Vermont Poetry Newsletter • February 18 2010

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

[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. If I cannot find a link, I will either omit the relevant portion of the newsletter to avoid copyright violations, or I will provide an alternate link. Please contact Ron Lewis if you would like to receive his Newsletter in full. All images are linked.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter

Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State

February 17, 2010 – In This Issue:

  1. About VPN/How To Print
  2. Newsletter Editor’s Note
  3. Writing Assignment/Suggestion/Exercise/Prompt
  4. Queen City Review
  5. Social Band – A Call For Song Lyrics
  6. The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes
  7. Don’t Get Me Wrong, Criticism by Patrick Gillespie
  8. NH Poet Laureate Walter E. Butts
  9. VT Poet Wins VT Senior Poet Laureate Award
  10. 2010 Senior Poet’s Laureate Poetry Competition
  11. Galway Kinnell – Complete Bio
  12. Brighten The Barn – PSOV Anthology
  13. 2009 NH Writer’s Handbook
  14. New Willie Mays Book
  15. Palindrome
  16. Recommended Readings in Rhetoric
  17. Lucille Clifton Dies at Age 73 (5 articles)
  18. Sidewalk Verse in St. Paul
  19. Book Reviews (2) – Tony Hoagland
  20. Digital Muse for Beat Poet (Gary Snyder)
  21. Movie Review: A Room and a Half (Joseph Brodsky)
  22. Brautigan’s Surreal Story: ‘Trout Fishing in America’
  23. Poem of the Week: 26th Winter by John Dofflemyer
  24. Poet Alum Gives Back to Middlebury
  25. Matthew Dickman, Michael Dickman??
  26. Block Island Poetry Project
  27. Did You Know? What Are Poetry Chapbooks?
  28. Ponderings: “P.O.E.M. — The Professional Organization of English Majors”
  29. Poetry Quote – Paul Engle
  30. Failbetter Poem
  31. Linebreak Poem
  32. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  33. American Life in Poetry Poems
  34. US Poets Laureate List
  35. Vermont Poet Laureates
  36. US Poet Laureates From Vermont
  37. New Hampshire Poet Laureates
  38. US Poet Laureates From New Hampshire
  39. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  40. Vermont Literary Journals
  41. Vermont Literary Groups’ Anthologies
  42. Vermont Poetry Blogs
  43. State Poetry Society (PSOV)
  44. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  45. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  46. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  47. Other Writing Groups in Vermont
  48. Poetry Event Calendar

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.

The mission of the Vermont Poetry Newsletter is to foster the poetry arts community in the Green Mountain State.  Its goals are to serve as a resource for and about VT poets; to support the development of individual poets; and to encourage an audience for poetry in Vermont.

2.) Dear Friends of Poetry:

There is a lot of great news in this VPN, so hopefully it should last you until the next issue.  I’ve been on a monthly schedule lately, rather than weekly, and I think that might be best, considering my personal agenda.

Thanks to so many of you who have been writing to me, saying how much they look forward to each new VPN.  Believe me, I put many evenings into making it worth your while to read through all the items I’ve brought to light.  Even if you peck away at it, reading this, skipping that, you’ll still find enough to make you think “poetry.”

For the real diehards, the AWP (Association of Writers & Writing Programs) Annual Conference & Bookfair has sent its catalog out, and suddenly April, National Poetry Month, doesn’t seem that far off.  With that, I’ve just begun to receive and report to you a sprinkling of poetry readings that celebrate NPM.  Perhaps you should begin to think about organizing a reading at your local library!

Until March, when I finally turn the dreaded 60 . . .

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher


1) Now that Valentine’s Day has come and passed, perhaps there’s a bit of time in your schedule to write a Valentine poem.  If you count the inscriptions on Valentine’s Day cards as poems, which I suppose they are, then I have about 6,000 stored away in my attic!  Yes, I collect antique Valentine’s Day cards as a hobby, having one of the largest collections in the Eastern US.  Every year, in getting ready for various exhibits, I get many of them down, and spend several hours reading through and delighting in them.  Like Christmas, it gives me that extra something I need to get me in the mood for the season.  Now that the excitement from the Big Day has died down (remember, if it hasn’t, see your doctor), perhaps its time to sit down and write some words of love while those feelings are still fresh.

2) By now, you’ve all heard about tweets and the social networking site, Twitter.  Tweets are text posts that are short messages, no longer than 140 characters long, which includes spaces.  Perfect for poetry, no?  So, your second exercise this week is to build a poem out of a tweet.

Good Luck!


There is an exciting new issue out of a Vermont Literary Magazine that we Vermonters should be proud to be associated with, even in some small way.  The QCR is a product of Burlington College, a college the Vermont community has a tendency to perhaps not recognize when speaking of colleges within its borders.  In fact, I think they’re overlooked among their peers, and when thumbing through the QCR, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.  I think we’re darn lucky to have Burlington College to call our own, and I’ll proudly place their QCR among my most beloved literary magazines.  Contact them and be a subscriber at only $8 per (always lovely) issue.  They have some wonderful new work in their Fall 2009 issue (Vol. 2, No. 1) by Major Jackson, Nora Mitchell, and Dave Cavanagh, all names we of course recognize as major voices in poetry.


Heidi Berkowitz
Faculty, Interdisciplinary Studies
Coordinator, The Writing Center
Editor, The Queen City Review (QCR)
Burlington College
95 North Avenue
Burlington, Vermont 05401
T: 802-862-9616


Social Band is a lively group of over twenty singers based in Burlington, Vermont, known for its strong voices and joyful, high-quality performances. Featuring a powerful, full sound, Social Band brings warmth and vitality to its broad repertoire. Social Band was founded in 1998 to explore the diverse repertoires of both traditional and “art” music. Directed by Amity Baker, our presentation strikes a balance between raw exuberance and a polished sound.

What We Sing

Our repertoire is based on the notion that “folk” and “classical” music are parts of a continuum, each with its own distinct flavor. Our concerts feature music from a wide range of genres:

  • American shape-note and Appalachian music
  • British Isle counterparts
  • Balkan and Georgian music
  • European medieval and renaissance music
  • music composed by Social Band members

The common threads? Much of this music is modal, most of it is polyphonic, and the harmonies are rich and engaging. We seek out music that is often overlooked by more conventional choruses. Most importantly, our music stirs the soul, is fun to sing, and our audiences love it!

To contact us:

Amity Baker, Artistic Director
(802) 355-4619
Ann Pearce, Booking and PR Manager
(802) 658-8488
Ken Brown, Executive Manager
Mailing Address: Social Band, 87 Coyote Ridge Road, Hinesburg, VT 05461
Email/general info:

  • You’re probably asking yourselves why I’m giving airplay to this well-respected, Burlington-based a cappella singing group.  Well, they take special pride in showcasing music which has been composed by Vermonters, and they use lyrics written by local poets as well as poets from ” the literary establishment”.  The group is currently looking for New England (especially Vermont) poets who would like to submit work for choral application!

Poets who are interested in having their work adapted and performed by (and with) Social Band should send a note to Social Band c/o Ms Amity Baker, 87 Coyote Ridge, Hinesburg, VT 05461 or Email to  Good luck!
(Thank you to poet Sue London for bringing this invitation to light.)


The Highwayman
by Alfred Noyes 1880-1958, written in 1907

“The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes is a classic favorite poem that tells a good story with powerful imagery and a rhythmic cadence reminiscent of horse’s hooves. The story tells of the highwayman’s visit to see the beautiful Bess at the old inn (probably the Spaniard’s Inn on Hampstead Heath) and of the terrible fate they both meet. The mysterious ending of the poem suggests that the lovers’ spirits still linger on the edge of the heath. Their haunting story certainly remains alive in the words of Alfred Noyes.

Be sure to catch the Alliterations (the repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words), the Metaphors (figures of speech which makes a comparison between two things without using the word like or as), Personifications (figures of speech in which a non-human objects are given human qualities, and Similes (figures of speech which make a comparison between two things using the word like or as).


Don’t Get Me Wrong
By Patrick Gillespie

A Vermont poet, who writes poetry, haiku, fables & criticism at

I love poetry.
But as far as the public is concerned, poetry died with the modernists.
No poets ever filled their shoes. And though there remain a number of minor masters and one hit wonders, few passing pedestrians could name a poet from the last 50 to 60 years – let alone the same poet, let alone the title of a poem, let alone a first line. Even though I’ve never watched a single game of ice hockey from beginning to end, I know who Wayne Gretzky is. And even though I’ve never watched more than two holes of golf, I know  that Tiger Woods is not just a gifted philanderer, but a great golfer.
Ask anyone to name a novelist of the last half century and names will come tumbling.
How about JK Rowling?
Ask anyone to name a contemporary poet and you will be lucky to scrape by with John Ashbery, notwithstanding his much ballyhooed publication in  Library of America.  I know because I’ve asked friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers. Try it yourself. Harold Bloom made the comment that “since the death of Wallace Stevens in 1955, we have been in the Age of Ashbery.” And when you think about it, that’s about as back-handed a compliment as he could possibly make. If Ashbery is a virtual unknown among the larger public, what does that say about the generation scurrying around his ankles? [….]

8.) N.H. Poet Laureate Walter E. Butts

Butts, a resident of Manchester, N.H., was named the state’s 11th N.H. poet laureate in March 2009 and will serve a five-year term. He is the author of several poetry collections, including Sunday Evening at the Stardust Café (1st World Library, 2006) – winner of the 2006 Iowa Source Poetry Book Prize and a finalist for the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry from the University of California at Fresno – and Movies in a Small Town (Mellen Poetry Press, 1997).

The recipient of a Massachusetts Artists Foundation Fellowship Award and a nominee for two Pushcart Prizes, Butts frequently publishes his poetry in such magazines as the Atlanta Review, Cimarron Review, Mid-American Review and Poetry East. His most recent chapbooks are Sunday Factory (Finishing Line Press, 2006) and What to Say if the Birds Ask (Pudding House Publications, 2007).

A faculty member of Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., Butts teaches in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program in creative writing. He previously served as associate professor of English at Hesser College in Manchester, N.H., and has taught in poetry workshops at the University of New Hampshire and for the New Hampshire Writers’ Project. In addition to his teaching, he has been involved in a number of literary projects and was co-editor of the journal, Crying Sky: Poetry & Conversation, together with his wife, poet S Stephanie. He holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College.

In his role as the state’s poet laureate, which comes with no specified duties or compensation, Butts seeks to advance the visibility of poetry and poets. He finds that poetry is especially important to individuals and societies in times of great turmoil.

“There’s a fantastic community of poets in the state,” he says. “I really believe that poetry, in many, many ways, is the literary form that is closest to expressing the human condition, the human spirit,” he said. “This appointment compels me, in a very positive sense, to really be involved, to really participate. It’s an ideal situation for a poet to be in.”
Butts replaces former poet laureate Patricia Fargnoli of Walpole. The N.H. State Council on the Arts and the N.H. Department of Cultural Resources nominated him for the appointment, and the Poetry Society of New Hampshire then recommended him to Gov. John Lynch. His nomination was ratified by the state Executive Council on March 3, 2009.

The new poet laureate plans to work with independent bookstores and arts organizations around New Hampshire to offer opportunities for the public to connect with poets and poetry. He also hopes to assist New Hampshire poets in connecting with small publishers in the state and make himself available for poetry readings as well.

A native of the town of Le Roy, N.Y., Butts has lived in several cities with active poetry communities, including Rochester, N.Y., Boston, Albany and New York City. Along the way, he worked in human services jobs and took college courses, writing poetry all the while. Before moving to Manchester seven years ago, he lived in Portsmouth for close to a decade, where he and S Stephanie organized poetry reading series on the Seacoast.

9.) Congratulations to our fellow poet, Regina Murray Brault!

VT Poet Wins Senior Laureate Award
Regina Murray Brault

November 30, 2009
Vermont Maturity Magazine/Rural Route Today

Regina Murray Brault, 71, Pushcart Prize nominee from Burlington, has won the 2009 Vermont Senior Poet Laureate Award for her free verse “Mother Tongue” in the 17th annual national Senior Poets Laureate Poetry Competition for American poets age 50 and older. She won the National Senior Poet Laureate Award in 1996.

Yvonne Nunn, dean of the Cyber-College of Online Poetry, served as administrator of the 2009 Senior Poets Laureate competition in which laureate poems from all states competed for the national laureate prize. Details about the contest appear in the online anthology GOLDEN WORDS at, the web site of Amy Kitchener’s Angels Without Wings Foundation, the sponsor of the poet laureate award.

10.) 18th National Annual 2010 Senior Poets’ Laureate Poetry Competition

Published & Unpublished Poems OK
No Limit to number of entries you may submit.

A literary contest open to all American poets age 50 and older who are U.S. Citizens regardless of where they live or are temporarily staying throughout the world, the 2010 SPL Contest is sponsored by VERA-JANE GOODIN SCHULTZ and WANDA SUE PARROTT, original co-founders of the competition and current co-administrators of the 2010 event. Judges will include former Senior Poets Laureate of the Meeting The Muse Panel of Judges. Entries accepted Jan. 1 through June 30, 2010.


  • Galway Kinnell is a fellow Vermonter who I believe we sometimes take for granted.  Here is a beautiful biography on the man, the poet.

Galway Kinnell (1927 – )

Galway Kinnell is an award-winning poet whose work over four decades has sought to establish the significance of life through daily human experience: the poetic, the cosmic, the social, the cultural, and the individual. New York Times Book Review essayist Morris Dickstein called Kinnell “one of the true master poets of his generation and a writer whose career exemplifies some of what is best in contemporary poetry.” Dickstein added, “There are few others writing today in whose work we feel so strongly the full human presence.” Robert Langbaum observed in the American Poetry Review that Kinnell, “at a time when so many poets are content to be skillful and trivial, speaks with a big voice about the whole of life.” As Al Haley noted of Kinnell on Abiline Christian University’s Web site, “His poetry is understandable, and at the same time amazingly lyrical, energetic, and inventive. He has lived long enough to have produced a significant body of work that makes a lasting contribution to American poetry.” 

According to Charles Frazier in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Kinnell’s poetry “has been devoted to a remarkably consistent, though by no means limited, range of concerns. The subjects and themes to which he has returned again and again are the relation of the self to violence, transience, and death; the power of wilderness and wildness; and the primitive underpinnings of existence that are disguised by the superstructure of civilization[….]

12.) Brighten the Barn

60th Anniversary Anthology
Poetry Society of Vermont

  • Forget that I’m the Reporting Secretary of the PSOV, I believe this book, all 99 pages of it, is a poetry bargain!  I have several issues in my possession, and if you’d like to have one or more issues, please send me $10 per copy, and I’ll get it out to you; I’ll even swallow the cost of postage!  This is a book that every Vermont poet should have in their library, in support of their own state poetry society, the PSOV.

13.) 2009 NH Writer’s Handbook is a vital resource for Granite State writers. This 30 page booklet includes more than 400 listings covering information about conferences, retreats, directories of publishers and agents, young writers’ resources, and many other topics.This new edition, published June 2009, also includes five articles about the business of writing, from creating your own Web site to promoting your book, and more. Order your handbook below, or send a check with your request to NHWP, 2500 North River Road, Manchester, NH 03106.

$14 NH Writer’s Handbook (includes $2 postage & handling)


  • A new book, WILLIE MAYS: THE LIFE, THE LEGEND, written by James S. Hirsch (Scribner, 628 pages, illustrated, $30) is on the shelves now.  It’s a book I’ll have to buy, for as a kid growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Willie (not Willie McCovey) was my hero.  When he didn’t show up at a grocery store with McCovey to sign autographs back in 1961 or so, I made it my ambition in life to get to talk with this legend, which I did one day at Candlestick Park, thanks to my dad.  Some day I might have the wherewithal to write of my time with Willie, who knows.  The least I could do is recount my talk, or some incredible plays I saw Willie make, that make his famous catch in the 1954 World Series look like child’s play.  What I saw lends themselves to poetry, believe me.  As a kid, I played centerfield in Little League, I caught balls using Willie’s basket-catch technique, and had his batting style down pat.  I watched every Giants game that was on TV, was witness to many in person, and heard literally hundreds of other Giants games on the radio that I could (bless the broadcasters Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges).  Willie was bigger than life to me, and from what I see these days, by far the best AND BASEBALL SMART baseball player of the last 60 years.  Every major league team owner these days would be shaking in their boots if they had to pay Willie what he was worth in today’s market.


  • A palindrome reads the same backwards as forward.  This video reads the exact opposite backwards as forward.  Not only does it read the opposite, the meaning is the exact opposite. This is only a 1 minute, 44 second video and it is brilliant.  Make sure you read as well as listen. forward and backward.  This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old.  The contest was titled “u @ 50”  by  AARP. This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause.  So simple and yet so brilliant. Take the minute it takes to watch it.

16.) Recommended Readings in Rhetoric

silva rhetoricae

  • Reference Works
  • Studies of Rhetoric
  • Anthologies of Classical and Renaissance Rhetoric
  • Primary Texts (Monographs and online text of original sources)
  • Textbooks for Teaching Writing
  • Shakespeare and Rhetoric

17.) Lucille Clifton, Award-Winning Poet, Dies at 73

Published: February 13, 2010

BALTIMORE (AP) — Lucille Clifton, a National Book Award-winning poet and Pulitzer finalist, has died. She was 73. [….]


Clifton, honored poet from Buffalo, dies
By Jay Rey
Published: February 13, 2010

Lucille Clifton, born and raised in the Buffalo area before going on to achieve some of the literary world’s highest honors as a major American poet, died Saturday morning at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore at age 73, her sister told The Buffalo News. [….]


CLIFTON–Lucille, June 27, 1936 – February 13, 2010. The Poetry Society of America mourns the loss of the poet Lucille Clifton, selected to receive the 2010 Frost Medal, the highest honor of the organization in its Centennial year[….]


Rest in Peace Lucille Clifton, Poet Extraordinaire
Feb 15th, 2010 by Richard Johnson.

Some women are born poets, the world grabbing the hem of their skirts, singing to them, pressing images into their sweaty palms. So it was with Lucille Clifton, who at the age of 73, passed away Saturday morning. [….]


Lucille Clifton

Lucille Clifton was born in Depew, New York, on June 27, 1936. Her first book of poems, Good Times, was rated one of the best books of the year by the New York Times in 1969. [….]

18.) Sidewalk Verse in St. Paul

Compiled by DANIEL J. WAKIN
Published: February 14, 2010

It’s practically Twitter in cement. The city of St. Paul, Minn., has announced the third year of a sidewalk poetry contest. Residents can submit entries through March 28; the winners will have their verses stamped on sections of sidewalk. While Twitter has room for 140 character spaces, the poems are a bit more generous, with 250.


The Free Verse Is in Aisle 3

Published: February 4, 2010

There are 15 or 20 better poets in America than Tony Hoagland, but few deliver more pure pleasure. His erudite comic poems are backloaded with heartache and longing, and they function, emotionally, like improvised explosive devices: the pain comes at you from the cruelest angles, on the sunniest of days. [….]

Truth or Dare

Published: February 4, 2010

Asked why so many of his poems seemed animated by unhappiness, Philip Larkin once told an interviewer, “Deprivation is for me what daffodils were for Wordsworth.” A supremely cynical thing to say — but also backhandedly romantic, isn’t it? A dreadful muse is still a muse. Like Larkin, Tony Hoagland seems to draw inspiration and fluency as a poet from his disappointment and frustration as a human being. And like Larkin’s, Hoagland’s poems, though chock-full of grousing, are so fully alive to the rich, dark depths of their grumpiness that they constantly threaten, against their author’s gimlet-eyed better judgment, to become ­beautiful. [….]

20.) Digital Muse for Beat Poet

Published: January 22, 2010

Days before Steven P. Jobs, the chief executive of Apple, introduces his Next Big Thing (the consensus holds it will be a sleek tablet computer), I called up Gary Snyder, the Beat-era poet who writes about the American wilderness.
Now, Mr. Snyder might not seem the best person to ask to reflect on the milestones of the digital age. He is 79 and lives in the Sierra foothills in Northern California. But his world and that of the early personal computer makers, like Mr. Jobs, overlapped, in both time and space.
He has a nuanced understanding of computers. He is a devoted Macintosh user, though he said he wrote with whatever was at hand. And while everyone in Silicon Valley is on the edge of their seat waiting for Apple’s introduction on Wednesday of its newest “creation,” Mr. Snyder is taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Word of an Apple book replacement had not yet reached him in the California backcountry where he lives without electricity. He almost never uses a cellphone and has no use for BlackBerrys. He considers texting “abhorrent.” [….]

21.) A Room and a Half (2009)

Poet in Exile, Still Gripping His Memories

Published: January 20, 2010

Late in “A Room and a Half,” a rich, heady fictionalized biography of the exiled Russian poet Joseph Brodsky, the middle-aged Brodsky ruefully reflects in a voice-over about how children are in a desperate hurry to leave the nest.
“And one day a man realizes that the nest is gone,” muses the poet (Grigoriy Dityatkovskiy, the oldest of three actors playing Brodsky). “The people who gave him life are dead. He realizes that the only real thing in his life was that nest.”
In the movie, unlike real life, Brodsky — who died in New York in 1996 at 55 — magically gets to return to that nest in his final days. Sailing triumphantly up the Neva River, he visits the one-and-a-half-room apartment in St. Petersburg that holds his most cherished memories, and inhales his past. [….]

22.) Brautigan’s Surreal Story: ‘Trout Fishing In America’
Published February 6, 2010

The book Trout Fishing in America was published in 1967 and became an instant cult favorite. Guest host Audie Cornish speaks with writer and former national poet laureate Billy Collins about the book’s author, Richard Brautigan. Collins describes Brautigan’s writing as an American form of surrealism. [….] All Images are Links. Click on the Image to go to Story.

23.) Poem of the Week: Twenty-Sixth Winter by John Dofflemyer

This time, a simultaneously hardbitten and tender example of ‘cowboy poetry’

If you find the term “cowboy poetry” impossibly paradoxical, you might need to think again. Last month, Elko, Nevada, saw the 26th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, an annual event that began with a small group of writers, folklorists and musicians, coming together to celebrate and regenerate an increasingly threatened way of life. [….]

24.) Poet alum gives back to Middlebury

Crystal Belle performed at Verbal Onslaught’s Open Mic Night on Friday, Jan. 15.
When poet Crystal Belle ’04 walks into a classroom, she easily takes command, her effusive energy spilling out onto those who have come to soak up her wisdom.
As she shares her love of poetry and hip-hop to an eager audience, the devotion and enthusiasm she holds for her craft becomes a palpable presence in the room.
On Jan. 14 and 15, Belle brought this unique aura to Middlebury, taking a hiatus from teaching English at Brooklyn Community Arts and Media High School in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn in order to give the College a taste of her many talents. [….]

25.) Matthew Dickman, Michael Dickman??

Call me confused, so I thought perhaps other poets might be confused as well.  Both Matthew and Michael are rising poets, and seem to be guests here, there and everywhere.  More importantly, they are twins!  Matthew (I think??) is one of my favorite contemporary poets.  Here’s a bio I recently came across:

Matthew Dickman is a rising young poet from Portland, Oregon and the author of All-American Poem, which won the 2008 APR/Honickman First Book Prize, the May Sarton poetry prize from the American Academy of Arts and Science, and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His poems, which reflect his affinity for Portland and the Lent district where he grew up, have appeared in a wide range of publications, including The New Yorker and Tin House. He has received several fellowships for his work; Dickman has been profiled in Poets & Writers and The New Yorker; with his twin brother, poet Michael Dickman. The New Yorker said this about their poetry: “Michael and Matthew Dickman…often draw from a similar well of images and experiences: the rough neighborhood of their youth, with its violent fathers, beleaguered mothers, and reckless, neglected kids….Matthew’s poems are effusive, ecstatic, and all-embracing…Matthew is a whirling dervish.”


  • Looking for a way off this little island of Vermont?  How about to another island: Block Island, to be precise.

The Block Island Poetry Project began as the vision of island resident Lisa Starr, a way for her to combine her seemingly disparate vocations as poet and innkeeper with her love for the land and devotion to building community.
Lisa, who grew up in Connecticut, was drawn to the island, like many others, for the obvious reasons. The astonishing natural beauty, the eccentricities and pleasures of island life, and the sense of tradition were pulls that drew her to settle down here in her early twenties. She married a retired sea captain and settled into The Hygeia House, a historic Victorian inn they restored, to raise a family. [….]

27.) Did You Know?

What are Poetry Chapbooks?

Poetry chapbooks are slim volumes, typically publishing a few poems by a single author.  Often the text of a chapbook is the first appearance of the poems, and thus constitutes the true first edition of those works.

Chapbooks take their name historically from “chapmen” (or ” chaps “) in England who popularized the form by selling the booklets on street corners, much in the same way newsboys would sell papers.

In the 20th century, chapbooks began to emerge from fine presses-often illustrated or embellished by artists-and frequently are available only in signed limited editions.

28.) “Ponderings”

“P.O.E.M. — The Professional Organization of English Majors”

This is not an actual organization YET, no matter what was said in a Garrison Keillor script back in 2005, but I am thinking that IT SHOULD BE!  As an English major myself, I would love to put a web site together for individuals of the same college major: English.  If you agree with this concept, email me with your nod of approval, and I’ll give it more than a passing thought.  Perhaps the Vermont Poetry Newsletter could be a branch of something even bigger!


“Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.”

Poetry Quote by Paul Engle

30.) why I keep goldfish in the kitchen
Daniel Robbins

Because I am always doing
something like washing dishes
when I get one of those calls,
my mother saying the chemo [….]

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

31.) Sestina for Your Dead Heart
for Celine Dion

I tell you about the little heart that beats in the dead.
I am not dead you say. I am not dead so my heart
beats big you say. My heart beats like a Sony Walkman
big, duh. My heart is a teenage girl’s eyes, it’s 1998
and Leo will hold on, won’t hold on — the ship is not a little
heart — it’s like God will sink this ship. Why not? This ship beats [….]

32.) North to Parowan Gap
from Section One of Driving & Drinking by David Lee

Turn right up there
and get off these pavements
there aint no sense
to holding up the traffic
and we aint hurrying [….]

33.) American Life in Poetry: Column 251

The poet Lyn Lifshin, who divides her time between New York and Virginia, is one of the most prolific poets among my contemporaries, and has thousands of poems in print, by my loose reckoning. I have been reading her work in literary magazines for at least thirty years. Here’s a good example of this poet at her best.

The Other Fathers
would be coming back
from some war, sending
back stuffed birds or
handkerchiefs in navy[….]

American Life in Poetry: Column 252
My grandfather, when in his nineties, wrote me a letter in which he listed everything he and my uncle had eaten in the past week. That was the news. I love this poem by Nancyrose Houston of Seattle for the way it plays with the character of those letters from home that many of us have received.

The Letter From Home

The dogs barked, the dogs scratched, the dogs got wet, the
dogs shook, the dogs circled, the dogs slept, the dogs ate,
the dogs barked; the rain fell down, the leaves fell down, the
eggs fell down and cracked on the floor; the dust settled, 
the wood floors were scratched[….]

American Life in Poetry: Column 254

What might my late parents have thought, I wonder, to know that there would one day be an occupation known as Tooth Painter? Here’s a partial job description by Lucille Lang Day of Oakland, California.

Tooth Painter
He was tall, lean, serious
about his profession,
said it disturbed him
to see mismatched teeth. [….]

American Life in Poetry: Column 256
A poem is an experience like any other, and we can learn as much or more about, say, an apple from a poem about an apple as from the apple itself. Since I was a boy, I’ve been picking up things, but I’ve never found a turtle shell until I found one in this poem by Jeff Worley, who lives in Kentucky.

On Finding a Turtle Shell in Daniel Boone National Forest
This one got tired
of lugging his fortress
wherever he went, [….]

34.) 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.

35.) Historical List of Vermont Poets Laureate

July 26, 2007-Present: Ruth Stone, Goshen (b. June 8, 1915)
March 5, 2003 – July 25, 2007: Grace Paley, Thetford (b. December 11, 1922, d. August 22, 2007 of breast cancer)
1999-2002: Ellen Bryant Voigt, Cabot (b. May 9, 1943)
1994-1998: Louise Glück, Cambridge, MA (b. April 22, 1943)
1989-1993: Galway Kinnell, Sheffield (b. February 1, 1927)
July 22, 1961-1963: Robert Frost, Ripton (b. March 26, 1874, d. January 29, 1963 of pulmonary embolism)

Position History:
 According to a February 7, 2003 press release from the Vermont Arts Council, “Robert Frost was declared Poet Laureate in 1961 [upon the adoption of Joint House Resolution 54 by the General Assembly]. In 1988 Governor Kunin re-established the position. (Reference: Executive Order No 69, 1988) Galway Kinnell was the first State Poet named for a term of 4 years as a result of this order in 1989.” The Arts Council further notes that “at the direction of the Governor [it] conducts the selection process for the State Poet by convening an advisory/selection panel. The Vermont State Poet is a person whose primary residence is in Vermont; whose poetry manifests a high degree of excellence; who has produced a critically acclaimed body of work; and who has a long association with Vermont.”

36.) Historical list of United States Poets Laureate from Vermont

1958-1959: Robert Frost, Ripton (b. March 26, 1874, d. January 29, 1963 of pulmonary embolism)
August, 2003-2004: Louise Glück, Cambridge, MA (b. April 22, 1943)

37.) Historical List of New Hampshire Poets Laureate

March 2004 – Present: Charles E. Butts
January 2006 – March 2009: Patricia Fargnoli
March 2004 – December 2005: Cynthia Huntington
October, 1999 – March 2004: Marie Harris, Barrington
December 1995 – March 1999: Donald Hall, Wilmot
January 1995 – March 1999: Jane Kenyon, Wilmot
March 1989 – March 1994: Maxine Kumin, Warner
June, 1984 – January 1989: Donald Hall, Danbury
January 1979 – January 1984: Richard G. Eberhart, Hanover
August 1972 – December 1978: Eleanor Vinton, Concord
September 1968 – July 1972: Paul Scott Mowrer

38.) Historical list of United States Poets Laureate from New Hampshire

2007-2008: Charles Simic, Strafford
2006-2007: Donald Hall, Wilmot
1981-1982: Maxine Kumin, Warner
1959-1961: Richard Eberhart
1958-1959: Robert Frost, Derry

39.) 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


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

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
(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


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. (….)

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 (….)

7) The Gihon River Review

“The name of the second river is Gihon. No sooner has it come out of Paradise than it vanishes beneath the depths of the sea . . .” –Moses Bar Cepha

The Gihon River Review, published biannually, was founded in the fall of 2001 as a production of the BFA program at Johnson State College.  Issues are $5 each. Submissions in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction are read from September to May. Poetry submissions may not exceed five poems; fiction and nonfiction may not exceed twenty-five pages. Send all correspondence to The Gihon River Review, Johnson State College, Johnson, Vermont 05656. Please enclose a SASE.  For further info by email,

8) 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.

8) Tarpaulin Sky

Founded in 2002 as an online literary journal, Tarpaulin Sky took the form of 12.5 internet issues (see the archive) before its first paper edition in November 2007. The magazine continues to publish new work both online and in print, often curated by guest-editors.

Tarpaulin Sky focuses on cross-genre / trans-genre / hybrid forms as well as innovative poetry and prose. The journal emphasizes experiments with language and form, but holds no allegiance to any one style or school or network of writers (….)

10) The Mountain Review

Colchester High School’s English Department has been publishing an interesting literary magazine: The Mountain Review.  The Mountain Review is sponsored by the Vermont Council of Teachers of English Language Arts (VCTELA).  Generally, the mission is to publish work from Vermont students, K-12.  The Mountain Review has published poems, essays, short stories, excerpts from larger works, and art work.  Wayland Cole and Katie Lenox have been the editors for several years; both teach at Colchester.  Before them, Shelia Mable, a South Burlington teacher, was the editor for many years.

2009’s Mountain Review is over 100 pages long!

Students at all Vermont schools can enter the competition to be published in the Mountain Review.  If you have questions, feel free to call them at (802) 264-5700 or email at or  Send orders for copies of The Mountain Review to Katie Lenox at: Colchester High School, PO Box 900, Colchester, VT 05446.  Send $5 per book; $2 postage to ship 1-3 books.  Checks payable to the VCTELA.


1) Vermont Voices, An Anthology

Published by the League of Vermont Writers periodically.  They have just published their 3rd anthology.

  • Vermont Voices I (published in 1991)
  • Vermont Voices II (published in 1995)
  • Vermont Voices III (published in 1999)

2) *See Below

Published by the Otter Creek Poets periodically.  They have just published their 3rd volume.

  • By the Waterfall (published in 1999)
  • Maps and Voyages (published in 2004)
  • Line By Line (published in 2006)

No web site to date.  All editions and issues out of print and no longer available.

3) League of Vermont  Writers

Published by the Mad River Poets periodically.  They have just published their 3rd volume.

  • Pebbles from the Stream (published in 2002)
  • Maps and Voyages (published in 2004)
  • Line By Line (published in 2006)

4) The Mountain Troubadour

  • Published by the Poetry Society of Vermont annually.



  • Patrick Gillespie maintains a bright, intelligent blog. There is a decided bias in favoring poetry that is written in meter, that uses form, or that plays with language in ways that separate poetry from prose – rhetoric, imagery, simile, metaphor, conceit, rhyme, meter — Traditional Poetry.

One can subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new postings by email.


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. (….)



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 a.m. -12:00 p.m.)- 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 or

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  For more information about the Media Mentoring Project, visit or call 246-6397.  You can also write to Vermont Independent Media at P.O. Box 1212, Brattleboro, VT 05302.


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: or 454-8026.


The Burlington Poets Society, a group of “stanza scribblers” that express their love of verse, made up of UVM students and professors, have recently organized, meeting at the Fleming Museum at UVM in Burlington for their periodic “The Painted Word” series of poetry readings. I hope to have additional information on this group in the coming months.


The Guilford Poets Guild, formed in 1998, meets twice a month to critique and support each other’s work.  Their series of sponsored readings by well-known poets which began at the Dudley Farm, continues now at the Women and Family Life Center.


The Otter Creek Poets offer a poetry workshop every Thursday afternoon, from 1:00 to 3:00 in the basement meeting room of the Ilsley Public Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury.  This workshop, the largest and oldest of its kind in the state, has been meeting weekly for 13 years.  Poets of all ages and styles come for peer feedback, encouragement, and optional weekly assignments to get the poetry flowing.  Bring a poem or two to share (plus 20 copies).  The workshops are led by David Weinstock.  There is considerable parking available behind the library, or further down the hill below that parking lot.  For more information, call David at 388-6939 or Ron Lewis at 247-5913.


This town is the home of Leonard Gibbs and his Dead Creek Poets Society.  Leonard invites visitors to his web site,, and subsequent comments for discussion.  Leonard’s email address is:  Interesting responses to items Leonard has posed on his site, may end up on the site itself.


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


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


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



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.


Introduction to the Writing of Poetry – Instructor: John Wood-   7 week class
Begins January 14, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

This course is designed for older adults through younger adult high school students who might be interested in learning how poetry is made and how to make it. It will involve an intensive study of poetry’s nuts and bolts (assonance, alliteration, metaphor, meter, forms, and so forth) in conjunction with reading a good bit of poetry that demonstrates these devices. If there is time toward the end of the course, and there may not be [or in a second course if there is interest], you will put what you have learned into practice. At that point it will function like a graduate-level poetry workshop with the poems submitted anonymously for critique by the instructor and the students who will by then have developed their critical skills well-enough to make useful critical comments from having been exposed to the form and theory of poetry.

It is important to keep in mind that this is not a class in which the primary or even secondary concern is reading each other’s poetry and talking about it. This is a course in learning how to write poetry, which like any other art involves mastering the craft. But learning the craft of poetry is great fun in its own right because each major element of the craft reflects something about the workings of the human mind.
A text book is required, John Frederick Nims’ Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry. Multiple copies at $1.00 each are available on line through Abe Books. Go to:… and type in Nims under author and Western Wind under title. This is a great book and you will love it for all the many wonderful things it will teach you, in addition to how to make a poem. Do not buy a new copy from Amazon because it is nowhere near as good as the older edition; that new edition (co-edited by David Mason) costs over $45.00 and is not worth the money. Please buy one of the cheap 1974 or 1983 editions solely edited by Nims.

About the Instructor:

John Wood, who holds both the MFA in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English literature, lives in Saxtons River and is a poet and art critic whose books in both fields have won national and international awards. For 25 years he was the Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing at McNeese University where he taught the writing of poetry. Several of his students have received the $20,000 NEA Poetry Fellowship, others the Ruth Lilly Fellowship in Poetry, still others a MacDowell Residency, an Amy Clampitt Fellowship, and a variety of other awards. And many of his former students have published books from leading presses. John and his teaching were the subjects of a Los Angeles Times front page article in 1999 and a full page article in 2005 in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Intro. to the Writing of Poetry John Wood Thursday 6—7:30 PM 7 weeks
$60 Members / $80 Non-Members
Basic introduction to the writing of poetry. See website for additional details.

Main Street Arts, Main Street, P.O. Box 100 Saxtons River, VT 05154
(802) 869-2960


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 and


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. (…) Click on Typewriter for more…



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 courtesy 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…


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 or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or


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.


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 (  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,


The League of Vermont Writers

The League is open to all who make writing a part of their lives. We offer encouragement, motivation, and networking opportunities to writers with a broad range of writing experience.
You do not need to be published to join. Visit their Membership Page for more information about benefits and fees.
Founded in 1929, LVW’s mission is to:

  • Help writers develop their skills
  • Promote responsible and ethical writing and writing practices
  • Increase communication between professional writers and publishers
  • Promote an enduring appreciation for the power of the word

The LVW publishes Vermont Voices, An Anthology, at irregular times.  They have published 3 separate volumes to date.



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, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on  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.  All events are advertised as free unless indicated otherwise.

Fri, Feb 19: In the studio at CATV8 in the Tip Top building in White River Junction, 11:00 a.m.  Poetry readings.  The authors of Bloodroot Literary Magazine will read from their selection of poetry or prose.  Authors for this reading: Scott Atkins, Jack Gundy, Phyllis Katz, and Ivy Schweitzer. For info, 333-9724.

Fri, Feb 19: Outer Space, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:00 p.m. Poet’s Night.  Pen-and-paper scribblers share aloud their sonnets, haikus, short prose and more.  Info, 864-6106.

Sat, Feb 20: Cutler Memorial Library, 131 High Street (Rte. 2), Plainfield, 11:00 a.m.  Poetry Reading.  Martha Zweig will read from her thought-provoking evocative work. All are invited to share their poetry or favorites. Refreshments. Info, 454-8504.

Mon, Feb 22: Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, 21 Library Lane, Williston, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.  Poetry Writing Workshop. Creators of verse improve their work.  Info, 878-4918.

Mon, Feb 22: Johnson, Vermont Studio Center, Dining Hall, Red Mill Building, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Baron Wormser.  The Cabot-based author of The Road Washes Out in Spring: A Poet’s Memoir of Living Off the Grid speaks on his years spent in rural Maine. Dining hall, Red Mill Building.  Info, 635-2727, Ext. 210.

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.

Wed, Feb 24: Fleming Museum, 61 Colchester Avenue, UVM, 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. ‘The Painted Word’ – Stanza scribblers express their love of verse at a Burlington Poets Society meeting, followed with readings by George Drew and Buff Lindau.  Admission, $3-$5.  Info, 656-0750.

Mon, Mar 1: Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, 21 Library Lane, Williston, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.  Poetry Writing Workshop. Creators of verse improve their work.  Info, 878-4918.

Wed, Mar 3: Peabody Library, Post Mills,, 7:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  The authors of Bloodroot Literary Magazine will read from their selection of poetry or prose.  For info, 333-9724.

Sat, Mar 6: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier. State semi-finals and Vermont State Poetry Out Loud Final competition.  I will have more specific times later, but likely it will be morning semi-finals and an afternoon final. Each school will also be having a final competition at their school to choose the competitor to go on to the state semi-finals — many of these are open to the public.  I will pass on those dates as I receive them. (March 13 snow date).

Mon, Mar 8: In the studio at CATV8 in the Tip Top building in White River Junction, 11:00 a.m.  Poetry readings.  The authors of Bloodroot Literary Magazine will read from their selection of poetry or prose.  Authors for this reading: Tom Kinder, Susan Kowlalski, Parker Towle, and Suzie Woods. For info, 333-9724.

Mon, Mar 8: Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, 21 Library Lane, Williston, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.  Poetry Writing Workshop. Creators of verse improve their work.  Info, 878-4918.

Wed, Mar 10: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. “You Come, Too.” Spend winter lingering on the cultivated lines of selected British poets, from John Donne to T.S. Eliot, with Peter Gilbert’s readings and discussion.  For info, 262-2626.

Sat, Mar 13: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is usually open mic: hear local poets from the River Voices Writing Group, or bring your own original work to share or read from a favorite poet, or just come as a listener.  Sessions might be Open Mic Sessions, or Readings by published authors. The tables in the cafe are gathered together as each member of the group takes a turn reading poetry aloud in a fun environment.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail or call (802) 463-9404.

Wed, Mar 31: Fleming Museum, 61 Colchester Avenue, UVM, 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. ‘The Painted Word’ – Stanza scribblers express their love of verse at a Burlington Poets Society meeting, followed with readings by Isaac Cates and Abby Paige.  Admission, $3-$5.  Info, 656-0750.

Thu, Apr 1: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Carol Frost.  Carol Frost, director of Winter with the Writers, A Festival of the Literary Arts at Rollins College, is the author of ten books of poems. The Queen’s Desertion, I Will Say Beauty, Love and Scorn: New and Selected Poems, all from Northwestern University Press, are her recent volumes. Her poems have appeared in four Pushcart Prize anthologies, and she has been a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. The Poets’ Prize and Elliston Award committees have also honored her work.

Wed, Apr 6: The Galaxy Bookshop, 7 Mill Street, Hardwick, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Peggy Sapphire. Celebrate Poetry Month with a reading by Craftsbury poet Peggy Sapphire. Her latest book of poems is titled In the End a Circle.  Info, 472-5533.

Tue, Apr 13: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m..  Three Vermont Poets: Ossman, Sapphire and Wormser.  For info, 229-1069.

Mon, Apr 19: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Alice Notley.  Alice Notley is the author of more than twenty books of poetry including The Descent of Alette and Mysteries of Small Houses. She was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the L.A. Times Book Award for Poetry. In 2001, she received an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Poetry Society of America’s Shelly Memorial Award. Born in Arizona, Notley grew up in California. She was an important force in the eclectic second generation of the New York school of poetry.

Tue, Apr 20: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m..  Poet Pamela Harrison reads. For info, 229-1069.

Tue, Apr 27: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m..  Open Poetry Reading. For info, 229-1069.

Thu, May 13: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Fanny Howe. Fanny Howe has written numerous books of poetry including Gone, (University of California Press, 2003), Selected Poems (UC Press, 2000), On the Ground (Graywolf Press, 2004), and The Lyrics (Graywolf, 2007). She has also written novels, five of them collected in one volume called Radical Love. At seventeen Howe left her home in Boston for California and has since spent her life there and in England, Ireland, and Massachusetts. In recent years she has won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, and an award from the Academy of Arts and Letters. She has written two collections of essays, The Wedding Dress (UC Press, 2003) and The Winter Sun (Graywolf, 2009). Howe has three grown children and six little grandchildren; she currently lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

Mon May 31: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet and writer Anne Waldman. Waldman has written more than 40 books, including the legendary Fast Speaking Woman, the innovative Marriage: A Sentence; and the meditative Structure of the World Compared to a Bubble. Her most recent is Manatee Humanity (2009), a hybrid-poem that explores the nuances of inter-species communication and compassion. It draws on animal lore and encounters, dreams, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, and Buddhist ritual. Outrider, a collection of poems, essays, and interviews, is a look at what poetry and the role of the poet can be. Waldman is cofounder, with Allen Ginsberg, of the celebrated Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Recipient of many awards, she is the Artistic Director for Naropa’s Summer Writing Program, and teaches in New England College’s MFA program.

Mon, Jul 26: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Marilyn Hacker.  Marilyn Hacker is the author of a dozen collections of poems, including ESSAYS ON DEPARTURE (Carcanet, 2006) , DESESPERANTO, (Norton, 2003) and WINTER NUMBERS which received the Lenore Marshall Award of the Academy of American Poets.  NAMES will be published by W.W. Norton in the fall of 2009. She has also published ten collections of translations from the French, including Marie Etienne’s KING OF A HUNDRED HORSEMEN (Farrar Strauss and Giroux 2008) which received the Robert Fagles Translation Prize and the 2009 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2008.

Thu, Aug 5: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Arthur Sze.  Arthur Sze is the author of nine books of poetry, including The Ginkgo Light (2009), Quipu (2005), The Silk Dragon: Translations from the Chinese (2001), and The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970-1998 (1998), all from Copper Canyon Press. He is also the editor of Chinese Writers on Writing (forthcoming from Trinity University Press in 2010). His poems have been translated into Albanian, Bosnian, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Romanian, Spanish, and Turkish. He is a professor emeritus at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he served, from 2006-2008, as the city’s first poet laureate.

Mon, Aug 23: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Carol Moldaw. Carol Moldaw’s lyric novel, The Widening, was published by Etruscan Press last spring. She is the author of four books of poetry, The Lightning Field (2003), which won the 2002 FIELD Poetry Prize, Through the Window (2000), Chalkmarks on Stone (1998), and Taken from the River (1993). A recipient of a Lannan Foundation Marfa Writer’s Residency, an NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize, Moldaw was born in Oakland, California, and lives outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. So Late, So New: New and Selected Poems is forthcoming from Etruscan Press in 2010.

Thu, Sep 2: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Carl Phillips. Carl Phillips is the author of ten books of poetry, most recently Speak Low (FSG, 2009) and Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems 1986-2006 (FSG, 2007).  His awards and honors include the Kingsley Tufts Award and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Academy of American Poets, to which he was named a Chancellor in 2006.  He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

Mon, Sep 20: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Adam Zagajewski. Adam Zagajewski was born in Lvov in 1945, a largely Polish city that became a part of the Soviet Ukraine shortly after his birth. A major figure of the Polish New Wave literary movement of the early 1970s and of the anti-Communist Solidarity movement of the 1980s, Zagajewski is today one of the most well-known and highly regarded contemporary Polish poets in Europe and the United States. Zagajewski’s most recent books in English are Eternal Enemies (Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2008) and Without End: New and Selected Poems (2002), which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. He is also the author of a book of essays and literary sketches, Two Cities: On Exile, History and the Imagination (1995), and Solidarity, Solitude: Essays. When, after September 11, The New Yorker published his poem, “Try to Praise the Mutilated World,” on its back page—a rare departure from the cartoons and parodies that usually occupy that space—it resonated with many readers. He now spends part of the year in Krakow, the city he lived in during the 1960s and ’70s; and he teaches in Chicago.

Thu, Sep 30: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Rikki Ducornet. Rikki Ducornet is the author of seven novels, three collections of short fictions including The One Marvelous Thing (Dalkey Archive 2008), a collection of essays and five books of poetry. She has received a Lannan Fellowship and a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction and an Academy Award from the American Adademy of Arts and Letters. Her paintings have been exhibited widely, most recently at the Museo de la Solidaridad in Santiago, Chile.

Thu, Nov 25: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Forrest Gander. A translator, essayist, and the editor of two anthologies of Mexican poetry, Gander is the author of more than a dozen books, including collaborations with notable artists and photographers. His many books include his first novel As A Friend (2008); the poetry collections Eye Against Eye (with photographs by Sally Mann), Torn Awake, and Science & Steepleflower; and the essay collection, Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory & Transcendence. Translations include Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems of Coral Bracho and, with Kent Johnson, The Night by Jaime Saenz. Gander’s essays have appeared in many national magazines including The Nation, The Boston Review, and American Poetry Review. Gander is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, and Whiting Foundations, and he has received two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative Poetry. With poet C.D. Wright, Gander lives in Rhode Island, where he is professor of English and Comparative Literature at Brown University.

Mon, Dec 13: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m. Poet Susan Mitchell. Susan Mitchell has won many awards for her poetry, including fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.  She has authored three books, most recently Erotikon and Rapture, which won the Kingsley Tufts Book Award and was a National Book Award finalist.  Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The American Poetry Review, The Yale Review, and Fence, as well as in seven volumes of the Best American Poetry series, and have been awarded three Pushcart prizes.  Mitchell lives in Boca Raton, and teaches in the MFA Writing Program at Florida Atlantic University.

  • 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.

La poesía
es la ruptura instantánea
instantáneamente cicatrizada
abierta de nuevo
por la mirada de los otros

is a sudden rupture
suddenly healed
and torn open again
by the glances of the others

Octavio Paz

“One of the obligations of the writer, and
perhaps especially of the poet, is
to say or sing all that he or she can,
to deal with as much of the world as
becomes possible to him or her in language.”

Denise Levertov

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis

11 responses

  1. Just want to tweak the note on Walter Butts, our wonderful new state poet laureate. By statute the Poetry Society of New Hampshire comes up with nominees for the position. In an effort to be inclusive of kindred organizations, as president of the society, I invite other organizations, such as the NHSCA, to participate in the process. The Commissioner is very helpful in walking us through the layers of state government, and how best to do that. So many players and one coach.


  2. I have three books of poems: 1. Three Poems (2005), 2. Winter Shade to His Liking (2007) and Azure (2010).

    I have some idea posted on 27.12.2010 in my blog. I am interested to have your comments on my points.

    With regards,
    Asim Kumar Paul


    • I am grateful to you for a look into my post.
      I want to have a postal address to sent my poetry book, Azure, and context papers. Please help me with the postal address.

      With regards,
      Asim Kumar Paul,


    • Fresh revised post is made on 27.02.2011 on the subject.
      Please note the revised post and comment on the matter by e-mail.
      The book, Azure, can only be sent on receipt of your postal address.
      With regards,
      Asim Kumar Paul


    • Hi Asim. Your post still didn’t make much sense to me.

      I’m probably not the right person to send your poetry to. There are thousands of outlets for free verse and prose poets, but I’m not one of them. You should try those first. :-)


  3. Graceful youth
    In countries, dead bodies are piled.
    In the turmoil, there is a steady one –
    The human being great and all defending,
    And on the threshold, someone does not know
    What it is human being.
    The twittering has not been silenced
    Again in this February,
    Not misled in the self-dominating device.
    It is Him inside people and in the experience of sorrow
    The young are singing
    In the attainment of human being in death reins.
    – Asim Kumar Paul


    • Hi Asim,

      If English isn’t your first language then you are very brave to write poetry in English. If English is your first language, then you write as though it weren’t. The grammar is awkward and in some places it’s hard to follow, but I’ll leave it at that knowing what little I do.

      The poetry’s sentiment is heartfelt and sincere but, for me, it falls short of poetry.

      Political poetry is an unforgiving genre. The vast majority of political poems, while they may be popular in their own day, are soon forgotten once the impetus fades. The political poems that survive are the ones whose metaphorical and symbolic language outlive the events that inspired them – the language is universal. Yeats was particularly good at this sort of thing. His poem The Stare’s Nest by My Window is a beautiful example. The link offers the poem in the context of the Iraq war. As you can see, Yeats’ poem continued to speak to readers long after the poem’s original impetus vanished.

      The best poems, in my view, speak to us by indirection. There are many, many critics, editors and poets who disagree with me however.

      You will have to decide to whom you want your poetry to appeal.


  4. The Villagers Know What They Want

    Babaji Karkare: Hi Hem, why is your daughter getting married late?

    Hembram : It was out of fear:
    They told our house is not pristine one,
    as it is not under trees.
    So, one day I went to the village market
    and purchased some baby plants
    direct from cultivators
    and planted them surrounding my house.

    Babaji Karkare : Do you know about supermarkets
    where many varieties of saplings
    and baby plants are selling
    and these are more green in neon light
    cooling environment?

    Hembram : I am not conversant with shopping etiquettes.
    I cannot question how long these plants
    are preserved for here.
    But the village seller who sits on mud floor
    in the village market
    can touch my mind and be easier for questioning him,
    a spying self- consciousness
    does not play inside him.
    He just removes the baby plants with roots
    from his cultivated soil.
    He is more caring in doing so.
    His techniques are more proper.
    I purchased some baby plants like mango trees,
    coconut trees, guava, and jackal
    fruits, etc., and planted them surrounding my house
    and when these plants grew up to a little height
    with green leaves,
    the guardians of the groom agreed
    for the marriage with my daughter.
    I am happy with that family
    as they say my daughter is good bride.
    They beat drams, and sing dialect songs.
    But they are miserable now.

    Babaji Karkare : Why?

    Hembram : Police are there and they are doing combing
    operations to search out extremists.
    Police says:
    Extremists come to rob my daughter’s new village.
    They come to blow up the village.
    They do not love.
    They are daring to die in boot-kicking.
    They do not fear gun-shots.
    They like to be victim of false legal charges.
    And I have heard they are refugee in their own country.

    Babaji Karkare: Oh! My fellow neighbour, I have got hurt. How the family where your daughter is a new bride, can dwell with fear.
    And in the long run, agony cannot become a life-force.
    Counselling cannot redress the devastation caused.
    And I fear one day, detention and
    prison will make whirling the whole probe.

    Hembram : Oh God! God cannot imagine the sufferings.
    You are like a man who sees the cruel events as they are happening in sleeps in all dominions. It is not like ringing of a bell in Mandir every evening,
    and reverence vaulted over worded hymens
    or performing endurance what Mahatma Gandhi once named as deep episodes of Satyagraha. And he who cannot sleep is tired of stands of no imagination.
    Everyone tries to climb stairs to go to the rooftop to announce:
    “approve an exercise to keep peace”
    Masterpieces of recent embroils are rare amalgamations of thoughts and events and you are living in that thought of tacit tricks.
    What makes us disciplined? Whips are forwarded to the grass-root level and there lies instructions of threat and précising the shape of life, and not all events are commonly granted.
    Some people may behave like boys; such thinking comes to the elite
    and daredevil brothers who think they are the masters and sealed and dignified patters of the government, when commons light candles
    for departed souls untraced and yawn for survivors.
    –Asim Kumar Paul


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: