Vermont Poetry Newsletter • September 24 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

September 24, 2009 – In This Issue:

  1. About VPN
  2. Newsletter Editor’s Note
  3. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  4. Quibbles.com
  5. League of VT Writers: David Weinstock Poetry Workshop
  6. Brighten the Barn – PSOV Anthology
  7. Writing For Radio
  8. Burlington Book Festival (With Schedule)
  9. Brattleboro Literary Festival (With Schedule)
  10. Kay Boyle Bio
  11. The Horace Greeley Writers’ Conference
  12. The Poets Forum On Contemporary Poetry
  13. Google Book Settlement
  14. Tarpaulin Sky Press & Literary Journal
  15. Robert Frost Farm Fund
  16. Boston Book Festival
  17. Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman
  18. Book King Readings
  19. Did You Know? HBO Series: Brave New Voices
  20. Poetry Quotes – Why Poetry?
  21. US Poets Laureate List
  22. Failbetter Poem
  23. Linebreak Poem
  24. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  25. American Life in Poetry Poems
  26. Vermont Poet Laureates
  27. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  28. Vermont Literary Journals
  29. State Poetry Society (PSOV)
  30. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  31. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  32. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  33. Poetry Event Calendar

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1.)

About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network

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

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2.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

Do you realize that the Vermont Poetry Newsletter now goes to over 300 serious poets around the state?  If you’re reading this, you happen to be one of the chosen ones, to be a “word gatherer” and to bring the enjoyment of this craft to others.    If you have something poetry-related that you would like me to be aware of, something you think I would enjoy, please send it along to me.  I too am one of you, someone who searches out for the perfect word, a “word gatherer.”    I hope to someday be fortunate enough to find you at a poetry reading, or to hear you read, or you to hear my words.  I want to hear all the words, all the poetry that surrounds us.  Don’t you?

Ron Lewis VPN Publisher  247-5913

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3.)

WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISES

writing promptOpen a dictionary to a random page. Run your finger down a column of text, paying attention to the first five or ten words you see. Choose one of those words and find a way to include it in a poem you’re working on, or a paragraph of prose. As Natasha says, you can force the word into your work “like hammering open a door.” Maybe in a later revision, you’ll block it up again. But in the meantime, this randomly chosen word will have allowed you to get some “air” into your writing…

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4.)

QUIBBLES.COM

The Dead Creek Poets’ Society Leonard Gibbs,
Magister Ludi

In which Leonard Gibbs contemplates A. E. Housman’s  “The Name and Nature of Poetry.”

quibblesOver the years some writings have stayed with me, to read over and over.  As I was a preacher in the Southern Presbyterian Church, The Bible was not only required reading, as a professional handbook, but also a wildly exciting story of Olympian rages, creativity, hate, love and redemption.  I read it less now, and in pieces.  I do not see it as a single theological work, but as a testament to beauty, power, hope and massive failure….

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5.)

League of Vermont Writers
October 2 and 3, 2009 – LVW Fall Retreat
Bishop Booth Conference Center by the Lake
Burlington, Vermont  with

Registration InfoFriday Evening

Joe Citro – Reading from *The Vermont Monster Guide*

Saturday

Joe Citro – “On the Writing Life”
Jim DeFilippi – “The Ups and Downs of E-Publishing”
David Weinstock – “Write Strong:” A Hands-On Workshop (POETRY!)

Register now!

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6.)

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

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

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7.)

  • I recently had the pleasure to meet and talk with Dave Isay, the voice behind the great work of StoryCorps, the largest and most ambitious private oral history project in American history.  I was afforded a “How To” into Writing for Radio, which is outlined below for your convenience.  Somehow I have to believe that the poet in many of you can find a way to enter this field, perhaps interviewing some of the poets or groups of poets that you know personally, and recording their voice in describing their craft, for appreciation by future generations.  At any rate, this should give you a start that might have taken you quite some time to assimilate. Ron Lewis

Writing for Radio
Radio Resources & Inspiration

Transom

The most comprehensive source of independent radio information on the web.  Everything from the nuts and bolts of basic radio creation (what equipment to use, how to get started, podcasting seminars), to interviews with the craft’s best practitioners.

Third Coast

This audio documentary festival no longer takes place, but there’s an amazing amount of material in the archives of lectures, pitch sessions, and award-winning pieces from past years, when radio producers from all over the world gathered to share their experiences and work.

The Next Big Thing

Public Radio International’s weekly radio feature program.  Storytelling, radio plays, documentaries, experimental radio, a range of writers (Rick Moody, Jonathan Ames, Steve Almond, Henry Alford, Meg Wolitzer) producing pieces that span (and deconstruct) all of radio’s genres.  No longer on the radio, but the entire 5-year archive is online.

This American Life

Ira Glass’ weekly radio program, often featuring writers (David Sedaris, David Foster Wallace) and other “non-radio” people, in an hour-long series of segments linked by a common theme.  Great comprehensive online archive.

Radiolab

Hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, programs are hour-long explorations of something mysterious—Sleep, Mortality, Memory, Decision—from different angles.  Most shows pull in scientists doing research on relevant topics but anchoring personal stories are always important.

Living On Earth

Weekly environmental affairs program, featuring short and long-form reported pieces about environmental issues.

Sound Portraits

Sound Portraits is the production house for David Isay’s award-winning radio documentaries on America’s ghettos, prisons, and other neglected communities, as featured on NPR.

Story Corps

Another project of Dave Isay.  Roving story-recording booths travel the country, getting ordinary people to tell their stories on radio.  The stories are put in a public oral history archive, and the best ones are played nationally.  Based on oral history projects that were done under the New Deal WPA.

Selected Shorts

The radio Holy Grail for fiction writers.  Contemporary theater performers give dramatic readings of classic and contemporary short fiction.  Online archive of performances, great examples of how to dramatically perform a written piece without changing the text.

Public Radio Exchange

A nonprofit service for distribution, peer review, and licensing of radio pieces.  It’s a smart solution to the problem of excellent and innovative productions failing to reach wide audiences.  You can listen to pieces, and post your own for distribution.

Association of Independents in Radio

Costs $125 a year to join, but there’s an email list full of producer contacts, rates info, pitch solicitations . . . “AIR provides the producing community an array of professional development programs and resources, including mentoring, training and printed and online publications, as well as conferences and activities that expand networking, advocacy, employment and funding opportunities.”

Audio Editing Software:

The industry standard is ProTools (which requires a piece of hardware called an M-Box) and can run several hundred dollars.  But you can download an open source audio editing program called Audacity for free.  It’s compatible with Macs and PCs.

Also, if you’re a Mac user, an audio editing program called Garage Band comes standard on new Macs.

Other Links:

Chicago Public Radio
New York Public Radio
Boston Public Radio
Vermont Public Radio
Minnesota Public Radio
New Hampshire Public Radio

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8.)

(Due to the untimely death of highliner Frank McCourt, the Burlington Book Festival has added Rita Dove as their headliner for 2009!  Wow!)

WELCOME TO THE 5th ANNUAL BURLINGTON BOOK FESTIVAL

Burlington Book Festival
The 2009 Burlington Book Festival will take place in a variety of downtown Burlington venues throughout the weekend of September 25 through 27. The Queen City’s 5th annual celebration of the written word will feature readings, signings, panels, workshops, demos, musical performances, family activities and special events featuring literary luminaries from around the world-and just around the corner. Virtually all events will be free of charge.

http://www.burlingtonbookfestival.com/

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9.)

Welcome to the Brattleboro Literary Festival
October 2-4, 2009

Brattleboro Literary Festival

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10.)

  • I happened to study under the tutelage of Stan Rice, Kay Boyle and Denise Levertov.  There are many of you who are probably not aware of the fine writings of Kay Boyle.  It was her short stories that brought me to be a writer.  Kay Boyle's LifeHer poetry, however, was frosting on the cake.  I thank Kay for her generosity of time and insight to poetry while we crossed paths at San Francisco State College.  (I hope by now she’s forgiven me for falling asleep once in her class!) Ron Lewis

Kay Boyle’s Life

Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, Boyle grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. She studied architecture at Parson’s School of Fine and Applied Arts in New York and elsewhere, took courses at Columbia, and studied violin briefly at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She married French-born engineer Richard Brault in 1922 while helping to edit the experimental literary magazine * Broom*. She moved to France with her husband the following year, and she lived mostly in France from 1923 to 1941, where she was well known among the American expatriate community.(…)

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11.)

The Horace Greeley Writers’ Conference

Horace GreeleyOctober 24-25 2009

Fox Hill Center for the Arts

Poultney, Vermont

The two day symposium will feature four authors providing inspirational presentations and interactive writing workshops designed to give voice to aspiring writers and offer an opportunity for experienced writers to renew a commitment to a narrative, a biography or an unfinished poem. Writers in all genres are welcome to spend a fall weekend in this Vermont village. Autumn in Vermont with the ambience set on high. (…)

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12.)

Poets ForumThe Academy of American Poets presents the 2009
POETS FORUM ON CONTEMPORARY POETRY

OCTOBER 15-17, 2009

NEW YORK CITY

The Academy of American Poets invites you to join us in New York City for the Poets Forum, a series of events exploring the ever-changing landscape of contemporary poetry in America. This year’s events will feature new in-depth discussions with an array of distinguished poets, readings, publication parties, and a new selection of literary walking tours, led by poets, throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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13.)

  • In 2005, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the Authors’ Guild filed suit against Google, objecting to the company’s mass digitization of millions of books on copyright violation grounds. The parties privately settled for $125 million and devised a scheme that would permit Google to charge libraries and consumers for access to the digitized books. Under the deal, Google, the Authors Guild and the AAP would gain significant new powers to control the fledgling market for digital books.  Want to learn more about the proposed Google Book Settlement? Go to: http://www.openbookalliance.org/

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14.)

  • Another Lit Magazine right in our own backyard!

Tarpaulin Press

Tarpaulin Sky Press  & Literary Journal

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15.)

Frost Farm FundRobert Frost Farm Fund

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

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16.)

Boston Book FestivalBoston Book Festival


Saturday, October 24th

Copley Square

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17.)

Children’s Poet Laureate Mary Ann Hoberman Gives Chicago Reading
A public poetry reading for Chicago-area children and their parents

CHICAGO—The Poetry Foundation is pleased to announce that poet Mary Ann Hoberman will give The Chicago Reading on October 7, 2009, at 6:45 p.m. at the University of Chicago’s Ida Noyes Hall. The event is free and open to the public, and marks Hoberman’s first official reading as Children’s Poet Laureate.

In addition to the public reading, Hoberman will spend October 8, 2009, giving readings and discussing children’s poetry at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools with students, teachers, and librarians.

Findings from the Poetry Foundation’s major research study*, Poetry in America, *demonstrate that a lifelong love for poetry is most likely to result if cultivated early in childhood and reinforced thereafter. Hoberman’s popularity reflects a growing awareness that children have a natural receptivity to poetry and are an appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them.

  • What: The Chicago Reading, Mary Ann Hoberman’s first official reading as Children’s Poet Laureate**
  • Where: Ida Noyes Hall, University of Chicago, 1212 East 59th Street
  • When: Wednesday, October 7, 2009, 6:45 p.m.**

Admission to The Chicago Reading is free and open to all ages. A reception and book signing with Hoberman will follow the reading. Children in attendance will receive a free poetry book bag and cap.

Mary Ann Hoberman was appointed by the Poetry Foundation to a two-year term as Children’s Poet Laureate: Consultant in Children’s Poetry to the Poetry Foundation in 2008. She is the author of over 40 children’s books and has won the National Book Award, the National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, a Society of School Librarians International Best Book award, and a National Parenting Publications Awards gold medal, among other accolades. She has also been recognized by magazines such as Child and Parenting. Hoberman’s most recent publication is a moving anthology of more than one hundred poems, The Tree That Time Built. One hundred of her favorite poems are collected in The Llama Who Had No Pajama. Other popular titles include Strawberry Hill, Hoberman’s first novel; The Seven Silly Eaters; and the You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You series.

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18.)

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 *October 30th*.  There will be flyers at the Book King counter.

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

No theme this time around!  Bring your own poetry to read or someone’s poetry you enjoy.

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19.)

Did You Know?

HBO Series: Brave New Voices

  • Watch and listen to the complete performances!

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20.)

Why PoetryWhy Poetry?

One of William Stafford’s definitions, from his essay “Making a Poem/Starting a Car on Ice,” where he says that “A poem is anything said in such a way or put on the page in such a way as to invite from the hearer or reader a certain kind of attention.” That seems to locate at least part of the the poem-ness where it belongs – in the mind of the person doing the perceiving. How else to explain why some are able to find poetry where others do not? I like the implication that there is a latency in poetry which only manifests itself when “a certain kind of attention” is turned upon it. But if you don’t like Stafford’s definition, here are some others to add fuel to the fire.(…)

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21.)

Poets Laureate of the U.S.A.

  • A Net-annotated list of all the poets who have served the Library of Congress as Consultant (the old title) or Poet Laureate Consultant (the new title). Biographies & general reference sites are linked to the poets’ names — for the recent Laureates these are our own poet profiles with book-buying links at the bottom. Many of the other linked biographies are pages from the Academy of American Poets’ Find a Poet archive, a growing & invaluable resource. If there is no general information site about the poet, we have searched the Net for sample poems or other writings or recordings & listed those below the poet’s name.

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22.)

Autumn Crocus
Kyle McCord

Autumn Crocus

The snow arrives:
handsome, high-cheek boned.
The snow assassinating insects and numb
thumbs of grass.
May I say something?
Jealousy happens all around you(….)

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23.)

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

Nocturne with SnowstormNocturne with Snowstorm and Power Outage
BY KEITH MONTESANO

Already the panic has begun. The questions: *Who will crash? What
will burn out?* Instead of generators flaring, transformers blowing up —
power shriveled and disintegrating into gray sky — lightning surges
in gunmetal bursts. No footprints on the sidewalks like those
on Mexican beaches, spring break: no sirens to rescue the helpless,
beheaded, the drug lords and headlines of shattered families
we keep reading about. I want so badly now to hold you under this sky (….)

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24.)

  • Here’s a poem from *Copper Canyon Press*, in its “Reading Room”.

Timothy Liu Thoreau

Timothy Liu
Thoreau

My father and I have no place to go.
His wife will not let us in the house–
afraid of catching AIDS. She thinks
sleeping with men is more than a sin,
my father says, as we sit on the curb
in front of someone else’s house. (….)

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25.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 231

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

Helping my DaughterThis column originates on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and at the beginning of each semester, we see parents helping their children move into their dorm rooms and apartments and looking a little shaken by the process. This wonderful poem by Sue Ellen Thompson of Maryland captures not only a moment like that, but a mother’s feelings as well.

Helping My Daughter Move into Her First Apartment

This is all I am to her now:
a pair of legs in running shoes,
two arms strung with braided wire.
She heaves a carton sagging with CDs (….)

American Life in Poetry: Column 232

Baby Wrens' VoicesI’ve built many wren houses since my wife and I moved to the country 25 years ago. It’s a good thing to do in the winter. At one point I had so many extra that in the spring I set up at a local farmers’ market and sold them for five dollars apiece. I say all this to assert that I am an authority at listening to the so small voices that Thomas R. Smith captures in this poem. Smith lives in Wisconsin.

Baby Wrens’ Voices

I am a student of wrens.
When the mother bird returns
to her brood, beak squirming
with winged breakfast, a shrill (….)

American Life in Poetry: Column 233

Indian SummerDiane Glancy is one of our country’s Native American poets, and I recently judged her latest book, Asylum in the Grasslands, the winner of a regional competition. Here is a good example of her clear and steady writing.

Indian Summer

There’s a farm auction up the road.
Wind has its bid in for the leaves.
Already bugs flurry the headlights
between cornfields at night.
If this world were permanent,
I could dance full as the squaw dress (….)

American Life in Poetry: Column 234

WesternThis week’s poem is by a high school student, Michelle Bennett, who lives in Tukwila, Washington, and here she is taking a look at what comes next, Western Washington University in Bellingham, with everything new about it, including opportunity.

Western

You find yourself in a narrow bed you’ve
never slept in,
on a tree-lined grassy field you’ve
never walked upon,
on a cold toilet seat you have not sat on,
in a place you now call your home, your learning, your future. (….)

American Life in Poetry: Column 235

My Father's Left HandI tell my writing students that their most important task is to pay attention to what’s going on around them. God is in the details, as we say. Here David Bottoms, the Poet Laureate of Georgia, tells us a great deal about his father by showing us just one of his hands.

My Father’s Left Hand

Sometimes my old man’s hand flutters over his knee, flaps
in crazy circles, and falls back to his leg.

Sometimes it leans for an hour on that bony ledge. (….)

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26.)

VERMONT POET LAUREATES

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

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27.)

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

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

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28.)

VERMONT LITERARY JOURNALS

1) The Queen City Review

Burlington College’s  The Queen City Review is a yearly journal of art and literature and accepts the work of new and established writers and artists in the areas of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, photography, and fine art, as well as essays and criticism on all aspects of the aforementioned. They seek to publish high quality work that ranges broadly in topic and genre.

The Queen City Review can be purchased by 2-year subscription or individually.  The price of one issue is $8 plus shipping charges ($1) for a total of $9.  Subscriptions can be purchased for #$14 plus shipping charges $2) and includes the Fall 2008 and upcoming 2009 issues.  They accept cash, check, and credit cards.  You can mail your payment to them or by calling (802) 862-9616 ext. 234 to place your order over the phone.  If mailing your payment, mail details to:

ATTN: Heidi Berkowitz
Burlington College
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT  05401

2) Bloodroot

Bloodroot is a nonprofit literary magazine dedicated to publishing diverse voices through the adventure of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction.  Their aim is to provide a platform for the free-spirited emerging and established writer.

The price of a single issue is $8.

Editor, “Do” Roberts
Bloodroot Literary Magazine
PO Box 322
Thetford Center, VT  05075
(802) 785-4916
email: bloodroot@wildblue.net

3) New England Review

A publication of Middlebury College, a high quality literary magazine that continues to uphold its reputation for publishing extraordinary, enduring work.  NER has been publishing now for over 30 years.

Cost: $8 for a single issue
$30 for a single year (4 issues)
$50 for two years (8 issues)

New England Review
Attn: Orders
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

NEReview@middlebury.edu
(800) 450-9571

4) Willard & Maple

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Champlain College, Burlington.

Willard & Maple
163 South Willard Street
Freeman 302, Box 34
Burlington, VT  05401

email: willardandmaple@champlain.edu

5) Vermont Literary Review

Vermont Literary ReviewA 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

Green Mountains ReviewA 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) Burlington Poetry Journal

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

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29.)

Poetry Society of VermontSTATE POETRY SOCIETY
Poetry Society of Vermont

The Poetry Society of Vermont, founded in 1947, is an association of poets and supporters who join in promoting an interest in poetry through meetings, workshops, readings, contests, and contributions to the society’s chapbook. Anyone may join the society including high school and college students and non-residents of Vermont. We welcome both writers and appreciative readers.

In September 2007, The Poetry Society of Vermont will celebrated its 60th Anniversary. (….)

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30.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BELLOWS FALLS

1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter

2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat).  The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Poetry Workshops on Monday mornings (9:30-12:30 I believe)- Jim Fowler’s sessions continue, with periodic break for a few weeks between sessions.  Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the *River Voices Writer’s Circle*, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at vsbooks@sover.net or  jfowler177@comcast.net. <vsbooks@sover.net>

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

BERLIN

The Wayside Poets, who share their poetry publicly from time to time, have been meeting irregularly for the past 25 years.  They used to be called The Academy Street Poets.  Membership is by invitation only.  They meet now at the Wayside Restaurant & Bakery in Berlin.  Members include Diane Swan, Sherry Olson, Carol Henrikson and Sarah Hooker.  You can contact them through Sherry Olson at: solsonvt@aol.com or 454-8026.

BURLINGTON

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.

GUILFORD

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

MIDDLEBURY

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

NORWICH

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

STOWE

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

WAITSFIELD

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

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31.)

OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse-writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street.  Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Free.  Contact information: 862-1094.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

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

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

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

ANYWHERE, VERMONT

Inkblot Poetry WorkshopRevived 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. (…)

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32.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

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

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

BURLINGTON

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 or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

SPRINGFIELD

A Writer’s Group has started to meet at the Springfield Town Library on the fourth Monday of each month, from 7 to 8 pm.  For more information, call 885-3108.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers.  The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write.  One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman ( http://www.aprilossmann.com).  Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center!

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33.)

Poetry EventPOETRY EVENT CALENDAR

Below please find the most current list of poetry happenings in Vermont for the near future.  Please be aware that these events can be found on Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com.  Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders.  If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.

Fri, Sep 25-Sun, Sep 27: *Burlington Book Festival*. The 2009 Burlington Book Festival will take place in a variety of downtown Burlington venues throughout the weekend. The Queen City’s 5th annual celebration of the written word will feature readings, signings, panels, workshops, demos, musical performances, family activities and special events featuring literary luminaries from around the world-and just around the corner. Virtually all events will be free of charge.  For more info, http://www.burlingtonbookfestival.com/.

Wed, Sep 30: Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  Sue Burton and David Cavanagh will be providing a poetry reading as part of The Painted Word Poetry Series.  The Fleming Museum poetry series is hosted by Major Jackson, associate professor, UVM Dept. of English. This reading series highlights established and emergent New England poets whose work represents significant explorations into language, song, and art.  The Burlington Poets Society will make a short presentation first from 6:15-6:30, then the poets will begin reading at 6:30.

Wed, Sep 30: Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m. Darning a Transcendental Stocking. Phyllis Larrabee will read from her poetry, Darning a Transcendental Stocking. She has worked as a community organizer, an advocate for people with disabilities and continues to write and read from her 28 poetry collections and many stories. Her work has won an award from the Vermont Academy of Arts and Sciences.  For info, contact Rachel Senechal, 223-3338.

Wed, Sep 30: Jaquith Public Library, School Street, Marshfield, 7:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading with Susan Thomas and Samn Stockwell. Author Susan Thomas will read selections from her publications which include: State of Blessed Gluttony, The Hand Waves Goodbye; Voice of the Empty Notebook; and Last Voyage, and her new collection: My Afterlife. Samn Stockwell will read from her current manuscript, Our Common History, a series of short narrative poems for which she received a grant from the Vermont Community Foundation.  For info, 426-3581.

Thu, Oct 1: Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, 7:00 p.mPoetry Night with Lynne Knight and Kevin Pilkington. Lynne Knight is the author of four full-length collections, the most recent of which is *Again*, published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2009. Dissolving Borders won a Quarterly Review of Literature prize in 1996; The Book of Common Betrayals won the Dorothy Brunsman Award from Bear Star Press in 2002; and Night in the Shape of a Mirror was published by David Robert Books in 2006. She has also published three prize-winning chapbooks, Deer in Berkeley (Sow’s Ear Press), Life as Weather (Two Rivers Review), and Defying the Flat Surface (The Ledge Press). A cycle of poems on Impressionist winter paintings, Snow Effects, appeared from Small Poetry Press as part of its Select Poets Series and has been translated into French by Nicole Courtet. Knight lives in Berkeley, California.  Her work has appeared in a number of journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ontario ReviewPoetry, and Southern Review. One of her poems appears in Best American Poetry 2000, selected by Rita Dove. Among her awards are the Theodore Roethke Award from Poetry Northwest, the Theodore Christian Hoepfner Award from Southern Humanities Review, the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and an NEA grant.Kevin is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence Collge and teaches a workshop in the graduate department at Manhattanville College.  For info, (800) 437-3700.

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.

Fri, Oct 2-Sun, Oct 4: Brattleboro Literary Festival. The 8th annual Brattleboro Literary Festival is a three-day celebration of those who read books, those who write books, and of the books themselves. Located in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont, the Festival includes readings, panel discussions, and special events, featuring emerging and established authors. All events are free.

Sat, Oct 3: Bishop Booth Conference Center, Burlington. *League of Vermont Writers presents David Weinstock*, *”Write Strong:” A Hands-On Poetry Workshop*.  Register at: http://www.leaguevtwriters.org/September09registration.pdf.

Sat, Oct 10: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  *Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading* on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Tue, Oct 13: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier.  Poet *David Cavanaugh* reads.  More on this event later.  For info, 229-1069, info@bearpondbooks.com.

Tue, Oct 20: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet *Major Jackson* to read.  “Jackson knows the truth of black magic. It is a magic as simple as the belief in humanity that subverts racism, or the esoteric and mystical magic of making jazz, the music of hope and love.” —Aafa Weaver.  Major Jackson is the author of two collections of poetry, Hoops (Norton: 2006), a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature-Poetry. and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia: 2002), winner of the 2000 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award.  Poems by Major Jackson have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Callaloo, Post Road, Triquarterly, The New Yorker, among other literary journals and anthologies. He is a recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. He has received critical attention in The Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, Parnassus, Philadelphia Inquirer, and on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered.  Jackson is an Associate Professor of English at University of Vermont and a faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. In 2006-2007, he was a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Wed, Oct 21: Bixby Library, Vergennes, 7:00 p.m.  Poet *David Parkinson* to read from his new book, *Two Heads*.  David has teamed with poet Judith Dow Moore, both members of the Otter Creek Poets, in a remarkable new book of poetry that he will share with us tonight.  Copies will be on site to sell, and $5 of every book purchase will be going as a donation to the Bixby Library (David’s compliments!).  Come hear this remarkable poet speak to your heart!  For info, 877-2211.

Sun, Oct 25: The Brick Box Gallery at the Paramount, 30 Center Street, Rutland, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  *Out of History’s Junk Jar*. *Judy Chalmer*will read poetry from her book Out of History’s Junk Jar and talk about her own quest to understand her family’s Holocaust history.  DAVAR:The Vermont Jewish Women’s History Project.  For info, contact Sandra Gartner or Ann Buffum at 353-0001, davarvt@gmail.com, http://www.davarvt.org.

Wed, Oct 28: Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  Antonello Borra and Jill Leininger will be providing a poetry reading as part of The Painted Word Poetry Series.  The Fleming Museum poetry series is hosted by Major Jackson, associate professor, UVM Dept. of English. This reading series highlights established and emergent New England poets whose work represents significant explorations into language, song, and art.  The Burlington Poets Society will make a short presentation first from 6:15-6:30, then the poets will begin reading at 6:30..

Thu, Oct 29: The Galaxy Bookshop, 7 Mill Street, Hardwick, 1:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Poetry Reading by Hazen Union Poetry Class. The Hazen Union Poetry Class would like to invite the community to enjoy a reading of the students’ works at The Galaxy Bookshop. This special reading will give the students a chance to share their poems aloud in a public setting. We also welcome local poets to join us in sharing a poem or two with the group.  Time is subject to change: please check back later to confirm, or call the bookstore for more details: 472-5533.

Sat, Nov 14: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Tue, Nov 17: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Sebastian Matthews to read.  Sebastian Matthews is the author of the poetry collection We Generous (Red Hen Press) and a memoir, In My Father’s Footsteps (W. W. Norton).  He co-edited, with Stanley Plumly, Search Party: Collected Poem s of William Matthews. Matthews teaches at Warren Wilson College and serves on the faculty at Queens College Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing. His poetry and prose has appeared in Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, New England, Review, Poetry Daily, Poets & Writers, Seneca Review, The Sun, Tin House, Virginia Quarterly Review and The Writer’s Almanac, among others. Matthews co-edits Rivendell, a place-based literary journal, and serves as poetry consultant for Ecotone: Re-Imagining Place.

Wed, Nov 18: Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, 6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  Caroline Knox, Dorothea Lasky and Dara Wier will be providing a poetry reading as part of The Painted Word Poetry Series.  The Fleming Museum poetry series is hosted by Major Jackson, associate professor, UVM Dept. of English. This reading series highlights established and emergent New England poets whose work represents significant explorations into language, song, and art.  The Burlington Poets Society will make a short presentation first from 6:15-6:30, then the poets will begin reading at 6:30.

Wed, Dec 2: Kellogg-Hubbard Library, 135 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Poetry’s Spiritual Language.  Using the poetry of Dickinson, Kenyon, Rumi, and Kabir—poets from diverse religious traditions—Dartmouth English professor Nancy Jay Crumbine examines poetry’s language of spirituality. Part of the First Wednesdays series. A Vermont Humanities Council event.  For info, 223-3338.

Sat, Dec 12: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

2010:

Mon, Feb 22: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet David Shapiro to read.  David Shapiro (born January 2, 1947) is an American poet, literary critic, and art historian and . Shapiro has written some twenty volumes of poetry, literary, and art criticism. He was first published at the age of thirteen, and his first book was published at the age of eighteen. Shapiro has taught at Columbia, Bard College, Cooper Union, Princeton University, and William Paterson University. He wrote the first monograph on John Ashbery, the first book on Jim Dine’s paintings, the first book on Piet Mondrian’s flower studies, and the first book on Jasper Johns’ drawings. He has translated Rafael Alberti’s poems on Pablo Picasso, and the writings of the Sonia and Robert Delaunay. Shapiro has won National Endowment for the HumanitiesNational Endowment for the Arts fellowships, been nominated for a National Book Award, and been the recipient of numerous grants for his work. Shapiro lives in Riverdale, The Bronx, New York City, with his wife and son.

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

our finitude as human beings
is encompassed by the infinity of language

❧Hans-Georg Gadamer

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis

Vermont Poetry Newsletter June 1 2009

[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter

Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State

June 1, 2009

  1. Newsletter Editor’s Note/Notes to Otter Creek Poets
  2. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  3. New England Review (NER) In Trouble
  4. Meetinghouse, NH Readings
  5. Burlington Writer’s Group
  6. Poetry Types
  7. Resources: Books on Writing
  8. Interview With Ravi Shankar
  9. Donald Hall
  10. Book Review: The Story of William Carlos Williams & Emily Dickinson
  11. Sky Meadow Writing Retreat
  12. Book King Reading
  13. Did You Know? Derek Walcott Resigns
  14. Ponderings – Ving, Vang, Vong
  15. Poetry Quote (Carl Sandburg)
  16. US Poets Laureate List
  17. Failbetter Poem
  18. Linebreak Poem
  19. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  20. American Life in Poetry Poems (3)
  21. Vermont Poet Laureates
  22. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  23. Vermont Literary Journals
  24. Vermont State Poetry Society
  25. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  26. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  27. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  28. Poetry Event Calendar

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About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network

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

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1.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

For the Otter Creek Poets only – directions to our annual Potluck and Poetry Feast at Deanna Shapiro’s on June 4th.  12:00-1:00 Potluck, 1:00-3:00 Poetry:

From Route 7 south: Proceed north on Route 7 from Middlebury. Go through two traffic lights in Vergennes. See Ferrisburgh Grange Hall on left. See Rokeby Museum on right. Make the next right turn after Rokeby Museum which is Robinson Road. Go up hill to top. Road bears left. We are the first and only driveway on the right. 628 Robinson Rd. Come up driveway to house.

From Route 7 north:  Proceed south on Route 7 from Burlington, through Shelburne and Charlotte to Ferrisburgh. See Dakin Farm on right. See Starry Night Cafe on right. Make first left after Starry Night Cafe onto Robinson Rd which is directly across Route 7 from Greenbush Rd. Proceed up hill as directed above.

In both directions on Route 7 there are green signs that announce Robinson Road/Greenbush Road.  The precise address is 628 Robinson Road, Ferrisburgh.

It’s pot luck at 12:00 noon and poetry at 1:00 as usual. Looking forward to welcoming you. Deanna

As usual, bring about 20 copies of a poem to have critiqued (we had 16 poets at the last meeting), and enough of whatever food item you’re bringing to also meet about 20 hungry poets!

For the rest of you, the reading last Friday at the Book King in Rutland was very cozy.  6 of us took turns reading from our own poetry.  The theme was “Spring” or “Signs of Spring.”  Readings are to take place on the last Friday of every month, which means to next reading is on June 26th at 6:00 p.m.  The theme, suggested by the poets themselves, which is a 180º shift from the first reading, is “Poems That Make You Cut Your Wrists.”  That’s right, poems that make you cringe, jump off a bridge, yell for help.  Should be a lot of fun!  Let’s hope we all leave in one piece!

Until next time!

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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2.)

THIS WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

What do your poems keep praised for?  When someone points their finger at you, and says “that’s the thing,” what is “that thing” about you and your writing to which they are alluding?  Whatever “that” is, do more of it.  Load your next poem with “that thing.”  Lay it on thick.

LAST WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

See Vermont Poetry Newsletter May 18 2009

(All Assignments are products of David Weinstock unless otherwise indicated)

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3.)

NEW ENGLAND REVIEW:

Literary journal vies to stay afloat. College cuts could cripple publication

By KATHRYN FLAGG
Addison Independent
Thursday, May 28, 2009

MIDDLEBURY — Mention the “New England Review” on Middlebury College’s campus, and most students might not know that title refers to the quarterly publication housed in book-lined offices on the edge of the campus.
But mention NER in conversation with literary aficionados, and you’ll likely learn that the college-affiliated magazine is among the most prestigious literary journals in the country.

But now the publication — which after 31 years is an august old-timer in the world of such magazines — is on the chopping block. In the latest round of budget cuts handed down by Middlebury College administrators, college President Ronald D. Liebowitz gave the magazine two and a half years to eliminate its operating deficit, or the college will cut ties with the nationally renowned publication.

The budget ultimatum was one of several announced this month, part of the college’s effort to trim $20 million from its spending plan. In the original budget recommendation, the committee in charge of compiling these cuts recommended that the college end its relationship with NER and wind down the magazine’s operations at the end of June.

Editor Stephen Donadio and Managing Editor Carolyn Kuebler are optimistic about the magazine’s prospects — the two-and-a-half-years extension on the initial recommendation buys them time to raise funds for the magazine.

But the recommendation nonetheless comes as a blow to the magazine, which can’t survive on the cost of subscriptions alone.

“My sense is that the determination was that the “New England Review” was not considered central to what is sometimes called the ‘core mission’ of the college,” Donadio said, referencing the Budget Oversight Committee’s initial recommendation regarding the journal.

And, some Middlebury faculty argue, things like the journal could be viewed as secondary to the school’s primary focus on undergraduate education.

“In a time where every institution is facing crisis economics, priorities have to be laid out transparently — I think all of us in the Middlebury community have faced up to that reality for the most part,” one faculty member wrote in an online discussion of the cuts at Inside Higher Ed.

Donadio and Kuebler counter that argument by citing the journal’s longstanding ties to Middlebury faculty, alumni, and programs like the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Donadio said a journal like NER can’t be perceived as a “house organ,” and so the journal has never actively promoted the work of Middlebury faculty or alumni. But over the journal’s tenure, NER has published the work of more than 30 members of the faculty, several alumni, and many writers associated with the prestigious writers’ conference. In recent years, the magazine has also brought on two students every semester to intern behind the scenes.

The journal is also ranked nationally among the best literary journals, and NER writers have recently won or been chosen as the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

According to Kuebler, the journal receives around 4,500 submissions annually, and publishes 2 percent of the poetry submissions it receives and less than 1 percent of the prose submissions.

The college’s “core mission” aside, Donadio said journals like NER provide a way to sustain and encourage these writers — and provide a way for universities to support intellectual and cultural vitality.

“It’s really the role of journals of this sort to keep alive certain possibilities of intellectual community, to keep open a range of literary options that would simply die if they weren’t supported in some way,” he said. “It’s a matter of choice and priorities with respect to what you think a vibrant culture needs to survive and to flourish.”

That sort of support often needs to be subsidized, he went on, offering classical music as another example of an art that might die out without the support of nonprofits, philanthropists and academic institutions.

But the magazine has, to this point, relied on support from the college to stay afloat. NER’s “deficit” doesn’t mean the magazine overspent its budget, Donadio said — far from it. In fact, he went on, NER scrupulously came in under budget for years.

Simply put, the revenue brought in by subscriptions doesn’t cover the magazine’s spending, which includes payroll, small subsidies for readers who cull through literary submissions, and the cost of printing. NER prints 1,500 copies of each issue. Of those, around 800 are sent out to subscribers, 450 head to bookstores, and roughly 100 are purchased as single issues.

That’s far from uncommon among small magazines — both literary journals and more commercial publications alike.

“There is not a single literary magazine that could survive without support,” Donadio said.
What’s more, he said, the publications that critics often cite as the ones literary magazines should emulate, in order to be more financially viable, lose millions of dollars a year. Those include publications like “The Atlantic,” “The New Yorker,” and “Harper’s.”

“These are magazines that are thought of as appropriate models. People point to them and say, ‘Look at them, they make their own way. They’re really OK.’ In fact, they’re not,” Donadio said. “I think that’s true, generally speaking, of magazines committed to offering significant intellectual content.”

Despite the cuts, Donadio and Kuebler are hopeful — in large part because the college has agreed to help the magazine raise funds over the next two and a half years. Kuebler said that ideally, NER would build up an endowment over that period to fund its endeavors in the years ahead. The upside of the budget recommendations, she continued, is that the magazine will emerge more financially robust in the end.
Ultimately, Kuebler said that the magazine’s long relationship with the college has been taken for granted — both by the publication and by the school.

“I think this has come to a point where we’re really going to redefine what we mean to the college, and vice versa,” Kuebler said.

In the meantime, Donadio said he wasn’t surprised that news about the magazine’s precarious fate had kicked up a flurry of chatter among literary types online and off. Discussion about the magazine was featured last week on Web sites like Inside Higher Ed and a Los Angeles Times blog, and the Addison Independent was copied more than 10 letters to Liebowitz from concerned NER supporters. Donadio said the magazine’s staff played no part in the letter-writing campaign.

“People who are surviving as serious writers are intensely aware of the need for publications of this sort,” Donadio said. “When it looks like one of them — and one of the most prominent and prestigious — may cease to exist, they see that as an ominous indication that what they do may cease to exist. There’s a passionate interest in this. … Journals like NER make possible the creation of new literature in a way that nothing else can.”

What’s more, he said, many writers recognize that there may be nowhere else to publish their work, should magazines like NER go under — particularly in an age when publishing houses aren’t willing to invest in projects that won’t achieve success with mass audiences.

That’s where journals, albeit subsidized ones, step in: NER strives to foster intellectually rigorous poetry, fiction and nonfiction that might not find a home in more commercial publications.

“Cultures can make choices to do without these things, but they are coarsened and made shallower as a consequence,” Donadio said. “It’s possible to obliterate everything that isn’t in effect intended for a mass audience, on the assumption that anything worth having should be able to demonstrate its value by paying for itself. If everyone believed that, colleges and universities, as well as libraries and museums, would have disappeared from the face of the Earth long ago.”

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4.)

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

2009 Meetinghouse Readings
Canaan, NH
Canaan Meeting House
Phone: 603.523.9650
Canaan Street & Roberts Road

Thursday, July 9, 2009
7:30 pm Pamela Harrison and Tracy Winn Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing
 Canaan, NH

Thursday, July 16, 2009
7:30 pm Robert Pinsky and Elinor Lipman Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing
 Canaan, NH

Thursday, July 23, 2009
7:30 pm W.E. Butts and Paul Tremblay Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing 
Canaan, NH

Thursday, July 30, 2009
7:30 pm April Ossmann and Ha Jin Canaan Meeting House (Canaan Street & Roberts Road)
Author Reading & Book Signing 
Canaan, NH

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5.)

  • A note from the Burlington Writer’s Group:

Hey fellow writers –

Just wanted to let you know –

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

The Burlington Writer’s Group is a free drop-in group. We decide on a prompt and write for 20 minutes, followed by a go-around reading. We 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 don’t interrupt folks while they are writing. We don’t really 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…

Maybe we’ll see you there?

Best,
Cynthia Hennard

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6.)

POETRY TYPES

by Cella Bella

Let me start off by saying I think all poetry is beautiful, no matter how simple or complex. I wanted to post this to share the many types of poetry and to give some insight on some of the many types of poetry you may see on P&Q. I must say, free verse is always wonderful but, you might be surprised how challenging and unique formed poetry can be. Happy writing.

Poetry TypesTypes:

1. Villanelle
The villanelle, in my opinion, is one of the more difficult styles of poetry. A villanelle consists of 19 lines, including five tercets and a quatrain at the end. Each tercet is made up of three lines. The rhyme scheme for each tercet is aba. (the first and last have the same end rhyme, which just means the last word in each line rhymes) The concluding quatrain consists of four lines. The rhyme scheme is abab. Now, this is where it gets tricky. Two lines are repeated throughout the entire poem. -The first line of the last stanza is repeated as the last line in the second and fourth stanzas and also as the second-to-last line of the ending quatrain. -The third line of the first stanza is repeated as the last line of the third and fifth stanza and as the last line in the ending quatrain…

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7.)

  • A couple of great resources, according to some Otter Creek Poets, are:

BECOMING A WRITER
By Dorothea Brande

THE ARTIST’S WAY
By Julia Cameron

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8.)

  • Here is an interesting interview of Ravi Shankar – the poet, not the fellow who plays the sitar!  Ravi is the poetry faculty member for the 30th Annual University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Writers’ Conference, which takes place July 19-25.  If interested in this conference, go to http://www.usm.maine.edu/stonecoast_wc

Riding the Boat
Ram Devineni interviews Ravi Shankar
 editor of the Internet magazine Drunken Boat

…on editing the Drunkenboat.com, ethnopoetics, and deconstructing hypertext poetry.

This piece is 3,700 words or about eight printed pages long.

Riding the BoatObviously, the title ‘Drunken Boat’ comes from the famous Rimbaud poem. Why did you select that title?
I have a bipartite response to that question, the first reason being that Rimbaud, in his work and in his life, was perhaps the first truly modern poet. What Beat doesn’t have Rimbaud memorized when he states ‘the poet makes himself into a seer by a long, prodigious and rational disordering of all the senses. Every form of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he consumes all the poisons, and keeps only their quintessence’?
    I personally am more interested in Rimbaud the synesthete who, with all the hubris and wild inventiveness of a narcissistic genius, exclaims, ‘I created the colors of the vowels! A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green — I made rules for the form and movement of each consonant, and with instinctive rhythms, I flattered myself that I created a poetic language accessible, someday, to all the senses.’
    Isn’t that the primal goal of each poet, to look out at the landscape she finds herself in, and like Adam in Eden, provide each thing its necessary name? [Click on Image to read more.]

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Intimacy and Solitude
By PETER STEVENSON

THE NEW YORK TIME BOOK REVIEW
Published: November 7, 2008

New York Times“In childhood nothing happened.” So Donald Hall writes in his enchanting memoir, and what’s admirable about that sentence is not just the pleasure in coming across such a cheeky volley in the opening pages of an account of a life in our post-Freudian age, but the choice Hall made not to insert a comma between “childhood” and “nothing.” A comma — “In childhood, nothing happened” — would have insisted on a dramatic pause that the reader would be expected to applaud politely, nodding at the poet’s foreshadowing that clearly something did happen and it must have been simply stupendous, and here we go. But Hall means what he says, repeating the phrase “Nothing happened” twice, like a chorus or incantation, on the following page. [Click on Image to Read More.]

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THIS WEEK’S REVIEW (2)

NY Times 2 Reviews1) A RIVER OF WORDS
The Story of William Carlos Williams
By Jen Bryant. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Unpaged. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. $17. (Ages 7 and up)

2) MY LETTER TO THE WORLD
And Other Poems
By Emily Dickinson. Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault
Unpaged. KCP Poetry/Kids Can Press. Cloth, $17.95; paper, $9.95. (Ages 10 and up)

When I was 8 or 9 I copied a poem from a library book in loopy cursive and taped it to the wall over my bed. I was enchanted by Robert Frost’s catchy claim that he was “one of the children told” that “blowing dust” was “really gold.” But the real nugget for me was “the Golden Gate.” Frost and I were both born in San Francisco. And he, too, I learned with delight, had lived in Vermont, loved apple trees and bendy birches. [Click on Image to Read More.]

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11.)

Writing & Oneness:
Creativity and Deep Discovery Through Two Transformative Practices

June 5-7, 2009
Sky Meadow Retreat
Northeast Kingdom, VT
Cost: $350, includes tuition, food, lodging
To register: Send a non-refundable $50 check to:
Michelle Demers
382 Northview Court
Williston, VT  05495

Come and experience a weekend of creativity and deep discovery in the silence and natural surroundings of Sky Meadow Retreat.  You’ll have a chance to see how the practices of writing and Oneness Blessing can work together to deepen and complement each other and create transformations.  You will be introduced to both practices, then have many opportunities to experience each one and see how each works to deepen each experience.  The weekend promises to be devoted to writing, transformation, and deep listening in an atmosphere of kindness, openness, and non-judgment.  No experience is necessary in writing or Oneness Blessing.

For more information on Oneness Blessing (Deeksha):
www.onenessvermont.com

For more information on Writiing Practice:
www.firstthoughtswriting.com

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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 June 26th.  There will be flyers at the Book King counter.

Please contact me if you’d like to read.  The theme is:

“POEMS THAT MAKE YOU WANT TO SLIT YOUR WRISTS”

Poets and listeners will be checked at the door for sharp implements.

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Did You Know?

Ugly fight for top Oxford poetry post divides British academia, raises issues of race, gender

RAPHAEL G. SATTER | Associated Press Writer
May 26, 2009

Ugly FightLONDON — A fight over who gets to be Oxford University’s top poet has set Britain’s      pens racing — and weakened the careers of two well-known wordsmiths.

St. Lucia-born Derek Walcott pulled out of the race for Oxford’s Professor of Poetry after letters were distributed highlighting sexual harassment allegations made against him at Harvard and Boston Universities in the 1980s and 1990s.

His rival, Ruth Padel, resigned from the prestigious post Monday after admitting she sent e-mails to journalists publicizing the claims.

Some commentators called the move poetic justice, but others say the controversy uncovered the racially and sexually charged undercurrents still coursing through the uppermost reaches of academia. [Click on Image to Read More.]

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“Ponderings”

Ving, Vang, Vong. Or, the Pleasures of a New Vocabulary.
By VERLYN KLINKENBORG
Published: April 9, 2008

Ving Vang VongLately I’ve been thinking about the word “vang.” It is a sailing term, and if you look it up in the glossary of Royce’s “Sailing Illustrated,” you find that it refers to a line to prevent “the peak of a gaff from falling off leeward.” That is how it goes when you’re learning a new technical vocabulary. The language seems self-enclosed at first, each new definition an opaque cluster of words that themselves need defining. I was taught, during vocabulary in grade school, to try using a new word in a sentence. “There is a vang.” “Can someone show me the vang?” Those are my best efforts so far.

Part of the trouble is that I have never seen a vang. But it’s also that “vang” doesn’t sound like a noun to me. It sounds like the past tense of “ving,” which sounds like something you might do to a “vong.” And those are words with no meaning — nautical or otherwise. [Click on Image to Read More.]

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Poetry is the achievement of the synthesis of hyacinths and biscuits…

Poetry Quote by Carl Sandburg

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Poets Laureate of the U.S.A.

  • A Net-annotated list of all the poets who have served the Library of Congress as Consultant (the old title) or Poet Laureate Consultant (the new title). Biographies & general reference sites are linked to the poets’ names — for the recent Laureates these are our own poet profiles with book-buying links at the bottom. Many of the other linked biographies are pages from the Academy of American Poets’ Find a Poet archive, a growing & invaluable resource. If there is no general information site about the poet, we have searched the Net for sample poems or other writings or recordings & listed those below the poet’s name.

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Lorenzo After Driving Drunk
By Mark Neely

FailBetter - Lorenzo

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18.)

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

At Ruann’s, Having Tea with the Future
BY SALLY MOLINI

Sally Molini’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in LIT, Beloit Poetry Journal, elimae, and 32 Poems, among other journals, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She is co-editor for Cerise Press, an online international magazine and lives in Nebraska.

LineBreak - Having Tea

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Copper Canyon - Love

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American Life in Poetry: Column 217

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

American literature is rich with poems about the passage of time, and the inevitability of change, and how these affect us. Here is a poem by Kevin Griffith, who lives in Ohio, in which the years accelerate by their passing.

American Life Col 217

American Life in Poetry: Column 218

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


Here is one of my favorite mother-daughter poems, by Marie Howe, who lives in New York City and who has a charming little girl.

American Life Col 218

American Life in Poetry: Column 219

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

As we all know, getting older isn’t hard to do. Time continues on. In this poem, Deborah Warren of Massachusetts asks us to think about the life lived between our past and present selves, as indicated in the marginal comments of an old book. There’s something beautiful about books allowing us to talk to who we once were, and this poem captures this beauty.

American Life Col 219

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VERMONT POET LAUREATES

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

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If you ever have a need to contact me, here’s how to go about doing so:
Ronald Lewis:
Phone: 802-247-5913
Cell: 802-779-5913
Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733
Email: vtpoet@gmail.com

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23.)

VERMONT LITERARY JOURNALS

1) The Queen City Review

Burlington College’s  The Queen City Review is a yearly journal of art and literature and accepts the work of new and established writers and artists in the areas of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, photography, and fine art, as well as essays and criticism on all aspects of the aforementioned. They seek to publish high quality work that ranges broadly in topic and genre.

The Queen City Review can be purchased by 2-year subscription or individually.  The price of one issue is $8 plus shipping charges ($1) for a total of $9.  Subscriptions can be purchased for #$14 plus shipping charges $2) and includes the Fall 2008 and upcoming 2009 issues.  They accept cash, check, and credit cards.  You can mail your payment to them or by calling (802) 862-9616 ext. 234 to place your order over the phone.  If mailing your payment, mail details to:

ATTN: Heidi Berkowitz
Burlington College
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT  05401

2) Bloodroot

Bloodroot is a nonprofit literary magazine dedicated to publishing diverse voices through the adventure of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction.  Their aim is to provide a platform for the free-spirited emerging and established writer.

The price of a single issue is $8.

Editor, “Do” Roberts
Bloodroot Literary Magazine
PO Box 322
Thetford Center, VT  05075
(802) 785-4916
email: bloodroot@wildblue.net

3) New England Review

A publication of Middlebury College, a high quality literary magazine that continues to uphold its reputation for publishing extraordinary, enduring work.  NER has been publishing now for over 30 years.

Cost: $8 for a single issue
$30 for a single year (4 issues)
$50 for two years (8 issues)

New England Review
Attn: Orders
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

NEReview@middlebury.edu
(800) 450-9571

4) Willard & Maple

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Champlain College, Burlington.

Willard & Maple
163 South Willard Street
Freeman 302, Box 34
Burlington, VT  05401

email: willardandmaple@champlain.edu

5) Burlington Poetry Journal

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

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STATE POETRY SOCIETY
Poetry Society of Vermont

The Poetry Society of Vermont, founded in 1947, is an association of poets and supporters who join in promoting an interest in poetry through meetings, workshops, readings, contests, and contributions to the society’s chapbook. Anyone may join the society including high school and college students and non-residents of Vermont. We welcome both writers and appreciative readers.

In September 2007, The Poetry Society of Vermont will celebrated its 60th Anniversary.

Membership in PSOV

Benefits:

  • 2 luncheon/ workshops a year where a professional poet critiques your poems
  • one hands- on writing workshop and reading under the direction of a professional poet
  • the opportunity to enter contests judged by professional poets and to win awards
  • fellowship with appreciative readers and writers of poetry
  • opportunity for publication in the PSOV chapbook, The Mountain Troubadour

How to join:

  • mail dues of $20.00 to Membership Chairman, P.O. Box 1215, Waitsfield, VT 05673
  • include your name, mailing address, telephone, and e-mail address for Membership List
  • memberships are renewed by January 1 of each year

The PSOV has 2 current books available for sale:

1) The Mountain Troubadour – 2008 – Curl up with 44 pages of interesting, award-winning poetry from a wonderful group of poets.  This book is only $8 (+$1 to mail).  To get yourself a copy, call or write to Betty Gaechter, 134 Hitzel Terrace, Rutland, VT 05701, 773-8679.  This little booklet may be just the thing to get you involved with the PSOV for a lifetime of friendships.

2) Brighten the Barn – 60th Anniversary Anthology – 1947-2007 – An Anthology of Poems by Members of the Poetry Society of Vermont.  99 pages of quality poetry; that’s a lot of beautiful poetry for only $12.  If you get it through me (Ron Lewis), it’s only $12.  If you want it shipped to you, the PSOV wants an extra amount to cover tax and shipping ($0.72 + $3.00).  This book retails for $15, but a reduced price is now in play to unload the few remaining copies.

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YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BELLOWS FALLS

1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter

2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat).  The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Poetry Workshops on Monday mornings (9:30-12:30 I believe)- Jim Fowler’s sessions continue, with periodic break for a few weeks between sessions.  Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the River Voices Writer’s Circle, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at vsbooks@sover.net or  jfowler177@comcast.net.

BERLIN

The Wayside Poets, who share their poetry publicly from time to time, have been meeting irregularly for the past 25 years.  They used to be called The Academy Street Poets.  Membership is by invitation only.  They meet now at the Wayside Restaurant & Bakery in Berlin.  Members include Diane Swan, Sherry Olson, Carol Henrikson and Sarah Hooker.  You can contact them through Sherry Olson at: solsonvt@aol.com or 454-8026.

GUILFORD

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

MIDDLEBURY

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

NORWICH

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

STOWE

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

WAITSFIELD

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

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OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse-writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street.  Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Free.  Contact information: 862-1094.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

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

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

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

  • Note: If you know of any others, or have personal information about the workshop in Stowe and Guilford, please send me that information.  I realize that there are several smaller groups or workshops around the state.  However, because of their intimacy, they are not posted above, allowing them to offer “memberships” to close friends or acquaintances that they feel would be most appropriate.

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YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

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

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

SPRINGFIELD

A Writer’s Group has started to meet at the Springfield Town Library on the fourth Monday of each month, from 7 to 8 pm.  For more information, call 885-3108.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers.  The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write.  One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman (www.aprilossmann.com).  Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center!  For more info, http://www.thewriterscenterwrj.com/.

UNDERHILL

Women Writing for (a) Change supports the authentic experience of women who honor themselves through creative writing.  Our community supports reflection as we move into our questions and awaken to change.  Participants enhance expressive skills, strengthen their voices, deepen themselves as women as writers for positive change in all spheres of life.  Creative writing in all genres is our shared vehicle.  Women Writing for (a) Change is for women who, 1) dream of writing for self-discovery, for personal or social healing, 2) hunger for creative process in their lives, 3) yearn to explore their feminine voice, 4) crave reflective, space, and 5) are in transition.  For more information, go to their web site at http://www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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POETRY EVENT CALENDAR

Poetry EventBelow please find the most current list of poetry happenings in Vermont for the near future.  Please be aware that these events can be found on Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com.  Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders.  If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.

Mon, Jun 1: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Eamon Grennan to read.  Eamon Grennan was born in Dublin in 1941 and educated at UCD, where he studied English and Italian, and Harvard, where he received his PhD in English. His volumes of poetry include What Light There Is & Other Poems, (North Point Press, 1989), Wildly for Days (1983), What Light There Is (1987), As If It Matters (1991), So It Goes (1995), Selected and New Poems (2000) and Still Life with Waterfall (2001). His latest collection, The Quick of It, appeared in 2004 in Ireland, and in Spring 2005 in America. His books of poetry are published in the United States by Graywolf Press, and in Ireland by Gallery Press. Other publications include Leopardi: Selected Poems (Princeton 1997), and Facing the Music: Irish Poetry in the 20th Century, a collection of essays on modern Irish poetry. His poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in many magazines both in Ireland and the US.  Grennan has given lectures and workshops in colleges and universities in the US, including courses for the graduate programs in Columbia and NYU. During 2002 he was the Heimbold Professor of Irish Studies at Villanova University. His grants and prizes in the United States include awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Leopardi: Selected Poems received the 1997 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and Still Life with Waterfall was the recipient of the 2003 Lenore Marshall Award for Poetry from the American Academy of Poets. His poems have been awarded a number of Pushcart prizes. Grennan has taught since 1974 at Vassar College where he is the Dexter M. Ferry Jr. Professor of English.  For info, 635-2727.

Thu, Jun 4: Otter Creek Poets Annual Potluck and Poetry.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.  Members only, meeting at the home of Deanna Shapiro (directions above).

Thu, Jun 4: Howe Library, Mayer Room, Hanover, NH, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Author Reading & Book Signing: April Ossmann.  April reads from Anxious Music.  For info, (603) 643-4120, Ellen.Lynch@TheHowe.org.

Wed, Jun 10: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity. Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s spring poems. Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving. Refreshments served. RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.

Thu, Jun 11: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jun 11: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Sat, Jun 13: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Thu, Jun 18: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Sat, Jun 20, 7:00: Ball and Chain Cafe at the Briggs Carriage Bookstore, 16 Park St., Brandon, 7:00 p.m.  Poetry/Music Performance.  David Cavanagh reads poems from his new book, Falling Body (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), interspersed, entangled with and accompanied by the music of Blackbird (Bob DeMarco and Rachel Clark).

Thu, Jun 25: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Thu, Jun 25: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 2: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 9: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 9: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

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

Sat, Jul 11: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Thu, Jul 16: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 23: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

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

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

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

Thu, Jul 30: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Sat, Aug 8: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, Sep 12: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Oct 10: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Nov 14: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Dec 12: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

2010:

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

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

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

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis

Vermont Poetry Newsletter and Event Calendar May 18 2009

[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter

Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State

May 17, 2009

  1. Newsletter Editor’s Note/Notes to Otter Creek Poets
  2. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  3. Otter Creek Poets
  4. Poetry At The White House
  5. Robert Pinsky Video: Samurai Song
  6. Robert Pack
  7. Horace Beck
  8. Presto Manifesto! Rhymed Poetry
  9. Poetic Form: Ghazal
  10. 3 Poems Selected For Pushcart Prize
  11. Certificate in Literary Publishing
  12. Poetry Readings Resume At The Book King
  13. Great River Arts Institute Writing Programs
  14. Week’s Review: Sisterhood of Homeless Women In Poetry
  15. Did You Know? Sex Pest Derek Walcott Bows Out of Race
  16. Ponderings – Notes On The Risqué
  17. Poetry Quote (Gary Snyder)
  18. US Poets Laureate List
  19. Failbetter Poem
  20. Linebreak Poem
  21. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  22. American Life in Poetry Poems (3)
  23. Vermont Poets Past and Present Project
  24. Vermont Poet Laureates
  25. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  26. Vermont Literary Journals
  27. Poetry Society of Vermont
  28. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  29. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  30. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  31. Poetry Event Calendar

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About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network

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

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1.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

It’s time to catch your breath from this year’s National Poetry Month.  Usually by this time, there is nothing left in the bank for poetry events, but there are still many fine programs and readings left.  If you can’t get out of the house, then by golly, write!  Or read!!  (May I recommend Edward Hirsch’s Poet’s Choice to you.)

The Otter Creek Poets will have their annual Potluck and Poetry Feast at Deanna Shapiro’s on June 4th.  12:00-1:00 Potluck, 1:00-3:00 Poetry.  Directions to Deanna’s will be in the next VPN.

I’m also looking for poets to read on Friday, May 29th, at the Book King in Rutland (starting at 6:00 p.m.).  The theme is “Spring” or “Signs of Spring.”  Readings will happen at the Book King on the last Friday of every month.

Until next time!

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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2.)

THIS WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:


For God’s Sake, Let Us Sit upon the Ground – 
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

For God’s sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings:
How some have been deposed; some slain in war;
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison’d by their wives; some sleeping kill’d;
All murder’d:  for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life
Were brass impregnable, and humour’d thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!

Richard II, III.ii.155-170 (Richard)

BLANK VERSE

“ Blank verse” in English almost always means iambic pentameter, although strictly speaking it could use other meters so long as it is unrhymed. It offers considerable metric variety within the 5-foot, usually 10-syllable line. An extra syllable or two sometimes sneaks in, especially an unstressed (“feminine”) syllable at the end of a line.

Assignment: Read 200 lines of blank verse out loud. Repeat until you have the cadence firmly in your ear. Then write 20 lines of it.

  • Hint: Use Frost’s “Death of the Hired Man,” a Shakespeare monologue.

Don’t slip into Elizabethan language. Write like yourself.

If you don’t want to stop after 20 lines, keep going.

LAST WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

Writing is, and always will be, an art practiced in solitude.  So why would you want to write in a room full of other people?

My aim is to give you a change of scene, a safe place to try new directions, and a fun time.  This special writing marathon workshop, part of the Otter Creek Poets’ celebration of National Poetry Month, is a chance to write, write, and write some more.

No just for poets . . . work in any genre or style you choose.  There will be chances to share what you write, but that is 100% optional; feel free to keep work private.

Bring pen and paper, a bag lunch, and whatever else you will need to be comfortable for 3-1/2 hours.  Laptop computers are permitted, but bring your own extension cord.  You should also know that the library’s wireless signal does not penetrate into the meeting room.

No preparation is required.  However, if your writing life hasn’t been going your way – if you are stuck, blocked, frustrated, obsessed, or otherwise dissatisfied with your work – gather your thoughts about that difficulty in advance and I will try to address them in the group setting or privately.

The afternoon of writing went a bit differently than what was identified above.  Here is what actually took place:

National Poetry Month Writing Marathon

Ground Rules

1) NO CRITIQUES:  The purpose of this session is to generate new writing in first draft form.  We will not be critiquing, editing, or perfecting any work that is shared.

2) CONFIDENTIALITY:  In order for members to be able to write freely, please remember to treat what you hear confidentially.  What happens here, stays here.

3) TACT:  Assume that all writings shared here is imaginative, and that the characters and speakers in poems and stories are fictional.  Do this even when the writing is obviously autobiographical.

4) USING THE TIME FAIRLY:  Give everyone a chance to share and speak.

12:00 – 12:30  Introductions
Who we are and why we write

Write down brief answers to these questions.  At your turn to introduce yourself, read what you have written.

1) Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do in the world?
2) As a writer, what is your particular gift?
3) What is the hardest thing for you to write about?

12:30 – 1:00  Loosening up.
The Writer’s Body

Like it or not, we are beings who live inside bodies.  All of our consciousness, memories, and experience are stored in the body.  Get comfortable – sit, stand, move, whatever feels right.  Close your eyes and notice your body, from the inside.  Now ask your body, one part at a time, to tell you some stories.  Write down the stories.

1:00 – 1:30  Secrets and Lies

Our writing emerges over the course of a lifetime.  Some things emerge early, some later.  Today, try writing something you’ve been putting off.  Maybe something you didn’t have the skill to attempt until now.  Maybe something you weren’t free to say until recently.  Write it now.

2:00 – 2:30  Your Best Story

There is a story everybody makes you tell over and over again.  It’s the story you tell so well.  Oddly enough, you have never written it down.  Do that now.

2:30 – 3:00  Questions & Answers
3:00 – 3:30  Sharing Our Writing

Good Luck!

(All Assignments are products of David Weinstock unless otherwise indicated.)

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3.)

Otter Creek Poetry Society celebrates National Poetry Month with Writing Marathon

Middlebury Article on Otter CreekDavid Weinstock is not afraid to ask people tough questions, if poetry is what comes out of it.

On April 23, more than 20 community members gathered in the basement conference room of the Ilsley Public Library, as they do every Thursday, for the Otter Creek Poetry Society meeting. This Thursday, the group celebrated poetry month by holding a 3 1/2 hour writing workshop that Weinstock, the founder of the group, called the National Poetry Month Writing Marathon.

Over the course of the afternoon, the group – which ranged in age from nine to 89 – wrote prose and poetry to answer prompts proposed by Weinstock, such as “Who are you and what do you do in the world?” and “Write a story that you tell so well but have never written down….

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4.)

POETRY AT THE WHITE HOUSE ! (FINALLY)
Poetry, Music and Spoken Word

Last Tuesday, the President and the First Lady hosted an evening celebrating poetry, music and the spoken word. This event was designed around the theme of dialogue, showing how dialogue is important in every aspect of who we are as Americans and as human beings, and demonstrating how communication is a constant throughout the ages.  The hope was also that the evening’s gathering helped ensure that all voices are heard, particularly voices that are often not heard. We are fortunate to have a wide variety of upcoming and legendary performers such as Joshua Bennett, actor James Earl Jones, Eric Lewis, Jamaica Heolimeleikalani Osorio, novelist Michael Chabon, Mayda Del Valle and Esperanza Spalding.
They invited students from American, Gallaudet, Georgetown, and Howard Universities to participate in the event.

“I have wanted to do this from Day One, the notion of standing in this room and hearing some poetry,” said Mrs. Obama. It’s no secret that President Obama is a fan of poetry. He was spotted reading some shortly after winning the election and included a poet at his inaugration ceremony.

The “poetry jam” was streamed live on the White House Web site and was broadcast on HBO. Here’s Joshua Bennett performing his work at the White House.

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5.)

Listen to Robert Pinsky read “Samurai Song”

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6.)

Robert Pack, Poet, Essayist, Former Director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference

Robert Pack is in Missoula, teaching at the University of Montana and completing a critical study of Robert Frost.

Pounding It Out, his latest verse collection, was published by the University of Chicago Press.

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7.)

HORACE BECK


  • I could find nothing to prove the rumor of the beef Robert Pack had with Horace Beck for making racial jokes, leading to Pack leading a revolt at Middlebury College, and then leaving altogether.  Here’s something, though, that I did find out about Horace:

Matt Bonnerhorace p. beck passed away at his home on tuesday, july 1st, 2003. he was 82.

horace beck was the man behind the narration of the legend of harry meyers on medicine stone’s gauge. beck was a traditional storyteller and a master of folklore who began sailing at age three. he made 28 transatlantic crossings and was the first white man allowed on the whaling ships in the west indies and in tonga in the south pacific. he spoke five languages, wrote a dozen books, and was one of the most popular professors ever to teach at middlebury college. in his youth he wrestled for ten years and had his ear torn half off, but was never pinned. he lived in his mountain home in ripton, vermont, and was a regular presence on national public radio…

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8.)

Presto Manifesto!

Poetry Manifesto - Poetry FoundationSeventh in a series of eight manifestos.
BY A.E. STALLINGS

The freedom to not-rhyme must include the freedom to rhyme. Then verse will be “free.”

All rhymed poetry must be rhyme-driven. This is no longer to be considered pejorative.

Rhyme is at the wheel. No, rhyme is the engine….

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9.)

Poetic Form: Ghazal

PoetryOrgThe ghazal is composed of a minimum of five couplets–and typically no more than fifteen–that are structurally, thematically, and emotionally autonomous. Each line of the poem must be of the same length, though meter is not imposed in English. The first couplet introduces a scheme, made up of a rhyme followed by a refrain. Subsequent couplets pick up the same scheme in the second line only, repeating the refrain and rhyming the second line with both lines of the first stanza. The final couplet usually includes the poet’s signature, referring to the author in the first or third person, and frequently including the poet’s own name or a derivation of its meaning.

Traditionally invoking melancholy, love, longing, and metaphysical questions, ghazals are often sung by Iranian, Indian, and Pakistani musicians. The form has roots in seventh-century Arabia, and gained prominence in the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century thanks to such Persian poets as Rumi and Hafiz. In the eighteenth-century, the ghazal was used by poets writing in Urdu, a mix of the medieval languages of Northern India, including Persian. Among these poets, Ghalib is the recognized master….

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10.)

Three Poems from Poetry Selected for The Pushcart Prize

CHICAGO – Poetry magazine is pleased to announce that three poems featured recently in its pages have been selected for inclusion in The Pushcart Prize XXXIV: Best of the Small Presses (2010 edition): David Yezzi’s “The Good News” (June 2007), Louise Glück’s “Midsummer” (February 2008), and Geoffrey Brock’s “Daddy: 1933” (June 2008).

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11.)

Certificate in Literary Publishing

[Extract] Have you been thinking or dreaming about starting your own literary magazine, or founding a press to publish books? Do you have a vision of what works you would like to bring to life? Or would you like to work for a literary magazine or small press? The Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs at Emerson College offers the Literary Publishing Program, which is open to poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and individuals who would like to learn the publishing skills needed to start and run their own literary magazines or their own book publishing ventures, or work for a larger literary publishing enterprise.
 
The program in Literary Publishing is held as a two-week intensive during Emerson College’s May intersession (5/11-5/22). Outside of classroom instruction, participants will work on a business plan on their press or magazine. Participants who complete the intensive and submit a rough business plan for their literary magazine or press will earn the Literary Publishing Certificate. This program is non-credit.
 
This non-credit program provides five two-day modules and a half-day panel designed to give the basics in starting and running a literary magazine or small press, giving those enrolled a way to avoid common, and costly, mistakes…

Click Here for Details

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12.)

Poetry Readings Resume at The Book King, Center Street, Rutland

The Book King is returning to having public poetry readings, to be held on the last Friday of each month, the first of which would be May 29th, at 6:00-7:00 p.m.  I will be organizing the readers, develop the flyers, and do the promotion of the events through the local newspapers and radio stations.  There will be flyers at the Book King in order to have available for handouts.

I am hoping to have several poets lined up for this inaugural reading.  Please contact me if you’d like to read at what should be a grand kick off.  For this reading, I am looking for poems containing the idea of “Spring” or “Signs of Spring” for a common theme.

For future readings, I am thinking along the lines of having readers from:

1) The Killington Arts Guild and their writers from the publication “A Gathering of Poets”
2) Members of the Otter Creek Poets, who have published 4 anthologies
3) Readers from the Vermont Young Writers Project
4) Youthful “Slam Poets”
5) Anti-war poets

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13.)

Great River Arts Institute 2009 Courses

Literary Programs

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14.)

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW

Beloved Community ReviewBELOVED COMMUNITY: THE SISTERHOOD OF HOMELESS WOMEN IN POETRY

edited by WHEEL
Posted by Megan under E-Reviews
Review by Anne McDuffie
[Extract] In this anthology, WHEEL—the Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League— has assembled an impressive array of poems, culled from the chapbooks they publish annually. WHEEL is, by its own definition, a “scrappy little grassroots organizing effort of homeless and formerly homeless women in Seattle, Washington.” Some of the writers included in this collection have come through the classes WHEEL sponsors at day centers and through their StreetWrites program; some are workshop organizers and staff writers for Real Change, Seattle’s homeless newspaper. Their poems bring us the news from the “invisible side of the street,” as Anitra Freeman describes it in “In Memoriam,” a prose tribute to the members of WHEEL, and to all homeless women, who have died outside or by violence in King County.

There are gems here, some of them rough-edged and some of them flawed—but taken together, they dazzle. The strength of the collection is in its variety. Beloved Community allows us to know the women of WHEEL as individuals linked by circumstance rather than as “the homeless.” These poems are deeply personal and speak with exhilarating directness, delighting in strong rhythms, bold images and flashes of humor….

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15.)

Did You Know?

Sex pest file gives Oxford poetry race a nasty edge

Times - Sex PestThe race to win poetry’s most prestigious academic post has turned dirty after Oxford academics were anonymously sent a lurid dossier accusing Derek Walcott, the frontrunner and Nobel laureate, of being a sex pest.

The package was circulated last week to staff and graduates eligible to vote in next Saturday’s election for the Oxford professorship of poetry, as well as to the offices of Cherwell, a student newspaper.

The dossier recounts a sexual harassment claim against Walcott, 79, when he taught at Harvard in the 1980s.

The poet was reprimanded following the allegation that he tried to pressure a female student into sleeping with him.

Another harassment claim against Walcott dating from 1996 has also reemerged, sparking a heated debate at Oxford.

Walcott’s main challenger for the professorship is Ruth Padel, a poet and travel writer, who is seeking to become the first woman to hold the post in its 300-year history…

FOLLOW-UP:

Smears drive Walcott from Oxford poetry professor race

Guardian - Walcott Withdraws[Extract] Nobel prize winner Derek Walcott has withdrawn from the race to become Oxford’s professor of poetry following an anonymous letter campaign.

The campaign saw up to 100 Oxford academics sent photocopied pages from a book detailing a sexual harassment claim made against Walcott by a Harvard student in 1982. The student alleged that Walcott asked her to, “Imagine me making love to you. What would I do? … Would you make love with me if I asked you?”, and claimed that after she turned him down, she was given a C grade in his class.

Walcott was one of three candidates in the running for the position – the most influential in poetry in the UK behind that of the laureateship – alongside Ruth Padel and the Indian poet Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. He was backed by major names in the literary world, including Booker winner Alan Hollinghurst, Graham Robb, Marina Warner, poet Jenny Joseph, and professor Hermione Lee, and was seen as the frontrunner for the post. Oxford graduates are due to vote for their choice of poetry professor on 16 May.

But the Nobel laureate said today that he was withdrawing from the election, hitting out at the “low tactics”, and the “low and degrading attempt at character assassination” it had become….

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16.)

“Ponderings”

Notes on the Risqué
by Jerry Garcia

Notes on RisqueOn the discount table at one of those chain bookstores that I really should boycott, I found a collection of cartoons that had been rejected by the New Yorker. Titled The Rejected Collection – Cartoons You Never Saw, and Never Will See in the New Yorker, this book was full of “risqué, silly and weird cartoons.” Since the first cartoon made me chuckle and the book was heavily discounted, I bought it. In this book, along with a collection of clunkers, were some funny cartoons that were written and/or drawn in bad taste.

This editorial is not a book review. The book has inspired some conflicting thoughts I have about good taste and spoken word. As a middle-aged man ensconced in the pop culture and entertainment trends of my lifetime, I often enjoy the risqué and the prurient…

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17.)

How Poetry Comes To Me

It comes blundering over the
Boulders at night, it stays
Frightened outside the
Range of my campfire
I go to meet it at the
Edge of the light

Poetry Quote by Gary Snyder

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18.)

Poets Laureate of the U.S.A.

  • A Net-annotated list of all the poets who have served the Library of Congress as Consultant (the old title) or Poet Laureate Consultant (the new title). Biographies & general reference sites are linked to the poets’ names — for the recent Laureates these are our own poet profiles with book-buying links at the bottom. Many of the other linked biographies are pages from the Academy of American Poets’ Find a Poet archive, a growing & invaluable resource. If there is no general information site about the poet, we have searched the Net for sample poems or other writings or recordings & listed those below the poet’s name.

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19.)

Failbetter.com – Lorca in Eden

Lorca in Eden

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20.)

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

Somewhere South of Miles City
By Joe Wilkins

Stop the car. There. Now
breathe with me. That broken

Ford needs only a swift kick
to set it right. Listen. The radio

man says For Sale, says Believe.
You believed in me. I believed… [Extract]

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21.)

Here’s a poem from Copper Canyon Press, in its “Reading Room”.

An Introduction to the Mechanics of Deformable Bodies: Christ Martin

When Erica says
I am feeling myself and jovial
I think of the orange

Tipped trees between
The buildings out
My window, their penknife

Leaves grazing like air-bound anemones
Haunted by the jellyfish
Forms of black plastic bags, today… [Extract]

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22.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 214

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

Sometimes I wonder at my wife’s forbearance. She’s heard me tell the same stories dozens of times, and she still politely laughs when she should. Here’s a poem by Susan Browne, of California, that treats an oft-told story with great tenderness.

On Our Eleventh Anniversary

You’re telling that story again about your childhood,
when you were five years old and rode your blue bicycle

from Copenhagen to Espergaerde, and it was night
and snowing by the time you arrived,

and your grandparents were so relieved to see you,
because all day no one knew where you were… [Extract]

American Life in Poetry: Column 215

To commemorate Mother’s Day, here’s a lovely poem by David Wojahn of Virginia, remembering his mother after forty years.

Walking to School, 1964

Blurring the window, the snowflakes’ numb white lanterns.
She’s brewed her coffee, in the bathroom sprays cologne
And sets her lipstick upright on the sink.
The door ajar, I glimpse the yellow slip,

The rose-colored birthmark on her shoulder.
Then she’s dressed–the pillbox hat and ersatz fur,
And I’m dressed too, mummified in stocking cap
And scarves, and I walk her to the bus stop… [ Extract]

American Life in Poetry: Column 216

Judy Loest lives in Knoxville and, like many fine Appalachian writers, her poems have a welcoming conversational style, rooted in that region’s storytelling tradition. How gracefully she sweeps us into the landscape and the scene!

Faith

Leaves drift from the cemetery oaks onto late grass,
Sun-singed, smelling like straw, the insides of old barns.
The stone angel’s prayer is uninterrupted by the sleeping
Vagrant at her feet, the lone squirrel, furtive amid the litter.

Someone once said my great-grandmother, on the day she died,
rose from her bed where she had lain, paralyzed and mute
For two years following a stroke, and dressed herself–the good
Sunday dress of black crepe, cotton stockings, sensible, lace-up shoes… [Extract]

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23.)

KEEP PAST VERMONT POETS ALIVE!  I’M SOLICITING YOUR HELP:
POETS OF VERMONT PAST AND PRESENT PROJECT

I’m looking for a copy of:

1) The Literature of Vermont: A Sampler – FOUND!
2) Poets and Poetry of Vermont, by Abby Maria Hemenway, 1858
3) “Driftwood,” a poetry magazine begun in 1926 by Walter John Coates

If you have any books of poetry, chapbooks, or just poems written by Vermont poets, dating 1980 and earlier, famous or not, I’d like to know about them.  I’m beginning a project that deals strictly with Vermont poets, from Vermont’s past, with summaries of the poets themselves, a portrait photo or drawing of the poet, along with a small sampling of poems.  If you think you can help, you probably can!  Please contact me by replying to this newsletter.

Ronald Lewis

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24.)

VERMONT POET LAUREATES

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

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25.)

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

Ronald Lewis:
Phone: 802-247-5913
Cell: 802-779-5913

Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733
Email: vtpoet@gmail.com

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26.)

VERMONT LITERARY JOURNALS

1) The Queen City Review

Burlington College’s  The Queen City Review is a yearly journal of art and literature and accepts the work of new and established writers and artists in the areas of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, photography, and fine art, as well as essays and criticism on all aspects of the aforementioned. They seek to publish high quality work that ranges broadly in topic and genre.

The Queen City Review can be purchased by 2-year subscription or individually.  The price of one issue is $8 plus shipping charges ($1) for a total of $9.  Subscriptions can be purchased for #$14 plus shipping charges $2) and includes the Fall 2008 and upcoming 2009 issues.  They accept cash, check, and credit cards.  You can mail your payment to them or by calling (802) 862-9616 ext. 234 to place your order over the phone.  If mailing your payment, mail details to:

ATTN: Heidi Berkowitz
Burlington College
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT  05401

2) Bloodroot

Bloodroot is a nonprofit literary magazine dedicated to publishing diverse voices through the adventure of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction.  Their aim is to provide a platform for the free-spirited emerging and established writer.

The price of a single issue is $8.

Editor, “Do” Roberts
Bloodroot Literary Magazine
PO Box 322
Thetford Center, VT  05075
(802) 785-4916
email: bloodroot@wildblue.net

3) New England Review

A publication of Middlebury College, a high quality literary magazine that continues to uphold its reputation for publishing extraordinary, enduring work.  NER has been publishing now for over 30 years.

Cost: $8 for a single issue
$30 for a single year (4 issues)
$50 for two years (8 issues)

New England Review
Attn: Orders
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

NEReview@middlebury.edu
(800) 450-9571

4) Willard & Maple

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Champlain College, Burlington.

Willard & Maple
163 South Willard Street
Freeman 302, Box 34
Burlington, VT  05401

email: willardandmaple@champlain.edu

5) Burlington Poetry Journal

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

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27.)

STATE POETRY SOCIETY
Poetry Society of Vermont

The Poetry Society of Vermont, founded in 1947, is an association of poets and supporters who join in promoting an interest in poetry through meetings, workshops, readings, contests, and contributions to the society’s chapbook. Anyone may join the society including high school and college students and non-residents of Vermont. We welcome both writers and appreciative readers.

In September 2007, The Poetry Society of Vermont will celebrated its 60th Anniversary.

Membership in PSOV

Benefits:

  • 2 luncheon/ workshops a year where a professional poet critiques your poems
  • one hands- on writing workshop and reading under the direction of a professional poet
  • the opportunity to enter contests judged by professional poets and to win awards
  • fellowship with appreciative readers and writers of poetry
  • opportunity for publication in the PSOV chapbook, The Mountain Troubadour

How to join:

  • mail dues of $20.00 to Membership Chairman, P.O. Box 1215, Waitsfield, VT 05673
  • include your name, mailing address, telephone, and e-mail address for Membership List
  • memberships are renewed by January 1 of each year

The PSOV has 2 current books available for sale:

1) The Mountain Troubadour – 2008 – Curl up with 44 pages of interesting, award-winning poetry from a wonderful group of poets.  This book is only $8 (+$1 to mail).  To get yourself a copy, call or write to Betty Gaechter, 134 Hitzel Terrace, Rutland, VT 05701, 773-8679.  This little booklet may be just the thing to get you involved with the PSOV for a lifetime of friendships.

2) Brighten the Barn – 60th Anniversary Anthology – 1947-2007 – An Anthology of Poems by Members of the Poetry Society of Vermont.  99 pages of quality poetry; that’s a lot of beautiful poetry for only $12.  If you get it through me (Ron Lewis), it’s only $12.  If you want it shipped to you, the PSOV wants an extra amount to cover tax and shipping ($0.72 + $3.00).  This book retails for $15, but a reduced price is now in play to unload the few remaining copies.

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28.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BELLOWS FALLS

1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter

2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat).  The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Poetry Workshops on Monday mornings (9:30-12:30 I believe)- Jim Fowler’s sessions continue, with periodic break for a few weeks between sessions.  Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the River Voices Writer’s Circle, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at vsbooks@sover.net or  jfowler177@comcast.net.

BERLIN

The Wayside Poets, who share their poetry publicly from time to time, have been meeting irregularly for the past 25 years.  They used to be called The Academy Street Poets.  Membership is by invitation only.  They meet now at the Wayside Restaurant & Bakery in Berlin.  Members include Diane Swan, Sherry Olson, Carol Henrikson and Sarah Hooker.  You can contact them through Sherry Olson at: solsonvt@aol.com or 454-8026.

GUILFORD

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

MIDDLEBURY

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

NORWICH

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

STOWE

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

WAITSFIELD

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

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29.)

OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse-writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street.  Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Free.  Contact information: 862-1094.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

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

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

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

  • Note: If you know of any others, or have personal information about the workshop in Stowe and Guilford, please send me that information.  I realize that there are several smaller groups or workshops around the state.  However, because of their intimacy, they are not posted above, allowing them to offer “memberships” to close friends or acquaintances that they feel would be most appropriate.

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30.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

SPRINGFIELD

A Writer’s Group has started to meet at the Springfield Town Library on the fourth Monday of each month, from 7 to 8 pm.  For more information, call 885-3108.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers.  The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write.  One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman (www.aprilossmann.com).  Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center!

UNDERHILL

Women Writing for (a) Change supports the authentic experience of women who honor themselves through creative writing.  Our community supports reflection as we move into our questions and awaken to change.  Participants enhance expressive skills, strengthen their voices, deepen themselves as women as writers for positive change in all spheres of life.  Creative writing in all genres is our shared vehicle.  Women Writing for (a) Change is for women who, 1) dream of writing for self-discovery, for personal or social healing, 2) hunger for creative process in their lives, 3) yearn to explore their feminine voice, 4) crave reflective, space, and 5) are in transition.  For more information, go to their web site at http://www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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31.)

POETRY EVENT CALENDAR

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 Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com.  Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders.  If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.

Thu, May 21: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Wed, May 27: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  A new place for poets to read and hear new work.  This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.

Thu, May 28: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, May 28: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Fri, May 29: The Book King, Center Street, Rutland, 6:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  Inaugural reading at their new location, under new ownership.  Theme will be “Spring” or “Signs of Spring.”  Contact Ron Lewis in order to sign up to read.  vtpoet@gmail.com, or 247-5913.

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

Thu, Jun 4: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jun 4: Howe Library, Mayer Room, Hanover, NH, 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.  Author Reading & Book Signing: April Ossmann.  April reads from Anxious Music.  For info, (603) 643-4120, Ellen.Lynch@TheHowe.org.

Wed, Jun 10: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity. Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s spring poems. Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving. Refreshments served. RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.

Wed, Jun 10: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  A new place for poets to read and hear new work.  This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.

Thu, Jun 11: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jun 11: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Sat, Jun 13: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Thu, Jun 18: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Sat, Jun 20: 7:00, Ball and Chain Cafe at the Briggs Carriage Bookstore, 16 Park St., Brandon, 7:00 p.m.  Poetry/Music Performance.  David Cavanagh reads poems from his new book, Falling Body (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), interspersed, entangled with and accompanied by the music of Blackbird (Bob DeMarco and Rachel Clark).

Wed, Jun 24: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  A new place for poets to read and hear new work.  This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.

Thu, Jun 25: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Thu, Jun 25: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 2: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 9: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 9: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

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

Sat, Jul 11: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Thu, Jul 16: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Thu, Jul 23: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

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

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

Thu, Jul 30: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Otter Creek Poets.  The best-known poetry critique workshop in the state.  Operating weekly for the past 12 years under the directorship of David Weinstock.

Sat, Aug 8: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, Sep 12: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Oct 10: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Nov 14: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Dec 12: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

2010:


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

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

our finitude as human beings
is encompassed by the infinity of language

Hans-Georg Gadamer

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis

Vermont Poetry Newsletter & Event Calendar April 30 2009

[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter

Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State
April 29, 2009

  1. Newsletter Editor’s Note/Notes to Otter Creek Poets
  2. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  3. Putting Life Into Words – Ruth Stone
  4. A Few Thoughts On Why I Write
  5. Brad Leithauser
  6. Why Poets Should Own Their Domain Names
  7. Shakespeare Portrait Unveiled
  8. Literary Publishing Workshops
  9. Poetry Readings Resume At The Book King
  10. Poetry Readings at “51 Main” in Middlebury
  11. In Memoriam: Chris “Doc” White
  12. Great River Arts Institute Writing Programs
  13. Wordsworth Aficionados Have A New Destination
  14. This Week’s Review (1): M.S. Merwin
  15. This Week’s Review (2): Susanne Dubroff
  16. Did You Know? Iowa Summer Writing Festival
  17. Ponderings – Breyten Breytenbach
  18. Poetry Quote (Robert Frost)
  19. US Poets Laureate List
  20. Failbetter Poem
  21. Linebreak Poem
  22. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  23. American Life in Poetry Poems (3)
  24. Vermont Poets Past and Present Project
  25. Vermont Poet Laureates
  26. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  27. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  28. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  29. Writer’s Prompt Anyone?
  30. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  31. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  32. Poetry Event Calendar

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

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1.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

I hope all of you are enjoying the feast of readings during National Poetry Month.  I think the two most exciting months for me are April, for obvious reasons, and the month of August, when I attend the readings at the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.  If you’ve never attended Bread Loaf before, make a commitment this year!  As soon as I know who’s reading, I will post them in the Vermont Poetry Newsletter.

The Otter Creek poets, 15 of them, recently hosted a visit by poet Tom Smith.  Tom mentioned that poetry was a product of rescuing language, that is was about sequestering opposites.  You should be able to “taste the words.”  Another comment of Tom’s to think about: “The butterfly remains a worm when you look at it.”

Take care!

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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2.)

THIS WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

Writing is, and always will be, an art practiced in solitude.  So why would you want to write in a room full of other people?

My aim is to give you a change of scene, a safe place to try new directions, and a fun time.  This special writing marathon workshop, part of the Otter Creek Poets’ celebration of National Poetry Month, is a chance to write, write, and write some more.

No just for poets . . . work in any genre or style you choose.  There will be chances to share what you write, but that is 100% optional; feel free to keep work private.

Bring pen and paper, a bag lunch, and whatever else you will need to be comfortable for 3-1/2 hours.  Laptop computers are permitted, but bring your own extension cord.  You should also know that the library’s wireless signal does not penetrate into the meeting room.

No preparation is required.  However, if your writing life hasn’t been going your way – if you are stuck, blocked, frustrated, obsessed, or otherwise dissatisfied with your work – gather your thoughts about that difficulty in advance and I will try to address them in the group setting or privately.

The afternoon of writing went a bit differently than what was identified above.  Here is what actually took place:

National Poetry Month Writing Marathon: Ground Rules

1)   NO CRITIQUES:  The purpose of this session is to generate new writing in first draft form.  We will not be critiquing, editing, or perfecting any work that is shared.
2)   CONFIDENTIALITY:  In order for members to be able to write freely, please remember to treat what you hear confidentially.  What happens here, stays here.
3)   TACT:  Assume that all writings shared here is imaginative, and that the characters and speakers in poems and stories are fictional.  Do this even when the writing is obviously autobiographical.
4)   USING THE TIME FAIRLY:  Give everyone a chance to share and speak.

12:00 – 12:30  Introductions

Who we are and why we write

Write down brief answers to these questions.  At your turn to introduce yourself, read what you have written.

1)          Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do in the world?
2)          As a writer, what is your particular gift?
3)          What is the hardest thing for you to write about?

12:30 – 1:00  Loosening up.  The Writer’s Body

Like it or not, we are beings who live inside bodies.  All of our consciousness, memories, and experience are stored in the body.  Get comfortable – sit, stand, move, whatever feels right.  Close your eyes and notice your body, from the inside.  Now ask your body, one part at a time, to tell you some stories.  Write down the stories.

1:00 – 1:30  Secrets and Lies

Our writing emerges over the course of a lifetime.  Some things emerge early, some later.  Today, try writing something you’ve been putting off.  Maybe something you didn’t have the skill to attempt until now.  Maybe something you weren’t free to say until recently.  Write it now.

2:00 – 2:30  Your Best Story

There is a story everybody makes you tell over and over again.  It’s the story you tell so well.  Oddly enough, you have never written it down.  Do that now.

2:30 – 3:00  Questions & Answers

3:00 – 3:30  Sharing Our Writing

LAST WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

Epistolary Poetry.  Writer John McPhee has said that every one of his books began with the phrase “Dear Mother” – although those words do not actually appear in the books.  Letter writing reframes us, puts us into a different part of our writerly brains.  In letters often we can or may say what we cannot say otherwise.  Letters can be chatty, or seductive, or loving, or angry, or deceptive.

Assignment: Write an epistolary poem, a poem in the form of a letter, or an exchange of letters.

Good Luck!

(All Assignments are products of David Weinstock unless otherwise indicated)

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3.)

Putting life into words

By JOSH O’GORMAN

[Extract] Ruth Stone, the state poet of Vermont, expresses surprise when told it is National Poetry Month.

“Oh, really? That’s nice,” she says, although it is certainly possible she’s just having fun with a reporter one-third her age. For half a century, Stone, now 93, has written and taught, publishing 13 volumes of poetry and leading classes at colleges and universities from New York to California.

“It came when she was pretty old,” says Stone’s daughter Marcia Croll of her mother’s appointment in 2007 as state poet, following the likes of Grace Paley and Robert Frost. “If it had come earlier she might have done more with it.”

Stone no longer gives readings. Her vision is poor, and she doesn’t venture beyond her Middlebury apartment without an escort. What she still does is what she has perhaps always done best, and that is write. Her newest collection, “What Love Comes To: New and Selected Poems,” was one of three finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize….

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4.)

  • This seemed like a timely article, from Poetix, Poetry for Southern California, after reading through the Otter Creek Poets assignment:

Having the Conversation: A Few Thoughts on Why I Write

by Frankie Drayus

[Extract] Why do I write? Why does anyone write?

I write in order to have what I call “the conversation”— to create an exchange with my reader, even if I’ll never meet her. I try to leave enough space in my work for this unknown other to answer. I do the same with other people’s written art— I listen, and then I answer. Then perhaps I ask them something, too.

I used to think that everyone else wrote for the same reason, all of us carefully folding and sliding our little messages into little bottles and dropping them into the water from the islands where we’d marooned ourselves. But I have since learned that this is not the case. When I was teaching undergrads, I discovered that most of them had no idea why they wrote…

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5.)

New Book from Brad Leithauser – Curves and Angles

About this book (per Random House)

In his first collection since the widely acclaimed Darlington’s Fall, Brad Leithauser takes the reader on a bracing poetic journey. Curves and Angles begins in a warm, soft, populated world (these are the curves of the human body, as well as the elliptical pathways of human motivation), and it concludes in a cooler, sharper, more private place—the less-giving angles of an inanimate universe.

The first section, “Curves,” introduces us to a couple of passionate young lovers, indoors in the city on a rainy afternoon; to a vociferous cluster of children playing on a Midwestern summer evening; to a godlike scuba diver, “all long gold limbs and a restless halo of long gold hair.” In a pair of long poems, two aging men—one a science-fiction writer of the 1950s, the other a traveler in an airport bar—confront their mortality.

“Angles” guides us to a rarely opened north-looking attic room, made brilliant by a nearby maple in full fall orange; to a sunny Louisiana kitchen, where two bowls—one brimming with semiprecious stones, one filled with seashells—are locked in an eternal silent beauty contest; to a frozen Icelandic lake; and to a narrow unmarked entryway that possibly leads to our “true and unbounded kingdom.”

Curves and Angles wanders from the balmy waters of the South Pacific to the crystalline wastes of the Arctic, unified throughout by an embracing love of the natural world in all its inexhaustible variety—whether lush or spare, peopled or solitary, curved or angled. It’s a journey made unforgettable by these wise and exuberant poems.

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6.)

Why Poets Should Own Their Domain Names

26 April 2009, the poet @ 9:35 pm

[Extract] I was one of those Geocitizens with a presence in the little community that came to be owned by Yahoo! The year was 1997. I thought it would be cool to publish some of my poetry on a website so Geocities was a nice place to stack my pens. It really didn’t last long. I went on to buy my own domain name and built an actual website using HTML (though I won’t reveal what that website is because it’s just too much an embarrassment). But I was cool for about a year.Imagine my surprise when I read the other day that Yahoo! was shutting down Geocities. They weren’t even selling it. Or replacing it with anything. Not even a plan to revamp it. Just killing it. Splat! (…)

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7.)

Shakespeare Portrait Unveiled

APTOPIX BRITAIN SHAKESPEARE PORTRAIT[Extract] The Bard, or not the Bard? That is the question posed by Monday’s unveiling of a centuries-old portrait of a dark-eyed, handsome man in Elizabethan finery.

Experts say it is the only portrait of William Shakespeare painted during his lifetime _ in effect, the sole source of our knowledge of what the great man looked like.

But they can’t be certain. In the shifting sands of Shakespeare scholarship, where even the authorship of the plays is sometimes disputed, nothing is written in stone. (…)

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8.)

Certificate in Literary Publishing

[Extract] Have you been thinking or dreaming about starting your own literary magazine, or founding a press to publish books? Do you have a vision of what works you would like to bring to life? Or would you like to work for a literary magazine or small press? The Department of Professional Studies and Special Programs at Emerson College offers the Literary Publishing Program, which is open to poets, fiction writers, creative nonfiction writers, and individuals who would like to learn the publishing skills needed to start and run their own literary magazines or their own book publishing ventures, or work for a larger literary publishing enterprise.
 
The program in Literary Publishing is held as a two-week intensive during Emerson College’s May intersession (5/11-5/22). Outside of classroom instruction, participants will work on a business plan on their press or magazine. Participants who complete the intensive and submit a rough business plan for their literary magazine or press will earn the Literary Publishing Certificate. This program is non-credit.
 
This non-credit program provides five two-day modules and a half-day panel designed to give the basics in starting and running a literary magazine or small press, giving those enrolled a way to avoid common, and costly, mistakes…

Click Here for Details

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9.)

Poetry Readings Resume at The Book King, Center Street, Rutland

The Book King is returning to having public poetry readings, to be held on the last Friday of each month, the first of which would be May 29th, at 6:00-7:00 p.m.  I will be organizing the readers, develop the flyers, and do the promotion of the events through the local newspapers and radio stations.  There will be flyers at the Book King in order to have available for handouts.

I am hoping to have several poets lined up for this inaugural reading.  Please contact me if you’d like to read at what should be a grand kick off.  For this reading, I am looking for poems containing the idea of “Spring” or “Signs of Spring” for a common theme.

For future readings, I am thinking along the lines of having readers from:

1) The Killington Arts Guild and their writers from the publication “A Gathering of Poets”
2) Members of the Otter Creek Poets, who have published 4 anthologies
3) Readers from the Vermont Young Writers Project
4) Youthful “Slam Poets”
5) Anti-war poets

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10.)

  • Another new place to read poetry is at “51 Main.”  This is both the address and the name of a new coffee house of Middlebury College students.  Although I haven’t yet visited this establishment, I believe it to be, based on the events that have taken place there, much like Carol’s Hungry Mind Café.  For instance, yesterday, April 28th, they had an 8:00 p.m. poetry reading that included the likes of:

Kellam Ayres
Jennifer Bates
Lucas Farrell
Karin Gottshall
(“Whose book of poetry, Crocus, is a must read.” – Ron Lewis)

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11.)

  • Castleton State College’s glossy magazine, Castleton, recently had a beautiful article about the late Chris White.  I ended up typing it into the Poetry Society of Vermont’s web site (I’m their Webmaster), and have copied it over here for you to read.

In Memoriam

Remembering Professor Chris “Doc” White, 1937-2009

Retired mathematics professor Chris White died January 14 in his home next to campus.  He taught full-time at Castleton from 1970 until spring 2007, and since then has been teaching advanced courses part-time and tutoring upper level math students.  He was looking forward to teaching Calculus III this spring.

Professor’ White’s nephew, Stuart Linden, told the Castleton community, “As everyone was aware, Chris’s life revolved around the college.  It was his ‘family.’  He was brilliant, eccentric, kind, funny, thoughtful, dedicated, generous — and sometimes he acted like a young kid.”

He was on campus daily to visit friends among the faculty and staff, to eat in the snack bar, or to take long walks.  His jacket pocket always held biscuits for the dogs he met.

Meg Thompson, a senior mathematics major who studied geometry and advanced Calculus with White last summer, remembers his excitement when he got an interesting idea.  “It was a look in his eye.  It was like he perked up.  If he explained it, you probably couldn’t follow him.”  Students learned to respect and enjoy these private moments of brilliance.

Thompson says that math students have started to refer to White when confronted with a difficult problem.  She heard the saying first from her roommate and it’s catching on: “What would Dr. White do?”

White was working on a book on identities of Pascal’s Triangle with Professor Chris Schwaner, a former student and now a colleague in the Mathematics Department.  Schwaner is now looking for a publisher.

White was a man of many talents.  He played the violin.  He wrote reviews for a leading mathematics journal and translated articles from Russian.  He was a poet and was president of the Poetry Society of Vermont for ten years.  He continued to serve on the society’s board of trustees, helping to promote a creative writing contest for young people.

Last spring White donated his house and property to Castleton as a life estate.  Under the terms of the gift, he continued to live in the house, which was maintained by the college.

“He was always happy, always had a smile, and always had nice things to say about everyone,” recalls Rita Geno, administrative assistant in the Dean’s Office.  White stopped in to see Geno and Karen Craig, administrative assistant to the President, nearly every day.  They made sure his birthday was celebrated in Woodruff Hall.  “We lost a wonderful member of the Castleton family when we lost our dear Chrissy.”

  • Taken from Castleton Magazine, Spring 2009, Campus News, Page 4
  • PS:  What the article didn’t mention was Chris’s ties to another activity of mine, table tennis (ping pong).  He was the first player in Vermont to use “smooth rubber.”  While everyone else was using “pips out” rubber, Chris was able to beat them all with this new type of rubber, which brought a great new element to the game: SPIN.  From Chris’s family I was able to secure his famous paddle, which I have framed.  It is now hanging in our club’s (the Green Mountain Table Tennis Club’s) storeroom, as a true momento of the past, and Chris’s legendary status.

If you have any desire to donate money in Chris’s memory, you can do so to two separate enterprises:

1) Alumni & Development Office, Woodruff Hall, Castleton State College, Castleton, VT 05735-9987.  Specifically mention that you would like your gift to go in the memory of Chris White, so that it can be applied to a specific area that Chris’s family would feel it should go toward.  For additional info, phone Liz Garside in the Development and Alumni Office, 468-1240; you can also go online at http://www.alumni.castleton.edu, and make gifts with a credit card on line.
2) Green Mountain Table Tennis Club, 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733.  The club has established a special youth fund that finances table tennis equipment for teen members of the local Boys & Girls Club, with which the GMTTC has partnered.

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12.)

Great River Arts Institute 2009 Courses

Literary Programs

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13.)

Wordsworth Aficionados Have a New Destination
By ALAN COWELL
Published: June 21, 2005 – New York Times

Wordsworth HouseOWN END, England, June 15 – The season for daffodils is past and there is a bitter edge to what should be a gentle breeze on the lake called Grasmere, but the people at the Wordsworth Trust seem untroubled by what their namesake poet called “the business of the elements.”
A fresh batch of poets in residence have arrived for sabbaticals of up to six months, escaping “the vast city, where I long had pined, a discontented sojourner,” as William Wordsworth described a similar journey in his autobiographical poem, “The Prelude.”
A program of poetry readings, initiated this year by the Irish poet Paul Muldoon, who won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, continued June 14 with Fleur Adcock, an English-New Zealand poet. But most notable, alongside Dove Cottage – the home of Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy, from 1799 to 1808 – and the Wordsworth Museum, a new center was opened this month by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney to offer scholars access to a collection of manuscripts, books and other material that gathers 90 percent of Wordsworth’s known papers….

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14.)

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW (1)

Poetry Pulitzer Goes to W. S. Merwin

pulitzer-merwin[Extract] Port Townsend, WA—W.S. Merwin has been awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for his most recent book of poetry, The Shadow of Sirius, published by Copper Canyon Press. The $10,000 cash award honors the best book of poetry published by an American during the given year. The prizes were established in 1917 as an incentive to excellence in journalism and the arts….

“It is an honor to publish William Merwin’s poetry,” Said Michael Wiegers, Executive Director of Copper Canyon Press, “and we couldn’t do it without the support of the donors and other poets who make Copper Canyon Press possible. We are thrilled by the recognition another Pulitzer brings to the organization and are pleased that we’ve been a part of William’s most recent awards. This critical recognition helps to further our mission of fostering the work of poets at every stage in their career.” (…)

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15.)

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW (2)

  • I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to receive two wonderful books that somehow eluded my grasp, until now:

1) The One Remaining Star

This is a recent book of poems by Susanne Dubroff, of Hanover, NH.  Her others are chapbook size, one of which is internal with Mid-American Review 1999, translations and her own small first collection of published poems, all out of print.  She’s been published widely for some time in good journals (even some translations of her work have come out in French and Belgian journals), but not as much in New England as other parts of the country.  Here’s one poem from the book:

The Sweetest Smile

I spotted you the way I
first spot a poem –

limp, out of breath
thread of self’s how

it starts.  Hold the line,
you told us. Tip it right

and you’ve got the fish.
Goad, mystery you don’t

like in poems.  You’ve got
the sweetest smile, I said

that last night, as we dropped
into chairs, side by side, listening

to all that blind piano player’s
jazz about surviving pain.

I think, no, I know for sure that you will love this book even more than Robert Bly mentions on the back cover.  She has a tight closure on each poem, and that’s important, and difficult.  You only need to flip through the pages, pick any poem to read, and realize the poet’s grasp of language and thought.  You will not put the book down again until you’re telling the cashier that you’d like to purchase it.

2) This Smoke That Carried Us

The poems here are from translations of René Char, by Susanne Dubroff.  Susanne shows her high level of skill in making you see the way Char had seen things in the terror of his experiences in France during WW II.  Char, one of France’s key poets of the 20th century, is laid bare here, instead of being lost to many of us who are unable to read French.  Take this one with you:

Divergence

The horse with his narrow head
has condemned his enemy,
the lazy-heeled poet,
to harsher winds
than those drifting in his voice.
The ruined earth recovers,
although a sword keeps wounding her.

Go back to your farms, gentle ones,
age and youth stream
in Spring in the almond trees.
Death smiles at the edge of time,
which gives him some magnificence.

The poet rebels in high summer,
draws his vision and his madness
from the inferno of harvest.

If you’d like to get the books directly from the author, Susanne Dubroff, who will sign them for you, then go ahead and give her a shout.

Susanne Dubroff
42 Lebanon St. 8C
Hanover, NH  03755

“Susanne Dubroff” <dovetree1830@yahoo.com>

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16.)

Did You Know?

  • Iowa – the City of Literature.  Don’t we all secretly wish we had gone to college at the University of Iowa?  Well, go hide your BS in Business Administration, and sign up to go to the Summer Writing Festival, June 7th through July 24th!” – Ron Lewis

Iowa Writing Festival

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17.)

“Ponderings”

  • “In case you missed the Middlebury College reading back in December 2008, and pondered what it was like, here’s the write up that was done in the college’s newspaper” – Ron Lewis

Middlebury Article about Renowned PoetSay what you will about the word “networking,” but sometimes it really is about who you know. In this case, it was Melissa Hammerle who proved to be a useful connection; this local resident put D.E. Axinn Professor of English & Creative Writing Jay Parini in contact with her a friend of hers, none other than Breyten Breytenbach, the world-famous poet, fiction writer, painter and activist. Breytenbach graciously accepted an invitation to come to the College, which culminated in a standing-room only reading in the Axinn Center’s Abernethy Room on Nov. 20.

Interspersed between riveting introductions brimming with anecdotes seemingly out of the movies, Breytenbach read selections from “Windcatcher: New and Selected Poems, 1964-2006” and “Lady One: Of Love and Other Poems.”

Said Parini, “He has a wonderful sense of language: highly particular, musical, and full of vivid images. He has an appealing sense of place, and he has a strong political angle…

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18.)

A poem begins with a lump in the throat.

Poetry Quote by Robert Frost

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19.)

Poets Laureate of the U.S.A.

  • A Net-annotated list of all the poets who have served the Library of Congress as Consultant (the old title) or Poet Laureate Consultant (the new title). Biographies & general reference sites are linked to the poets’ names — for the recent Laureates these are our own poet profiles with book-buying links at the bottom. Many of the other linked biographies are pages from the Academy of American Poets’ Find a Poet archive, a growing & invaluable resource. If there is no general information site about the poet, we have searched the Net for sample poems or other writings or recordings & listed those below the poet’s name.

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20.)

A Parting
Don Pomerantz

I have bitten a little too closely
into a Bartlett Pear
and there are the seeds, three, four
on the other side…

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

Sign up in order to get their online newsletter: http://failbetter.com/29/AboutUs.php

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21.)

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

Caddyshackesque
by Daniel Nester

The main plotlines are never important.
As in Shakespeare, it’s merely the précis
Over which laureate neighbors quiver.
Remember the Judge, crying, indignant…

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22.)

Hiding Our Lo
by
Carolyn Kizer


Never believe I leave you
From any desire to go.
Never believe I live so far away
Except from necessity….

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23.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 211

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

Some of you are so accustomed to flying that you no longer sit by the windows. But I’d guess that at one time you gazed down, after dark, and looked at the lights below you with innocent wonder. This poem by Anne Marie Macari of New Jersey perfectly captures the gauziness of those lights as well as the loneliness that often accompanies travel.

From the Plane

It is a soft thing, it has been sifted
from the sieve of space and seems
asleep there under the moths of light…

We’ve published this column about American life for over four years, and we have finally found a poem about one of the great American pastimes, bowling. “The Big Lebowski” caught bowling on film, and this poem by Regan Huff of Georgia captures it in words.

Occurrence on Washburn Avenue

Alice’s first strike gets a pat on the back,
her second a cheer from Betty Woszinski
who’s just back from knee surgery. Her third–
“A turkey!” Molly calls out–raises everyone’s eyes…

American Life in Poetry: Column 213

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

Bill Holm, one of the most intelligent and engaging writers of our northern plains, died on February 25th. He will be greatly missed. He and I were of the same generation and we shared the same sense of wonder, amusement, and skepticism about the course of technology. I don’t yet own an Earbud, but I won’t need to, now that we have Bill’s poem.

Earbud

Earbud–a tiny marble sheathed in foam
to wear like an interior earring so you
can enjoy private noises wherever you go,
protected from any sudden silence…

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24.)

KEEP PAST VERMONT POETS ALIVE!  I’M SOLICITING YOUR HELP:

POETS OF VERMONT PAST AND PRESENT PROJECT

I’m looking for a copy of:

1) The Literature of Vermont: A Sampler – FOUND!
2) Poets and Poetry of Vermont, by Abby Maria Hemenway, 1858
3) “Driftwood,” a poetry magazine begun in 1926 by Walter John Coates

  • If you have any books of poetry, chapbooks, or just poems written by Vermont poets, dating 1980 and earlier, famous or not, I’d like to know about them.  I’m beginning a project that deals strictly with Vermont poets, from Vermont’s past, with summaries of the poets themselves, a portrait photo or drawing of the poet, along with a small sampling of poems.  If you think you can help, you probably can!  Please contact me by replying to this newsletter.

Ronald Lewis

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25.)

VERMONT POET LAUREATES

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

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26.)

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

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

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27.)

VERMONT LITERARY JOURNALS

1) The Queen City Review

Burlington College’s  The Queen City Review is a yearly journal of art and literature and accepts the work of new and established writers and artists in the areas of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, photography, and fine art, as well as essays and criticism on all aspects of the aforementioned. They seek to publish high quality work that ranges broadly in topic and genre.

The Queen City Review can be purchased by 2-year subscription or individually.  The price of one issue is $8 plus shipping charges ($1) for a total of $9.  Subscriptions can be purchased for #$14 plus shipping charges $2) and includes the Fall 2008 and upcoming 2009 issues.  They accept cash, check, and credit cards.  You can mail your payment to them or by calling (802) 862-9616 ext. 234 to place your order over the phone.  If mailing your payment, mail details to:

ATTN: Heidi Berkowitz
Burlington College
95 North Avenue
Burlington, VT  05401

2) Bloodroot

www.bloodrootlm.com

Bloodroot is a nonprofit literary magazine dedicated to publishing diverse voices through the adventure of poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction.  Their aim is to provide a platform for the free-spirited emerging and established writer.

The price of a single issue is $8.

Editor, “Do” Roberts
Bloodroot Literary Magazine
PO Box 322
Thetford Center, VT  05075
(802) 785-4916
email: bloodroot@wildblue.net

3) New England Review

A publication of Middlebury College, a high quality literary magazine that continues to uphold its reputation for publishing extraordinary, enduring work.  NER has been publishing now for over 30 years.

http://www.nereview.com/index.html

Cost: $8 for a single issue
$30 for a single year (4 issues)
$50 for two years (8 issues)

New England Review
Attn: Orders
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

NEReview@middlebury.edu
(800) 450-9571

4) Willard & Maple

A Literary and Fine Art Magazine of Champlain College, Burlington.

Willard & Maple
163 South Willard Street
Freeman 302, Box 34
Burlington, VT  05401

email: willardandmaple@champlain.edu

5) Burlington Poetry Journal

A low-tech literary journal of only 20 pages, but it seems to be gaining speed and popularity.  You can find it free at small cafés, etc.

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28.)

VERMONT STATE POETRY SOCIETY

Poetry Society of Vermont

The Poetry Society of Vermont, founded in 1947, is an association of poets and supporters who join in promoting an interest in poetry through meetings, workshops, readings, contests, and contributions to the society’s chapbook. Anyone may join the society including high school and college students and non-residents of Vermont. We welcome both writers and appreciative readers.

In September 2007, The Poetry Society of Vermont will celebrated its 60th Anniversary.

Membership in PSOV Benefits:

  • 2 luncheon/ workshops a year where a professional poet critiques your poems
  • one hands- on writing workshop and reading under the direction of a professional poet
  • the opportunity to enter contests judged by professional poets and to win awards
  • fellowship with appreciative readers and writers of poetry
  • opportunity for publication in the PSOV chapbook, The Mountain Troubadour
  • opportunity for publication in upcoming anniversary anthology

How to join:

mail dues of $20.00 to

Membership Chairman
P.O. Box 1215
Waitsfield, VT 05673

include your name, mailing address, telephone, and e-mail address for Membership List
memberships are renewed by January 1 of each year

The PSOV has 2 current books available for sale:

1) The Mountain Troubadour – 2008 – Curl up with 44 pages of interesting, award-winning poetry from a wonderful group of poets.  This book is only $8 (+$1 to mail).  To get yourself a copy, call or write to Betty Gaechter, 134 Hitzel Terrace, Rutland, VT 05701, 773-8679.  This little booklet may be just the thing to get you involved with the PSOV for a lifetime of friendships.
2) Brighten the Barn – 60th Anniversary Anthology – 1947-2007 – An Anthology of Poems by Members of the Poetry Society of Vermont.  99 pages of quality poetry; that’s a lot of beautiful poetry for only $12.  If you get it through me (Ron Lewis), it’s only $12.  If you want it shipped to you, the PSOV wants an extra amount to cover tax and shipping ($0.72 + $3.00).  This book retails for $15, but a reduced price is now in play to unload the few remaining copies.

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29.)

WRITER’S PROMPTS, ANYONE?

Looking for more writer’s prompts?  Go to The Young Writers Project web site!

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30.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BELLOWS FALLS

1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter

2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat).  The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Poetry Workshops on Monday mornings (9:30-12:30 I believe)- Jim Fowler’s sessions continue, with periodic break for a few weeks between sessions.  Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the River Voices Writer’s Circle, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at vsbooks@sover.net or  jfowler177@comcast.net.

BERLIN

The Wayside Poets, who share their poetry publicly from time to time, have been meeting irregularly for the past 25 years.  They used to be called The Academy Street Poets.  Membership is by invitation only.  They meet now at the Wayside Restaurant & Bakery in Berlin.  Members include Diane Swan, Sherry Olson, Carol Henrikson and Sarah Hooker.  You can contact them through Sherry Olson at: solsonvt@aol.com or 454-8026.

GUILFORD

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

MIDDLEBURY

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

NORWICH

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

STOWE

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

WAITSFIELD

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

OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse-writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street.  Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Free.  Contact information: 862-1094.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

Thinking Like a Poetry Editor:  How to Be Your Own Best CriticNote: Course is Filled!
(“The Ossmann Method” Poetry Workshop – Crash Course)

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

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

Hi All,

Here are my workshop offerings for the next couple of months. These are both one-day workshops, and generative as well as critical (if you don’t want to perform the exercise, it’s fine to bring any new (one-page) poem. The deadline for sending poems and checks is ten days in advance of the workshop dates which are May 9th or 12th, so if you want to participate, signing up soon will give you more time to perform the exercise.

Yours,
April

The Ossmann Method Poetry Workshop: Building Your Tool Kit
(“Crash Course”)
Instructor: April Ossmann
Saturday, May 9th from1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. OR
Tuesday, May 12th from 9:30am – 12:00pm
$45 (each date)

Learn how to think like a poetry editor! In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. This workshop will be both critical and generative, so the instructor will assign reading a generative exercise in advance meant to teach or improve writing skills. Participants will receive written editorial suggestions for their poem from the instructor. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8. Info: (802)333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and www.aprilossmann.com

  • Note: If you know of any others, or have personal information about the workshop in Stowe and Guilford, please send me that information.  I realize that there are several smaller groups or workshops around the state.  However, because of their intimacy, they are not posted above, allowing them to offer “memberships” to close friends or acquaintances that they feel would be most appropriate.

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31.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

SPRINGFIELD

A Writer’s Group has started to meet at the Springfield Town Library on the fourth Monday of each month, from 7 to 8 pm.  For more information, call 885-3108.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers.  The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write.  One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman (www.aprilossmann.com).  Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center!  For more info, http://www.thewriterscenterwrj.com/.

UNDERHILL

Women Writing for (a) Change supports the authentic experience of women who honor themselves through creative writing.  Our community supports reflection as we move into our questions and awaken to change.  Participants enhance expressive skills, strengthen their voices, deepen themselves as women as writers for positive change in all spheres of life.  Creative writing in all genres is our shared vehicle.  Women Writing for (a) Change is for women who, 1) dream of writing for self-discovery, for personal or social healing, 2) hunger for creative process in their lives, 3) yearn to explore their feminine voice, 4) crave reflective, space, and 5) are in transition.  For more information, go to their web site at www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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32.)

POETRY EVENT CALENDAR

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 Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com.  Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders.  If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.

Wed, Apr 29: The Fleming Museum, 61 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, 6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.  The Painted Word Poetry Series Poetry Readings: Poets Katy Lederer & Jill McDonough. The Fleming Museum presents a poetry series hosted by Major Jackson, associate professor, UVM Dept. of English. This reading series highlights established and emergent New England poets whose work represents significant explorations into language, song, and art. 

Co-sponsored with the English Department and funded in part by the James and Mary Buckham Fund.  Kay Lederer is the author of the poetry collections The Heaven-Sent Leaf (BOA Editions, 2008), Winter Sex (Verse Press, 2002) and the memoir Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers (Crown, 2003), which Publishers Weekly included on its list of the Best Nonfiction Books of the Year and Esquire Magazine named one of its eight Best Books of the Year. Lederer is the daughter of bestselling non-fiction author Richard Lederer and the sister of world-class poker players Howard Lederer and Annie Duke. Katy Lederer’s poems and prose have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Harvard Review, GQ, and elsewhere. She has been anthologized in Body Electric (Norton), From Poe to the Present: Great American Prose Poems (Scribner), and State of the Union (Wave Books), among other compilations.

Educated at the University of California at Berkeley and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she serves as a Poetry Editor of Fence Magazine. Her honors and awards include an Academy of American Poets Prize, fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a Discover Great New Writers citation from Barnes & Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Program.  Jill McDonough has taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education Program since 1999. Her poems have appeared in The Threepenny Review, The New Republic, and Slate. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and the Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University.  In her first book, “Habeas Corpus”, acclaimed poet Jill McDonough gives us fifty sonnets, each about a legal execution in American history. From four hundred years of documentation she conjures – and honors – a chorus of the dead. The sonnets, headed meticulously by name, date, and place, are poignant with the factual, with words and actions reported by eyewitnesses and spoken by the condemned – so limpidly framed that at moments one forgets the skill that tautens and crystallizes all this into authentic poetry.  With a rare control of indignation by sorrow, of subjectivity by the subject’s own truth, McDonough’s unsparing sonnets reveal the enormity that is the death penalty in America.  Taking the words of fifty out of the nearly 20,000 men and women executed since 1608, she reflects them back to us in works of self-effacing artistry. Resurrected from their obscurity these individuals speak our secret history.  For info, 656-2090.

Wed, Apr 29: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  A new place for poets to read and hear new work.  This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.

Thu, Apr 30: Ilsley Library, 75 Main Street, Middlebury, 1:00 p.m.  Stephen Donadio talks about editing the New England Review and the role of literary journals.

Thu, Apr 30: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Thu, Apr 30: Borders Bookstore, Church Street, Burlington, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  PSOV POETRY READING.  If you’re a member of the PSOV, then you’re invited to read.  Please contact Yvette Mason at (ymason@bsdvt.org) if you are wishing to read. Also, if you have books that have been published and the contact at Borders can order some from your publisher, let Yvette know ASAP as they need turn-around time to make sure they can get books IN THE STORE in time.  Note to PSOV members: you are not allowed to SELL your own books, but you can have a display.

Sun, May 3: Parima’s Restaurant, Acoustic Lounge, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 4:00 p.m. David Cavanagh Poetry Reading.  Burlington resident David Cavanagh waxes poetical (and political) with readings from his dark new collection, Falling Body. The book is just out from Salmon Poetry of Ireland. The painting featured on the cover (below) is by Gail Salzman of Fairfield.  For info, 864-7917.

Wed, May 6: Shoreham Historical Society, Shoreham.  David Weinstock, Director of the Otter Creek Poets, will be reading from his collection of poetry.  More details as I learn them.

Sat, May 9: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Tue, May 12: The Galaxy Bookshop, 7 Mill Street, Hardwick, 7:00 p.m.  Poet Jody Gladding will be at The Galaxy Bookshop to read from and sign copies of her new book, Rooms and Their Airs.Drawn from the environments of northern Vermont and the South of France, the poems in “Rooms and Their Airs” explore the interface of the human and natural worlds, further eroding that distinction with each poem. The verse here merges subject and object, often giving voice to natural phenomena — a vernal pool, a fossil, a beam of light. These poems sparkle with humor, sophisticated word play, and intellectual examination, reflecting an elegant and contagious curiosity about history, language, and the world. Linked poems give voice to garden vegetables while drawing inspiration from the archival illustrations in “The Medieval Handbook.” A mother and daughter’s trip to see France’s cave paintings uncovers living vestiges in prehistoric depictions and reaffirms the enduring nature of art. With this collection, Jody Gladding cements her reputation as the literary heir to A. R. Ammons, Gustaf Sobin, and Lorine Niedecker.

Wed, May 13: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity. Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s spring poems. Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving. Refreshments served. RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.

Vermont Poetry Newsletter February 14 2009

[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter
Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State
February 13, 2009 – In This Issue:

  1. Newsletter Editor’s Note/Notes to Otter Creek Poets
  2. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  3. John Engels Memorial Reading
  4. New Vermont Lit Journal – The Queen City Review
  5. Geof Hewitt’s Slam Poetry Book
  6. Poetry Can Be Any Damn Thing It Wants
  7. Valentine Broadside from Copper Canyon Press
  8. Vermont Poet Plumbs Lake Champlain For Inspiration
  9. Talking Pictures
  10. Amazon in Big Push For New Kindle Model
  11. This Week’s Review: Khaled Mattawa
  12. This Week’s Review: Seido Ray Ronci
  13. Did You Know? Lucille Clifton’s Use of Punctuation
  14. Ponderings – How Can You Become a Poet?
  15. Poetry Quote (Carl Sandburg)
  16. US Poets Laureate List
  17. failbetter.com Poem
  18. Linebreak Poem
  19. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  20. American Life in Poetry Poem
  21. Vermont Poets Past and Present Project
  22. Vermont Poet Laureates
  23. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  24. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  25. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  26. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  27. Poetry Event Calendar

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About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network

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

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1.)

Dear Friends of Poetry:

Please note that my email address has changed again!  Sorry to do this to everyone.  My first couple of choices were taken, but another one of my top choices, which is being used by my poet friend Patrick Gillespie (but his host is different than mine), was available.  I decided to go with it.  So, my new email address is:

vtpoet@gmail.com

Vermont has added a wonderful new lit journal to its collection, The Queen City Review.  It was nice to see so many members of the Otter Creek Poets gobble up subscription applications after passing around a couple of samples of this fine journal.  Please see my description of the QCR below.

The Burlington Poetry Journal has indicated that at least 3 members of the Otter Creek Poets have had poems accepted for their 2009 issue.  Those poets are Ann Day, Ray Hudson and myself.  Congratulations to all!

April is National Poetry Month and it is sooner than you think.  David Weinstock of the Otter Creek Poets is now taking suggestions for guest speakers, guest poets, and other events in celebration of the art and its month.  They have four Thursdays to plan for, April 2, 16, 23 and 30. (April 9 is the first night of Passover.) If you have any interesting program ideas for us to mull over, please let me know and I will pass them on to David.  If you’re a poet and would consider providing a reading or program to the group, again, contact me.

I begin my new job as the General Manager of Rutland Natural Foods: The Co-op this coming Monday.  Trying to fit another 2,500 hours into my already difficult schedule will be an exercise in time management.  The Vermont Poetry Newsletter will probably become a bi-monthly publication from this date forward.  Wish me luck on both fronts.

I won’t be back with the Otter Creek Poets for some time.  At least I got to go out with a “bang,” you might say, after the reading of my poem, “Let’s Build a Bomb.”  I will indeed miss all the friendships I developed with the Otter Creekers.

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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2.)
THIS WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

ASSIGNMENT: JUST-SO STORIES, or, HOW THINGS GOT THIS WAY.
The oldest stories we know are an attempt to explain how the world got the way it is. Genesis contains several stories of creation, including a flood story that may have come from earlier Babylonian sources.
Kipling wrote his whimsical Just-So stories about How the Elephant Got His Trunk, and How the Camel Got His Hump.
WRITE ONE YOURSELF: Take something, anything, about the world, or your life, and write a poem or story that tells how things got that way. Feel free to remember, feel free to invent.
HINT: Keep the poem free of apologies, winks, or other tip-offs that you don’t really mean it, because you do.
David Weinstock
02/12/09

LAST WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

Bring in a poem “suitable for framing.”  Make it a good one, as you’ll be asked to read your poem, and the group will be listening to it with an ear bent to visualize it on a Broadside under framed under glass.

David Weinstock
01/29/09

Good luck!

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3.)

Please note the change of time for this event (from a 7:00 start, to 7:30)

John Engels Memorial Reading

Wed, Mar 11: Hoehl Welcome Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester, 7:30 p.m – 9:00 p.m.  John Engels Memorial Reading.  In memory of longtime English Department member (and Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet), John Engels (1931-2007) the Department has established an annual  poetry reading. Poet, novelist and essayist David Huddle will give this year’s reading.  The first reading, in 2008, featured former Vermont Poet Laureate Ellen Bryant Voigt.  The English Department Reading Series invites poets, fiction writers, theater troupes, filmmakers, and the like to campus to give readings, talks, performances, screenings etc. In the last few years for example, they’ve hosted the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, novelists including Julia Alvarez, Russell Banks, and Pulitzer-Prize winner E. Annie Proulx, and poets including Pulitzer-Prize winner Louise Gluck, Chase Twitchell, Joy Harjo, and Galway Kinnell. Students are invited to these events, free of charge, and often have the chance to meet and talk to those visitors.  Sponsored by the Lecture Series.
Vermont had a few losses in 2007 and 2008, which were also losses to the entire poetry community.  John Engels, a professor for 45 years at St. Michael’s College, was one of those great losses.  For those of you lucky enough to have clutched a copy for yourself and read through “Remembering John Engels,” you will believe yourself a friend of John’s, as an admirer of his words.  I feel fortunate to have been been both a poet friend of his, as well as a friend of the stream, both of us maintaining a love of fly fishing and fly tying.  If you want to connect or reconnect with John Engels, I would invite you to come to this event, which is sure to be one of those incredible poetry moments.

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4.)

New Vermont Lit Journal
The Queen City Review

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

Ron Lewis

Submission Guidelines

The Queen City Review is a yearly journal of art and literature and accepts the work of new and established writers and artists in the areas of poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, memoir, photography, and fine art, as well as essays and criticism on all aspects of the aforementioned. They seek to publish high quality work that ranges broadly in topic and genre.
All submissions and queries should be emailed to:queencityreview@burlington.edu by April 20, 2009.
Their submission period is rolling and accepted writers and artists will be notified by email. All submissions must be in English, formatted in WORD or RTF, and previously unpublished. Please submit no more than three poems at a time, fiction and screenplays under 5000 words, and photography and artwork in JPEG format. Simultaneous submissions are also acceptable as long as they are notified immediately if the manuscript or artwork is accepted for publication elsewhere. Be sure to include phone, address, and e-mail contact information.
The Fall 2008 issue is on sale now. The 2009 issue is slated to come out in early autumn.

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5.)

Geof Hewitt’s Guide to Slam Poetry and Poetry Slam with DVD (Paperback)

In case you weren’t aware of or hadn’t seen this book, here’s what has helped to nuture (besides the Vermont poet himself) Slam Poetry.  If you want to grasp Slam, teach it, or write it, grab a copy of Geof’s book!

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6.)

Here’s a most-interesting article from The Poetry Foundation.  At the conclusion, you will find some hilarious blogs, commenting on the article.

Poetry Can Be Any Damn Thing It Wants

Introduction to a collection of eight manifestos commemorating the centennial of Italian futurists.

BY MARY ANN CAWS

In 1909, pamphlets were dropped over the town of Milan containing Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto, the centennial of which we are celebrating. Everything about this piece was exciting, its pace, its over-the-top scenery:
We had stayed up all night, my friends and I, under hanging mosque lamps with domes of filigreed brass, domes starred like our spirits. . . .

An immense pride was buoying us up, because we felt ourselves alone at that hour, alone, awake, and on our feet, like proud beacons or forward sentries against an army of hostile stars.
Nothing is slow in this manifesto of speedy Futurism: “‘Let’s go!’ I said. ‘Friends, away! Let’s go!'” I love that kind of exalted certainty about a showy (manifest) endeavor. Of course, we have the right to ironize about the over-the-topness — who among us would so exaggerate the style and so magnify the substance as to make a larger-than-life-size poster, pointing at itself as a deictic genre? Look! Here! Now!

The rest of the article can be read here.

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7.)

Valentine’s Day

Yes, that’s today!  Many of you know me as a poet, or just the publisher of the Vermont Poetry Newsletter.  Well, another one of my hobbies is that of collecting antique Valentine cards.  I have one of the largest collections on the east coast, numbering 4,000-6,000 cards (I admit, it’s hard to count them all!).

With that, you might be interested in downloading a Valentine broadside from Copper Canyon Press, at http://www.coppercanyonpress.org/VDayBroadside/.  It’s a poem by Gregory Orr.

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8.)

Vermont Poet Plumbs Lake Champlain for Inspiration

BY MIKE IVES

Lake Champlain is so picturesque that its effect on viewers can defy description. But that doesn’t stop any number of writers from trying. To that number add Daniel Lusk. Since last spring, the poet and University of Vermont English lecturer has been reading maritime lit and visiting shipwrecks with guides from theLake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes. With financial support from the Vermont Community Foundation, Lusk plans to translate his experience and knowledge into a collection of poems tentatively called “Lake Studies: Meditations on Lake Champlain.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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9.)

Talking Pictures

“Picture That Poem,” multi-media show examining the relationship between visual imagery and poetry.

Main Floor Gallery, Studio Place Arts, Barre. Through February 28.

By Marc Awodey

The nexus of poetry and visual art encompasses more than vivid verbal imagery. “Picture That Poem,” at Studio Place Arts in Barre, demonstrates how diverse and thought provoking the two arts’ links can be.
SPA is known for strongly curated theme shows, and a great idea makes for a fascinating group exhibition. “Picture That Poem” is built on a fresh notion that gave artists plenty of room for creativity in addressing the call for entries, which requested visual art “utterances” and the poems that inspired them.

Read the rest of the article here.

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10.)

Amazon in big push for new Kindle model

By Brad Stone and Motoko Rich
Escalating its efforts to dominate the fledgling industry for electronic books, Amazon.com introduced on Monday a new version of its electronic book reader, called Kindle 2.
Amazon said the upgraded device had seven times the memory as the original version, allowed faster page-turns and had a crisper, though still black-and-white, display. The Kindle 2 also features a new design with round keys and a short, joysticklike controller — a departure from the previous version’s design, which some buyers had criticized as awkward. The new device will ship on Feb. 24. Amazon did not change the price for the device, which remains $359.

Read the rest of the article here.

POSTED BY BETH KANELL; for more Blogs, go to http://kingdombks.blogspot.com

  • (Beth Kanell is from Kingdom Books, which is a specialty mystery, poetry and fine press shop in Vermont.  Beth Kanell, Co-Owner with her husband Dave, is a published author and regularly reviews books for the Vermont Review of Books.  Kingdom Books offers mostly first editions, many signed, and often hosts author events.)

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11.)

THIS WEEK’S REVIEW (1 OF 2)

Khaled Mattawa

AMORISCO: To Enter Another World

Narrative, whether as prose or poetry, can paint another world in vivid colors, and can transport the emotions into new places, new situations. But how can a writer perform the complex alchemy of assisting the reader to let go of the existing self, in order to sample another tongue entirely?

Rarely leaving the English language, but twisting the verse forms and the continuities and jumps of imagery, Libyan-born Khaled Mattawa calls forth an edgily foreign experience in the poems of AMORISCO (Ausable Press).

Read the rest of the article here.

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THIS WEEK’S REVIEW (2 OF 2)

American Zen: The Poetry of Seido Ray Ronci

On a lifetime journey that led to the Naropa Institute and the metaphorical feet of Allen Ginsburg, and later to his present position as director of Hokoku-an Zendo in Columbia, Missouri, Seido Ray Ronci has shaped a trail of poetry and poetics as markers along the road. With the Ausable Press publication of THE SKELETON OF THE CROW: New & Selected Poems, 1978-2008, comes a map to that territory … or at least a wide selection of those markers.

Boston poet/publisher William Corbett wrote for the back of the book that reading it from first poem to last shows Ronci’s process of “shedding the impulse to tell stories while skillfully paring his poems to that he comes to say in the fewest words what is his to say.”

Read the rest of the article here.

POSTED BY BETH KANELL

For more Blogs, go to http://kingdombks.blogspot.com

  • (Beth Kanell is from Kingdom Books, which is a specialty mystery, poetry and fine press shop in Vermont.  Beth Kanell, Co-Owner with her husband Dave, is a published author and regularly reviews books for the Vermont Review of Books.  Kingdom Books offers mostly first editions, many signed, and often hosts author events.)

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13.)

Did You Know?
In Lucille Clifton’s (an absolute legend of a poet) latest book, Voices,
there is not a comma, period, colon, or semi-colon throughout.

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14.)
“Ponderings”
Reply to the Question: “How Can You Become a Poet?”

by Eve Merriam (1916-1992)

take the leaf of a tree
trace its exact shape
the outside edges
and inner lines
memorize the way it is fastened to the twig
(and how the twig arches from the branch)
how it springs forth in April
how it is panoplied in July
by late August
crumple it in your hand
so that you smell its end-of-summer sadness
chew its woody stem
listen to its autumn rattle
watch as it atomizes in the November air
then in winter
when there is no leaf left
invent one

from Rainbow Writing © 1976 by Eve Merriam.

  • Eve Merriam was a prolific writer of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction for both children and adults. Her awards were many and varied, including the Yale Younger Poets Prize in 1946, the National Council of Teachers of English Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1981, and an Obie for playwriting in 1977. Ms. Merriam’s favorite genre was poetry, however. Of her writing career she said in Something About the Author,”I think one is chosen to be a poet. You write poems because you must write them; because you can’t live your life without writing them.”

Although Eve Merriam died in 1992, her poems are still being published in picture books for very young children.

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15.)

‘Poetry is the achievement of the synthesis
of hyacinths and biscuits .’

Poetry Quote by Carl Sandburg

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16.)
Poets Laureate of the U.S.A.

  • A Net-annotated list of all the poets who have served the Library of Congress as Consultant (the old title) or Poet Laureate Consultant (the new title). Biographies & general reference sites are linked to the poets’ names — for the recent Laureates these are our own poet profiles with book-buying links at the bottom. Many of the other linked biographies are pages from the Academy of American Poets’ Find a Poet archive, a growing & invaluable resource. If there is no general information site about the poet, we have searched the Net for sample poems or other writings or recordings & listed those below the poet’s name.

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17.)


failbetter.com

Leave It All Up to Me

By Major Jackson
All we want is to succumb to a single kiss…

Lorca in Eden

By Major Jackson

Squat by a roadside near Eden, prairie flowers…

  • Major Jackson is the author of two collections of poetry: Hoops and Leaving Saturn. His third volume of poetry, Holding Company, is forthcoming from W.W. Norton. A recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, he is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at the University of Vermont, and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.

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

Sign up in order to get their online newsletter: http://failbetter.com/29/AboutUs.php

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18.)
Linebreak is an online journal with a bias for good poetry. Here is a poem from their web site this week:

Dear Atamasco Lily
by Susan Meyers

Nothing else in the swamp rises beyond…

http://linebreak.org/

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19.)
Here’s a poem from Copper Canyon Press, not in its “Reading Room” (http://www.coppercanyonpress.org/) as I usually reprint in the Newsletter, but from another source.  It was such a find that I felt you should read it in this space usually reserved for a Copper Canyon poem.

Carolyn Kizer

Bits of Reminiscence
A toppled wine-cup,
A stone path floating beneath the moon
Where the grass was trampled:
One azalea branch left lying there…

The rest of the poem can be read here.

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20.)
American Life in Poetry: Column 203

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

To read in the news that a platoon of soldiers has been killed is a terrible thing, but to learn the name of just one of them makes the news even more vivid and sad. To hold the name of someone or something on our lips is a powerful thing. It is the badge of individuality and separateness. Charles Harper Webb, a California poet, takes advantage of the power of naming in this poem about the steady extinction of animal species…
Read the rest of the post here.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2006 by Charles Harper Webb. Reprinted from “Amplified Dog,” by Charles Harper Webb, published by Red Hen Press, 2006, by permission of the author and publisher.  Introduction copyright (c) 2009 by The Poetry Foundation.  The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.  We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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21.)

KEEP PAST VERMONT POETS ALIVE!  I’M SOLICITING YOUR HELP:

POETS OF VERMONT: PAST AND PRESENT PROJECT

I’m looking for a copy of:
1) The Literature of Vermont: A Sampler, University Press of New England, Arthur W. Biddle and Paul A. Eschholz, Editors, 1973
2) Poets and Poetry of Vermont, by Abby Maria Hemenway, 1858
3) “Driftwood,” a poetry magazine begun in 1926 by Walter John Coates
If you have any books of poetry, chapbooks, or just poems written by Vermont poets, dating 1980 and earlier, famous or not, I’d like to know about them.  I’m beginning a project that deals strictly with Vermont poets, from Vermont’s past, with summaries of the poets themselves, a portrait photo or drawing of the poet, along with a small sampling of poems.  If you think you can help, you probably can!  Please contact me by replying to this newsletter.

Ronald Lewis

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VERMONT POET LAUREATES

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

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23.)

If you ever have a need to contact me, here’s how to go about doing so:
Ronald Lewis:
Phone: 802-247-5913
Cell: 802-779-5913
Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733
Email: vtpoet@gmail.com

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24.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BELLOWS FALLS

1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter

2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat).  The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the River Voices Writer’s Circle, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at vsbooks@sover.net or  jfowler177@comcast.net.

GUILFORD

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

MIDDLEBURY

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

2) The Spring Street Poets.  This group is by invite only and consists of six members, Jennifer Bates, Janet Fancher, Karin Gottshall, Ray Hudson, Mary Pratt and David Weinstock.

NORWICH

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

PLAINFIELD

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

STOWE

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

WAITSFIELD

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

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25.)
OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse-writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street.  Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Free.  Contact information: 862-1094.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

Thinking Like a Poetry Editor:  How to Be Your Own Best Critic
(“The Ossmann Method” Poetry Workshop – Crash Course)
Instructor: April Ossmann
The Writer’s Center, 58 North Main Street, White River Jct., VT  05001
Saturday, January 17th OR Saturday, February 14th
2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$45

Learn how to think like a poetry editor! In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. Participants will receive written editorial suggestions for both poems from the instructor. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8. Info: (802) 333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and www.aprilossmann.com

The Ossmann Method Poetry Workshop: Building Your Tool Kit
Instructor: April Ossmann
The Writer’s Center, 58 North Main Street, White River Jct., VT  05001
Sundays, 8 weeks, January 18th – March 8th
2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$200

Build or improve your poetic techniques tool kit and learn how to think like a poetry editor!  In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. This workshop will be both critical and generative, so I will assign reading and generative exercises meant to teach or improve writing skills. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8 (minimum enrollment for the course to proceed is 4). Info: (802) 333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and www.aprilossmann.com

  • Note: If you know of any others, or have personal information about the workshop in Stowe and Guilford, please send me that information.  I realize that there are several smaller groups or workshops around the state.  However, because of their intimacy, they are not posted above, allowing them to offer “memberships” to close friends or acquaintances that they feel would be most appropriate.

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26.)
YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers.  The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write.  One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman (www.aprilossmann.com).  Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center!  For more info, http://www.thewriterscenterwrj.com/.

UNDERHILL


Women Writing for (a) Change supports the authentic experience of women who honor themselves through creative writing.  Our community supports reflection as we move into our questions and awaken to change.  Participants enhance expressive skills, strengthen their voices, deepen themselves as women as writers for positive change in all spheres of life.  Creative writing in all genres is our shared vehicle.  Women Writing for (a) Change is for women who, 1) dream of writing for self-discovery, for personal or social healing, 2) hunger for creative process in their lives, 3) yearn to explore their feminine voice, 4) crave reflective, space, and 5) are in transition.  For more information, go to their web site at www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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27.)

Poetry EventPOETRY EVENT CALENDAR

Below please find the most current list of poetry happenings in Vermont for the near future.  Please be aware that these events can be found on Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com.  Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders.  If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.

Tue, Jan 27-May 10: Another Language, Another Soul

Another Soul

What happens when two languages and two fine arts mingle? Find out by attending:

OPENING RECEPTION: JANUARY 28th 5:30pm – 7:30pm
The Robert Hull Fleming Museum invites you to the opening reception of their spring semester exhibits. Cash bar and free hors d’oeuvres.

January 27-May 10: More Than Bilingual: William Cordova and Major Jackson
Although Peruvian-born visual artist William Cordova and African-American poet Major Jackson come from divergent backgrounds, both artists find inspiration and common ground in music, literature and the urban aesthetic. The fluency with which they navigate cultural signifiers and media, results in a shared visual multilingualism. The two artists have long admired one another’s work; the Fleming Museum is pleased to bring them together in a collaborative venture for the first time.

Robert Hull Fleming Museum
University of Vermont Campus
61 Colchester Avenue
http://www.uvm.edu/~fleming

Sat, Feb 14: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 1:00p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Leigh Marthe Poetry Reading.  Westmoreland poet Leigh Marthe will read from her first published collection of poems, The Exact Life.  Marthe serves as President of the Monadnock Writer’s Group and has been on the Board of Directors for that organization for seven years.  Her work has been published in Cold River Review, New England Writer’s Anthology, Wind in the Timothy Press online, and Summit Avenue Express.  Marthe has had a career in higher education and is completing her PhD in Education with a focus on leadership for higher education.  She teaches part-time at River Valley Community College. To reserve a place at the reading, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Sat, Feb 14: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.
Sun, Feb 15: Warming hut log cabin at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Winter Readings in the National Park.  Join a park ranger in sharing short stories and poetry about winter at the ski shelter warming cabin. Bring your own stories and poetry to share or just listen to others readings while enjoying the warmth of the cabin’s woodstove. Hot chocolate will be provided.  Cost: $5.00 trail pass from the Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center.  For info, Tim Maguire at 457-3368 X22 or Tim_maguire@nps.gov.

Wed, Feb 18: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  “You Come, Too”: Winter with Robert Frost.  Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity.  Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s winter poems.  Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving.  Refreshments served; free.  RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.

Wed, Feb 18: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  A new place for poets to read and hear new work.  This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.

Thu, Feb 19: Studio Place Arts, 201 N. Main Street, Barre, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Teen Slam.  Directed by poet Geof Hewitt.  Everyone is welcome, but only teens will slam!  Modest prizes and glory for all!  Teachers, please tell your students!

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

Fri, Feb 20: Outer Space Café, FlynnDog Gallery, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:00 p.m.  Poet’s Night.  Join in the growing popularity of this continuing series!

Mon, Feb 23: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Michael Waters to read. Michael Waters’ eight books of poetry include Darling Vulgarity (2006—finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001), and Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum (1997) from BOA Editions, and Bountiful (1992), The Burden Lifters (1989), and Anniversary of the Air (1985) from Carnegie Mellon UP. His several edited volumes include Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois UP, 2003). In 2004 he chaired the poetry panel for the National Book Award. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Foundation, Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and four Pushcart Prizes, he teaches at Monmouth University in New Jersey and in the Drew University MFA Program.

Wed, Feb 25: Peabody Library, Route 113, Post Mills.  Reception and book signing by the authors of the literary magazine, Bloodroot.  Bloodroot Literary Magazine is a nonprofit publication released each December. Their mission is to provide a journal of high production values and quality material by established and emerging authors.  The 2009 issue of Bloodroot features cover art by Christy Hale and poems, short stories and creative nonfiction by 28 outstanding authors, many of them familiar names here in Vermont – Regina Brault, Carol Milkuhn and Nancy Means Wright.  The book is scheduled to be out and about in mid-December 2008.

Sun, Mar 1: Plymouth State University, Smith Recital Hall, Johnson, NH, 7:00 p.m.  Poet C.D. Wright.  2008 – 2009 Eagle Pond Author’s Series.  A compelling and idiosyncratic poet, C.D. Wright has twelve collections including Rising, Falling, Hovering (2008), a weaving of deeply personal and politically ferocious poems;  Deepstep Come Shining and Cooling Time.  Her collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster, One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana was awarded the Dorothea Lange-Paul Tayor Prize.  Her new and selected poems Steal Away was on the shortlist for the Griffin Trust Award.  She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the Israel J. Kapstein Professor at Brown University.  Free.  (603) 535-5000 to reserve spaces.

Tue, Mar 3: Farrell Room, St. Michael’s College, 4:30 p.m.  David Cavanaugh.  Local poet David Cavanaugh will read from his work.

Wed, Mar 4: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  A new place for poets to read and hear new work.  This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.

Thu, Mar 5: Middlebury College, Abernathy Room, Axinn Center, 4:30-6:30.  Richard Chess was born in Los Angeles. He spent most of his childhood and youth in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is the author of three books of poetry, Third Temple (2007), Chair in the Desert (2000), and Tekiah (1994). His poems have appeared in many journals as well as several anthologies, including Best American Spiritual Writing 2005 and Telling and Remembering: A Century of American-Jewish Poetry.  An award-winning and much-sought after teacher, he is professor of literature and language at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  He directs UNCA’s Center for Jewish Studies as well as UNCA’s Creative Writing Program.  He has been a member of the low-residency MFA faculties at Warren Wilson College and Queens College.  He served for a number of years as writer-in-residence at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California.  He is now assistant director of The Jewish Arts Institue at Elat Chayyim, located at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, where he will be teaching creative writing in a two-year training institute that begins in August of 2007.  He is poetry editor of Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture.  He lives in Asheville with his wife, Laurie, and son, Gabe.  His two step-daughters, Alice and Margaret, are currently pursuing their careers elsewhere.  For more info, 443-5276.

Thu, Mar 5: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

Fri, Mar 6: Outer Space Café, FlynnDog Gallery, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:00 p.m.  Poet’s Night.  Join in the growing popularity of this continuing series!

Sun, Mar 8: Warming hut log cabin at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Winter Readings in the National Park.  Join a park ranger in sharing short stories and poetry about winter at the ski shelter warming cabin. Bring your own stories and poetry to share or just listen to others readings while enjoying the warmth of the cabin’s woodstove. Hot chocolate will be provided.  Cost: $5.00 trail pass from the Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center.  For info, Tim Maguire at 457-3368 X22 or Tim_maguire@nps.gov.

Wed, Mar 11: Hoehl Welcome Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester, 7:30 p.m – 9:00 p.m.  John Engels Memorial Reading.  In memory of longtime English Department member (and Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet), John Engels (1931-2007) the Department has established an annual  poetry reading. Poet, novelist and essayist David Huddle will give this year’s reading.  The first reading, in 2008, featured former Vermont Poet Laureate Ellen Bryant Voigt.  The English Department Reading Series invites poets, fiction writers, theater troupes, filmmakers, and the like to campus to give readings, talks, performances, screenings etc. In the last few years for example, they’ve hosted the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, novelists including Julia Alvarez, Russell Banks, and Pulitzer-Prize winner E. Annie Proulx, and poets including Pulitzer-Prize winner Louise Gluck, Chase Twitchell, Joy Harjo, and Galway Kinnell. Students are invited to these events, free of charge, and often have the chance to meet and talk to those visitors.  Sponsored by the Lecture Series.
Vermont had a few losses in 2007 and 2008, which were also losses to the entire poetry community.  John Engels, a professor for 45 years at St. Michael’s College, was one of those great losses.  For those of you lucky enough to have clutched a copy for yourself and read through “Remembering John Engels,” you will believe yourself a friend of John’s, as an admirer of his words.  I feel fortunate to have been been both a poet friend of his, as well as a friend of the stream, both of us maintaining a love of fly fishing and fly tying.  If you want to connect or reconnect with John Engels, I would invite you to come to this event, which is sure to be one of those incredible poetry moments.
Sat, Mar 14: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.
Wed, Mar 18: Monkey House, 30 Main Street, Winooski, 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading.  A new place for poets to read and hear new work.  This is a continuing series happening on alternate Wednesdays.
Thu, Mar 19: Parima, 185 Pearl Street, Burlington, 8:45 p.m. -10:00 p.m.  Poetry Jam.  This is a continuing series, happening on alternate Thursdays.

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

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

Sat, Apr 11: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, May 9: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, Jun 13: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Jul 11: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Aug 8: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, Sep 12: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Oct 10: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Nov 14: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Dec 12: Village Square Booksellers, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

2010:

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

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

That’s about it for now. Again, keep your eyes peeled for poetry events.  I hope this email finds you all with good health and sharp pencils.

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis

Vermont Poetry Newsletter – February 4 2009

[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter
Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State
February 4, 2009 – In This Issue:

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.
  1. Newsletter Editor’s Note/Notes to Otter Creek Poets
  2. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  3. John Engels Memorial Reading
  4. Most Popular Poets: Contemporary & Historical
  5. Poetry & The Creative Mind – NYC Festival
  6. The Intersection of Poetry & Politics
  7. Parsing the (Inauguration) Poem
  8. Picture That Poem – Studio Place Arts, Barre Exhibit
  9. New Lit Journal in Vermont! The Queen City Review
  10. Cop Couplets: Police in Maine Make Poetry Calendar
  11. Litlist.net
  12. Poetry Foundation – Year (2008 ) in Review
  13. Did You Know? In Praise of the Chapbook
  14. Ponderings – Governor Rod Blagojevich
  15. Poetry Quote (John Longenbach)
  16. US Poets Laureate List
  17. Linebreak Poem
  18. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  19. American Life in Poetry Poem
  20. Vermont Poets Past and Present Project
  21. Vermont Poet Laureates
  22. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  23. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  24. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  25. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  26. Poetry Event Calendar

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1.)
Dear Friends of Poetry:

For the Otter Creek Poets, I have ordered 10 free copies of Poetry as part of their offer for National Poetry Month.  The issue they will be sending is the April 2009 copy, usually the special Translation Issue.  It is promised that we will be discussing this copy of Poetry on some level, after which I complete a form they provide and then return it to them.

April is National Poetry Month and it is sooner than you think.  David Weinstock of the Otter Creek Poets is now taking suggestions for guest speakers, guest poets, and other events in celebration of the art and its month.  They have four Thursdays to plan for, April 2, 16, 23 and 30. (April 9 is the first night of Passover.) If you have any interesting program ideas for us to mull over, please let me know and I will pass them on to David.

The Otter Creek Poets have begun discussion of some type of publication of their new poetry.  These discussions are very preliminary and are certain to take many twists and turns before anything is settled.  So far, we have ideas to publish in the following formats:

  • 1. In individual Broadsides
  • 2. Anthology
  • 3. Individual chapbooks
  • 4. Audio CD

Please note that I have a new email address as of February 1st.  It has changed from sshortpt@verizon.net to sshortpt@myfairpoint.net.  Emails sent to the old address will still get through until the end of March.

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher
247-5913

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2.)


THIS WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

Bring in a poem “suitable for framing.”  Make it a good one, as you’ll be asked to read your poem, and the group will be listening to it with an ear bent to visualize it on a Broadside under framed under glass.

David Weinstock
01/29/09

LAST WEEK’S WRITING ASSIGNMENT/SUGGESTION/EXERCISE:

THE LINES OF TRIBE

“For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.  We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and nonbelievers.  We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.” — Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

My favorite line in Obama’s speech is “. . . the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve.”

Not only is it vivid, prophetic, and unlikely, it is perfect iambic tetrameter.  It made me think about the tribe I was born into, the several tribes I have joined, and the tribe I’d like to be a part of.

Assignment:  Write a poem about tribe, or tribes, or tribal feelings or conflicts, however you see it.

David Weinstock

Good luck!

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3.)


John Engels Memorial Reading

Wed, Mar 11: Hoehl Welcome Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester, 7:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m.  John Engels Memorial Reading.  In memory of longtime English Department member (and Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet), John Engels (1931-2007) the Department has established an annual  poetry reading. Poet, novelist and essayist David Huddle will give this year’s reading.  The first reading, in 2008, featured former Vermont Poet Laureate Ellen Bryant Voigt.  The English Department Reading Series invites poets, fiction writers, theater troupes, filmmakers, and the like to campus to give readings, talks, performances, screenings etc. In the last few years for example, they’ve hosted the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, novelists including Julia Alvarez, Russell Banks, and Pulitzer-Prize winner E. Annie Proulx, and poets including Pulitzer-Prize winner Louise Gluck, Chase Twitchell, Joy Harjo, and Galway Kinnell. Students are invited to these events, free of charge, and often have the chance to meet and talk to those visitors.  Sponsored by the Lecture Series.
Vermont had a few losses in 2007 and 2008, which were also losses to the entire poetry community.  John Engels, a professor for 45 years at St. Michael’s College, was one of those great losses.  For those of you lucky enough to have clutched a copy for yourself and read through “Remembering John Engels,” you will believe yourself a friend of John’s, as an admirer of his words.  I feel fortunate to have been been both a poet friend of his, as well as a friend of the stream, both of us maintaining a love of fly fishing and fly tying.  If you want to connect or reconnect with John Engels, I would invite you to come to this event, which is sure to be one of those incredible poetry moments.

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4.)

Most Popular Contemporary Poets

2008

1. Billy Collins
2. Gwendolyn Brooks
3. Charles Simic
4. Nikki Giovanni
5. Gary Soto
6. Allen Ginsberg
7. Kay Ryan
8. Rita Dove
9. Adrienne Rich
10. Naomi Shihab Nye
11.Mary Oliver
12. John Ashbery
13. Donald Hall
14. Louise Glück
15. Lucille Clifton
16. Sharon Olds
17. Yusef Komunyakaa
18. Sonia Sanchez
19. Jane Kenyon
20. Mark Strand

Most Popular Historical Poets

2008

1. Langston Hughes
2. Emily Dickinson
3. Walt Whitman
4. Robert Frost
5. E.E. Cummings
6. Edgar Allan Poe
7. William Carlos Williams
8. Sylvia Plath
9. William Blake
10. Elizabeth Barrett Browning
11. Pablo Neruda
12. W.H. Auden
13. William Shakespeare
14. T.S. Eliot
15. Dylan Thomas
16. Ezra Pound
17. W.B. Yeats
18. Elizabeth Bishop
19. William Wordsworth
20. Robert Browning

The above were from the results of a survey through Poets.org

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5.)

Celebrate National Poetry Month this year in NYC!

gala_inviteOn April 1, 2009, the Academy of American Poets will present its seventh annual benefit, Poetry & The Creative Mind, at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Some of America’s leading artists, scholars, and public figures will participate in this extraordinary evening celebrating the role of contemporary poetry in American culture. Each year, Poetry & The Creative Mind kicks off National Poetry Month, which was established by the Academy in 1996 and is now the largest literary celebration in the world.
Guest readers are to include Meryl Streep, Liz Smith, Dianne Reeves, John Guare, Jonathan Demme, Philippe de Montebello, Katie Couric, Graydon Carter, Robert Caro, and Candace Bushnell. Each read poems by some of America’s best-loved poets.
Tickets are now available and can be purchased through the Lincoln Center web site, the Lincoln Center box office, or by phone at (212) 721-6500.  Prices are $40-$75
A limited number of VIP tickets are available. VIP tickets include the performance followed by a cocktail buffet supper with the special guest readers and begin at $450. For information about VIP tickets, contact Beth Harrison at bharrison@poets.org.

If you’ve never been to this event, and in order to get a flavor of what it’s like, below is the itinerary from the 2008 event:
Opening Remarks

  • Tree Swenson, Executive Director, Academy of American Poets

Yusef Komunyakaa

  • Robert Hayden, Names
    Robert Hayden, Sphinx
    Robert Hayden, Monet’s Waterlilies

Jonathan Demme

  • Randall Jarrell, The Lost Children

Graydon Carter

  • Dorothy Parker, Our Office: A Hate Song

Liz Smith

  • Langston Hughes, Let America Be America Again
    Edward Arlington Robinson, Miniver Cheevy

Philippe de Montebello

  • Theodore Roethke, The Geranium
    Wallace Stevens, The Snow Man
    Edna St.Vincent Millay, Dirge Without Music
    Edgar Allan Poe, The Valley of Unrest
    Ezra Pound, The Garden
    W.H. Auden, Musee des Beaux Arts
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, Fable

Candace Bushnell

  • Gertrude Stein, from A Grammarian
    Gertrude Stein, Stanzas in Meditation

Robert Caro

  • Robert Frost, The Bearer of Evil Tidings
    Emily Dickinson, Hope is the thing with feathers
    Emily Dickinson, A Man may make a Remark
    Edward Hirsch, Branch Library
    Edward Hirsch, Special Orders
    Edward Hirsch, Elegy for the Jewish Villages

Dianne Reeves

  • Gwendolyn Brooks, A Song in the Front Yard
    Gwendolyn Brooks, Queen of the Blues
    James Weldon Johnson, Go Down Death

John Guare

  • William Carlos Williams, from Asphodel, That Greeny Flower

Katie Couric

  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Anti-Suffragists
    Emily Dickinson, I measure every Grief I meet
    E. E. Cummings, Maggie and Milly and Molly and May

Meryl Streep

  • Wallace Stevens, Sunday Morning
    Walt Whitman, Miracles
    Walt Whitman, A noiseless patient spider

Closing Remarks

Eunice J. Panetta, Chairman, Academy of American Poets

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6.)

The Intersection of Poetry and Politics
By DWIGHT GARNER
New York Times

Summoning artists to participate
In the august occasions of the state
Seems something artists ought to celebrate.

Those are pleasant thoughts, but awful poetry — probably the worst three lines Robert Frost ever put to paper. Tellingly it was work for hire: the opening lines of ”Dedication,” the poem Frost composed for John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inauguration.

Famously, and perhaps blessedly, Frost never had the chance to declaim them. The high wind and strong sun that day conspired to make his typescript unreadable. Unruffled, he pulled a mighty poem from memory, his own “Gift Outright,” with its ringing first line: “The land was ours before we were the land’s.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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7.)

Parsing the Poem
By Tobin Harshaw

While plying their art in front of millions of viewers was nothing new for Itzhak Perlman or Yo-Yo Ma, it must have been more than a tad unsettling for Elizabeth Alexander, the inaugural poetess. And while Rick Warren was the controversial choice for the day’s events, Ms. Alexander’s selection also led to conflicting anticipations. Writing shortly after the announcement in December, the Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates was thrilled.

Elizabeth Alexander is going to present a poem at the inauguration. I don’t want to disrespect anyone here with what I’m about to say. But there is an interesting parallel, here again, in the Obama and Clinton selections. Maya Angelou is a very inspirational writer who, I think, has helped a lot of young women through some tough times.

Read the rest of the article here.

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8.)

artreview_59
Talking Pictures
“Picture That Poem,” multi-media show examining the relationship between visual imagery and poetry. Main Floor Gallery, Studio Place Arts, Barre. Through February 28.
BY Marc Awodey

Mark Awodey
“The Only Secret” by R.G. Solbert

The nexus of poetry and visual art encompasses more than vivid verbal imagery. “Picture That Poem,” at Studio Place Arts in Barre, Vermont demonstrates how diverse and thought provoking the two arts’ links can be.
SPA is known for strongly curated theme shows, and a great idea makes for a fascinating group exhibition. “Picture That Poem” is built on a fresh notion that gave artists plenty of room for creativity in addressing the call for entries, which requested visual art “utterances” and the poems that inspired them.
Many of the poems posted in the show were written by the visual artists themselves. Mark Markowitt is an octogenarian who’s been writing poetry for about three-quarters of a century. He’s been stricken with dementia and is losing his ability to speak. Markowitt’s painting “Tribute to a Lost Love” reflects on a poem entitled “Lament for a Lost Love” that he composed 60 years ago. He completed the accompanying mixed-media abstraction — involving green patches and black dots — with the assistance of an art therapist. Yet, despite his handicap, Markowitt was able to specify that the poem and the painting are integrally linked. “Tribute to a Lost Love” seems like the map of a mysterious tropical atoll.
Markowitt’s wife, Suzy, contributed a 2008 mixed-media watercolor with collage dominated by blue hues, in which the upward movement culminates in a translucent lavender peak. Called “Parallel,” her painting is associated with a 1948 poem by her husband entitled “Inspiration,” which references the Matterhorn.
Janet Van Fleet’s 2009 sculptural construction with text also quotes a family member’s poem, which appears along the edges of the freestanding 38-by-12-by-51-inch sculpture. “Heaven’s Chop Shop” features a tableau in which Lilliputian figures made of bolts, rusty nails and gold thread dismantle a Gulliver-sized skeleton of sticks, laid out like an archaeological burial. Van Fleet uses the poem “Reincarnation,” written by her mother Sandy McKinney, which begins with the lines: The part that arrives at heaven’s chop-shop / doesn’t leave much to work with / but you’re one of the lucky ones . . . To read the whole text, a viewer must circle the sculpture several times — a potentially dizzying experience.
The title of “The Only Secret,” by R.G. Solbert, alludes to two lines of Emily Dickinson: “The only secret people keep / Is Immortality.” Solbert’s 23-by-28-by-5-inch wall sculpture illustrates the Massachusetts poet with an object akin to the winged soul effigies on early New England gravestones. Solbert crafted copper wings and hung an antique wooden shoe stretcher beneath. The shoe element is a graceful and expressive object in the Marcel Duchamp “ready-made” tradition, from about the same era as his 1913 “Bicycle Wheel.”
Three exquisite paintings by Middlesex painter and textile artist Pria Cambio were inspired by the famous Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) poem “Kubla Khan; or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment.” Much like the Romantic British poet did with words in his opulent masterpiece, Cambio layered color upon color as if they were silken threads in a sumptuous Oriental tapestry. Her 12-by-12-inch “Xanadu: Gate to the City” is a jumble of overlapping gates, walls and domes. The 12-by-24-inch vertical “Xanadu: The Abyss” portrays mountains and lush greenery reminiscent of the opium-induced visions by which Coleridge claimed his pen was fueled.
The artists selected for “Picture That Poem” all produced pieces that inadvertently speak to a saying of Paul Gauguin: “Literary poetry in a painter is something special, and is neither illustration nor the translation of writing by form.” While the poet’s and the visual artist’s tools are quite different, their two mediums may actually be inseparable.

Beautifully said.

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9.)
New Lit Journal Draws Authors from Afar
BY MARGOT HARRISON

New literary magazines sprout in college towns like mushrooms. But Burlington College’s Queen City Review, whose inaugural issue appeared in December, is more than a forum for students and the folks who put it out. (The founding editor is Heidi Berkowitz, who teaches in the college’s Interdisciplinary Studies program and coordinates its writing center; Dartmouth lecturer Kevin McCarthy oversees the poetry.) Though students, faculty and local writers — such as poetry slam champ Geof Hewitt — are well represented in its pages, the QCR also offers art and lit from across the country. There are love poems by Matthew Dickman, an Oregonian whose work has appeared in The New Yorker. Black-and-white drawings by Dallas artist Michael Savoie, who used to live and exhibit in Burlington, evoke the suffering caused by Hurricane Katrina.
The local stuff is well chosen, too. Anna Blackmer, Burlington College’s Chair of Arts and Humanities, contributed a poem called “A Middle-Aged Woman Reaches into Her New Purse” that has some killer lines: “ . . . I repeat the same ten actions every morning / and go to work like an armored car on fire inside. / No one seems to notice.”
Two prose works have user-friendly vignette structures, with bite-sized pieces ushering the browser into a longer narrative. BC student Aaron Mitton’s story “Smoky Vignettes” is a mini-cultural history of smokers, both famous and obscure. And Alice Eckles, who teaches printmaking at the college, tells her life story through a series of ill-fated vehicles in the dryly funny essay “The Cars She Drives.” It ends with a classified ad of sorts, offering a deal on her current Kia Sportage.
While the car may no longer be on sale, the magazine is — $8 from Burlington College, or call Berkowitz at 862-9616 to request a mailed copy. She accepts submissions until April 20 at queencityreview@burlington.edu.

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10.)

Cop couplets: Police in Maine make poetry calendar

CLARKE CANFIELD

PORTLAND, Maine — Officer Alissa Poisson graces the January page of the 2009 Portland police calendar, baring her … soul.

The calendar features poems and photographs by members of the police department in Maine’s largest city.

Poetry has given Poisson an emotional outlet while opening her eyes to the world around her. In “The Things I Carry,” a poem on the January page, Poisson writes about her feelings as she equips herself for each shift with a .45-caliber Glock, a knife, pepper spray, handcuffs, a baton and two clips of bullets.

Read the rest of the article here.

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11.)

LitList

http://www.litlist.net/

LitList has fast become one of the most popular sources of information surrounding small publishing, editing, and writing.
LitList is a dynamic list of literary journals, independent book publishers, and e-magazines. It also gives small publishers new ways to interact with readers and writers. Built on the idea that updating information about small publishers online is often a tedious task, LitList gives publishers the power to update their own information, including contest deadlines and contact information.

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12.)
Poetry Foundation
Year in Review
January 2009

The Poetry Foundation, like many, will remember 2008 as the year of the great financial crisis. From poets and their publishers, to schools and literary organizations, this year’s economic collapse has afflicted everyone in the poetry community in ways that are both far-reaching and painfully individual. The Foundation’s own challenge was to protect the value of its endowment and continue its work to support poetry and poets.

The U.S. stock market finished 2008 down 34% for the year. Losses on other types of investments, including real estate, private equity, and international, were similar. Thanks to the cadre of prudent fund managers who are responsible for investing the Foundation’s endowment, our resources were not directly affected by defaults in the mortgage market, the failures of Wall Street firms and custodial banks, or the more recent losses of charitable foundations that were invested with Bernard Madoff. Although the value of the Foundation’s portfolio has declined in line with the markets in which it is invested, there were no write-offs or permanent losses, and the endowment is positioned to participate fully in the eventual market recovery.

As a matter of prudent management the Foundation has adopted a budget for 2009 that will not exceed 5% of the value of the endowment, a common policy in the foundation world and one that the Poetry Foundation has heeded in its five years of operations. At the same time, we are doing everything possible to maintain our work on behalf of the field and to preserve our direct payments to poets and writers, publishers, and prizewinners.

The lean economic times notwithstanding, the Foundation continues to develop a broader and more engaged audience for poetry. All of the Foundation’s programs, including its new initiatives, enter 2009 intact. The site for building the Foundation’s permanent home in Chicago has been purchased and prepared, and a beautiful design by John Ronan Architects awaits the groundbreaking. When market conditions turn more favorable, we look forward to the sale of a bond issue and the start of construction. And the Harriet Monroe Poetry Institute, a think tank dedicated exclusively to issues of intellectual and practical importance to poetry, will see 2009 as its first formal year. Katharine Coles, poet laureate of Utah, former head of the creative writing program at the University of Utah, and founding director of the Utah Symposium in Science and Literature, is already at work as the Institute’s inaugural director. She has selected as a first field of study for the Institute “Poetry and the New Media.”

While tending to its responsibilities on the business side of the house — the necessary left-brain activity of an arts organization — the Foundation continued its mission to discover the best poetry and to celebrate it through publication, prizes, and criticism. This year the Foundation increased its number of Lilly Fellowships, our annual awards for emerging poets, from two to five. Providing $15,000 to each of five fellows, the fellowships provide no-strings-attached assistance to young poets at a formative time in their careers.

Poetry, for its part, published many first-time contributors (over two hundred of them in the past five years). To quote just one of the spirited and articulate poems from these newcomers, Sarah Lindsay’s “Zucchini Shofar” begins:

No animals were harmed in the making of this joyful noise:
A thick, twisted stem from the garden
is the wedding couple’s ceremonial ram’s horn.
Its substance will not survive one thousand years,
nor will the garden, which is today their temple,
nor will their names, nor their union now announced
with ritual blasts upon the zucchini shofar.
Shall we measure blessings by their duration?

And it ends:

This moment’s chord of earthly commotion
will never be struck exactly so again —
though love does love to repeat its favorite lines.
So let the shofar splutter its slow notes and quick notes,
let the nieces and nephews practice their flutes and trombones,
let the living room pianos invite unwashed hands,
let glasses of different fullness be tapped for their different notes,
let everyone learn how to whistle,
let the girl dawdling home from her trumpet lesson
pause at the half-built house on the corner,
where the newly installed maze of plumbing comes down
to one little pipe whose open end she can reach,
so she takes a deep breath
and makes the whole house sound.

Discovery and celebration: they are apparent in each new issue of Poetry, and they are a legacy going back to the magazine’s very beginnings. Harriet Monroe and Ezra Pound, her “foreign correspondent,” chose the poets they published with a combination of personal enthusiasm, neighborhood familiarity, and a perfect willingness to go against the grain. Publishing the new talents of their day — Eliot, Stevens, Moore, and Williams, among many — they tapped into a reservoir of underground energy that came to be known as Modernism. The rest, as they say, is history.

Speaking of underground energy, the Foundation tapped into a load of that this year through our blog, Harriet, and through the Printers’ Ball. Inspired by Harriet Monroe’s “Open Door” policy*, the blog has become an agora where, with suitable noise and excitement, aesthetically diverse poets come to debate the art form. The Printers’ Ball, in a parallel way, showcases Chicago’s independent publishing scene. One might think of the Printers’ Ball and Harriet together as a kind of Salon des Refusés, that historic exhibition where the Impressionists found their identity in opposition to the French Academy. Whether any poet-descendants of Rimbaud, Dylan Thomas, or Ginsberg were present at the recent Printers’ Ball, I don’t know, but the fact that the police showed up at the prior year’s ball is a positive sign. It seems more than merely appropriate that the Foundation remain open in every way possible to the emergent talents and the underground energies of the moment.

Across our programs we continue to cultivate new poetry readers among the youngest members of our culture. This year Poetry Out Loud, the national recitation contest, reached more than 250,000 high school students across the country. The Foundation appointed the second Children’s Poet Laureate, the renowned and delightful Mary Ann Hoberman. Our growing collection of successful audio programs, available on poetryfoundation.org, includes the popular monthly podcast featuring the editors of Poetry. In 2008 listeners downloaded our audio content more than five million times. The multifaceted Poetry Everywhere project received a Parents’ Choice Award for its online educational curriculum. Classical Baby (I’m Grown Up Now): The Poetry Show — our collaboration with HBO and a kind of poetry primer for young children and their parents — premiered on television in April and received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Program.

Looking around at the widespread effects of the financial crisis, it seems that the old models, both business and social, are broken. At such moments in history, when there is no going back, poetry can intuit the future. As Yeats wrote after the failed Easter Rising of 1916:

All changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.
A few years later the Republic of Ireland was formally established.

Sincerely,

John Barr

* The Open Door will be the policy of this magazine. . . . To this end the editors hope to keep free of entangling alliances with any single class or school. They desire to print the best English verse which is being written today, regardless of where, by whom, or under what theory of art it is written.

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13.)

Did You Know?

In praise of the chapbook
Independent press excels at creating small poetry samplers
Daniel A. Olivas / Special to the Times

You might have seen them at a library, in a classroom or perhaps at your local coffee shop. They’re small, maybe 50 pages in length, with unexpected titles and edgy artwork.

Welcome to the world of the chapbook, mini-collections of poetry, fiction or essays that can whet the appetite of adventurous readers at a reasonable cost. You usually cannot buy a chapbook from a traditional bookstore, but they are readily available from the publishers’ Web sites.

The rest of the article can be read at:

http://www.elpasotimes.com/living/ci_11600006

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14.)

“Ponderings”
Governor Rod Blagojevich

Until a few weeks ago the story of Rod Blagojevich—the foul-mouthed, thick-haired governor of Illinois accused of (among other corrupt activities) trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat—didn’t seem to have much poetry in it: suspense, yes, and farce (How did he get elected?), but little of the dignity or verbal nuance we associate with serious poems. W.H. Auden defined poetry as “memorable speech”; the most memorable words from the disgraced governor were words most newspapers would never print.

Blagojevich changed that in December, when he quoted Rudyard Kipling’s “If -” in a defiant press conference; journalists took note—some even learned the history of that frequently quoted poem. The governor looked to another British poet in another speech on Friday, January 9. Again, he made national news. Just impeached by the Illinois House of Representatives, but not yet convicted by the state senate, “Blago” said that he would fight to remain in office, just as he fought for ordinary Americans. He concluded with a ringing quotation from Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the Victorian poet laureate who also wrote “The Charge of the Light Brigade.” (Some headlines read “Gov. Rod Blagojevich Quotes Tennyson.”) The governor used the same poem, he noted, that Senator Ted Kennedy cited in 1980, after losing the Democratic presidential nomination: “Ulysses.”

The governor quoted lines from the end of the poem, in which the hero of Homer’s Odyssey declares, in resonant blank verse, that he and his comrades still have strength to fight:

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will,
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Resolute, determined, unwearied—appropriate, no?

Yet for anyone who knows the poem, Blagojevich might as well have quit on the spot. Tennyson’s great monologue is not a show of defiance but a speech of resignation from office, by a ruler who admits he is unfit to rule.

How could a resignation sound so defiant? How could Blagojevich’s speechwriter get this famous poem so wrong? Tennyson’s poem does not take place during the Odyssey. Nor does it take place during the Trojan War, in which Ulysses (whom Homer calls “crafty,” polu-metis) distinguished himself for inventive tactics (or, from the Trojan point of view, for dirty tricks): he was the Greek who devised the Trojan Horse. This Ulysses speaks years after the Odyssey ends, after he has rejoined his queen, Penelope, and his son, Telemachus, and re-established himself as the ruler of his native Ithaca. Ulysses begins by explaining that he no longer enjoys his job:

It little profits that an idle king,
By this still hearth, among these barren crags,
Match’d with an aged wife, I mete and dole
Unequal laws unto a savage race,
That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me.

He’s bored with his work and his home. (Blagojevich, who became governor six years ago, allegedly considered sending himself to Washington if he could not make the right deal for that Senate seat.) “I cannot rest from travel,” Ulysses says: he is famous all over Greece (“I am become a name”) “for always roaming with a hungry heart.” So, he says, he will give up his throne to his son,

mine own Telemachus,
To whom I leave the sceptre and the isle,—
Well-loved of me, discerning to fulfil
This labour, by slow prudence to make mild
A rugged people, and thro’ soft degrees
Subdue them to the useful and the good.
Most blameless is he, centered in the sphere
Of common duties, decent not to fail
In offices of tenderness, and pay
Meet adoration to my household gods,
When I am gone. He works his work, I mine.

Telemachus has just the virtues that Ulysses lacks: put simply, Telemachus will follow the law.

Having resigned, Ulysses and his fellow sailors (“Souls that have toil’d, and wrought, and thought with me”) will take to the seas in search of new adventures: they will “follow knowledge like a sinking star,” and “sail beyond the sunset, and the baths / Of all the western stars, until I die.” He may never come back—not until he has found and conquered all the secret places of the world. The end of the poem (the part Blagojevich quoted) indeed amounts to a show of defiance—but what Tennyson’s Ulysses defies is neither a host of enemies, nor a volley of accusations, so much as the limits to all human life.

Tennyson did not take this story from Homer, but neither did he make it all up: the British poet found his material in canto XXVI of Dante’s Inferno, where Ulysses explains to Dante and to Virgil how lust for discovery kept him from staying home. Dante’s Ulysses died, with all his sailors, in a shipwreck at the edge of the known world. He belongs in the Inferno, not for seeking knowledge, but for sins committed during the Trojan War—for tricking the Trojans by building the Trojan Horse, and for stealing the Palladium, a magic statue that protected Troy.

Widely believed to harbor corrupt ambitions, impeached, and accused of soliciting bribes, the governor of Illinois has defended himself by quoting a poem that amounts to a resignation from executive office, spoken by a character who declares himself no longer fit to rule, who says he will leave his home state and never return, and who will, soon after he finishes speaking, probably go to hell for theft and fraud.

If that’s not dramatic irony, I don’t know what is—and dramatic irony is exactly what Tennyson’s sort of poem invites. Published in 1842, Tennyson’s poem helped invent the genre of poetry now called dramatic monologue: in it, we hear only the voice of a single character, explaining his life and justifying his ways. Sometimes (as in Robert Browning’s “My Last Duchess”) the character is flat-out evil: sometimes (as in Browning’s great “Andrea del Sarto” or Tennyson’s “St. Simeon Stylites”) he might be self-deluded, or insane. As we listen to speakers in dramatic monologue, we learn things about them that they themselves cannot know: we acquire perspectives that they cannot have, seeing motives they hide from themselves, or else condemning the very actions they praise. (W.S. di Piero explained how to read Browning’s monologues here.)

Few readers of Tennyson condemn Ulysses. After all, courage has value, and there is something noble in Ulysses’ determination to follow his nature, even if we think that nature (as Dante did) incompatible with virtue, and even if it leads to his doom. And few readers think Ulysses ought to stay and rule Ithaca: Ulysses himself knows that it is time to resign. Most Illinois voters want Blagojevich to resign too—a few weeks ago, according to one poll, 84% did. If only the governor read his Tennyson closely, he might have learned what Ulysses already knew.

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15.)

‘A good poem teaches the writer how to write it.’

Poetry Quote by James Longenbach

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16.)

Poets Laureate of the U.S.A.

  • A Net-annotated list of all the poets who have served the Library of Congress as Consultant (the old title) or Poet Laureate Consultant (the new title). Biographies & general reference sites are linked to the poets’ names — for the recent Laureates these are our own poet profiles with book-buying links at the bottom. Many of the other linked biographies are pages from the Academy of American Poets’ Find a Poet archive, a growing & invaluable resource. If there is no general information site about the poet, we have searched the Net for sample poems or other writings or recordings & listed those below the poet’s name.

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17.)

ashtonRenaming Wonder
by Sally Ashton

Sally Ashton is author of These Metallic Days. Her poetry and reviews have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Parthenon West Review, Sentence: a journal of prose poetics, and Poet Lore. She was a guest blogger for the Best American Poetry blog in July ’08 and is editor of the DMQ Review, an online journal featuring poetry and art.

World gets chance to name new 7 wonders

What are the new seven wonders, a wren
in a hedge, a hummingbird’s red-feathered throat,
wild elk that return to bugle at night…

Read & hear the rest of the poem here.

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18.)

Here’s a poem from Copper Canyon Press, not in its “Reading Room” (http://www.coppercanyonpress.org/) as I usually reprint in the Newsletter, but from another source.  It was such a find that I felt you should read it in this space usually reserved for a Copper Canyon poem.

The Gift of Tongues


Everything I steal, I give away.
Once, in pines almost as tall as these,
same crescent moon sliding gently by,
I sat curled on my knees, smoking with a friend,
sipping tea, swapping coyote tales and lies.

He said something to me
about words, that each is a name,
and that every name is God’s. I who have
no god sat in the vast emptiness silent
as I could be. A way that can be named

is not the way. Each word reflects
the Spirit which can’t be named. Each word
a gift, its value in exact proportion
to the spirit in which it is given.
Thus spoken, these words I give

by way of Lao Tzu’s old Chinese, stolen
by a humble thief twenty-five centuries later.
The Word is only evidence of the real:
in the Hopi tongue, there is no whale;
and, in American English, no Fourth World.

Sam Hamill, editor

The Gift of Tongues: Almost Paradise: New & Selected Poems & Translations (Shambhala Publications)

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19.)


American Life in Poetry: Column 202

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

David Wagoner, who lives in Washington state, is one of our country’s most distinguished poets and the author of many wonderful books. He is also one of our best at writing about nature, from which we learn so much. Here is a recent poem by Wagoner that speaks to perseverance.

The Cherry Tree

Out of the nursery and into the garden
where it rooted and survived its first hard winter,
then a few years of freedom while it blossomed,
put out its first tentative branches, withstood…

Read the rest of the poem here.

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20.)

KEEP PAST VERMONT POETS ALIVE!  I’M SOLICITING YOUR HELP:

POETS OF VERMONT
PAST AND PRESENT
PROJECT

I’m looking for a copy of:

  • 1) The Literature of Vermont: A Sampler, University Press of New England, Arthur W. Biddle and Paul A. Eschholz, Editors, 1973
  • 2) Poets and Poetry of Vermont, by Abby Maria Hemenway, 1858
  • 3) “Driftwood,” a poetry magazine begun in 1926 by Walter John Coates

If you have any books of poetry, chapbooks, or just poems written by Vermont poets, dating 1980 and earlier, famous or not, I’d like to know about them.  I’m beginning a project that deals strictly with Vermont poets, from Vermont’s past, with summaries of the poets themselves, a portrait photo or drawing of the poet, along with a small sampling of poems.  If you think you can help, you probably can!  Please contact me by replying to this newsletter.

Ronald Lewis

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21.)

VERMONT POET LAUREATES

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

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22.)
If you ever have a need to contact me, here’s how to go about doing so:
Ronald Lewis:
Phone: 802-247-5913
Cell: 802-779-5913
Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733
Email: sshortpt@verizon.net

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23.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BELLOWS FALLS

1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter

2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat).  The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the River Voices Writer’s Circle, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at vsbooks@sover.net or  jfowler177@comcast.net.

GUILFORD

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

MIDDLEBURY

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

2) The Spring Street Poets.  This group is by invite only and consists of six members, Jennifer Bates, Janet Fancher, Karin Gottshall, Ray Hudson, Mary Pratt and David Weinstock.

NORWICH

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

PLAINFIELD

The Wayside Poets share their poetry publicly from time to time.  They meet at the Cutler Memorial Library, 151 High Street, Plainfield.  Members include Diane Swan, Sherry Olson, Carol Henrikson and Sarah Hooker.  I will publish more about this group after I contact one of their members.

STOWE

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

WAITSFIELD

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

OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse-writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street.  Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m.  Free.  Contact information: 862-1094.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

Thinking Like a Poetry Editor:  How to Be Your Own Best Critic
(“The Ossmann Method” Poetry Workshop – Crash Course)
Instructor: April Ossmann
The Writer’s Center, 58 North Main Street, White River Jct., VT  05001
Saturday, January 17th OR Saturday, February 14th
2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$45

Learn how to think like a poetry editor! In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. Participants will receive written editorial suggestions for both poems from the instructor. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8. Info: (802) 333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and http://www.aprilossmann.com

The Ossmann Method Poetry Workshop: Building Your Tool Kit
Instructor: April Ossmann
The Writer’s Center, 58 North Main Street, White River Jct., VT  05001
Sundays, 8 weeks, January 18th – March 8th
2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$200

Build or improve your poetic techniques tool kit and learn how to think like a poetry editor!  In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. This workshop will be both critical and generative, so I will assign reading and generative exercises meant to teach or improve writing skills. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8 (minimum enrollment for the course to proceed is 4). Info: (802) 333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and http://www.aprilossmann.com

  • Note: If you know of any others, or have personal information about the workshop in Stowe and Guilford, please send me that information.  I realize that there are several smaller groups or workshops around the state.  However, because of their intimacy, they are not posted above, allowing them to offer “memberships” to close friends or acquaintances that they feel would be most appropriate.

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24.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers.  The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write.  One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman (www.aprilossmann.com).  Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center!  For more info, http://www.thewriterscenterwrj.com/.

UNDERHILL

Women Writing for (a) Change supports the authentic experience of women who honor themselves through creative writing.  Our community supports reflection as we move into our questions and awaken to change.  Participants enhance expressive skills, strengthen their voices, deepen themselves as women as writers for positive change in all spheres of life.  Creative writing in all genres is our shared vehicle.  Women Writing for (a) Change is for women who, 1) dream of writing for self-discovery, for personal or social healing, 2) hunger for creative process in their lives, 3) yearn to explore their feminine voice, 4) crave reflective, space, and 5) are in transition.  For more information, go to their web site at www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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unknownPOETRY EVENT CALENDAR

Below please find the most current list of poetry happenings in Vermont for the near future.  Please be aware that these events can be found on Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com.  Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders.  If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.

Tue, Jan 27-May 10: Another Language, Another Soul
Another Soul

What happens when two languages and two fine arts mingle? Find out by attending:

OPENING RECEPTION: JANUARY 28th 5:30pm – 7:30pm
The Robert Hull Fleming Museum invites you to the opening reception of their spring semester exhibits. Cash bar and free hors d’oeuvres.

January 27-May 10: More Than Bilingual: William Cordova and Major Jackson
Although Peruvian-born visual artist William Cordova and African-American poet Major Jackson come from divergent backgrounds, both artists find inspiration and common ground in music, literature and the urban aesthetic. The fluency with which they navigate cultural signifiers and media, results in a shared visual multilingualism. The two artists have long admired one another’s work; the Fleming Museum is pleased to bring them together in a collaborative venture for the first time.

Robert Hull Fleming Museum
University of Vermont Campus
61 Colchester Avenue
http://www.uvm.edu/~fleming

Thu, Feb 5: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Cleopatra Mathis to read.  Cleopatra Mathis was born and raised in Ruston, Louisiana. Her first five books of poems were published by Sheep Meadow Press. A sixth collection, White Sea, was published by Sarabande Books in 2005. Her work has appeared widely in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, The Extraordinary Tide: Poetry by American Women, and The Practice of Poetry. Various prizes for her work include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, in 1984 and 2003; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poems in 2001; the Peter Lavin Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets; two Pushcart Prizes (1980 and 2006); The Robert Frost Resident Poet Award; a 1981-82 Fellowship in Poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; The May Sarton Award; and Individual Artist Fellowships in Poetry from both the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey State Arts Council. She is the Frederick Sessions Beebe Professor of the Art of Writing at Dartmouth College, where she has directed the Creative Writing Program since 1982.

Fri, Feb 6: Firehouse Gallery, 135 Church Street, Burlington, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.  Poetry Reading and Drumming.  As part of the Burlington Art Walk, poet and artist Terry Hauptman will provide a poetry reading accompanied by  Jerry Geier’s drumming on his sculptural slit drums will entertain all.  While you’re at the Firehouse Gallery, you can visit these two artists’ exhibits, titled Veiled Lineage.  It features two Vermont artists investigating concepts of ancestry, heritage and tradition; using sculpture, painting, and installation. Jerry Geier’s assembly of sculptures, or totems, feature carved faces of wood and clay derived from indigenous and modern societies. The totems are hollowed and act as functional drums. Terry Hauptman’s Songline Scrolls feature colorful multi-cultural processions on wall-sized scrolls of paper. These scrolls are a metaphor for life, representing a continual unfolding revelation of change and celebration. In this 400th anniversary of European arrival in the Champlain Valley, this exhibit highlights our evolving notions of cultural and spiritual identity, and exposes the paradox of searching for meaning in the very same cultures that were supplanted by our own colonialist history.

Sat, Feb 7: Studio Place Arts, 201 N. Main Street, Barre, 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Teen Poetry Workshop.  High-school-aged scribes get guidance from Geof Hewitt in a survey of works by contemporary New England writers.  This workshop for high school students includes reading and group discussion that challenges participants’ perceptions of poetry with poems by contemporary New England writers. The goal is to increase each participants’ awareness of the quick and dirty, direct expression awaiting anyone who goes looking for a few good poems. Participants should arrive early and spend time in the main floor gallery enjoying the “Picture that Poem” exhibit. Call SPA at 802-479-7069 to register.  Free.

Mon, Feb 9: Grafton Library, Main Street, Grafton, 7:00 p.m.  Robert Frost: Poetry and Prose.  Third of three-part book discussion series led by Dr. Deborah Luskin from the Vermont Humanities Council.  For info, Linda Montecalvo at 843-1444.

Tue, Feb 10: Farrell Room, St. Michael’s College, 4:00 p.m.  Verandah Porche.  Verandah Porche will read from her work.

Wed, Feb 11: Center for Women and Gender, St. Michael’s College, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.  Verandah Porche.  Verandah Porche returns for a workshop titled Told Poetry/Shared Narrative.  Open to students, faculty, and staff.  Co-sponsored by the English Department and the Center for Women and Gender.

Sat, Feb 14: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

Sun, Feb 15: Warming hut log cabin at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Winter Readings in the National Park.  Join a park ranger in sharing short stories and poetry about winter at the ski shelter warming cabin. Bring your own stories and poetry to share or just listen to others readings while enjoying the warmth of the cabin’s woodstove. Hot chocolate will be provided.  Cost: $5.00 trail pass from the Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center.  For info, Tim Maguire at 457-3368 X22 or Tim_maguire@nps.gov.

Wed, Feb 18: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  “You Come, Too”: Winter with Robert Frost.  Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity.  Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s winter poems.  Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving.  Refreshments served; free.  RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.

Mon, Feb 23: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined.  Poet Michael Waters to read. Michael Waters’ eight books of poetry include Darling Vulgarity (2006—finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001), and Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum (1997) from BOA Editions, and Bountiful (1992), The Burden Lifters (1989), and Anniversary of the Air (1985) from Carnegie Mellon UP. His several edited volumes include Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois UP, 2003). In 2004 he chaired the poetry panel for the National Book Award. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Foundation, Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and four Pushcart Prizes, he teaches at Monmouth University in New Jersey and in the Drew University MFA Program.

Wed, Feb 25: Peabody Library, Route 113, Post Mills.  Reception and book signing by the authors of the literary magazine, Bloodroot.  Bloodroot Literary Magazine is a nonprofit publication released each December. Their mission is to provide a journal of high production values and quality material by established and emerging authors.  The 2009 issue of Bloodroot features cover art by Christy Hale and poems, short stories and creative nonfiction by 28 outstanding authors, many of them familiar names here in Vermont – Regina Brault, Carol Milkuhn and Nancy Means Wright.  The book is scheduled to be out and about in mid-December 2008.

Sun, Mar 1: Plymouth State University, Smith Recital Hall, Johnson, NH, 7:00 p.m.  Poet C.D. Wright.  2008 – 2009 Eagle Pond Author’s Series.  A compelling and idiosyncratic poet, C.D. Wright has twelve collections including Rising, Falling, Hovering (2008), a weaving of deeply personal and politically ferocious poems;  Deepstep Come Shining and Cooling Time.  Her collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster, One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana was awarded the Dorothea Lange-Paul Tayor Prize.  Her new and selected poems Steal Away was on the shortlist for the Griffin Trust Award.  She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the Israel J. Kapstein Professor at Brown University.  Free.  (603) 535-5000 to reserve spaces.

Tue, Mar 3: Farrell Room, St. Michael’s College, 4:30 p.m.  David Cavanaugh.  Local poet David Cavanaugh will read from his work.

Thu, Mar 5: Middlebury College, Abernathy Room, Axinn Center, 4:30-6:30.  Richard Chess was born in Los Angeles. He spent most of his childhood and youth in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is the author of three books of poetry, Third Temple (2007), Chair in the Desert (2000), and Tekiah (1994). His poems have appeared in many journals as well as several anthologies, including Best American Spiritual Writing 2005 and Telling and Remembering: A Century of American-Jewish Poetry.  An award-winning and much-sought after teacher, he is professor of literature and language at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.  He directs UNCA’s Center for Jewish Studies as well as UNCA’s Creative Writing Program.  He has been a member of the low-residency MFA faculties at Warren Wilson College and Queens College.  He served for a number of years as writer-in-residence at the Brandeis Bardin Institute in Simi Valley, California.  He is now assistant director of The Jewish Arts Institue at Elat Chayyim, located at the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, where he will be teaching creative writing in a two-year training institute that begins in August of 2007.  He is poetry editor of Zeek: A Jewish Journal of Thought and Culture.  He lives in Asheville with his wife, Laurie, and son, Gabe.  His two step-daughters, Alice and Margaret, are currently pursuing their careers elsewhere.  For more info, 443-5276.

Sun, Mar 8: Warming hut log cabin at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Winter Readings in the National Park.  Join a park ranger in sharing short stories and poetry about winter at the ski shelter warming cabin. Bring your own stories and poetry to share or just listen to others readings while enjoying the warmth of the cabin’s woodstove. Hot chocolate will be provided.  Cost: $5.00 trail pass from the Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center.  For info, Tim Maguire at 457-3368 X22 or Tim_maguire@nps.gov.

Wed, Mar 11: Hoehl Welcome Center, St. Michael’s College, Colchester, 7:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m.  John Engels Memorial Reading.  In memory of longtime English Department member (and Pulitzer Prize-nominated poet), John Engels (1931-2007) the Department has established an annual  poetry reading. Poet, novelist and essayist David Huddle will give this year’s reading.  The first reading, in 2008, featured former Vermont Poet Laureate Ellen Bryant Voigt.  The English Department Reading Series invites poets, fiction writers, theater troupes, filmmakers, and the like to campus to give readings, talks, performances, screenings etc. In the last few years for example, they’ve hosted the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, novelists including Julia Alvarez, Russell Banks, and Pulitzer-Prize winner E. Annie Proulx, and poets including Pulitzer-Prize winner Louise Gluck, Chase Twitchell, Joy Harjo, and Galway Kinnell. Students are invited to these events, free of charge, and often have the chance to meet and talk to those visitors.  Sponsored by the Lecture Series.
Vermont had a few losses in 2007 and 2008, which were also losses to the entire poetry community.  John Engels, a professor for 45 years at St. Michael’s College, was one of those great losses.  For those of you lucky enough to have clutched a copy for yourself and read through “Remembering John Engels,” you will believe yourself a friend of John’s, as an admirer of his words.  I feel fortunate to have been been both a poet friend of his, as well as a friend of the stream, both of us maintaining a love of fly fishing and fly tying.  If you want to connect or reconnect with John Engels, I would invite you to come to this event, which is sure to be one of those incredible poetry moments.

Sat, Mar 14: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, Apr 11: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, May 9: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, Jun 13: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Jul 11: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Aug 8: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

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

Sat, Sep 12: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Oct 10: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Sat, Nov 14: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

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

Re-Imagining Place.

Sat, Dec 12: Village Square Books, 32 The Square, Bellows Falls, In the Café, 2:00p.m. – 4:00 p.m.  Open Mic River Voices Poetry Reading on the second Saturday of each month.  The session is open mic, with individuals reading their own poetry or poems from their favorite poet.  Listeners are welcome to attend.  Light refreshments are served.  To reserve a place at the table, e-mail vsbooks@sover.net or call (802) 463-9404.

2010:

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

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

That’s about it for now. Again, keep your eyes peeled for poetry events.  I hope this email finds you all with good health and sharp pencils.

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis

Vermont Poetry Newsletter January 8th 2009

[I actually posted this after the January 16th Vermont Poetry Newsletter.  For the sake of chronology, however, I reposted the Newsletter of the 16th so that this post would appear first. Here it is (minus some items that are out of date). From this point on, I will try to post these Newsletters as soon as I receive them and as long as I have Ron Lewis’ permission – UpinVermont.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter
Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State

Newsletter Editor’s Note

  • 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.
  1. Essay on John Ashbery
  2. The Sea Shell Game – Haiku
  3. Interview of Jane Reichhold on Basho
  4. Best Internet Site for Short Forms of Poetry
  5. Did You Know? POEMS Syndrom
  6. Poetry Quote (Robert Penn Warren)
  7. In Memoriam: Adrian Mitchell, British Poet
  8. Poetry Magazine 2-for-1 Offer
  9. Linebreak Poem
  10. Copper Canyon Press Poem – M.S. Merwin Broadside
  11. American Life in Poetry Poem
  12. Vermont Poets Past and Present Project
  13. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  14. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  15. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  16. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  17. Poetry Event Calendar

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1.)

For you John Ashbery fans, here is a wonderfully personal essay on
the poet (and a look inside his grand home!)
:

Hudson 1993:
A Tour of John Ashbery’s Home
By Rosanne Wasserman
Illustrated by Ahndraya Parlato

Foreword, March 2008

Fifteen years ago, when John Ashbery and I walked at snail’s pace around his house to prepare this article, he was still in the process of fashioning his surroundings; he has not ceased to create and recreate them in the intervening decade and a half. Not surprisingly, then, the article describes only one stage in the evolution of his house, some rooms of which have, since then, been further embellished, or reimagined, or pulled apart and are still being put together.

Changes both major and minor have altered these rooms described below. In the Music Room, sparkle has been provided aplenty by the addition of an enormous antique strung-crystal basket-style chandelier. Some paintings, like the white rose by Alex Katz, are no longer on the walls where they were: they are traveling, on loan to various shows at museums or galleries, or they have been replaced by different pieces, as the poet’s taste has changed or sought refreshment. Notable, for example, is a large black-and-white seascape photograph by Lynn Davis, on the wall where the white rose hung. A collection of poetry books has migrated from bedroom to parlor; the toys on the coffee tables are not the same. Some paintings that were in upstairs closets then are on the walls now; the closet stores other canvases at present. (Some of the painters, too, have traveled on: Larry Rivers passed away in 2002; R. B. Kitaj in 2007.)

A significant omission in this article is any discussion of the cellar, which has the usual laundry and furnace rooms, an extra freezer, and another bathroom, as well as two busy offices, files, and archives. In 1993, still more archives were shelved in the unfinished, high-roofed main room of the attic, and since that time, Flow Chart Foundation archives have been stored in an additional space elsewhere in Hudson.

Also omitted below are some important dates: foremost is 1983, not the year in which John purchased the house (he bought it in December 1978), but the date that David Kermani gives as when the house began to become a home, with renovations underway. Five years later, John and David with great generosity offered temporary lodgings to my husband, Eugene Richie, and myself, while we were renovating our own house, an A. J. Downing-style cottage a mile away, a task that took the better parts of 1987–90.

Although an old home requires constant maintenance and repair, so that workmen still come and go, John was just developing his ideas for the house at that time. The process of creating the space was in full sail during the years we were there, and indeed continued right through and past the 1993 tour. However, although some significant acquisitions came much later—the Music Room chandelier being primary among these—nevertheless, by 1993, the interior was recognizably what it is today. (This chandelier and a number of other works and scenes discussed below appear in illustrations accompanying articles by Stephen Sartarelli, “Art of the Poet”1; Dinitia Smith, “Poem Alone”2; and Brice Brown, “Any Interpretation Will Do.”3) These years also saw the writing and publication of A Wave, April Galleons, and Flow Chart, books that I think of as moved by the same muses with whom and for whom John was designing the spaces of his home. His later books, by contrast, seem more to reflect on these spaces, live within them, and rest inside the finished work.

Living at John’s was a splendid treat and an inspiration in those years before our son, Joseph, was born and I began to teach full time. I wrote many poems about or including elements of the house, and was not alone in doing that—many poets and artists who were guests in Hudson found themselves equally moved to write, record, and respond to his gorgeous and idiosyncratic spaces. One of the most beautiful works inspired by the house has been the composer Robin Holloway’s Violin Concerto, Opus 70. When someone once complimented John on this effect, he grinned and troped Falstaff—“I am not only poetic in myself, but the cause that poetry is in other men!” As Ann Lauterbach has written, “His greatness has allowed many poets—from David Lehman to, say, Charles Bernstein, to name two not quite at random—to explore the territory he opened.”4 She’s discussing literary territory, but the metaphor reverts neatly to the actual interiors of his home. For my own part, after many years working as an editor of art and exhibition catalogues at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I found John’s house a perfect antidote for what I like least about museums: that they are not lived-in spaces. John’s house, filled with objets d’art and arranged into subtle, funny, and magnificent scenarios, is also always a place where people live and visit, sleep and dine, watch TV, wash up dishes, sit in chairs. Long may they do so.

When the poet John Ashbery saw the opportunity to purchase a grand old Victorian townhouse upstate in the Hudson Valley, he entered upon what was, for him and his temperament, a very special pursuit. For over a decade, he then worked at restoring, redecorating, and enriching this already beautifully constructed and well-preserved building, creating for himself a space as marvelous as the best of his poetry. This house and its furnishings—like Frederic Church’s Olana just a few miles away above the Hudson River—are a masterwork of visual imagination, revealing not just the personality but the muse of its artist-owner. In a review of Hotel Lautréamont, Michael Wood suggests that Ashbery’s poetry often parodies “the generic voice of a moment or manner in earlier poetry.” Wood writes:

The tone of these allusions is far from that of a solemn adherent to a great tradition, a poet daunted by the lateness that so interests Harold Bloom; more like that of a brilliant and naughty child in an attic full of toys. Or an inquisitive adult in a bazaar crowded with beautiful, battered, and improbable objects.5 Wood’s similes are in fact a fair literal description of the spirit of Ashbery’s interiors.

The Classical Revival town house was built in 1894, and is a model example of late Victorian architecture and decor, with intricate woodworking, stained glass, and built-in shelves and cupboards. Ashbery has filled its fifteen rooms with paintings and prints by artists he knows and loves; with collectible and rare objects of pottery, glass, metal, porcelain; with books reflecting his influences and enthusiasms; and with, to lift a list from Rimbaud, “door panels, stage sets, back-drops for acrobats, signs, popular engravings, old-fashioned literature, church Latin, erotic books with bad spelling, novels of our grandmothers, fairy tales, little books from childhood, old operas, ridiculous refrains, naïve rhythms,”6 and B-movie video cassettes. Moreover, to quote Ashbery himself, “There are a lot of other things of the same quality / as those I’ve mentioned.”7

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Hudson: Fairy tales, little books from childhood, old operas, ridiculous refrains, naïve rhythms. Music room. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

More than fifty paintings or works on paper are framed on the walls, along with posters, lithographs, pages cut from old magazines, photographs, and other graphics. Each room has a variety of objects and themes so dense and yet so magically right that their individual atmospheres seem almost human; they have not so much been decorated by, as possessed by the spirit of the master of the house. Ashbery once mentioned to me that his arrangements of objects follow various dramas in his imagination: in part a re-creation of his grandparents’ home in Rochester, New York, where he spent much of his childhood; and in part an idea of what might exist in each room, in some dreamed-up family, as if he were designing a stage set, a giant dollhouse, or a gargantuan Cornell box. For more about his grandparents’ home, the poet’s own words are best consulted, in an article from Architectural Digest, which also features many images of the house circa 1994.8

In 1993, the poet and I walked together through the work-in-progress of his habitat; I invite you now to tour this wonderful house with John Ashbery and me, room by room, to see the paintings and prints on the walls, as well as a few of the other remarkable objects gathered there. Ashbery kindly showed me all around the house, identifying and commenting on the things we saw; I will relay to you what he told me. Since I am not an art historian, I cannot offer an exact descriptive catalogue; I will instead describe both what caught my eye and what Ashbery thought worth mentioning.

There are two main floors to visit, with a brief look up to the attic. On the first floor is a large front hall, with a music room to the left, a library to the right. Off the back of the hall is a dining room, from which a left door leads to the butler’s pantry, then into the kitchen. A grand front staircase from the hall leads upstairs, as does a narrower back stair from the kitchen. A central hall upstairs opens onto six main areas: the upstairs sitting room, a second upstairs library, the master bedroom and its screened sleeping porch overlooking the garden, a guest bedroom, and the bathroom. Between the guest bedroom and the upstairs sitting room is a small but sunny study. The sixth door leads to the attic, where an attic room is also furnished for guests.

The front hall is preceded by a small foyer just past the outside doors with their great curling hinges. The alcove is floored with unglazed gray and white ceramic tiles. Between foyer and front hall is a brilliant wall of uncolored, leaded glasswork and oak wainscotings; the inner doors, too, are set with leaded clear-glass windows, with a spoked-oval spiderweb design of the sort so popular in Gothic cinema. A small Persian star-shaped ceiling lamp set with colored glass bosses hangs above. On the left are two large ceramic umbrella-stands with oriental dragon motifs; on the right, a small gilded rush-bottom chair, very squarely built but delicate-looking. It seems to say, “If you must sit down on me to take off your boots, go ahead; but don’t sit down too hard.”

After the grisailles of the foyer, the dark, richly colored front hall comes as a sumptuous surprise. The hall is magnificent with carved wood details: oak panel wainscoting, inlaid woods on the floors, carvings on the ceiling, great sliding doors off to the left and right, an ornate gilded chandelier, a grand staircase curving into the room at right, a fireplace and big mirror at the back, which reflects the foyer’s glasswork as you leave it and progress into the house. The mantel before it holds a brass clock and two Royal Teplitz porcelain candelabra figurines, shepherd and shepherdess, which Ashbery inherited from his grandparents. All of these details are usually lit only by colored sun falling from the monumental stained-glass window at the top of the first landing of the staircase, so the room is dark and glittery like an Arabian treasure cave. The Persian carpets on the floor show the concern of Ashbery’s friend David Kermani; it is also Kermani who creates and tends to the mammoth Christmas trees, covered with antique glass ornaments from his collection, which illuminate and enchant the back of this hall for a good part of the year.

The hall’s art is primarily oriental, larger and smaller prints and paintings not brightly lit, but of clear figurative designs that make their statements from the comparative dimness of the hall, or blend quietly into the shadows until studied, when they suddenly surprise the watcher: that wall’s full of life! There are a number of Chinese landscape scrolls: one of monkeys, three of birds: these are machine-made textiles. Smaller Japanese prints are grouped together on the left wall: first, a Hokusai design of moon and cherry blossoms in black and white; with it, a very blue blue jay among some very orange leaves. At the back of the hall, a three-part print tells some tale of a tempest, a demon on a rope, and a dancer with a fan under a parasol. This print oddly foreshadows the large Kitaj in the music room next door.

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Hudson: The room gives the impression of a small manmade lake. Music room. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

The music room at the left of the foyer is full of a steady but not sparkling light, its fireplace and mantle painted white, with an oval mirror built in above. The room gives the impression of a small manmade lake, not because there is anything blue or skylike in it, but because of its stillness, order, and light. The mantle features a replica of a Jean-Antoine Houdon terracotta bust of a child; on a side table is an original, a 1775 terracotta of a young lady by Phillipe-Laurent Roland. The eighteenth-century French motif is repeated with marble-topped tables, inset with porcelain plaques; gilded chairs and sofa; two side mirrors; and the two front windows with a gilded mirror in between. American details include a small brass reading lamp shaded by a Steuben glass creation called “Aurene”; a hand-painted glass landscape shade enhances another side-table lamp. But the Surrealists have been here, as well, with a little playful trompe l’oeil: two ashtrays seem to hold a pipe or a nutcracker and nuts: all are of porcelain. A potted ficus tree and a grand piano draped with a red paisley shawl complete the scene.

Six large works hang on these walls. The eye is seized first by a very big genre scene, full of colorful figures, action, and violence: Susan Dakin’s painting of an assassination attempt on a general, an episode from the 1929 Mexican novel of political intrigue and corruption, La Sombra del Caudillo by Martin Luis Guzman. The wounded leader lies on the floor of a posh restaurant, behind an overturned table, his napkin still in his collar, bloodstains on his uniform, a gun in its holster at his hip; he is surrounded by the dark, concerned faces of his staff and attendants, some of whom have apprehended the gunman as he tried to flee out the restaurant’s windowed street doors in the background. Food, flowers, and blue seltzer bottles spill around in the foreground. The New World revolutionary mood of the entire piece suggests that a window from the future has opened into this eighteenth-century room; or perhaps it’s the door of a time machine from which we visitors have just tumbled.

After this canvas, the others seem quieter, deeper, even the Willem de Kooning, a calligraphic black-and-white silkscreen dated 1970. The print is numbered 27/28. Its abstract but violent squiggles recall Japanese sumi, especially after the orientalism of the hall. This work is one of the series Ashbery reviewed during his decade-long Paris sojourn, while writing for the Herald Tribune.9 Even quieter, on the opposite wall, is a huge white rose on a burgundy background, its petals highlighted with gray and yellow. I always think of Georgia O’Keefe at first sight of this painting, but it’s an early Alex Katz, 1966, not his familiar human figures, but with his recognizable, simply stated two-dimensionality.

With these works hangs a portrait, in subdued but clear colors, of the poet as a young man: “John Ashbery” by Fairfield Porter, from the painter’s Southampton home in 1957. The poet wears a blue short-sleeve shirt and tan slacks with a brown belt; he turns the left profile as he sits in a studio chair. (The image was reproduced in 2004 on the cover of Ashbery’s Selected Prose.) Another portrait hangs by the piano: “Eduard,” the head of a man from a series painted in 1943 by Jean Hélion. This abstract bust wears a black-banded fedora; his red tie is the only bright color in a gray palette; the face is reminiscent of a Léger. Painted during his American period, it shows the qualities Ashbery lists in “Jean Hélion Paints a Picture”: “clear, monumental, rounded forms and quiet metallic tones, which give an impression of tranquility and unclamorous strength.” 10

Above the piano is the print by R. B. Kitaj, an Ohio-born painter living in England, whom Ashbery has praised for his “literary qualities.”11 Entitled “French Subjects,” this collagelike work contains three line-drawn portrait heads, one labeled “A. Legros,” the others unnamed. The name “Gerard Phillipe” banners across one section of the piece; ten stylized soup bowls in two rows stand upside-down at top left; and at lower right, we are given a mysterious photograph-derived image of two people in coats, walking toward a building with an inverted horseshoe and the word “cottage” on its side. The work is inscribed by hand: “Kitaj (proof) For John Ashbery, love.”

Finally, with the bibelots and curios on the piano—some art pottery, some music books, a marble sculpture of something between a chess bishop and a lighthouse—is a stand supporting a canvas painted by the British artist and poet Trevor Winkfield. The small, strange, jewel-like images, in flat, bright colors, include a pair of dice, a fly, two jingle bells, and the lower halves of a few flowerpots. A gift from the young artist during Ashbery’s long hospitalization in the 1980s, its back is inscribed: “Fragment,” “this, my first canvas in seventeen years, for John Ashbery abed, May 1982.” Needless to say, Winkfield is another exceptionally literary painter, in fact a Roussellian, and a dear friend of Ashbery’s.

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Hudson: The library is peculiarly Germanic, in a Black Forest fairytale way. Downstairs library. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

The library at the left of the hall seems to be the forest counterpart of the lakelike music room. Where the music room is decidedly French, both antique and modern, the library is peculiarly Germanic, in a Black Forest fairytale way, Victorian and gnomic, not to say gnomelike. This impression is chiefly conveyed by the oak paneling and the large pieces of furniture: there are no fewer than five big upholstered armchairs arranged in a circle here, with carved arms and legs, leafy fabrics or figurative needlework, antimacassars and pillows. Small coffee tables between them support Tiffany lamps. The three floor lamps are carved of large wooden posts, adding to the woodland feeling, further heightened by a leafy potted palm. This room’s paneled ceiling and high wainscoting can be seen in the book American Victorian.12 The books that give the room its name—
specially bound books and journals, including an entire set of Art News—are in the background, behind built-in glass-doored shelves.

This room, too, has a special place for the American: on the mantle, Ashbery displays a select collection of American art pottery, which completes the Midsummer’s Night’s Dream spirit of the atmosphere. Small pots and dishes, mugs and vases, jars and candlesticks, in green and brown earthtones, glowing blues and turquoise, iron pinks and ochres, are reflected in the mantelpiece mirror. An old crackle-glazed blue-on-white Dedham rabbit plate rests in a stand as a centerpiece within a square niche above the dark tile of the fireplace, below the mantle. One shelf holds a Roycroft metalwork vase. These pieces are from the studios of small artisans or industries from all over the country, both older and newer kilns—Weller, Van Briggle, George Ohr, Marblehead, Gruby, Hampshire, Jugtown, Cowan, Frankoma, Fuller, Roseville, and Prang. While many can be identified by the potters’ marks, Ashbery has collected not only the pottery but also books about it for many years, and he is able to recognize the origins and value of little dishes and trays that most people would overlook in a dark thrift shop. Like Puck and his band in an Arthur Rackham illustration, the grotesque and graceful forms of the earthenware gathered on the mantle seem to dance in trees above the heads of the poet’s afternoon guests.

Another whimsical Victorian is represented here: above the high oak panel hangs a colored print by Edward Lear, one of his sketchbook Italian scenes, labeled Ponta Pingiana. There are, in addition, three Piranesi prints: the Veduta di Franco del Campidoglio, Rome, in black and white; a 1777 scene of the Porto Orientale, showing the harbor surrounded by ornate statuary; and a vista down a curving street, the Veduta della Gran Curia Innocenziana, filled with three-story urban façades. Finally, there is another Englishman’s view of Italy, a large colored print of Venice by J. Alphege Brewer. The combined effect of the prints is light, airy, and at the same time rather literary, appropriately. Are they far-off scenes glimpsed through the forest trees, or endpoints of maps of where we might be off to next? So detailed but so unobtrusive, they invite and avoid deeper study.

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Hudson: Far-off scenes glimpsed through the forest trees. Downstairs library. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

The dining room is papered with real Lincrusta Walton, the wallpaper immortalized by Oscar Wilde as the one thing he most missed while in Reading Gaol. The room represents the sumptuous Victorian style, with built-in curved-glass cupboards and a stained-glass window. The table and chairs, as described in American Victorian, were “built especially for the room, with an edge molding of the same egg-and-dart design as the handsomely paneled woodwork and cabinets,” and other “high-style Colonial Revival flourishes.”13 The poet searched long to match a missing shade for the chandelier, which now has all four golden Steuben Aurene glass shades, like the one in the music room. The warm golden light is deepened by the oak woodwork and burnished by the stained glass above the mirror at the back of the room, with its harvest grapevine motif. In one corner, a large embossed brass plate with a tavern scene gilds the lily. This item came from a Rochester, New York, antique store at the top of the block where Ashbery lived as a child with his grandparents during the school year.

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Hudson: The warm golden light is deepened by the oak woodwork and burnished by the stained glass. Dining room. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

The ceramics on the shelves and enclosed in the cabinets of the dining room include Czech pottery, blue willow, a large collection of French matchholders that the poet gathered during his years in Paris, plates with scenes from Roman history and captions in French, and a Little Orphan Annie mug with the balloon, “Didja ever taste anything so good as Ovaltine? And it’s Good for yuh, too—.” There is a blue-transfer plate featuring American poets: Bryant, Holmes, Lowell, Whittier, Poe, and Emerson, with Longfellow in the center. On the back stands a pair of pouter pigeons by Goldschneider; on a side table are pieces of glassware: a Dorflinger spiral-stem candy dish, a Daum potpourri bowl, and a mottled yellow Loetz dish.

Over the mantle, which is full of Teplitz amphorae and German art glass vases, a portrait shows a rather beefy sea captain, no relation to the poet, painted perhaps by Samuel F. B. Morse. He’s there because he’s supposed to be there, one of the elements in Ashbery’s exquisite Victorian parody, if it is a parody. There is also the requisite still life of sliced fruits and open pomegranates, with an indecipherable signature. A print of Guido Reni’s Aurora hangs above the left cabinet, and there is a convex mirror at head-height as you turn left into the butler’s pantry. That mirror, of course, is tantamount to Ashbery’s signature on the room, which is one of his favorites in the house.

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Hudson: A rather beefy sea captain is there because he’s supposed to be there. Dining room. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

A doorway at the back of the left wall leads to the butler’s pantry, a narrow room or a very wide hall between the dining room and kitchen. There are counters on either side of the passage, a window onto the backyard at the right, and cupboards at the left that reach straight up to the high ceiling. On these shelves are more ceramics and glassware; on the walls, a wonderful William Morris print paper in brown and rust tones, his “Tobacco Leaf” design. The Fiestaware is stored here, as well as a number of Czech ceramics and a collection of fake food: clay vegetables and breads; wooden, wax, and plastic fruit. There is an old black plastic handset telephone—with a real dial—on a phone shelf just before the kitchen door.

Under the window, a marble counter with a copper sink is covered with bottles: this side is the bar. And there are appropriate paintings: a still life of Bombay gin bottles by Archie Rand, and a small piece by J. Shannon, a 1979 portrait of Walter Hopps (1932–2005; a curator of twentieth-century art at the Menil Collection museum). Hopps wears rolled-up shirtsleeves and a bright tie, and stands with a drink in one hand, the other hand in his pants pocket. A cartoon from 1924 is also framed, showing two cute urchins and a pup with a bow, entitled “L’heure du cocktail.” A tin advertising sign reads “Drink sunspot / bottled sunshine.” And there is a coaster from Harry’s New York Bar, Munich: two dancing grasshoppers in top hats.

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Hudson: “Drink sunspot / bottled sunshine.” Butler’s pantry and kitchen. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

In the kitchen, the warm light from side and back windows and the back porch door is complemented by the yellow and white paint of walls and ceiling. The room is full of useful things and of less useful but more interesting collections, including at least nine tin fish molds on the walls and several yellowware bowls of all sizes on a stand. There are two walk-in pantries, a smaller one with china dishes and glassware, and a huge one for cookware with an entire wall of shelves full of cookbooks. The house’s original woodstove stands at the left side of the kitchen table; painted a shiny black, it now supports the microwave, and its belly is full of boxes of tea as well as a blue glass jar holding peppermint grown and dried by the poet himself. On the refrigerator, a magnet shaped like a pack of Dentyne chewing gum holds up a coloring-book picture of Jim Henson’s Muppet Miss Piggy, reading a book to her dolly; it has been colored by Sarah Megan Williams, a six-year-old friend. Old advertising art dominates the walls: a poster for “Genuine Butter-Nut Bread” features white slices floating in an arc through the air down to a silver platter. And a placard for “Uncle Wabash Cupcakes” may be a subliminal early booster for integration: two white-frosted, five chocolate-iced cupcakes together on a plate, with old Uncle Wabash, a grizzled African-American, playing banjo in the lower left corner. Over the sink, a large metal sign, unframed, in yellow, red, and black, reads “Clabber Girl, the double-acting baking powder.”

There is a back staircase from the kitchen to the second floor, but for the proper way to go upstairs, we retrace our steps through the dining room so as to proceed up the formal front stairs to the upstairs hall. This staircase is stunning, not only for its showcase stained-glass window, but also because of the twenty Japanese prints purchased by Ashbery in the fifties in Paris. Their style is mostly after Hiroshige, and they depict bridges in rain, seashore, snow on sea and hills, street scenes, green mountain paths, a house on a sea cliff; there are two of Europeans, and there are “Yokohama prints” with geisha, as well as a view of Mount Fuji. There is also a typical ukiyo-e triptych of four figures. Glimmering lushly from the shadows at either side of the window, on two small built-in corner shelves, are two vases of what is known as Goofus glass: these shimmery painted objects, the poet says, are “really basically junk, although now of course there are books on them.” The window, which dominates and illuminates both downstairs and upstairs halls, has a landscape motif, with a design of mallows in the foreground and the purple Catskills in the background, all encircled by blue ribbons and wreaths.

The upstairs hall has a large travel poster of the town of Carpentras, a detail from a nineteenth-century painting of this walled city of North Provence in the south of France, a Jewish center in the Middle Ages. Ashbery visited there long ago, and again with Francis Wishart, son of the painter Anne Dunn; they saw the old synagogue and subterranean mikvah baths. Views of two German towns, Andernach and Neuwied, by the painter Schutz, hang here as well. A very small landscape view of Chillon, with a butterfly ship below the citadel, came from Ashbery’s grandparents’ home. Of its provenance, he says only, “I don’t know who did it or where it came from.” There is an old mirror topped with yet another reproduction of Reni’s Aurora, hanging above the round table with the phone—again, a nice heavy old-fashioned black 1950s dialer. On the table is also a dome-shaded Tiffany lamp, featuring a geometric pattern of circles and lines in monochromatic tones of pale gold.

This is not to say that the back stairs have been neglected: on the contrary, there’s not an inch of wasted space here. An amazingly eclectic gathering of prints and images carpet the cottage-style green-flowered wallpaper. At the foot of the stairs is a large frame holding the separate sheets of a “Tom Thumb’s Alphabet” by Edward Dalziel, from an 1867 publication entitled The Child’s Coloured Gift Book (the entire book can be viewed online at The Open Library). Each letter has a figure or two in caricature, and a rhyme, as below:

A was an archer,
who shot at a frog.
B was a Butcher,
who had a great dog.
C was a captain,
all covered with lace.
D was a drummer,
who played with a grace.
E was an Esquire,
with pride on his brow.
F was a Farmer,
who followed the plow.
G was a Gamester,
who had but ill-luck.
H was a Hunter,
who hunted a buck.
I was an Italian,
who had a white mouse,
whom John the footman
drove from the house.
K was a King,
so mighty and grand.
L was a Lady,
who had a white hand.
M was a miser,
who hoarded up gold.
N was a Nobleman,
gallant and bold.
O was an Organ-boy,
who played for his bread.
P a Policeman,
of bad boys the dread.
Q was a Quaker,
who would not bow down.
R was a Robber,
who prowled about town.
S was a sailor,
who spent all he got.
T was a Tinker,
who mended a pot.
V was a Veteran,
who never knew fear.
[U is missing forever from here.]
W was a waiter,
with dinners in store.
X was expensive,
and so became poor.
Y was a Youth,
who did not like school.
Z was a Zany,
who looked a great fool.

As we climb the stairs, when we can finally tear away from that extravagant and scary children’s alphabet, we find a print of Edward Burne-Jones’s Galahad and his steed; a lonesome pine on a trail in a 1920s colored photo of Yosemite; a photo of Nita Naldi wearing pearls and a high, pointed headdress, not the Theda Bara clone she appears to be but, says Ashbery, “someone in her own right”; a print of Hans Holbein’s Erasmus; several etchings, including two landscapes, one of a cloister with oxen on the road, signed by H. Toussaint; a geyser from Watkins Glen, which Ashbery calls a “childhood haunt”; a color poster of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe Puss in Boots; and as a grande finale over the stairs, a large color movie poster of Rin-Tin-
Tin, Jr., a German shepherd posing vigilantly on a mountain ledge at sunset.

There are also a couple of pieces by Maxfield Parrish, “Interlude” and “Daybreak,” both from 1922; this Parrish collection continues in the bathroom, where three more enhance the paneling: “Circe,” 1907; “The Rubaiyat,” 1916 (originally art for a Crane’s Chocolates box); and a Collier magazine cover of 1908, a landscape with a figure, a gift to Ashbery from the poet Bill Berkson.

And there’s more on the stairs: “Liszt’s Matinee,” which Ashbery says is the famous print of Liszt and his circle by Joseph Kriehuber; “The Very Last Polka” by Francois Bernard, an 1800s sheet-music cover with a city evening scene and horse-drawn carriage; two tinted photos, “The Garden Gate” and “The Swimming Pool,” maybe by Wallace Nutting, a northeastern photographer popular for garden scenes and ladies in nineteenth-century dresses. There are ruins of the Roman Forum; Zurich’s bridges; the Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem, again from his grandparents’ home; a “Boy in Orchard,” which seems to be a three-dimensional embossed print of a child in a hat; one of those comic prints with the legend “Ne buvez jamais d’eau”; a Raphael Madonna and Babe; and the Uneeda Biscuit boy in his yellow slicker, carrying a box with the Nabisco logo beneath his arm.

We are rewarded at the top of either staircase by an invitation to the upstairs sitting room, actually the very important location of the television, VCR, coffee table, and six-o’clock news. Today there is an electronic remote-control whoopee cushion on the round Formica-
topped table in front of the main Potato Couch, as well as a wind-up metal duck on a motorcycle with a whirligig on its head, a gift from the poet Ed Barrett (this same duck can be seen in a mail-order catalogue called Russian Dressing); a porcelain gnome with a pipe, inscribed “Dingle”; and a plastic windup walking Christmas tree about two inches high. The table also holds the usual collection of magazines (Gourmet, Old-House Journal), Michelin guides, the latest Book Barn finds, poetry journals, biographies of musicians, and movie guides, especially The Psychotronic Encyclopedia of Film by Michael Weldon.

On the mantle opposite the couch are more serious, or at least older, porcelains: Staffordshire figurines of dogs and lovers, a miniature bust of Byron. The William Morris wallpaper here is again “Tobacco Leaf,” in a bittersweet color. A bibelot shelf in the corner holds a good-sized collection of miniature shoes, fashioned in glass, porcelain, metal, and other media. There is a Nordic Track indoor ski machine. There is a miniature table that seems to be made of buttons. The bookcase is full of cassettes of cartoons, old B films, lots of “Mad Movies” from San Francisco, and old SCTV reruns, as well as books about Hollywood, music, and cinema.

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Hudson: Detail of a Rodrigo Moynihan painting to which Ashbery is particularly attached. Upstairs sitting room. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

Despite the wealth of pop culture here, the nine paintings in the room elevate the atmosphere even with the television on. Many are pieces to which Ashbery is particularly attached: a Jane Freilicher still life with a copy of ARTNews; Anne Dunn’s “Orchard” of 1989; an Elaine de Kooning garden, Casale Sonnino, watercolor on paper, inscribed “Happy birthday 9/20/81”; and a Rodrigo Moynihan painting of light bulbs. Over the mantlepiece is a large print, captioned “Grand Theatre Chalet.–Fond.” It shows a mountain house with a brook on the right: Ashbery identifies it as an image d’Epinale, the town in eastern France famed for its colored chromo illustration industry. There are three Hélions: a sketchbook leaf showing a Paris street scene of people walking between parked cars; a watercolor study for a large oil painting of three figures, 1937; and one piece inscribed to Ashbery, showing the studio where the painter’s wife lived, the flat space of the roof, chimneys in the background, a bridge leading over to his studio. Above the couch is one of Jim Bishop’s huge colorfield paintings, whitish blue, blue, red, and green.

In the upstairs library across the large central hall, white bookshelves rise from floor to ceiling along three of the walls, interrupted only by windows and a fireplace. Once a bedroom, this study is now the main repository of reading material in the house, and the working office for Ashbery, holding both the computer and the stereo equipment. The titles on the shelves are mostly fiction, philosophy, mysticism, and biographies, as well as records, tapes, compact discs, and books about music.

The Morris wallpaper here is the Iris pattern, a deep turquoise floral, not much of which is visible behind the bookshelves. It harmonizes with the faux-malachite marbleized fireplace and with the Larry Rivers double portrait of Ashbery and Kermani, “David and John,” 1977. The painting incorporates as background several lines from the poem “No Way of Knowing” from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror, beginning with “And then? Colors and names of colors.” There are old family photos here—actual family this time—on the mantle and above the computer desk: one shows Grandfather Ashbery and the soccer team he coached at a Pennsylvania school where he taught in the 1880s. The closet of this room holds Jane Freilicher’s unfinished portrait of Ashbery, painted about 1965, and another piece of French antique ephemera, the backdrop for a puppet theater, a set of scenes including railroad, towns, and a cityscape. On the walls hang Anne Dunn’s red flower/phallus image, 1962; a poster of Gentileschi’s “A Sibyl,” circa 1620, from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; a small canvas by Hélion of Belle Isle en Mer, showing a port scene at Amici, with two white brushstrokes like a heart or dove in the sky, tethered boats, and boxy houses; and a modern New York cityscape by Darragh Park, entitled “Freeze,” set near the poet’s apartment on 22nd Street in Chelsea.

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Hudson: And then Colors and names of colors. Upstairs library.Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

There is another small office upstairs, in a bright windowed alcove between the sitting room and the guest bedroom. The desk in this office faces three small stained-glass panels set into a large bay full of potted plants. Another small bookshelf holds odds and ends, children’s books, gardening titles. There are four more pieces here by Winkfield: one mysterious puzzle featuring a 1920s-garbed lady, a gagged but pointing boy, and a leopard in a cage; two from his series “Marine Architecture”; and one mandala design of a bearded face, hardware nuts, and mirror, multiplied on a quadrant. On the right wall are three small nineteenth-century landscape drawings by minor artists, pale sketches: an Adolphe Appian of a fisherman in a mountain stream; an Antoine Chintreuil shoreline; and a seascape by Antoine Vollon. In contrast is the abstract piece by the Texas-based painter Robin Utterbach, behind the desk.

The master bedroom is a deep lagoon, a place for a lorelei or a kraken to dream. As Descartes and Proust did in their rooms, Ashbery spends a good deal of time in his large brass bed here, especially weekend mornings, with the classical radio station out of Albany and the New York Times. “White Pimpernel” Morris wallpaper dominates the walls with cool greens and creamy white flower petals in Celtic swirls. There is a flowered chaise longue and wall of books, mostly art history and art catalogues, collections of classic comics, travel, antique magazines, and the histories of various cities and locales, especially New York, Paris, and the Hudson Valley. A white door leads outside to a screened sleeping porch, furnished with white-painted wicker chairs and old rockers, hung with baskets of ivy, spider plants, and bleeding-heart or fuchsias. The porch looks west: the poet sits out there during summers and watches his garden, the sunsets, and in particular one huge old arabesquing elm tree way down the block. There are three large Victorian houses along the street and alley, rising over a new glass solarium built in the appropriate Gothic style.

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Hudson: A place for a lorelei or a kraken to dream. Master bedroom. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

The paintings in this room again include Hélion, a small sketch made for Ashbery in 1962 of a garden with a wheelbarrow; and Freilicher, a painting of a basket of Queen Anne (oxheart) cherries, inscribed “Happy Birthday John, July 1977”; another Freilicher, “Sunset,” shows her penthouse view, painted some time between 1969 and 1988. There is also a funny Red Grooms, titled “Summer Still Life,” featuring a can of Barbasol, razor, screen with seven hooks, a sailboat, and a fly, dated 1978; a very small piece by Danny Moynihan of two white stones; the Alex Katz portrait of Pierre Martory with a pipe, from about 1969, made from a metal cutout print, of which this image is a silkscreen detail. James Schuyler refers to this piece in his poem “Letter to a Friend: Who is Nancy Daum?” from The Crystal Lithium.14 There is also a sketch of Ashbery’s grandparents’ summer home in Pultneyville, New York, given to him in 1985 by Philip Bornarth, a painter who taught at Rochester Institute of Technology (he retired in 1999), and his wife Sylvia. “This was a summer cottage, remodeled for winter after his retirement,” says Ashbery.

There are two paintings by Neil Welliver: both Maine landscapes, one entitled “Drowned Cedar,” with a dead bough in the water; the other a view from his home. The latter is a small version of a larger painting that Ashbery once arranged to appear on the cover of ARTNews, when the original cover fell through and left editor Thomas Hess strapped, thereby jumpstarting Welliver’s career. Welliver painted this small version and gave it to Ashbery to thank him.

A Color Chart over the radio by the bed features several natural and manmade objects to illustrate the colors of the spectrum; it was acquired from the same Paris shop as the puppet-theater backdrops: “a shop full of wonderful old toys,” says Ashbery. The Joseph Cornell poster for a 1977 show features the print that appears on the cover of Ashbery’s collection Hotel Lautréamont. On the dresser, with a photo of his mother, is another of Ashbery in suit and tie from 1956 at an aunt and uncle’s; and what he calls a “daub” inscribed “Happy birthday,” by Mary Abbot, a friend of the poet Barbara Guest.

Adjoining the master bedroom—connected, in fact, by a walk-through closet—is the guest bedroom, papered with a truly eye-teasing Morris floral of white, yellow, green, blue, pink, gray, and other fresh, clear hues just a bit away from bright, with a pattern just short of busy. If the other bedroom was a lagoon, this one is a summer meadow. White-painted bookcases, woodwork details, and the yellow tile fireplace harmonize with and calm the excitement, which is, however, revived in miniature with a collection of “end-of-day” glass on the mantle, primarily vases with swirling color-dot patterns in every shape and size. Ashbery is justifiably proud of this room’s faux-
bamboo bedroom set of birds-eye maple; he has seen the same in a museum. A little ceramic lady with a fan kicks up her leg on a swinging hinge on the dresser top. The bookcase holds a collection of poetry: whether the poet stores these titles here because he likes the thought of these books in this particular room, or because he doesn’t want all those other voices right next to his own bed, I am not sure.

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Hudson: If the other bedroom was a lagoon, this one is a summer meadow. Guest room. Photo by Ahndraya Parlato.

Given the energy of the backdrop, the walls here have been hung with an appropriately quieter collection of smaller images: a Currier and Ives print of Saratoga Lake; an atypical Freilicher, from her short-
lived abstract period, captioned “Near the Sea”; a black and white Corot print, “Une matinee,” of dancing nymphs and sirens; a 1979 painting by Susan Shatter, “Scarlet Sunset,” showing a view of Lake Wesserunsett, Maine; another print, the “Horse Fair” of Rosa Bonheur; a drawing in pen and ink over pencil of loopy calligraphic figures, made by Raymond Mason, an English artist living in Paris and inscribed “1984, for JA”; another Bishop, this one a dark abstract gouache, 1960; by Nell Blaine, a 1953 ink sketch of a forest pond; by Joe Brainard, a wonderful flowery collage and watercolor entitled “Garden IV,” of about 1969; a framed oval print of a young girl after Jean-Baptiste Greuze—called “The Broken Pitcher,” it is a late eighteenth-century French allegory of lost virginity. “He did a lot of these!” remarks Ashbery. With the kicking lady on the dresser is a Hélion sketch of three musicians from 1968, when, caught up in the student movement, the artist made many such street scenes.

The guest bedroom is the last of the main rooms on the second floor; the bathroom is the only one I have not described, although, with its Rookwood tiles, cast-plaster ceiling moldings, and eight-foot tub supported by plump little caryatids, it certainly holds its own with the other rooms. It is, obviously, a most magnificent antique bathroom, one of the delights of which includes a bottle of Acacia Violet cologne given to the poet by Schuyler.

There is one last place to view: a doorway between the entrances of the two bedrooms leads up another flight of stairs. The attic staircase, unpapered, offers an illusion: its old painted plaster seems to be hung with one solitary frame about two feet square. But when we approach it, we discover that, no, it is not a frame, not a picture within a frame, but an air vent, nicely made and finished as if it were a glassless window. I am fond of this error, which I always make: expecting to see a work in a frame, I find only space through which I can look down and see the images hanging in the hall of the back staircase. I find it surprising, funny, mysterious, serendipitous, and literally absolutely clear: like so much of Ashbery’s poetry.

A little guest bedroom, once a maid’s room or nursery, opens at the top of these stairs. Two old twin beds have handwoven navy and white wool-and-cotton coverlets, one of which was woven by an Ashbery ancestor and dated 18-something. Here, on another wall of bookshelves, are the poet’s collection of French titles and the entire Anchor Bible. There is a large Hélion poster from 1980, published by the Galerie Karl Flinker, of a nude woman, with a baguette on a tableclothed table. Between the two beds hangs a large, handsome Kovac Star Map, a dark blue rectangle with white circles sprinkled with stars, and in a small frame on the right side of the room is the cover of Childlife Magazine from Christmas 1937.

1Contemporanea (January 1990), pp. 52-57. With photographs by Ken Schles.
2New York (May 20, 1991), pp. 46-52.
3Sienese Shredder (2008), pp. 20–23.
4“Slaves of Fashion,” The Night Sky: Writings on the Poetics of
Experience (New York: Viking, 2005), p. 180.
5“Outside the Shady Octopus Saloon,” New York Review of Books XLI. 10 (May 23, 1993), pp. 32-33.
6Complete Works, trans. Wallace Fowlie (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970), p. 193.
7“And Ut Pictura Poesis Is Her Name,” Selected Poems (New York:
Penguin, 1986), p. 235.
8“Guest Speaker: John Ashbery, The Poet’s Hudson River
Restoration,” Architectural Digest (June 1994), pp. 36–44.
9Reported Sightings: Art Chronicles 1957–1987 (New York: Knopf, 1989), pp. 181-187.
10Reported Sightings, p. 59.
11Reported Sightings, p. 300.
12Lawrence Grow and Dina von Zweck, American Victorian: A Style and Source Book (New York: Harper and Row, 1984).
13American Victorian, p. 129.
14Selected Poems (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007), pp. 85-90.

Rain Taxi Online Edition, Summer 2008 | © Rain Taxi, Inc. 2008

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2.)

The Sea Shell Game

Do you enjoy finding which of two similar things is the better? Do you like to learn by observing how two poems compare? Would you like to see a poem of yours compared to one by someone else?
For centuries part of the training of Japanese children to be sensitive to beauty and the different levels of it was accomplished by a game. Even adults, in their lighter moments, will start a game with shells, or leaves or flowers. Perhaps you, too, have done the same process in order to find the best or loveliest in a collection.

From a pile of, let us say, stones one person draws two stones at random. The stones are compared and then judged to say, “This stone is lovelier than that one.” The *winners* go in one pile, the *losers* in another until all the stones have been compared. Then the process is repeated with the *winners*, again and again, until one stone remains.

When poets would gather for poetry contests, often sponsored by the emperor, even in times before Japan’s written history (764 AD), this same process of elimination was used. The prizes then were bolts of silk or, if a poem was really special, the emperor would give one of his possessions — a musical instrument or his fan.

When Basho was a young teacher of renga (the linked poetry form) he felt that the first verse of a renga (then called a hokku) was so important that his students should be made aware of the difference between a *good* hokku and a great one. Basho would organize contests built on the old principles of comparing things. Thus, in 1672 he commissioned scribes to write down records of his judging comments to be saved and these he collected under his title of “The Sea Shell Game.” This was the only book he published in his lifetime. Other books that he compiled or advised were all published by his patrons or students. Translations of “The Shell Game” give us a peek into what and how he taught.

WHAT THE SHELL GAME IS AT AHA! POETRY

For the first time, we are playing the Japanese Sea Shell Game in English. Poems which are called haiku are compared, commented on, and sorted out until one poem remains as *winner*. Various persons who are active haiku writers will be invited to do the judging. Your own haiku may be submitted for the contest.

Your poem will be printed without your name but with a pen name if you so chose. These will be picked, two at a time, at random. The judge will display the poems, comment on each and choose one over the other. This process will continue until one haiku is left. This one will be declared winner, the author’s name will be revealed and a prize awarded. A list of the winning haiku will be kept so that people who are new to the game can read the winning poems and authors’ names. The judges’ comments, as well as the poems discussed, will be archived in the AHA!POETRY Archive for reference and downloading.

Here are some examples of the game (there are many others as well) – by reading through the games that have already been judged, you can learn what it is that makes a good haiku, a winning haiku. Read on.

Sea Shell Game #1

JUDGE: Jane Reichhold
DATE: August 1, 1995
PARTICIPANTS: Anonymous

ROUND ONE – A

1.

ripples
on calm waters
sailors’ dreams

2.

artist’s diet
how lovingly she traces
the sandwich

Even though #1 is an excellent poem and completely without a flaw, I could not pick it for a winner because it is too close to Basho’s famous poem, “summer grass / the dreams / of warriors” which was possibly read by the author. There is a strong suspicion that having once seen wind rippling long grass on hill so that it looked as such a scene must have to Basho, that ghostly warriors were storming the rise. One of the ways of learning how haiku works is to take the Old Masters’ works into a new situation, as was done here. However, the question is, does one enter such an exercise in a contest? It is an excellent haiku and if Basho had not beat the author by his arrival on earth 300 years earlier, it would be a winner. So, I pick “artist’s diet” as winner of this round.

ROUND ONE – B

3.

dimples in a spa
the fat lady
and the rain

4.

still asleep
everyone but bald monks
praying at dawn

Though #3 is hardly profound, it does contain a comparison of the dimples rain would make in an outdoor (which is not clear, and here is only assumed) with those which one could see on the fat lady’s skin. And, there is a good chance that no one in haiku history has made that comparison! The poem is built on the very simple technique of using a phrase that encompasses both parts of the comparison.

It is almost like a riddle: where are the dimples in the spa? The word “dimples” could lead one to think “fat person”. The bit of nature “the rain” comes along as a bit of a surprise. It causes the reader to think: how do drops hitting water look? and how does a dimple look? and are they really that similar.

What bothers me in this poem is the phrase “the fat lady”. It moves the poem into an area of poetry the Japanese call “senryu” (SEND-JEW or SEN-YOU-ROO) which uses the haiku form to criticize others or make cruel jokes about them. The poem may make some readers smile, but it could be offensive to large women.

The poem “still asleep” has some problems in it, but because of the potential cruelty in “fat woman” I will pick #4.

ROUND ONE – C

5.

candled egg
the moon too seems full
of new life

6.

a binge
and two aspirins
poems arrive

“Haiku” similar to #6 make the hairs on the back of my neck to rise. Whether the poem is short and haiku-like or a long modern free verse work; there is something about this kind of bellyaching that makes me feel the writer is wasting the opportunity to be a poet. “Poems” complaining about how hard it is to be a poet or get a piece written is not about *vision* or *seeing*. No. # 6 tells us too much about the author. I would rather read the poems. Just looking at the shape of the two poems, however, it *feels* as if #5 is too long or too full and #6 has the traditional/modern (you got that?) look. But the content in #6, in this case, turns me against the work — a case where a personal prejudice of the judge can ruin a perfectly good poem.

ROUND ONE – D

7.

on the path home
cold frost darkens
children’s ruddy cheeks

children’s cheeks
windfall apples in a sack
still the tree is huge

Here we can see an author trying to work through what s/he would probably call “a haiku moment”. By reading both the poems one gets a pretty clear picture of what it was that was found to be touching. The poem #7 sets up a very interesting riddle. Something unknown which is “on the path home” is *darkened* by frost. Most often in haiku (which stressed the light in life), frost is thought of whitening everything it touches. As one contemplates the phrase “frost darkens” the reader is forced to look at the other side of frost and to see that it does, later, cause vegetation to turn dark. So what is the answer? — “children’s ruddy cheeks”? That is not what the reader expected to read! How great! A surprise! (it wakes the reader up!). When I was at the end of line two I expected to read “tomatoes” with the sad thought of those awful black globes on the plants the next morning. How welcomed it was then, to read “children’s ruddy cheeks”. To have used the old man’s ruddy cheeks would have spoiled the joke. It seems the word “cold” is not needed. Most frost is cold enough, unless the author needed another word or two to lengthen the second line. This is known as “padding” and is a questionable procedure. It is like a hem on a dress. One needs it but if the technique shows it was not done well. Rewrite. Thus, in this round, #8 wins.

ROUND TWO – A

2.

artist’s diet
how lovingly she traces
the sandwich

4.

still asleep
everyone but bald monks
praying at dawn

The poem #2 has some of the qualities of “a binge” as above, as it speaks of the *agony* of being creative. However, here the *picture* is somewhat clearer. It is easier to *see* a woman who is very hungry, not because of poverty but from dieting, bent over the drawing board idly drawing around the sketch of a sandwich while waiting for it to be time for lunch. There are reverberations regarding the drawn image and the real thing, and the *work of art* relating to the inner needs of the artist. I would question the use of the word “lovingly” in a haiku; it tends to be judgmental and attributes an emotion which may or may not be felt by the actor in the poem. If one could find a synonym for “lovingly” which could also be applied to both drawing and eating (none come to mind at the moment, but there must be one!) the writer could bump this poem into the winners’ list. Until then #4 “still asleep” will win.

ROUND TWO – B

5.

candled egg
the moon too seems full
of life

8.

children’s ruddy cheeks
windfall apples in a sack
still the tree is huge

Both of these poems use the comparison technique. In #5 the candled egg is compared to the full moon and I wonder how many people still know what a “candled egg” is. Still, if you have ever held a fertilized egg up to the light and have seen the dark shape of the chick within, you can appreciate the comparison. The last line bothers me since “of life” is a phrase fragment. It would feel better to have “full of life” be the third line. The words “too seems” are *weak* words and “seems” as too close to “as” or “like” — the dead giveaways for English metaphor. Just to say “candled egg” and “the moon” and “full of life” are all too close. There is no mystery or leap. No. #8 has the fault of not having one grammatical stop. It has two — at the end of both the first and second lines which causes it to sound choppy. But the poem does contain a comparison and the mystery is there because of the puzzle in the third line. No #8 wins by default.

ROUND THREE – END

4.

still asleep
everyone but the monks
praying at dawn

children’s ruddy cheeks
windfall apples in a sack
still the tree is huge

No. 4 contains a puzzle that results from the way the poem is written. Does it mean everyone is asleep except the monks who are praying at dawn? or does it mean all those who are asleep are praying — accepting the idea that sleep is a type of meditation? or a different kind of prayer? Would the poem work without the word “still”?

No. 8 has too many breaks. If it were possible to put a verb in this haiku that applied to “cheeks” and a sack of apples (maybe bulge?) the poem could be rescued. The idea of putting the comparisons together “ruddy cheeked children” “apples in a sack” coupled with “the tree is huge” sets up a tension the mind cannot quite comprehend but want to think about with the hope of finding an answer. That is one of the secrets of an unforgettable haiku — when the mind thinks there is a connection but cannot solve the riddle. Since neither poem is perfect, for this contest I would call it a draw.

Ready to play? Then go to http://www.ahapoetry.com/ shelgame.htm#GAME. Good luck!

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3.)

Listen to a wonderful interview of Jane Reichhold, a master of haiku, about Basho (THE Master) and about her latest book on Basho. Many interesting facts about Basho are presented. All you need to do is click on the “Haiku Basho interview” below or go to http:// www.ahapoetry.com/ and look for this on the page that pops up (bottom, left side).

Listen to
Haiku Basho interview conduced by Fred Adler
on Oct. 5, 2008

ocean breezes
the white sail fills
with summer

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4.)

While we’re at it, here is what I believe is the best site on the internet for short forms of poetry – technique, theory, etc.:

http://www.ahapoetry.com/h_info.html

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5.)

Did You Know?
That there was such a thing known as: POEMS Syndrome?

Background

Polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy, and skin changes (POEMS) syndrome is a rare multisystemic disease that occurs in the setting of a plasma cell dyscrasia. The pathophysiologic link between the constellation of symptoms and the underlying disease is not well understood, but the link may be related to changes in the levels of a cytokine or a growth factor. POEMS syndrome was first described by Crow in 1956 and then by Fukase in 1968. The syndrome was termed Crow-Fukase syndrome (by which it is known in Japan) by Nakanishi in a study of 102 cases in Japan.

In 1980, the acronym POEMS was coined by Bardwick et al based on the 5 main features of the disease, namely, polyneuropathy, organomegaly, endocrinopathy, monoclonal gammopathy, and skin changes.

No specific case definition exists for POEMS syndrome; however, most authors agree that patients with POEMS syndrome should have 3 or more of the 5 features. Some authors have proposed that the presence of 2 major criteria, including a monoclonal plasma-proliferative disorder and polyneuropathy, in addition to the existence of 1 minor criterion, is sufficient for diagnosis. The suggested minor criteria include sclerotic bone lesions, organomegaly, edema, endocrinopathy, papilledema, and skin changes. However, the findings of a retrospective analysis of 629 patients using these criteria suggest that this approach may be inadequate for excluding other disease processes that may account for symptoms and that atypical presentations of POEMS may be misdiagnosed.1, 2

The polyneuropathy associated with POEMS syndrome is a bilateral symmetric disturbance. It involves both motor and sensory nerves, begins distally, and has a progressive proximal spread. Associated cranial or autonomic nerves are not involved. Both demyelination and axonal degeneration are noted.

The liver, the lymph nodes, and the spleen are the organs most frequently involved. Enlargement of the lymph nodes and spleen is secondary to changes consistent with Castleman disease (giant angiofollicular hyperplasia, multicentric plasma cell variant) in most patients. Approximately 15% of patients with POEMS syndrome have concomitant evidence of Castleman disease. Hepatomegaly is not associated with any defined histologic or pathophysiologic changes.

Multiple endocrinopathies have been associated with POEMS syndrome, and most patients have more than 1 endocrine abnormality. Many of the abnormalities noted can be explained by elevations in estrogen levels. Impotence and gynecomastia are common among men. Amenorrhea is common among women. Diabetes mellitus and glucose intolerance are also noted in many patients. Other associated endocrinopathies include hypothyroidism, hyperprolactinemia, and hypoparathyroidism.

POEMS syndrome is seen in the setting of a plasma cell dyscrasia. Although many plasma cell disorders have been reported in patients with POEMS syndrome, most patients are seen with osteosclerotic myeloma or monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance.

The M proteins most frequently found are the immunoglobulin A (IgA)– gamma and immunoglobulin G (IgG)–gamma light chains. In a case report of one patient with POEMS syndrome,3 serum electrophoresis demonstrated an M-band with isolated IgA heavy chain but no abnormal light chain, which could suggest abnormal secretion of monoclonal protein or the rare possibility of coincidental heavy-chain disease in association with POEMS syndrome. A single case of POEMS syndrome in association with Waldenström macroglobulinemia,4 characterized by immunoglobulin M–kappa paraproteinemia, has been reported. Classic multiple myeloma has not been associated with the disease. The type of plasma cell disorder has not been shown to be correlated with the constellation of symptoms noted in patients with POEMS syndrome.

Multiple dermatologic changes have been associated with POEMS syndrome. The most common changes include hyperpigmentation, skin thickening, sclerodermoid changes, and hypertrichosis. Other skin changes, including whitening of the proximal nail (Terry nails), peripheral edema, hyperhidrosis, clubbing of the fingers, Raynaud phenomenon, and angiomas, have been observed.

Other signs and symptoms associated with POEMS syndrome include papilledema, anasarca, pleural effusions, ascites, fever, thrombosis, renal insufficiency, and diarrhea.

(So that’s PAPA FeThiRD if you’re looking for another acronym!)

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6.)

‘The poem is a little myth of man’s capacity of making life meaningful.
And in the end, the poem is not a thing we see —
it is, rather, a light by which we may see —
and what we see is life.’

Poetry Quote by Robert Penn Warren

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7.)
In Memoriam:

Adrian Mitchell, British Poetry’s Voice of the Left, Dies at 76

By William Grimes
Published: December 23, 2008, New York Times

Adrian Mitchell, a prolific British poet whose impassioned verse against social injustice, racism and violence was often declaimed at antiwar rallies and political demonstrations, died on Saturday in London. He was 76.

He had been hospitalized for pneumonia, which may have brought on a heart attack, said his agent, Nicki Stoddart.

Mr. Mitchell, a spiritual descendant of William Blake, Walt Whitman and Bertolt Brecht, combined ferocity, playfulness and simplicity, with a broad audience in mind, in his poetry, plays, novels, song lyrics, children’s books and adaptations for the stage. His voluminous output included white-hot tirades against the Vietnam War, rapturous nature poems, nonsense verse and children’s tales of a wooly mammoth who returns to the modern world.

“Mitchell is a joker, a lyrics writer, a word-spinner, an epigrammist, a man of passion and imagination,” the art critic and novelist John Berger once wrote. “Against the present British state, he opposes a kind of revolutionary populism, bawdiness, wit and the tenderness sometimes to be found between animals.”

Mr. Mitchell was born in London and attended private schools. In 1952, after completing his national service in the Royal Air Force, an experience that, he said, “confirmed my natural pacifism,” he enrolled at Christ Church, Oxford. His original plan to train as a teacher fell by the wayside as he was drawn into a circle of poets that included George MacBeth and A. Alvarez and became literary editor of the magazine Isis.

After leaving Oxford in 1955, Mr. Mitchell worked as a journalist for The Oxford Mail and The Evening Standard in London. He also began performing at poetry readings and taking part in left-wing political work. “I think a poet, like any other human being, should recognize that the world is mostly controlled by political forces and should become politically active too,” he told the magazine Contemporary Poets in 1991.

His early poetry, nearly all of it political, in highly structured verse forms, relied on simple, democratic language. “Most people ignore most poetry because most poetry ignores most people,” he wrote in the preface to his first substantial collection, “Poems” (1964). His later poetry, often loose and improvisatory, included more personal subject matter. Much of it was written for children. Poems like “To Whom It May Concern (Tell Me Lies About Vietnam),” which he first read at a rally in Trafalgar Square in 1964 and has updated over the years to suit changing events, helped establish Mr. Mitchell as British poetry’s voice of the left.

The poem begins:

I was run over by the truth one day.
Ever since the accident I’ve walked this way
So stick my legs in plaster
Tell me lies about Vietnam.

In 2003, the socialist magazine Red Pepper anointed him Shadow Poet Laureate, an appropriate title for the author of the collections “Peace Is Milk” (1966), “Out Loud” (1968), “Love Songs of World War III” (1988 ) and “Heart on the Left” (1997).

He wrote many plays and adaptations for the stage, for adults and children. Most notably, he collaborated with Peter Brook on two productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Peter’s Weiss’s “Marat/Sade” (1964) and the antiwar play “US” (1966), for which he wrote seven song lyrics.

He also wrote “Tyger” (1971), a play about William Blake, and the song lyrics for Peter Hall’s stage version of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” And he edited “Blackbird Singing” (2001), a collection of Paul McCartney’s poetry and lyrics.

At his death Mr. Mitchell had just completed three works to be published next year: “Tell Me Lies: Poems 2005-2008” (Bloodaxe Books), the children’s collection “Umpteen Poems” (Orchard Books) and “Shapeshifters” (Frances Lincoln), a retelling of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses.”

His first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, Celia Hewitt; three daughters, Briony, Sasha and Beattie; two sons, Alistair and Danny; and nine grandchildren.

In a 2005 poll conducted by the Poetry Society, Mr. Mitchell’s “Human Beings” was voted the poem that people most wanted to send into space in the hope that it would be read a century later. “It is about the joy of being human, but that doesn’t mean that it’s against animals or alien beings,” Mr. Mitchell said. “When it goes into space and it’s read by aliens, I’d hate for them to think that it’s anti-alternative life forms.”

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8.)

Does anyone want to get Poetry magazine for half-price? A gift subscription is available during the holiday season, so I’m looking for someone to purchase the 2-for-1 subscription with me, essentially getting this wonderful publication for half-price. Call me if you want to go partners – Ron – 247-5913.

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9.)

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

Falling
By Traci Brimhall

Traci Brimhall is the current Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds degrees from Florida State University and Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Virginia Quarterly Review, Harpur Palate, and Pebble Lake Review.

For the 141 in the Triangle Waist Shirt Factory, Union Square, 1911

falling

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10.)

Here’s a poem from Copper Canyon Press, not in its “Reading Room” (http://www.coppercanyonpress.org/) as I usually reprint in the Newsletter, but from another source. It was such a find that I felt you should read it in this space usually reserved for a Copper Canyon poem.

RATHER THAN PROVIDE THE USUAL COPPER CANYON PRESS POEM, GO TO THE SITE BELOW AND SEE THE BEAUTIFUL BROADSIDE OF M.S. MERWIN, AS HIS OFFERING TO THEM FOR THEIR ANNUAL APPEAL. YOU CAN PRINT IT ON ANY QUALITY PAPER, IN ANY OF 4 SIZES, TO PROVIDE A LASTING BROADSIDE FOR YOUR OWN COLLECTION.

http://www.coppercanyonpress.org/yearendappeal/

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11.)

American Life in Poetry: Column 197

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

I suspect that one thing some people have against reading poems is that they are so often so serious, so devoid of joy, as if we poets spend all our time brooding about mutability and death and never having any fun. Here Cornelius Eady, who lives and teaches in Indiana, offers us a poem of pure pleasure.

A Small Moment


I walk into the bakery next door
To my apartment. They are about
To pull some sort of toast with cheese
From the oven. When I ask:
What’s that smell? I am being
A poet, I am asking

What everyone else in the shop
Wanted to ask, but somehow couldn’t;
I am speaking on behalf of two other
Customers who wanted to buy the
Name of it. I ask the woman
Behind the counter for a percentage
Of her sale. Am I flirting?
Am I happy because the days
Are longer? Here’s what

She does: She takes her time
Choosing the slices. “I am picking
Out the good ones,” she tells me. It’s
April 14th. Spring, with five to ten
Degrees to go. Some days, I feel my duty;
Some days, I love my work.

American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 1997 by Cornelius Eady, from his most recent book of poetry, “Hardheaded Weather: New and Selected Poems,” A Marian Wood Book, Putnam, 2008. Reprinted by permission of Cornelius Eady. Introduction copyright (c) 2008 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

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12.)

KEEP PAST VERMONT POETS ALIVE! SOLICITING YOUR HELP:

POETS OF VERMONT

PAST AND PRESENT

PROJECT

If you have any books of poetry, chapbooks, or just poems written by Vermont poets, dating 1980 and earlier, famous or not, I’d like to know about them. I’m beginning a project that deals strictly with Vermont poets, from Vermont’s past, with summaries of the poets themselves, a portrait photo or drawing of the poet, along with a small sampling of poems. If you think you can help, you probably can! Please contact me.

Ronald Lewis

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13.)

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

Ronald Lewis:
Phone: 802-247-5913
Cell: 802-779-5913
Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733
Email: sshortpt@verizon.net

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14.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

MIDDLEBURY

1) The Otter Creek Poets offer a poetry workshop every Thursday afternoon, from 1:00 to 3:00; this workshop has been meeting weekly for over 10 years. Bring a poem or follow their weekly assignments/ suggestions. For additional information, contact Ronald Lewis (see above).

2) The Spring Street Poets. By invitation only. More on this group in the future.

BELLOWS FALLS

1) Great River Arts Institute – See details elsewhere in this newsletter

2) Poetry Workshop at Village Square Booksellers with Jim Fowler (no relation to owner Pat). The goal of this course is to introduce more people to the art of writing poetry and will include a discussion of modern poetry in various forms and styles. Each week, the course will provide time to share and discuss participant’s poetry. Students should bring a poem and copies to the first class. The course will be limited to 5 to 8 students to allow adequate time to go through everyone’s poetry contributions and will meet in the cafe at Village Square Booksellers. James Fowler, of Charlestown, New Hampshire, has a Masters Degree in Environmental Science with a major in Nature Writing. He was the editor of Heartbeat of New England, a poetry anthology. Fowler has been widely published since 1998 in such journals as Connecticut Review, Quarterly of Light Verse, and Larcom Review. Fowler is a founding member of the River Voices Writer’s Circle, and a regular reader at Village Square Booksellers-River Voices Poetry Readings. The fee for this 6 week Workshop is $100, payable to Mr. Fowler at the first class. Pre-registration for the Poetry Workshop is suggested and may be made by calling Village Square Booksellers at 802-463-9404 or by email at vsbooks@sover.net or jfowler177@comcast.net.

GUILFORD

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

WAITSFIELD

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

STOWE

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

NORWICH

This group meets on the first Sunday of every month at the Norwich Library, 6:30 p.m.
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15.)
OTHER POETRY WORKSHOPS IN VERMONT

BURLINGTON

Scribes in the making put pen to paper as part of an open verse- writing session at the Fletcher Free Library, 235 College Street. Three consecutive Thursdays, starting January 8, 2009, 5:00-6:00 p.m. Free. Contact information: 862-1094.

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

Thinking Like a Poetry Editor: How to Be Your Own Best Critic
(“The Ossmann Method” Poetry Workshop – Crash Course)
Instructor: April Ossmann
The Writer’s Center, 58 North Main Street, White River Jct., VT 05001
Saturday, January 17th OR Saturday, February 14th
2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$45

Learn how to think like a poetry editor! In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. Participants will receive written editorial suggestions for both poems from the instructor. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8. Info: (802) 333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and www.aprilossmann.com

The Ossmann Method Poetry Workshop: Building Your Tool Kit
Instructor: April Ossmann
The Writer’s Center, 58 North Main Street, White River Jct., VT 05001
Sundays, 8 weeks, January 18th – March 8th
2 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$200

Build or improve your poetic techniques tool kit and learn how to think like a poetry editor! In this workshop we’ll turn the usual workshop model on its head and not only allow the poet being critiqued to speak, but to speak first and critique their own poem, discussing correlations between the criticisms s/he has for other participants’ poems and her/his own before group discussion begins. This will offer a taste of what it means to be both poet and poetry editor, a position in which it becomes easier to objectively assess your own work; to spot dull vs. energetic syntax, generic vs. original imagery and other strengths and weaknesses you may have overlooked. It also empowers the poet in the process, and engenders an unusually positive and congenial workshop atmosphere. This workshop will be both critical and generative, so I will assign reading and generative exercises meant to teach or improve writing skills. Pre-registration required; enrollment limited to 8 (minimum enrollment for the course to proceed is 4). Info: (802) 333-9597 or aprilossmann@hotmail.com and www.aprilossmann.com
Note: If you know of any others, or have personal information about the workshop in Stowe and Guilford, please send me that information. I realize that there are several smaller groups or workshops around the state. However, because of their intimacy, they are not posted above, allowing them to offer “memberships” to close friends or acquaintances that they feel would be most appropriate.

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16.)

YEAR-ROUND POETRY WRITING CENTERS IN VERMONT

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION

The Writer’s Center is for serious writers and nervous beginners. It’s for procrastinators who could benefit from regular deadlines – and for the prolific who could benefit from quality feedback. It’s for anyone with a manuscript hidden in a drawer, or a life story or poem waiting to be written. It’s for people who don’t know where to start or how to end. And for writers who are doing just fine on their own, but would like the company of other writers. The Writer’s Center is for anyone who is writing or wants to write. One of the Center’s consultants is April Ossman (www.aprilossmann.com). Founded by Joni B. Cole and Sarah Stewart Taylor, the Writer’s Center offers instruction and inspiration through a selection of workshops, discussions, and community. We would love to see you – and your writing – at The Writer’s Center! For more info, http:// www.thewriterscenterwrj.com/.

UNDERHILL

Women Writing for (a) Change supports the authentic experience of women who honor themselves through creative writing. Our community supports reflection as we move into our questions and awaken to change. Participants enhance expressive skills, strengthen their voices, deepen themselves as women as writers for positive change in all spheres of life. Creative writing in all genres is our shared vehicle. Women Writing for (a) Change is for women who, 1) dream of writing for self-discovery, for personal or social healing, 2) hunger for creative process in their lives, 3) yearn to explore their feminine voice, 4) crave reflective, space, and 5) are in transition. For more information, go to their web site at www.womenwritingVT.com/ or contact Sarah Bartlett at either 899-3772 or sarah@womenwritingvt.com.

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17.)

POETRY EVENT CALENDAR

Below please find the most current list of poetry happenings in Vermont for the near future. Please be aware that these events can be found on Poetz.com, but there is usually additional information that is typed here that would be cumbersome to place on Poetz.com. Please note all events are Vermont-based unless they are of extreme importance or happen to lie just outside our borders. If you would like to save on paper and ink, please just highlight what you need, or perhaps only events for the coming month, and print that information.

2009:

Thu, Jan 8: Salisbury Library, Salisbury, 3:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m. Children’s poetry workshop in Middlebury. Children’s poet Ted Scheu will share some of his own fun and funny poems and then lead children in writing their own poetry, reminiscent of Robert Frost’s. Info: 388-4014.

Sat, Jan 10: Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. Open Mic Poetry Reading. Hear local poets from the River Voices. Bring your own original work to share or read from a favorite author. Listen to poetry. Contact to participate as a reader or let them know that you’ll be attending as a listener. For info, 463-9404.

Mon, Jan 12: Grafton Library, Main Street, Grafton, 7:00 p.m. Robert Frost: Poetry and Prose. First of three-part book discussion series led by Dr. Deborah Luskin from the Vermont Humanities Council. For info, Linda Montecalvo at 843-1444.

Wed, Jan 14: Howe Library, Mayer Room, Hanover, NH. Reception and book signing by the authors of the literary magazine, Bloodroot. Bloodroot Literary Magazine is a nonprofit publication released each December. Their mission is to provide a journal of high production values and quality material by established and emerging authors. The 2009 issue of Bloodroot features cover art by Christy Hale and poems, short stories and creative nonfiction by 28 outstanding authors, many of them familiar names here in Vermont – Regina Brault, Carol Milkuhn and Nancy Means Wright. The book is scheduled to be out and about in mid-December 2008.

Wed, Jan 14: Kellogg-Hubbard Library, Hayes Room, 135 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Why I Love Mountains and Rivers. Poet and translator David Hinton will speak on his passion for mountains and rivers. His new book, Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, will be available for purchase and signing. For info, 223-3338, www.whyilovewhatilove.com.

Fri, Jan 16: Outer Space Café in the Flynndog Gallery, 208 Flynn Avenue, Burlington, 7:00 p.m. Poet’s Night. First of this year’s series.

Tue, Jan 20: Bear Pond Books, 77 Main Street, Montpelier, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Charles Barasch. Celebrate Inauguration Week with UVM linguistics teacher and the Plainfield town moderator, Charles Barasch, who will present Dreams of the Presidents, a collection of dream poems – one for each American president. Humorous, and laced with events of historical interest, each poem gives insight into the presidents’ lives. This book offers a well-timed look at politicians, as well some much-needed laughs. For info, 229-1069.

Wed, Jan 21: Robert Hull Fleming Museum, UVM Campus, 61 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Art and Poetry: The Painted Word featuring poets Myronn Hardy and Matthew Miller. The Robert Hull Fleming Museum presents a poetry series hosted by Major Jackson, associate professor in the University of Vermont’s Department of English. This reading series highlights established and emergent New England poets whose work represents significant explorations into language, song, and art. Info, http://www.uvm.edu/~fleming/.

Co-sponsored with the English Department and funded in part by the James and Mary Buckham Fund.

Thu, Jan 22: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. “You Come, Too”: Winter with Robert Frost. Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity. Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s winter poems. Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving. Refreshments served; free. RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.

Thu, Jan 22: Briggs Carriage Bookstore, 16 Park Street, Brandon, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Charles Barasch. Celebrate Inauguration Week with UVM linguistics teacher and the Plainfield town moderator, Charles Barasch, who will present Dreams of the Presidents, a collection of dream poems – one for each American president. Humorous, and laced with events of historical interest, each poem gives insight into the presidents’ lives. This book offers a well-timed look at politicians, as well some much-needed laughs. For info, Peter Marsh at 247-0050.

Sun, Jan 25: Red Hen Baking Company & Café, Route 2, Middlesex Village, 6:30 p.m. Poetry reading. Celebrate Robert Burns’ 250th birthday with our own Scottish Poet Len Irving! Come and read poetry – your own or your favorites – or listen to others. Info, Earline Marsh at 223-6777. (Red Hen readings are quarterly).

Mon, Jan 26: Grafton Library, Main Street, Grafton, 7:00 p.m. Robert Frost: Poetry and Prose. Second of three-part book discussion series led by Dr. Deborah Luskin from the Vermont Humanities Council. For info, Linda Montecalvo at 843-1444.

Mon, Jan 26: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined. Poet Eileen Myles to read. Of Sorry, Tree Eileen Myles most recent volume Chicago Review says: “Her politics are overt, her physicality raw, yet it is the subtle gentle noticing in her poems that overwhelms.” Eileen Myles is among the ranks of the officially restless, a poet who writes fiction (Chelsea Girls, Cool for You) an art writer and journalist whose essays and reviews have appeared in Art Forum, and Book Forum, The Believer, Parkett, The Nation and a libretticist whose opera “Hell” (w composer Michael Webster) was performed on both coasts in 2004 and again in 2006. Her first full collection of nonfiction writings, The Importance of Being Iceland, for which she received a Warhol/Creative Capital grant will come out in spring 09 from Semiotext(e)/MIT.

Thu, Feb 5: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined. Poet Cleopatra Mathis to read. Cleopatra Mathis was born and raised in Ruston, Louisiana. Her first five books of poems were published by Sheep Meadow Press. A sixth collection, White Sea, was published by Sarabande Books in 2005. Her work has appeared widely in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, The Extraordinary Tide: Poetry by American Women, and The Practice of Poetry. Various prizes for her work include two National Endowment for the Arts grants, in 1984 and 2003; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poems in 2001; the Peter Lavin Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets; two Pushcart Prizes (1980 and 2006); The Robert Frost Resident Poet Award; a 1981-82 Fellowship in Poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; The May Sarton Award; and Individual Artist Fellowships in Poetry from both the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey State Arts Council. She is the Frederick Sessions Beebe Professor of the Art of Writing at Dartmouth College, where she has directed the Creative Writing Program since 1982.

Fri, Feb 6: Firehouse Gallery, 135 Church Street, Burlington, 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. Poetry Reading and Drumming. As part of the Burlington Art Walk, poet and artist Terry Hauptman will provide a poetry reading accompanied by Jerry Geier’s drumming on his sculptural slit drums will entertain all. While you’re at the Firehouse Gallery, you can visit these two artists’ exhibits, titled Veiled Lineage. It features two Vermont artists investigating concepts of ancestry, heritage and tradition; using sculpture, painting, and installation. Jerry Geier’s assembly of sculptures, or totems, feature carved faces of wood and clay derived from indigenous and modern societies. The totems are hollowed and act as functional drums. Terry Hauptman’s Songline Scrolls feature colorful multi-cultural processions on wall-sized scrolls of paper. These scrolls are a metaphor for life, representing a continual unfolding revelation of change and celebration. In this 400th anniversary of European arrival in the Champlain Valley, this exhibit highlights our evolving notions of cultural and spiritual identity, and exposes the paradox of searching for meaning in the very same cultures that were supplanted by our own colonialist history.

Mon, Feb 9: Grafton Library, Main Street, Grafton, 7:00 p.m. Robert Frost: Poetry and Prose. Third of three-part book discussion series led by Dr. Deborah Luskin from the Vermont Humanities Council. For info, Linda Montecalvo at 843-1444.

Sun, Feb 15: Warming hut log cabin at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Winter Readings in the National Park. Join a park ranger in sharing short stories and poetry about winter at the ski shelter warming cabin. Bring your own stories and poetry to share or just listen to others readings while enjoying the warmth of the cabin’s woodstove. Hot chocolate will be provided. Cost: $5.00 trail pass from the Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center. For info, Tim Maguire at 457-3368 X22 or Tim_maguire@nps.gov.

Wed, Feb 18: Vermont Humanities Council, 11 Loomis Street, Montpelier, 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. “You Come, Too”: Winter with Robert Frost. Robert Frost’s poetry is known, among other things, for its ability to evoke the seasons of New England in all their complexity. Join Peter Gilbert, the Vermont Humanities Council’s executive director and the executor of Frost’s estate, in reading and discussing some of Frost’s winter poems. Participants are invited to either read the poems in advance or upon arriving. Refreshments served; free. RSVPs are encouraged at 802.262.2626 x307. Walk-ins welcome.

Mon, Feb 23: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, exact time not yet determined. Poet Michael Waters to read. Michael Waters’ eight books of poetry include Darling Vulgarity (2006—finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize), Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems (2001), and Green Ash, Red Maple, Black Gum (1997) from BOA Editions, and Bountiful (1992), The Burden Lifters (1989), and Anniversary of the Air (1985) from Carnegie Mellon UP. His several edited volumes include Contemporary American Poetry (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing from Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois UP, 2003). In 2004 he chaired the poetry panel for the National Book Award. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Foundation, Individual Artist Awards from the Maryland State Arts Council, and four Pushcart Prizes, he teaches at Monmouth University in New Jersey and in the Drew University MFA Program.

Wed, Feb 25: Peabody Library, Route 113, Post Mills. Reception and book signing by the authors of the literary magazine, Bloodroot. Bloodroot Literary Magazine is a nonprofit publication released each December. Their mission is to provide a journal of high production values and quality material by established and emerging authors. The 2009 issue of Bloodroot features cover art by Christy Hale and poems, short stories and creative nonfiction by 28 outstanding authors, many of them familiar names here in Vermont – Regina Brault, Carol Milkuhn and Nancy Means Wright. The book is scheduled to be out and about in mid-December 2008.

Sun, Mar 8: Warming hut log cabin at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, 54 Elm Street, Woodstock, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Winter Readings in the National Park. Join a park ranger in sharing short stories and poetry about winter at the ski shelter warming cabin. Bring your own stories and poetry to share or just listen to others readings while enjoying the warmth of the cabin’s woodstove. Hot chocolate will be provided. Cost: $5.00 trail pass from the Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center. For info, Tim Maguire at 457-3368 X22 or Tim_maguire@nps.gov.

Sun, Mar 9: Plymouth State University, Smith Recital Hall, Johnson, NH, 7:00 p.m. Poet C.D. Wright. 2008 – 2009 Eagle Pond Author’s Series. A compelling and idiosyncratic poet, C.D. Wright has twelve collections including Rising, Falling, Hovering (2008), a weaving of deeply personal and politically ferocious poems; Deepstep Come Shining and Cooling Time. Her collaboration with photographer Deborah Luster, One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana was awarded the Dorothea Lange-Paul Tayor Prize. Her new and selected poems Steal Away was on the shortlist for the Griffin Trust Award. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the Israel J. Kapstein Professor at Brown University. Free. (603) 535-5000 to reserve spaces.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010:

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

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

That’s about it for now. Again, keep your eyes peeled for poetry events. I hope this email finds you all with good health and sharp pencils.

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis