2018 Schedule

Please use the 2018 festival’s schedule (below) as a guide.

Saturday, September 15, 2018
New England College
98 Bridge Street
Henniker, NH 03243

8:00-8:45 am – Registration

Simon Center, 98 Bridge Street
Registration Simon Center Lobby
Coffee and pastry Simon Center, Great Room

8:45-9:00 am – Welcome

Simon Center, Great Room

9:15-10:30 – Panels

Here from Not Here: Five-Transplant Poets to Coastal New Hampshire

CEI Building, Room 102

Panelists: Willie Perdomo, Maggie Dietz, Matt W. Miller, Todd Hearon, and Ralph Sneeden

With its twenty-six miles of stunning coastline, its forests of pine, elm, and sugar maple, its towering and harrowing mountains, New Hampshire is a state that draws many visitors every year to take in its natural wonders and wander through its idyllic towns. But sometimes these visitors stay, plant roots in the craggy soil, and build a life here. Sometimes these newcomers are poets drawn to New Hampshire’s compelling contrasts and contradictions. In this reading five such transplant poets will read their work and reflect on how it is informed and influenced by their New Hampshire experience. Born variously in California, Texas, Wisconsin, New York, and Massachusetts, these poets have all found a literal and literary home in the town of Exeter, forming a poetic community to revel in and to perhaps sustain them when their own hometowns seem far away.

Collaboration & the Creative Process

CEI Building, Room 101

Panelists: Candace Bergstrom, Alice B. Fogel, Ala Khaki, Patrice Pinette, S Stephanie

In 2017, NH Poet Laureate Alice Fogel discovered that there is a very active New Hampshire chapter of the Women’s Caucus for Art. After a brief correspondence with its director, Kate Higley, an idea for combining visual art with poetry came to them both, and they developed Text & Textile, a pairing of 11 NH artists with 11 NH poets. Each pair collaborated on new work involving processes and products in writing and visual art. Many of the pairs worked to incorporate the poems directly into the artwork, which, all told, consists of painting, weaving, multi-media constructions, fabric, fiber sculpture, photography, and other materials. The result is a traveling exhibition that opened in May 2018 and is making appearances around the state over the next year, ending at the State Library in Concord in 2019. At each opening, the artists and the featured NH poets will be giving presentations in which they discuss their collaborative creative process. For this panel, several of the poets will inspire listeners to try a similar challenge, by sharing their poem along with their discoveries, frustrations, communications, ideas, successes, and development as they combined their efforts with visual artists they had never met before.

Poetry and the Politics of Language

CEI Building, Room 110

Panelists: Kathleen Aguero, Maria Luisa Arroyo, Quintin Collins, Peter Covino

In 1946, George Orwell famously claimed that “the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language….”  What role, if any, can poetry play in restoring the integrity of language in today’s era of debased rhetoric and alternative facts? All artists value the tools of their craft. How do we ensure that language remains both precise and inventive while recognizing that as a cultural artifact it must grow and change? Four poets who are at different stages in their careers and who employ a variety of poetic and linguistic strategies in their writing will explore this question.

May We Carry Our Mothers Forth in Our Bellies: Motherhood in the Arts and the Public Sphere, a Poetry Reading and Discussion

CEI Building, Room 202

Panelists: Amy Dryansky, Kirun Kapur, January Gill O’Neil, and Anna V. Q. Ross

If writing is a solitary act, motherhood, by definition, is the opposite: a near-constant cacophony of need, interruption, exasperation, joy, and carpools. How, then, can one person navigate both of these realities, let alone write a poem? How balance the time and space needed for both vocations? As mothers, what is our responsibility to model ourselves to our children as makers of art and possessors of careers? Conversely, how much of our motherhood dare we expose to our editors, readers, and institutions—those that would publish and hire us (or not)? And how much of our children, whose words and actions crowd our lives, may we justly include in our poems without fear of accusations of appropriation? Poets Amy Dryansky, Kirun Kapur, January Gill O’Neil, and Anna V. Q. Ross, all of whom have been recognized by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) Artist Fellowship program in 2018, present a reading of poems that address the quotidian detail and universalizing strife of mothering in a world that at times seems to wish us invisible, followed by a discussion of the role public arts institutions such as the MCC, readers, and editors can play in fostering the poetry and poetics of motherhood.

Comm(unity): On the Purpose of Building Community and the Value of Active Engagement Within

CEI Building, Room 201

Panelists: Cheryl Buchanan, Regie Gibson, Kevin McLellan, Ralph Pennel, Hilary Sallick

Belongingness matters. This panel will explore the cultural and personal value generated through the formation and insistence of communities centered on/around writing and writers’ identities. The panel is formed of individuals who represent different manners and aspects of community building armed with ideas about navigating shared intellectual/artistic spaces. Specifically, the panelists will examine the types of opportunities available to individuals seeking to gain or create their own writing communities and the types of opportunities that are ultimately extended to individuals who seek out larger long-established organizations with specific missions, like amplifying historically-marginalized voices, or whose aims may be embracing the communities of which they are a part through non-degree earning course offerings with writing professionals. There will be extensive opportunities throughout the discussion for questions and engagements between panelists and the audience.

10:45-12:00 – Workshops

(pre-registration required)

Doing Memory in the 21st Century

In this generative workshop, we’ll explore ways of revitalizing or animating the contemporary memory-driven poem by formally containing it in civic or public forms such as the diagnosis, menu, tweet, summons, citation, and so on. Bring two typed copies of any public text—packing instructions, cell phone call, parking ticket—and one photograph of yourself, another person, or a place to class. If time allows, we will also explore exemplary contemporary examples of lyric poems that surprise us by putting what they apparently want to “say” at odds against the structures they ultimately make.

Adrian Blevins is the author of the full-length poetry collections Appalachians Run Amok, winner of the Wilder Prize and just released this spring by Two Sylvias Press, Live from the Homesick Jamboree, and The Brass Girl Brouhaha; the chapbooks Bloodline and The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes; and the co-edited Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. She is the recipient of many awards including a Kate Tufts Discovery Award for The Brass Girl Brouhahaand a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, among others. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

“Like, Poetry is Metaphor.”

Ezra Pound famously said “Only emotion endures,” but it’s not your emotion he’s talking about, it’s the reader’s. How do poets get the reader to feel the emotion that will make the poem endure? Simply describing an emotional experience–no matter how accurately–is insufficient. The poem needs to establish an emotional connection with the reader. Using metaphor—describing one thing in terms of another—is an essential poetic technique for bringing this connection about. In this workshop we’ll examine how poets have used metaphor to make the reader feel emotion. We’ll examine the limits of metaphor: how all metaphors run their course and break down at some point; how they can get horribly mixed; and how they can degenerate into cliché. We’ll also try a few exercises at writing metaphors that might become enduring poems someday. Aristotle in his Poetics states that “It [metaphor] is the one thing that can not be learnt from others; and it also is a sign of genius…” In other words, we’ll try our hands at being geniuses for a day.

Robert Crawford has published two books of poetry, The Empty Chair (2011, Richard Wilbur Award), and Too Much Explanation Can Ruin a Man (2005). His sonnets have twice won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. His poems have appeared in many national journals including The Formalist, First Things, Dark Horse, The Raintown Review, The Lyric, Measure, Light and Forbes.Heco-founded the Hyla Brook Poets, and is a long-time member of the Powow River Poets of Newburyport, MA. Currently, he is the Director of Poetry Activities at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH and is serving as Derry’s first poet laureate. He lives in Chester, NH, with his wife, the poet Midge Goldberg.

How to Do Yoga With Words: The Energy of Syntax

“Poetry is language that sounds better and means more,” wrote Charles Wright. How do we transform the language we use for the everyday into one that creates poetry? In this generative workshop, we will focus on a few rhetorical strategies, all on the level of syntax, that shake language out of its torpor. In poems, how you say something matters as much as what you say. After looking at a few powerful examples, we will practice these new postures in our own writing by taking ordinary sentences and phrases and, in effect, turning them on their head.

Sharon Dolin is the author of six poetry books: Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016); Whirlwind (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012); her ekphrastic collection, Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, reissued 2015); Burn and Dodge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry; Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004); and Heart Work (Sheep Meadow Press, 1995). Her translations from Catalan of Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes is forthcoming in The Field Translation Series in 2019. She received the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress in 2013, chosen by Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. She has taught at Eugene Lang College of The New School, Hofstra University, Adelphi, Rutgers, The Cooper Union, the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, and Poets House. Founding Director of The Center for Book Arts Annual Poetry Chapbook Competition, she now directs Writing About Art in Barcelona, a 12-day creative writing workshop: http://www.sharondolin.com/barcelona-workshops/

Who Are You Talking To?: Revising the “Busted” Poem

In this craft talk, participants will consider motivation—who a poem is speaking to and its occasion for speaking—as a means of revising a “busted” poem. Participants who bring a poem that needs revising will have the opportunity to sketch out new avenues for the poem to change and grow. By examining a series of contemporary poems by Joe Wenderoth, Harryette Mullen, and Kaveh Akbar, we will consider the ways a poem’s imagined occasion and audience can present new possibilities for a poem that otherwise seems stuck.

Matthew Guenette is the author of three full-length poetry collections, including Vasectomania (2017) and American Busboy (2011) both from University of Akron Press. He is also the author of a chapbook, Civil Disobedience (2017), which won the 2016 Baltic Writing Residency Chapbook Contest, published by Rabbit Catastrophe Press. He teaches writing at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI.

12:00-1:30 – Lunch

1:30-2:45 – Panels

CEI Building, 23 Circle Way

Of Something Formidable: A Panel Discussion of Lucie Brock-Broido and Her Work

CEI Building, Room 102

Panelists: Eileen Cleary, Tom Daley, Christine Jones, Jennifer Martelli, Kathy Nilsson

Beloved teacher and friend to the panel participants, Lucie Brock-Broido was born in Pittsburgh, educated at Johns Hopkins and Columbia University, and taught at Bennington, Princeton, Harvard (where she was a Briggs-Copeland poet), and Columbia. The panel participants will read from and discuss the influence of her work, as well as share anecdotes and first-hand accounts of this poet’s life.

Quartet: A Poetry Jam

CEI Building, Room 101

Panelists: Nicole Terez Dutton, Richard Hoffman, Fred Marchant, Jeff Robinson

This improvisational fusion of poets and music is inspired by jazz musicians trading solos. Poets Richard Hoffman, Fred Marchant, Nicole Terez Dutton and saxophonist Jeff Robinson will create a real-time conversation by riffing on one another’s work: The idea of the jam is simply that each poet reads a poem from one of their books in response to one just read by one of the others, for several rounds, with the saxophone taking its turn as well. We will continue to play off one another, sometimes matching — or extending, or inflecting — the theme, other times following a formal path, leaving some time for feedback from the audience about what they heard.

Accuracy and Authenticity: Pronouns and Their Lenses

CEI Building, Room 201

Panelists: Robbie Gamble, Joan Houlihan, Joy Ladin, Kevin McLellan

Between the rise of gender neutrality and the debates over confessionality, appropriation, and the politics of who we speak as, for, and to, pronouns in poetry have become ever more freighted with meaning.

Are we incorporating the most appropriate personal pronouns in our poems? Do we avoid the use of “we” because of the danger of sounding didactic or not wanting to speak for others? Is there a preponderance of “I” in our poems? Does the “I” have a bombastic effect? Can the “I” be softened? When we use “you” in our poems is it clear if the “you” is a specific you or a general you or a self-reflexive you or you, reader? When we use the third person as the primary subject does the poem veer into prosiness? Does the use of it or “it” create an emotional distance? And does this hinder or help the poem? What if the third person isn’t the primary subject in poem? And how does they, a they, navigate using “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun?

We will address some of these above questions, and likely others too, by closely examining some sample poems. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A.

Writing White: Can We Stay in the Room When We Write About Race?

CEI Building, Room 110

Panelists: Julia Bouwsma, Hope Jordan, Grace Mattern

Claudia Rankine asks, “Can we stay in the room when we talk about race?” Rankine donated the $625,000 she received from the MacArthur Foundation to create the Racial Imaginary Institute. The Institute is dedicated to exploring how America can confront racism, both personal and structural, through art. The Institute’s first focus is to examine whiteness and how we can deconstruct its superiority in American literature. Can we imagine a different future in which literature is truly inclusive and no longer marginalizes writers by race? In this workshop three white women poets will explore how to interrogate complicity with the invisibility of whiteness and demand accountability from oneself and others in writing about race. The panelists will discuss the social implications of their own race and gender and how intersectional identities have influenced their work. Poetry that explicitly engages with racial issues will be discussed, and the panelists will share their own efforts to write about whiteness as a means to create an inclusive construct of what constitutes literary art and poetry.

An Archeology of Women’s Poetry: The Journey of Dis-Mantling

CEI Building, Room 202

Panelists: Maura MacNeil, Maggie Martin

We believe that, as the poet Annie Finch wrote in A Poet’s Craft, “Stories and myths show us new ways to be human.” Through a feminist lens, this collaborative discussion explores concepts of re-claiming creative energy using goddess myth as a guide for the woman writer. During times of great upheaval, such as with the #MeToo movement and the influence of social media, we will speak to the need of ancient myth to serve as a transtemporal guide for the retrieval and re-vision of creative power.

3:00-4:15 – Panels

CEI Building

Workshop Leader Group Reading

CEI Building, Room 101

Panelists: Adrian Blevins, Robert Crawford, Sharon Dolin, Matt Guenette, Jennifer Militello

A reading by workshop leaders Adrian Blevins, Robert Crawford, Sharon Dolin, and Matt Guenette. Introduced by Jennifer Militello.

See What You Miss By Being Dead: The Modern Elegy and the Alternative Landscape of Grief (The Ruth Stone Foundation)

CEI Building, Room 102

Panelists: Dara Wier, Bianca Stone, Ben Pease, Alison Prine

In this panel we will consider the elegy. Beginning the discussion with a nod to the body of Ruth Stone’s work that functions as a lifelong meditation on loss, this panel seeks to explore how the landscape has shifted in the use of this form.

Our Wonderful Weirdness: Bringing Who You Are to the Page

CEI Building, Room, 110

Panelists: Krysten Hill, Fred Marchant, Kyle Potvin, Anton Yakovlev

While poets often incorporate the techniques and ideas of other artists, there is an essential part of every poet’s work that can’t be replicated. It’s the quirky weirdness of the poet’s mind that makes surprising connections and pursues fascinations that only the given writer discerns and feels. Without the idiosyncratic element in each writer’s mind, where would our poetry be? And what good would it do anyone? Could it be that learning how to plumb the unique and perhaps hidden depths of one’s experience is what poetry asks of all of us, reader and writer alike. Or, as John Lennon once said, “It’s weird not to be weird.”

Such a Nasty Woman: Poets Respond with Nasty Verse

CEI Building, Room 201

Panelists: Liz Ahl, DeMisty D. Bellinger, Julie Cyr, Amy Dryanski, Gail Hanlon, Jenna Le

Our future president’s insult was the genesis of a timely and timeless anthology. Poets Grace Bauer and Julie Kane said that poets “respond to language with language, our way of fighting fire with a brighter flame,” and wondered how other women poets felt about this misogynistic name-calling. They sent out a call for “NASTY WOMEN POETS TO COME TO THE AID OF THEIR COUNTRY.” Hundreds of women submitted poems covering topics from role models, to growing up, from love and sex to mythology, from work to politics, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017) was born. Like the anthology, this panel will bear witness to how women poets’ writing has changed since the election. This panel is comprised of New England poets who have poems in this anthology. We will read our poems from the Nasty Women Poets, read some new and relevant work, and discuss how the election has affected our writing.

Room 222: Boston University Poets & the Lineage of the Confessional Poem

CEI Building, Room 202

Panelists: Rachel DeWoskin, Kirun Kapur, Jacob Strautmann, Frederick Speers

Over the decades, many generations of poets have taught and learned in Room 222 of 236 Bay State Road, at Boston University: from Robert Lowell, Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath to Robert Pinsky, Rosanna Warren, and Louise Glück. Our panel of poets and writers, who are also graduates of the BU Creative Writing Program (from the same cohort and class of 2000), will trace the lines of the so-called “confessional” style of poetry, to illuminate its origins in that small writing room all those years ago, as well as explore its various branches and departures through time, through the poetry and poets to grow from BU, while also seeking to answer this overarching question: how has the confessional style evolved, and is it still relevant today?

4:15-5:00 – Wine Reception

Great Room, Simon Center

5:00-6:00 – Headliner Reading

Linda Pastan

Great Room, Simon Center

Linda Pastan grew up in New York City, graduated from Radcliffe College in 1954, and received an MA from Brandeis University. She has published 15 volumes of poetry, most recently Insomnia which won the Towson University Literary Award and A Dog Runs Through It. Two of her books have been finalists for the National Book Award, one for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She taught for several years at American University and was on the staff of the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference for 20 years. She is a past Poet Laureate of Maryland. Pastan has won numerous awards, including The Radcliffe Distinguished Alumni Award and The Maurice English Award. In 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. Pastan lives with her husband in Maryland. They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.