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
  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


About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network

The Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network is made up of people of all backgrounds, ages and skills who appreciate the craft of poetry and want to promote it in the beautiful state of Vermont. The network consists of a free e-mail list, an eventual web site, workshops, open mics, poetry performances and other literary events.  The network provides opportunities to meet local poets, talk about and enjoy poetry, and motivate and inspire yourself in whatever writing projects you are involved.



Dear Friends of Poetry:

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





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.



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!



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!




  • 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! has undergone some major changes, so you should give them a try when you next need that hard-to-find poetry book. – Ron Lewis




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



The passion of Brave New Voices

By Scoop Jackson

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…



  • 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…



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



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…



Robert Frost Farm Fund

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

Frost Farm Fund



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



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…



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.



  • 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



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 – if you’d like to read; we need readers!

The theme is:


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



  • 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…



  • “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.” (…)



“The moment of change
is the only poem.”

Poetry Quote by Adrienne Rich



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.



Autumn Crocus
Kyle McCord

Failbetter July 31 2009




  • 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



American Life in Poetry: Column 224


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


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


American Life in Poetry: Column 227


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




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



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

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


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

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


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.



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


  • 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.





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


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


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


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


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





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.


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.

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.


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,,

  • 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.





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…


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,

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


Poetry Event


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.

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

Thu, Jul 30: 51 Main @ The Bridge, 8:30 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.  Middlebury’s Spanish School Poetry Reading.  For info, 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.

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 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,

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,

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:

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 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 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,

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 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 or call (802) 463-9404.


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