease, corruptions of culture and language, takeover by clones and computers, natural disasters that some say are caused by global warming and others say are acts of an angry god, or whatever else can be imagined by an end-of-days mind.

Subscriptions to the Green Mountains Review are $16.50 for one year (includes postage within the U.S.A.).  For Mexico and Canada, please add $2 per issue. For an overseas subscription, please add $7 per issue for shipping.

Green Mountains Review
Johnson State College
337 College Hill
Johnson, VT  05656

email: GMR@jsc.edu

7) Burlington Poetry Journal

The Burlington Poetry Journal is a new nonprofit publication interested in creating a means for provoking opinions, ideas, and thoughtful responses for poets in the Greater Burlington area. While there are numerous outlets for writers to gather and share privately in Vermont, there is no publication that brings together poetry of all styles and writers of all ages for the enjoyment of the general public. It is our hope that this journal will inspire writers to share their work with others who may be unaware of their talent, and for those who have never considered themselves writers to try their hand at poetry. We invite you to submit your work and share with others your thoughts and abilities with the Burlington community. The work you share will produce a dialogue as writers become aware of each other and begin to expose themselves and others to new poetry. The eclectic nature of the Burlington Poetry Journal will serve to stimulate its readers and authors.

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34.)

STATE POETRY SOCIETY
Poetry Society of Vermont

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

How to join:

  • mail dues of $20.00 to Membership Chairman, 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.


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35.)

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

3) InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop runs through the Vermont Independent Media’s Media Mentoring Project and is held at the Rockingham Public Library at 65 Westminster Street in Bellows Falls.  No previous writing or journalism experience or even class attendance is required.  Participants are invited to bring a project or share successful techniques.  The workshop aims to lift poetry from the page and reveal how it is a living force in daily life.  Originally taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago to great acclaim, its interactive nature and inclusion of multiple art forms leaves dry, academic notions of poetry behind.  It functions through three tenets: 1) Presentation of the art form as a living element of our daily world, 2) individualized, personal enrichment and free range of expression for each student, and 3) artistic ecultivation through unexpected means.  Taught by seasoned arts journalist, cultural critic and poet Clara Rose Thornton, this free event explores the poetry we encounter all around us – in songs we hear, the ways we express ourselves, even the advertisements we see.  In the final session students then create their own works with an increased sense of connection to the way words construct meaning.  All materials are provided.  Instructor Clara Rose Thornton is an internationally published film, wine and visual arts critic, music journalist, poet and former book and magazine editor.  Her writings on culture and the arts have appeared nationally in Stop Smiling: The Magazine for High-Minded Lowlifes, Honest Tune: The American Journal of Jam and Time Out Chicago.  Currently residing in an artists’ colony in Windham County, she acts as the biweekly arts columnist for the Rutland herald, staff writer for Southern Vermont Arts && Living and a regular contributor to The Commons.  A portfolio, bio and roster of writing and editing services can be found at http://www.clararosethornton.com.  For more information about the Media Mentoring Project, visit http://www.commonsnews.org or call 246-6397.  You can also write to Vermont Independent Media at P.O. Box 1212, Brattleboro, VT 05302.

BERLIN

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: solsonvt@aol.com or 454-8026.

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

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.

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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36.)

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

The Writer’s Center
58 Main Street, White River Junction, Vermont

Instructor: April Ossmann (author of Anxious Music, Four Way Books, 2007, writing, editing and publishing consultant, and former Executive Director of Alice James Books)

Info: (802)333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and http://www.aprilossmann.com

ANYWHERE, VERMONT

Revived for the 2009 academic year is the InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop, designed for upper-elementary and high-school-age students, grades 7-12. The curriculum functions through three tenets:

·     Innovative presentation of the art form as a living element of our daily world
·     Individualized, personal enrichment and free range of expression for each student
·     Artistic cultivation through unexpected means

The workshop debuted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, during a three-week summer program, entitled Project C.H.A.N.C.E., for underprivileged sophomore and senior students from area high schools. It was a fantastic success, and the program director requested its return. With this encouragement, I decided to expand and adapt the workshop for various age levels, as an educational/arts supplement for after-school programs and enrichment programs and an arts elective for more traditional academic settings. The response has been wonderful.

The curriculum is designed for a six-week duration, with one class held per week, per age group. The InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop can be tailored to your program’s needs. It is especially conducive to schools with a progressive, child-centered philosophy. Please view the synopsis below.

CURRICULUM:

A) Duration of Workshop: 6 weeks (also available as a 3-week session); one 1-hour class each week

B) Classes 1 and 2: Presentation of poetry as a force in our everyday lives, as opposed to it being a dry notion that people are forced to study in schools and think of as separated from their lives and reality. Poetry is in the music we hear, the stories we read, even the advertisements we see. These introductory segments aim to bring poetry off of the page and show how it is a lot closer to the students’ lives than they may realize. These segments serve as a way to introduce poetry by connecting it to things students are already familiar with and enjoy.

Classes 3 and 4: The study of two songs’ lyrics as poetry. I choose two songs of very differing genres, and have copies of the lyrics printed out for each pupil. Without the class being told what the songs are, their titles, or who they are performed by, we study them for meaning and expression, and the way the meaning is expressed through words. Studying them anonymously, without the connotation or attachment of what the songs may mean popularly, lets us focus on the fact that it is poetry and study how the words and metaphors are connected. At the end of class four, we listen to each song, and the students can compare what they’d imagined about the sound in their minds purely from the words, to the actual song.

Class 5: Each student creates his or her own poem, and I collect them at the end.

Class 6: I return students’ poems with any corrections for grammar and spelling and work with anyone who has questions, so that students can gain a better grasp of written expression. Then, volunteers read their poem aloud, and we discuss them as a class–what the poet was trying to express, and the unique route to that expression that he or she took–to gain better understanding of the art form and allow it to become a personal experience.

C) Instructor Fee: $600 (or $300 for 3-week session)

If you are interested in having the InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop taught at your school or program, please, get in touch.  (802) 275-7799, clara@inkblotcomplex.com, http://www.clararosethornton.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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37.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

The Burlington Writer’s Group (BWG) meets on Tuesday evenings from 7-9 PM and has a new home at the Unitarian Church in the church’s little white house off of Clark St., 2nd floor. They’d like to let people know and also invite anyone interested to join them whenever folks are in town or as often as they’d like.

The Burlington Writer’s Group is a free drop-in group. They decide on a prompt and write for 20 minutes, followed by a go-around reading. They can usually get in two writes depending on group size. All genres and experience levels are welcome and there really are no rules other than demonstrating courtest while people are writing (don’t interrupt).  They don’t do much critiquing though some spontaneous reactions occur. Mainly it’s good practice to just show up and write for 40 minutes and share the writing, if so inclined…

SPRINGFIELD

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/.

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 http://www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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38.)

Poetry Event

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.

Thu, Jul 16: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Michael Ryan. 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. (Event originally scheduled for July 9.)

Mon, Jul 20: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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.  (Event originally scheduled for July 27.)

Tue, Jul 21: Lawrence Memorial Library, Bristol, 2:00 p.m.  Poetry and Creative Writing Workshop for ages 11-18.  For info, 453-2366.

Tue, Jul 21: Colchester Meeting House, 898 Main Street, Colchester, 2:00-3:30 p.m.  “That Poetry Guy” Ted Scheu shares his penned works before participants compose fun rhyming stanzas and share them aloud.  For info, 878-0313.

Wed, Jul 22: The Norwich Bookstore, 291 Main Street, 7:00.  Pamela Harrison.  Norwich resident Pamela Harrison is a “Must-Hear.”  This time it is to celebrate the publication of her new poetry collection. Out of Silence is an unsentimental portrait of her parents that mines a rich story from her family experiences.  Info, 649-1114.

Thu, Jul 23: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Wed, Jul 29: Stardust Books, 1276 North Craftsbury Road, Craftsbury Common, 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m.  Back by popular demand–Stardust Books & Cafe is pleased to host their second Poetry Slam of 2009.

Poets, listeners, and art enthusiasts of all ages are invited to attend this high-energy literary event. Poets should bring two original poems. A voluntary donation of $1 is requested at the door. Income from donations goes to the winner. Poets are free to perform original works in any style on any subject. No props, costumes or instruments.

All members of the public are invited to listen, compete or judge. Free refreshments will be served.

Poetry Slam, the art of competitive poetry can incorporate
elements of storytelling, hip-hop and stand-up comedy. The open format of the competition, along with the absurdity inherent in trying to quantify art, have inspired slammers to take the stage for over 20 years.

For more information, call Stardust bookstore at 586-2200 or email stardust AT vtlink.net.

Fri, Jul 31: Book King, Center Street, Rutland, 6:00 p.m.  Poetry reading: Poems That Put a Smile On Your Face.  Ron Lewis and friends will read from their own poetry with aforementioned theme, upstairs in the beautifully restored historical building in downtown Rutland.  Gauze and bandages will be available.  For info, Ron at 247-5913.

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.

Sun, Aug 9: Platt Memorial Library, Shoreham, 7:00 p.m.  Poet and musician Dawn Potter from Harmony, Maine, will be reading with her mother, Janice Miller Potter. Dawn is the author of BOY LAND AND OTHER POEMS (2004), and is a freelance book editor and associate director of the Frost Place Conference on Poetry and Teaching in Franconia, New Hampshire. Her memoir Tracing Paradise: Two Years in Harmony with John Milton is due out from the University of Massachusetts Press in May 2009. In 2010 CavanKerry Press will publish her second poetry collection, How the Crimes Happened.  New poems and essays are appearing in the Sewanee Review, Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals. A member of the Beloit Poetry Journal’s editorial board, she has taught at Haystack Montain School of Crafts and for the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance. She has also worked extensively in the public schools, both as a visiting poet and as a staff music teacher.

Wed, Aug 12-Sun, Aug 23: Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Ripton.  Poetry readings TBA.

Wed, Aug 12: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30-6:30 p.m. “You Come, Too.” Spend autumn lingering on Robert Frost’s celebrated depictions of the rural life with Peter Gilbert’s readings and discussion of his seasonal poems.  Free.  For info, 262-2626, x307.

Wed, Aug 12: Bradford Academy, Main Street, Bradford, 7:00 p.m. “Poems & Pieces.” Audience members contribute to an evening of poetry readings by sharing their favorite works – with special emphasis on local materials.  Free.  For info, 222-4423.

Wed, Aug 12: Outer Space Café, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:45 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.  “Get the Word Out.”  Mouths form a medley of audible thoughts through slam poetry, open mic spoken word, rap battles and more.  Free.  For info, 318-6162.

Wed, Aug 19: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, Alice B. Fogel,  Strange Terrain: A Poetry Handbook for The Reluctant Reader.  This book and workshop fills an empty place.  It is an essential resource for anyone who wants to feel more comfortable with reading poetry: individuals, reading groups, teachers, even friends and families of poets.  In 8 simple steps, readers will find the tools they need to make their own confident way through poetry’s strange terrain.  For info, 463-9404, vsbooks@sover.net.

Thu, Aug 27: First Congregational Church, Route 13, Newcomb Room, Thetford, 7:30 p.m.  Readings by the authors in Bloodroot literary magazine.  Readings of poetry and prose are by VT and NH authors published in the 2008 and 2009 editions. The event is free, open to public and there will be light refreshments served after the reading.  (Also, Bloodroot is accepting submissions for the 2010 edition, deadline is Sept. 1, 2009, and The Poetry Contest deadline is Sept. 15, 2009. Guidelines are on their website: http://www.bloodrootlm.com.)

Wed, Sep 9: St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, St. Johnsbury School, St. Johnsbury, 7:00 p.m.  “Readings in the Gallery” Series: Poet Marge Piercy, author of the 17 poetry collections and most recently Sex Wars, shares her printed words aloud.  For info, 748-8291.

Wed, Sep 9: Outer Space Café, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:45 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.  “Get the Word Out.”  Mouths form a medley of audible thoughts through slam poetry, open mic spoken word, rap battles and more.  Free.  For info, 318-6162.

Thu, Sep 10: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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. (Event originally scheduled for September 3.)

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.

Wed, Sep 16: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30-6:30 p.m. “You Come, Too.” Spend autumn lingering on Robert Frost’s celebrated depictions of the rural life with Peter Gilbert’s readings and discussion of his seasonal poems.  Free.  For info, 262-2626, x307.

Mon, Sep 21: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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. (Event originally scheduled for August 17.)

Thu, Oct 1: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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 13: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier.  Poet David Cavanaugh reads.  More on this event later.  For info, 229-1069, info@bearpondbooks.com.

Tue, Oct 20: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  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, 8:00 p.m.  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, 8:00 p.m.  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

(Gal-Ols)

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The Animal Tales • The Seventh of Several Fables

7. Cooked Goose

A fable that follows: Greener Grass

The dog smarted from the fox’s tricks. So the dog spent the day studying the lives of the other animals and after much hind- and little fore-thought, he decided the goose led the best life. Fox & Cooked GooseIt did not wallow in mud. It did not have to pull the plow or the carriage. And it did not eat trash like the goat. And so the dog curled up with the geese that night, the same night the farmer’s wife thought her pillow seemed thin.

“I’ll be going to get some feathers tonight,” she said. “Nah,” said the farmer, “we’ll cook a goose tomorrow.” “I’ll just take a wingtip feather,” she answered, and out she went. She felt, in the dark for the softest feather.“Now that’s the feather!” she said when she found the dog’s tail. She yanked hard and merrily. “YELP!”  The dog took flight! “Humph! What an odd goose!” said the farmer’s wife and returned to bed.
As luck would have it, the dog leapt into the apple tree and  hung there by his mouth, afraid to let go. The animals came and went the next morning. “Such an ugly apple!” they said. “Like a plum with teeth!” said others. “Didn’t I say it would be a bad year for apples?” asked the farmer’s wife as she plucked a goose for cooking. When anyone came near, the dog abruptly wagged his tail (to keep it from being plucked again!) and does so to this day! Finally the dog tumbled out of the tree.

“Humph!” said he. “Better a dirty dog than a cooked goose!”

Be it known that this fable is followed by: What’s Sweetest: The Eighth of Several Fables!