Vermont Poetry Newsletter • May 15 2010

[The Vermont Poetry Newsletter is not issued by me but by Ron Lewis, by whose permission I post this. PLEASE NOTE: I have edited his newsletter so that links are provided rather than text. If I cannot find a link, I will either omit the relevant portion of the newsletter to avoid copyright violations, or I will provide an alternate link. Please contact Ron Lewis if you would like to receive his Newsletter in full. All images are linked.]

Vermont Poetry Newsletter

Your Poetry & Spoken Word Gateway in the Green Mountain State
May 12, 2010 (Previous issue: 04/20) – In This Issue:

  1. About VPN/How To Print
  2. Newsletter Editor’s Note
  3. Writing Assignment/Suggestion/Exercise/Prompt
  4. One in 8,700: Leonard Gibbs
  5. Hunter, Fargnoli & Mayo reading: RSVP!
  6. Burlington Poetry Journal: Mud Season Issue Available
  7. Angela Patten’s Writing Memoir Course
  8. Joni Cole’s Workshops
  9. April Ossmann’s Workshop
  10. Poetry Advice Column: How can you be a poet every day?
  11. Haijinx: The Quarterly is back!
  12. Haijinx: Do Metrics Matter? Notes on Renku.
  13. Haijinx: About John Carley
  14. Robert Hass: On Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’
  15. Song of Myself by Walt Whitman
  16. In a Small Town, the Giants of Poetry for 20 Years
  17. Poetic Connections: Art as Aphrodisiac
  18. Metapoetry
  19. It’s Only Rhyming Quatrains, But I Like It
  20. Did You Know? Bread Loaf Poet Jennifer Grotz
  21. Ponderings: Greetings from Robert Frost
  22. Poetry Quote – Margaret Atwood
  23. Failbetter Poem
  24. Linebreak Poem
  25. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  26. American Life in Poetry Poems
  27. US Poets Laureate List
  28. Vermont Poet Laureates
  29. US Poet Laureates From Vermont
  30. New Hampshire Poet Laureates
  31. US Poet Laureates From New Hampshire
  32. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  33. Vermont Literary Journals
  34. Vermont Literary Groups’ Anthologies
  35. Vermont Poetry Blogs
  36. State Poetry Society (PSOV)
  37. Year-Round Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  38. Other Poetry Workshops in Vermont
  39. Year-Round Poetry Writing Centers in Vermont
  40. Other Writing Groups in Vermont
  41. Poetry Event Calendar

1.) About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network

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

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

2.) Dear Friends of Poetry:

Many of you are now receiving my email that alerts you to when a new Vermont Poetry Newsletter is ready for viewing, along with a fully updated calendar of events. This procedure seems to be working beautifully, and seems to have had an invigorating effect on Vermont’s poetry “scene” as well as for Patrick Gillespie’s poetry blog:

Well, that was one great National Poetry Month! I did not go to nearly the number of readings that I had planned on, but I did go to some memorable ones, nonetheless. The greatest gift of poetry that I gave to myself over this month of madness was a go hear Donald Hall in the small setting of Arlington High School’s Mack Performance Arts Center. For those of you who still don’t believe that big things can happen in small venues, then this would have been an eye-opener for you. This tiny high school, with the leadership of Hank Barthel, an English teacher with foresight and determination, coupled with the school’s supportive Principal, Kerry Csizmesia, bringing the talents of big-name poets has become reality. From the first invitee, Robert Creeley, who read before a dozen people in the cafeteria, to Donald Hall, who packed a new performance center, Hank has brought 13 renowned poets to this setting in rural Vermont. Unfortunately, Hank is retiring in June, after 28 devoted years to the teaching of English literature. He will be sorely missed, but not forgotten, as Kerry made sure of that – he had a huge framed display erected in the hallway, just outside the doors of the performance center, that had photos of each of the 13 poets, plus that of Hank’s, along with brass plaques of their bio’s. From all of us who love poetry here in Vermont, thank you, Hank!

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher

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Vermont Poetry Newsletter August 25 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
August 25, 2009 – In This Issue:

  1. About VPN/How To Print
  2. Newsletter Editor’s Note
  3. Writing Assignments/Suggestions/Exercises/Prompts
  4. Post Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference
  5. Matthew Dickman
  6. Brattleboro Literary Festival (With Schedule)
  7. Burlington Book Festival (With Schedule)
  8. Two Attitudes: The Power of Poetry
  9. Chicago Poetry Tour
  10. I Blame Blogs
  11. Poets House Moves To Battery Park City
  12. The Institute of Poetic Medicine
  13. Robert Frost Farm Fund
  14. The Power of Words Conference @ Goddard (Sept)
  15. Fear of Narrative And The Skittery Poem Of Our Moment
  16. Book King Readings
  17. Did You Know? Write The Book and WOMM-LP 105.9FM
  18. Poetry Quote (Carl Sandburg)
  19. US Poets Laureate List
  20. Failbetter Poem
  21. Linebreak Poem
  22. Copper Canyon Press Poem
  23. American Life in Poetry Poems (2)
  24. Vermont Poet Laureates
  25. Contact Info for Publisher of VPN: Ron Lewis
  26. Vermont Literary Journals
  27. State Poetry Society (PSOV)
  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



About the Vermont Poetry Newsletter Network

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


Dear Friends of Poetry:

Well, my favorite two events of the year are done, and I feel awash with an exhilaration that I hope holds me over until this time next year.

Stellafane, held in Springfield, Vermont, is the oldest and largest telescope-making and stargazing event in the world, the home of amateur astronomy and telescope-making.  The night skies on the key days of Friday and Saturday were both perfectly clear, the first time that had happened in 30 years, and who would have thought that would have happened in this year, the rainiest of all!  The highlights at the convention were to see both the Trifid and Swan Nebulae is glories I had not seen them previously, mostly due to the advanced equipment through which I was viewing them (one through a new type of eyepiece that was just announced to the astronomy community a day earlier, looking through the inventor’s telescope).

The second event was the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.  Between meeting all the poets, getting my books signed, the handouts, sitting in on readings, panels and other talks, it was the greatest of experiences.  And to think I gave up poetry for some 30 years, after studying at San Francisco State with the likes of Stan Rice, Kay Boyle and Denise Levertov.  Whatever was I thinking?

Not that these events are the only two of interest during the year.  The Poetry Event Calendar, found at the end of the Vermont Poetry Newsletter, always has a number of fascinating events for us to partake in, besides knitting the poets everywhere within this tiny state together.  That’s the whole idea of the VPN and PEC, to keep us interested in our craft, and to make friends with others in our craft.  If there had been a VPN for me 30 years ago, I don’t think I would have ever given up writing or listening to poetry.  Hopefully, this Newsletter has breathed life into your crafting of verse as well.

Ron Lewis
VPN Publisher



Poetry Teachers


Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference 2009

Well, it’s over.  I think I’ll now go into hiding for the next 50 weeks.  Wake me when the 2010 Conference begins, will you?

Looking back, look at this list of fine poets:

Michael Collier
Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Ellen Bryant Voigt
Tom Sleigh
Louise Glück
Arthur Sze
Edward Hirsch
C. Dale Young
David Barber
(I highly recommend one of his 2 books of poetry, The Spirit Level)
Matthew Dickman (his 35 or so volumes of his first book of poetry in the bookstore sold out in a matter of   minutes after his reading!)

This Who’s Who list of poets is the usual cast of characters who come annually to Bread Loaf.  I can’t believe how lucky I am to live only 13.7 miles by dirt road to the Conference.  I took one of my telescopes this year to view the night sky (especially Jupiter and its largest moons) with my fellow poets, but I was met with cloudy skies, unfortunately.

I think the highlight for me was going up to Matthew Dickman, one of today’s “hot” poets, after his reading, to congratulate him and tell him how much I enjoy his writing, when . . . he said, “Ron Lewis?  Oh, I’ve heard your name mentioned so often during the Conference!  I’m glad to meet you!”  I guess publishing the Vermont Poetry Newsletter does have its special rewards, after all. Ron Lewis


Matthew Dickman—Margaret Bridgman Fellow in Poetry 

Matthew Dickman is the author of All American Poem, winner of the 2008 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. His poems have appeared in a wide range of publications, including New Yorker, Tin House, and Lyric; and he is the recipient of fellowships from the Michener Center for Writers, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown.
Be sure to follow Matthew Dickman’s career as a poet in the coming years.  Listening to him read, I was surprised by the comedy in his poetry, which I find delightful. – Ron Lewis



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

Brattleboro Literary Festival


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


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.



Two Attitudes: The Power of Poetry
By Adam Penna
July 16, 2009

Power of PoetryThere are two basic attitudes regarding the power of poetry.  The first is summed up by Tennyson’s Ulysses who, though old, manages to convince his men to sail with him once again “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.”  While the use of a persona puts some distance between Tennyson and these sentiments, this statement is exactly the sort of thing one might find etched on the foot of a monument.  Indeed, it is exactly that.  It is the phrase etched at the foot of the monument commemorating the death of the explorer who attempted to be the first to find the South Pole.  He was beat there, and on the return journey died, along with his crew, of hunger, exhaustion and cold.  However, this failure hasn’t stopped well-meaning writers, politicians, and explorers from citing the last lines of “Ulysses” as the spirit’s slogan.  What is more is that the gist of this attitude sounds remarkably similar to the sentiments of Milton’s Satan from Paradise Lost.  No politician who wanted to be re-elected would ever claim alliance with him….



Chicago Poetry TourChicago Poetry Tour

Gwendolyn Brooks’s neighborhood library. Union Stock Yards, where Chicago became Carl Sandburg’s “Hog Butcher for the World.” The Green Mill, home of slam poetry. Maxwell Street and Chess Records, inspirations for bluesy poets. Haymarket Square, memorial to the labor movement.

The Chicago Poetry Tour, produced by the Poetry Foundation, is a chance to explore the history of the city through poetry. The online version of the tour features archival and contemporary recordings of poets and scholars, local music, and historic photographs. You can take the tour in numbered order, starting downtown, or jump around from neighborhood to neighborhood…


I Blame BlogsI Blame Blogs

Forget Facebook. Poetry is how to stay connected.

More than two blogs are created each second of every day.
There are about 1.6 million postings per day, or about 18.6 posts per second.
Somewhere along the line in this country, the notion of discretion became an anachronism. After discretion fell, shame followed, all but vanishing from the cultural landscape, along with privacy, humility, and modesty.
I blame blogs.
At base, personal blogs are public diaries. Not actual diaries, filled with brutal honesty, the humiliating stuff you wouldn’t want anyone to read. No, blogs are diaries the way American Idol is “reality,” carefully pruned to present a version of life we all wish were the truth. Blogs are like personal ads—designed to seduce everyone…


Poets House Moves to Battery Park City in September 2009
Poetry House Moves

(This event is very tempting to me.  If any of my friends are thinking of attending, perhaps we can carpool, share expenses, and so forth, and head south to NYC in order to attend.  Contact me at Lewis)



The Institute for Poetic Medicine

Our Vision: To awaken the creative and healing voice in the human spirit.

At The Institute of Poetic Medicine we are collectively dedicated to nurture and strengthen the human capacity to connect to Self, Other, Community, the Natural World and the Divine.

We offer public workshops, retreats and professional programs with John Fox, Certified Poetry Therapist, and by others, for groups and individuals in therapeutic, healing, medical, teaching and pastoral professions, as well as for individuals living with life altering illnesses. We are a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to healing body, mind and spirit through the creative and therapeutic process of hearing and writing poetry.

For additional info:



Robert Frost Farm Fund

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

Frost Farm Fund



The Power of Words Conference, Sept. 3-7, Goddard College, Plainfield, VT.

Explore how we can use our words — written,  spoken or sung — to make community, deepen healing, witness one another, wake ourselves up, and foster empowerment and transformation. Organized by the Transformative Language Network, and founded by Goddard College, this conference features experiential workshops with over 20 presenters, including John Fox, Lewis Mehl Medrona, Dovie Thomason, Kyahan Irani; performances, open readings, and celebrations, plus special tracks in Narrative Medicine, Right Livelihood and Social Change.Beautiful setting, reasonable conference fees, room and board available on campus, work-study positions and scholarships available, including the Roxanne-Florence Scholarship for people of color.



Fear of Narrative and the Skittery Poem of Our Moment

Fear of Narrativeby Tony Hoagland

Aesthetic shifts over time can be seen as a kind of crop rotation; the topsoil of one field is allowed to rest, while another field is plowed and cultivated. In the seventies the American poetry of image covered the Midwestern plains like wheat; in the eighties, perhaps, it was the narrative-discursive sentence which blossomed and bore anthological fruit. This shifting of the ground of convention is one aspect of cultural self-renewal. But the fruitful style and idiom becomes conventional, and then conventionally tired.

In the last ten years American poetry has seen a surge in associative and “experimental” poetries, in a wild variety of forms and orientations. Some of this work has been influenced by theories of literary criticism and epistemology, some by the old Dionysian imperative to jazz things up. The energetic cadres of MFA grads have certainly contributed to this milieu, founding magazines, presses, and aesthetic clusters which encourage and influence each other’s experiments. Generally speaking, this time could be characterized as one of great invention and playfulness. Simultaneously, it is also a moment of great aesthetic self-consciousness and emotional removal… [Click on image to go to article…]



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 August 28th.  There will be flyers at the Book King counter.

Please contact me (Ron Lewis – if you’d like to read; we need readers!

The theme is:


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



Did You Know?

If you happen to reside in the Burlington area, then dial in to 105.9FM, WOMM-LP, The Radiator, a noncommercial low-power FM station located in downtown Burlington.  The station broadcasts with only 100 watts, serves the surrounding community through locally oriented programming, filling the void left by regional and national networks whose markets are too broad to permit this social and geographic focus.  They have a program named “The Salon,” Burlington’s poetry salon on the radio. Also, “Write The Book” features interviews with authors, illustrators, poets, editors, agents, librarians, book store owners… anyone involved in the craft of writing and the business of getting books to readers.  Look at their web site for times:  For further information, go to:



“Poetry is the journal of the sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air.  Poetry is a search for syllables to shoot at the barriers of the unknown and the unknowable.  Poetry is a phantom script telling how rainbows are made and why they go away..”

Poetry Quote by Carl Sandburg



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.



Gardenias and Kelp
Rachel Rothbart

Gardenias & Kelp

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



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

Dear Happenstance

Dear Happenstance





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

Olga Broumas


NOTE: Clicking on the image will donwload a PDF file containing the poem.



American Life in Poetry: Column 228


I don’t often mention literary forms, but of this lovely poem by Cecilia Woloch I want to suggest that the form, a villanelle, which uses a pattern of repetition, adds to the enchantment I feel in reading it. It has a kind of layering, like memory itself. Woloch lives and teaches in southern California.

My Mother's Pillow

American Life in Poetry: Column 230

It’s been sixty-odd years since I was in the elementary grades, but I clearly remember those first school days in early autumn, when summer was suddenly over and we were all perched in our little desks facing into the future. Here Ron Koertge of California gives us a glimpse of a day like that.

First Grade




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



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

Ronald Lewis:
Phone: 802-247-5913
Cell: 802-779-5913
Home: 1211 Forest Dale Road, Brandon, VT 05733




1) The Queen City Review

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

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

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

2) Bloodroot

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

The price of a single issue is $8.

Editor, “Do” Roberts
Bloodroot Literary Magazine
PO Box 322
Thetford Center, VT  05075
(802) 785-4916

3) New England Review

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

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

New England Review
Attn: Orders
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753
(800) 450-9571

4) Willard & Maple

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

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


5) Vermont Literary Review

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Editor: Flo Keyes, (802) 468-6049

6) Green Mountains Review

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

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

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

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

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

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


7) Burlington Poetry Journal

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



Poetry Society of Vermont

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

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

Membership in PSOV


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

How to join:

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

The PSOV has 2 current books available for sale:

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

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





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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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





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


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

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

Info: (802)333-9597 or and


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

If you are interested in having the InkBlot Complex Poetry Workshop taught at your school or program, please, get in touch.  (802) 275-7799,,

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





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

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


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


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

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



Poetry Event


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

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

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

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

Wed, Sep 9: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Marge Piercy to read.  Marge Piercy has published 17 books of poetry, including What Are Big Girls Made Of, Colors Passing Through Us, and most recently her 17th volume, The Crooked Inheiritance, all from Knopf. She has written 17 novels, most recently SEX WARS in Perennial paperback now.  Her memoir Sleeping With Cats is also in Harper Collins Perennial.  Last spring, Schocken published Pesach for the Rest of Us.  Her work has been translated into 16 languages. Her CD Louder We Can’t Hear You Yet contains her political and feminist poems. She has been an editor of Leapfrog Press for the last ten years and also poetry editor of Lilith. (Event originally scheduled for September 3.)

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

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

Mon, Sep 21: Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, 8:00 p.m.  Poet Cole Swensen to read.  Cole Swensen is the Director of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Denver. She is the author of five collections of poems, including Try (University of Iowa Press, 1999), winner of the 1998 Poetry Prize; Noon (Sun and Moon Press, 1997), which won a New American Writing Award; and Numen (Burning Deck Press, 1995) which was nominated for the PEN West Award in Poetry. Her translations include Art Poetic’ by Olivier Cadiot (Sun & Moon Press, Green Integer Series, 1999) and Natural Gaits by Pierre Alferi (Sun & Moon, 1995). She splits her time among Denver, San Francisco and Paris. (Event originally scheduled for August 17.)

Tue, Sep 22: The Galaxy Bookshop, 7 Mill Street, Hardwick, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  Poetry reading by Charles Sabukewicz.  For info, 472-5533.

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,
Thu, Oct 1: Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, 7:00 p.m.  Poetry 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 Review, Poetry, 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.  For more info,

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Your fellow Poet,

Ron Lewis