on poetry

May 12, 2021

“Yo, poeta de oficio, condenada tantas veces.”
[“I, a poet by trade, condemned so many times.”]
Claribel Alegría
(May 12, 1924 – January 25, 2018)

. . . . .
photo by Simon Hurst

This one got away, but we hope it will return, somewhere, sometime.

The wonderful writer Colm Tóibín sifted through the early writings of the much-beloved poet Eavan Boland to script a performance that was livestreamed all too briefly. Performed by Siobhán Cullen, Boland: Journey of a Poet is now available, alas, only as a preview and a very informative downloadable show program.

It may come around again. Watch for it.

poetry and COVID

May 10, 2021

The Francis Crick Institute, in London, is dedicated to understanding the fundamental biology underlying health and disease. Among its many ongoing activities, the Institute is running a large-scale COVID-19 vaccination center and, in partnership with Poet in the City, has commissioned 12 poets to help create an exhibition entitled A drop of hope: poetry from a vaccination centre.

As visitors enter the building (at the rate of about a thousand per day), they are invited to fill out a postcard where they can reflect on the pandemic and note their thoughts and feelings about getting vaccinated. They leave the postcards as they exit and the poets use these reflections to inform and inspire their work.

Each poet is commissioned to write one poem and the first four were unveiled last week, displayed on the exterior of the Institute’s Manby Gallery. “Of the 12 poems which will form part of the final installation, two will be in Bengali and two in Somali, reflecting the ethnic diversity of the people who contributed to the project and the community in local Camden.” You can read the poems and learn more about A Drop of Hope here.

a mother poem

May 9, 2021

Elizabeth Vignali ~ My Mother's Afterlife

In honor of Mother’s Day, we repost “My Mother’s Afterlife” by Elizabeth Vignali. The poem was selected as a 2012 Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest Merit Award winner and Vignali is currently serving as a judge for the 2021 contest. You can see her on Zoom at the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

My Mother’s Afterlife
By Elizabeth Vignali

She prepares for our arrival —
brushes pine needles off the table,
unfurls the checkered cloth
with a snap
of her wrist.
Mourning doves hush
as she stacks clacking
kindling next to the firepit
dead with ashes.
When she ceases
they cry to each other
across the shrouding mist.
She sets out canvas
camping chairs and rests
in the one nearest the pond.
She has years to wait.

A nymph lumbers from under
the verdant surface
onto a cow lily and dances
into its dragonfly shape.
New wings unfurled, it sees her
with many eyes.
It clings to the old body, its pale
new one jewelling blue-green.

*Copyright 2012 by Elizabeth Vignali. Placard design by Egress Studio.

on poetry

May 8, 2021

“People are now beginning to take action for language and cultural survival, and my work is to help provide inspiration and tools for this through my writing.”
Nora Marks Keixwnéi Dauenhauer
(May 8, 1927 – September 25, 2017)

. . . . .

walk with Emily

May 7, 2021

Perhaps next year the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and the Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk will be live and in person once again, but for now, those of us not in Massachusetts can easily join in the annual event. “Called Back”: A Virtual Emily Dickinson Poetry Walk will happen on Saturday, May 15, 2021, at 8:30am Pacific (11:30am Eastern). Registration is required, and free, with donations gratefully accepted.

We’ve mentioned Joe Nolting and Kids Need Books before, so we were exceptionally pleased to see that Joe is back, bringing books to the kids who need them most. Here you see him in the small laundry room of a large low-income apartment complex, where he admits one fully-masked family at a time to browse, select, and take home the books they’ve chosen.

To find out more, read “Rain Showers and Shower Gifts” on the KNB site. And if you’re able, support Joe’s work for literacy with donations of funds or items from the Wish List.

short stories?

May 5, 2021

If you’re interested in short stories, you might consider participating in the free, 10-day online discussion group on short stories co-moderated by David Roberts and Al Filreis (of ModPo fame). Discussion Group 129 will take place May 17 – 27, 2021, to discuss and compare three short stories: Anton Chekov’s “The Lady with the Dog,” Raymond Carver’s “Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?” and Ann Beattie’s “Janus.” Read How to participate for more information.

We have winners!

May 4, 2021

Congratulations and thanks to ALL of the poets who submitted work to this year’s Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest, and in particular to the poets who have been selected as this year’s winners:

WALK AWARDS: Ty Colson, David P. Drummond, Marie Eaton, Peyton Eberhardt, Jory Mickelson, Maddie Patterson, Timothy Pilgrim, Janette Lyn Rosebrook, Noa Shelsta, J.L. Wright.

MERIT AWARDS: Rylie Anderson, Margaux Barber, Barbara Bloom, Kathleen Byrd, Lynn Geri, Arden Haines, Sophie Hall, Callum LaPlant, David M. Laws, Payton Ling, Phelps S. McIlvaine, Isabella Nelson, Robert Stern, Kami Westhoff, Genevieve Whalen.

The awards ceremony will be held online on Thursday, May 20, 2021, at 7:00pm Pacific. Access information will be provided as soon as it is available.

In addition… the names of the winning poets and poems will be added to the Winners page. The winning poems and their beautiful illustrated placards will be featured on this page, one per week, over the coming months, and linked to the Winners page. And finally, the Walk Award poems will take their places on the Poetry Walk in front of the Bellingham Public Library, where they will remain on view for a full year. (If you haven’t seen the 2020 Poetry Walk poems, be sure to take a look before they go away.)

Meanwhile, please enjoy this wonderful video celebrating the contest and its namesake, Sue C. Boynton.

on poetry

May 3, 2021

“Look, words are like the air: they belong to everybody. Words are not the problem; it’s the tone, the context, where those words are aimed, and in whose company they are uttered. Of course murderers and victims use the same words, but I never read the words utopia, or beauty, or tenderness in police descriptions. Do you know that the Argentinean dictatorship burnt The Little Prince? And I think they were right to do so, not because I do not love The Little Prince, but because the book is so full of tenderness that it would harm any dictatorship.”
Juan Gelman
(May 3, 1930 – January 14, 2014)

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