Lunation: A Good Fat Anthology of 114 Women Poets

photo by Crystal Paradis

The release event for Lunation in South Church  on International Women’s Day was amazing. We heard from eighteen poets from the book as well as local songwriting duo River Sister and the books sponsor Feminist Oasis

I believe that women are taking over the world and I want to help them do it. Because men can’t just stand by and watch women fight for equality and women’s rights and a better world. Because the problems that men have created will not be solved by men.

Some might say, that’s a lot to put on a book of poetry, but I don’t think so. Because there’s a revolution going on and poetry has always been part of the revolution. Poetry provides the very personal individual stories of that revolution. Poetry holds up a magnifying glass to all the granular feelings of the moment and poetry steps back and shows us the big picture. Poetry is the mythology of the moment. 

There is pain and suffering and anger in this book, and there is peace and joy and love; often, all in the same poem. This book is filled with the voices of women as they are in their lives right now. 

Brenna lilly, who’s in the book, in a post about this book and the event said, “WOMEN OWN POETRY – we are the story-tellers, the lineage-keepers, the ones who remember.” And history will remember these storytellers, these lineage keepers, at this moment, this lunation, as they cycle on and on into future.

Another more personal reason I wanted to make this book and do this event, I need to show my 16-year-old son, this is how you behave, this is how you listen, this is how you can participate in the revolution for a better world.

All my life, my best friends, my heroes, the ones that have taught me the most, have been women. And every one of the women in this book have become my friends and heroes and teachers as well, and I feel so lucky and grateful for that

Thank you Lauren WB Vermette for the title of the book. Thank you Taylore Dawn Kelly for allowing her incredible artwork to be on the cover. Thank you Crystal Paradis and her organization Feminist Oasis for putting her stamp of approval on this book and being its sponsor. And thank you Wendy Cannella for editing this book with me, for the beautiful foreword, and for putting up with me throughout the process. I had many insecure questions about how to put this book together. Some stuff she talked me into, some stuff she talked me out of. Nothing was done without her input. It would not be what it is without her. 

Also, thank you to the Portsmouth poet laureate program for supporting this project in every way including monetarily.

And thank you, most of all, to every woman in the book for trusting me and being a part of Lunation. 

You can purchase a copy of the book at Book and Bar in Portsmouth, NH or online at Senile Monk Press. The book is 14 dollars, which includes shipping, and don’t forget to leave your address. Lunation is part of the not-for-profit  Good Fat series of poetry publications and all money from the sale of the book goes to the PPLP to pay for the cost of production and printing and for future community building projects. 


Lunation: A Good Fat Anthology of 114 Women Poets and Book Release Celebration

Celebrate International Women’s Day with the Book Release of Lunation: A Good Fat Anthology of 114 Women Poets. Lunation is an epic gathering of women poets from the seacoast and beyond in one fierce and fiery publication six months in the making and culminating with a free and open to the public book release at South Church Portsmouth.

Along with readings of poems from the book by the poets who wrote them, amazing local band River Sister will be there as well as our incredible sponsor Feminist Oasis as part of the celebration. Books are free for the poets in the book and on sale to the public for 10 dollars.

The incredible artwork on the cover is by the brilliant Taylore Dawn Kelly

It’s more important than ever to listen to women and I’m so humbled and excited to release Lunation. Let’s fill South Church on March 8th with a community of love and support to revel in the voices of women and get inspired to create and take action. See you there!

Lunation, edited and assembled with help from Wendy Cannella, is my last project as Portsmouth poet laureate and is being published under The Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program and my label Senile Monk Press. Lunation is a not for profit community project and any money made from the public sale of the book goes back to the PPLP to cover printing costs and costs associated with the event. Any money left over after that is kept by the PPLP for future community building projects.

AND here are all the amazing women in the book!: Alice B. Fogel, Alice Lee Timmins, Alice Radin, Alicia Fisher, Alison Frisella, Alison Harville, Allie Fitzgerald, Amanda Giles, Angela Whiting, Ann Diller, Anne Mikusinski, Ayanna Gallant, Barbara Bald, Belle Ritzo, Beth Fox, Brenna Lilly, Briana Fischella, Cara Losier Chanoine, Carand Burnet, Carla Desrosiers, Carolyn Krieter-Foronda, Cate Dixson, Charlotte Cox, Chelsea Paolini, Cheryl Lang, Christine Kelly, Claire Ann Garand, Cleone T. Graham, Crystal Paradis, Elizabeth Carmer, Elizabeth Knies, Ella McGrail, Elly Guzikowski, Elsbeth Willis, Elyse Gallo, Erica Sousa, Felicia Nadel, Genevieve Aichele, Heather Dupont, Heather Tobin, Heidi Therrien, Hollie Hawk, Jaclyn Goddette, Jade Goulet, Jane Kaufmann, Jane Vacante, Jennifer Ryan Onken, Jenna Dion, Jess Waters, Jessica Purdy, Julie A. Dickson, Kate Leigh, Katherine Towler, Kathleen Clancy, Kayla Cash, Kelley White, Kimberly Cloutier Green, Kristen Ringman, L.J. Elitharp, Laila Ruffin, Laura Pope, Lauren WB Vermette, Lee Ann Dalton, Lesley Kimball, Lillian Zagorites, Linda M. Crate, Linda S. Betof, Lindsey Coombs, Liz Ahl, M. Petersen, Maren Tirabassi, Margo Harvey, Marie Harris, Marilynn Carter, Mary Anker, Mary Beth Hines, Mary Lewis Sheehan, Mary Lou Bagley, Marybeth McNamara, Maya Campbell, Maya Williams, Meg Smith, Mercy Carbonell, Mia Isabelle, Mimi White, Minta Ann Carlson, Monica Nagle, MP Kingsbury, Nancy Donovan, Nancy Jean Hill, Nancy Wheaton, Nicole Fortune, Pamela Marks, Patricia Callan, Patricia Frisella, Priscilla Cookson, Rachel Sicari, Regina Merullo, Rena Mosteirin, Rosemary Staples, S Stephanie, S. J. Whitehouse, Samantha Hayford, Sarah Anderson, Sue Repko, Susan LaFortune, Sylvia Olson, Tamara J. Collins, Tammi J.Truax, Taygra Longstaff, Terry Karnan, Theresa Monteiro, Trina Daigle, and Wendy Cannella

Poets in the Park 2018

Another Summer with Poets in the Park comes to a close. Thank you to our poets (clockwise from top left)  Ellie Guzikowski, Lauren WB Vermette, Alice Lee Timmins, Mercy Carbonell, Felicia Nadel, Myles Burr, Chelsea Paolini, Jess Waters, Brenna Lilly, Lillian Zagorites, Ezra Schrader, Matt Jasper, Claire Garand, John-Michael Albert and Nancy Modern.

Thank you Ben Anderson, President of Prescott Park Arts Festival for supporting local artists and sharing the big stage with us.

It was an honor to host this event for eight Thursdays in a row getting the poets and the audiences out of their comfort zones with work representing the LGBTQ experience.  And it was an honor for all of us to represent Seacoast Outright and all the incredible work they do to recognize and support the LGBTQ community on the seacoast.

There’s no Tribe without Intersectionality

I’ve attempted to practice my own values of tribal oneness and love for some time, but I’ve also come to understand those things as vague and useless and another form of privilege without a way to apply them to how I live, work, speak and spend my money and time. Intersectionality is the bridge that’s helping me to continue to remove the blinders of privilege and to define and apply my beliefs to everything I do.

Crystal Paradisrecent article in the Portsmouth Herald evenly and compassionately explains the values of intersectionality as applied to the movement of feminism.  And through her organization Feminist Oasis, she exemplifies those values by showing us how we need to communicate these ideas and put them into practice for a world that works for everyone and not just the privileged.

Read Crystal’s article Feminism is Empty without Intersectionality and Action at Seacoast Online


Good Fat Volume 3!

Good Fat 3 summer edition is out and available at Portsmouth Book and Bar! Another great collection of poets from the seacoast and New England area. But this time there’s a twist. I started receiving submissions from around the country and thought it would be fun to include some of those. So when you read through this issue you’ll see some poets from outside New England sprinkled about.

In this issue we have poems from Amanda Giles, Steph Whitehouse, Laura Pope, John Perrault, Nancy Jean Hill, Alice Lee Timmins, Jeffery Zable, Jaclyn Goddette, Robert Minicucci, Linda Chestney, Adrian Slonaker, Ali Harville, Bill Burtis, Bob Moore, William Doreski, Maren Tirabassi, R. Gerry Fabian, Meg Smith, Dennis C Johnson, Pricilla Cookson, Jonah Hackett, Craig Sipe, Jim Zola, Robert Beveridge, Trina Daigle, Jonathan Neske, Kathleen Clancy, Nancy Donavan, Mark Jackey, John Ferguson, Ann Burghardt, Pat Parnell and two poems from two young women that participated in The Chase Home for Children poetry class.

Thank you Trina Daigle for providing the beautiful artwork on the cover.

Thank you Portsmouth Book and Bar for once again sponsoring the zine and their continued support of this community project.

Thank you Southport Printing Company in Portsmouth for another great print job with a nice non-profit discount.

and thank you Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program for all your support of me and this project as well as twenty years of building community with poetry!

Poets in the Park 2018

Poets In the Park is happening again and this year thanks to the amazing partnership with the Prescott Park Arts Festival the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is getting its Pride on with Seacoast Outright in support of our fantastic LGBTQ+ community.

The following Thursday, June 28 after the Portsmouth PRIDE 2018 and every Thursday after that until August 9th we will have three poets from the LGBTQ+ community read their poems for the audience before the showing of Seussical the Musical at Prescott Park.

We need 21 poets in all who need to prepare 10 minutes or three to four poems each and if you’re interested in participating please email me at Sign up is for members of the LGBTQ+ community only. Thank you and see you all at Poets in the Park!

The Beat Festival thank you’s and fundraiser results

The Beat Festival was amazing! and there are so many people to thank. Thank you to the presenters Jonathan Stoker, Alicia Fisher, Rebecca Allsop, Angela Whiting, Scott Plante, Amanda Whitworth, Shannon St. Pierre, Binod Rai, JerriAnne Boggis, Kristen Ringman, Alice B. Fogel and Catherine Stewart.

Thank you to the musicians Larry Simon, Scott Solsky, Scip Gallant, Mike Barron, Chris Stambaugh, Cynthia Chatis, Frank Laurino, Don Davis and also Michael Zalenski and Josef Crosby.

Thank you, Jason Johnson and Angela Whiting and Binod Rai for lending us your art for the evening.

Thank you to the volunteers Lauren Wb Vermette, Crystal Paradis and Megan Stelzer.

For donations to the raffle Thanks you’s go to Steffanie AntonioPortsmouth Book and BarThe Friendly ToastBull MooseMegan Stelzer of Stelzer Metalworks, Amanda Whitworth and Silver Center for the ArtsThe Hotel PortsmouthThe Music HallAlicia Fisher and Papercut Designs: custom collage artRochester Opera House and the Seacoast Rep.

Thank you Flatbread Portsmouth for feeding our presenters and musicians and thank you The Kitchen NH for feeding our audience.

Thank you, Mike Teixeira, of Deck Presentations for designing the poster.

Thank you 3S Artspace for being awesome and easy to work with.

Thank you to The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation for the generous sponsorship. and Thank you to the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program for supporting me and this event and this amazing community of artists.

In total, we raised 2,514 dollars (838 each) for the International Institute of New EnglandSafe Harbor Recovery Center and The Chase Home for Children. Thank you to almost 200 people that bought tickets and came out to show and participated in the raffle because that’s where all that money came from.

I’m so grateful to this incredible community of artists, organizations and businesses that made The Beat Festival one for the books. Check out the pics mostly taken by Denise Wheeler and a few by Todd Dowey and Crystal Paradis.

To watch Binod Rai, a refugee from Nepal, read his poem that he wrote in the IINE poetry class on stage click here.


Interview with Bill Burtis about the 20th anniversary of the PPLP with Peter Biello

The Bookshelf: Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program Celebrates 20 Years


Bill Burtis, one of the co-chairs of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program board of trustees, stands with a map from former poet laureate Mark DeCarteret’s outreach project.

This weekend, the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program is celebrating 20 years of building community around poetry. It’s considered one of the oldest municipal laureate programs in the country that provides a stipend and support for the laureate. Each laureate launches a project that’s meant to bring poetry into the community. Bill Burtis is the co-chair of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Board of Trustees. He spoke with NHPR’s Peter Biello.

How did the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program come to be?

In the 1990s, there was real fear in the community of Portsmouth that the shipyard was going to be closed. The federal government was thinking of closing it up. The effect on thousands of jobs and the whole community—there was a lot of fear about that.

The Music Hall saw an opportunity to do something unusual and creative in the community. They invited Liz Lerman, an internationally known choreographer and dancer, to come and mount a program to bring the community together to communicate about this. It was a tremendous program. I mean, she literally…she had shipyard workers dancing on the Memorial Bridge and on ships in the harbor.

The key thing was that people who wouldn’t necessarily ordinarily come together and talk did so. And it was out of that that Nancy Moore Hill got this idea for building community through poetry. And that was where the idea for the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program came from.

So 20 years!

Twenty years, yes. 1998, the first Portsmouth Poet Laureate, Esther Buffler, began her project, which was really a compilation of poetry from the Portsmouth area. Since then we’re now up to our 11th Poet Laureate and celebrating 20 years.

What does it take to keep the program going for so long?

It takes a board of trustees who basically kind of—we are trustees, so we’re more like stewards of the process. And every two years, the board calls together a subcommittee that is entirely independent of the board to review applications for the poet laureate. Those applications comprise poems, they also comprise a proposal for a project. Those are reviewed independent of the board and the selection committee presents their candidate to the board and the board basically goes with that. And so then we have the poet laureate every two years and that individual conducts a project. The project is usually mounted in about three or four months. Takes roughly a year to complete. And then there’s kind of a goodbye swansong, if you will, that the poet laureate enjoys after the project has been finished.

As an example of a project, tell us a little bit about this map. Who developed it? How did it further the mission of the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program?

Well, the map shows the hometown locations for some of the hundreds of people who participated in Mark DeCarteret’s Poet Laureate Project, which is called “Wish You Were Where,” in which Mark invited poets to partner with visual artists and visual artists to partner with poets in a postcard project, so the works of art comprised one side of a postcard and the poems comprised the other. And people actually exchanged these postcards by mail and ultimately they were exhibited in a kind of event.

The idea here was that it attracted folks of all kinds—poets, artists. You didn’t have to be a “poet.” But to submit a poem and join with an artist in the project. So it really became a national project and, as I say, they were hundreds of people and postcards.

And the current Poet Laureate, Mike Nelson—what’s he working on? 

Mike has an interesting and unique project where he’s reaching out to populations whose voices aren’t heard very often. He works with young people at risk. He works with people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. He works with refugees and immigrants, classes, workshops, that kind of thing, to bring their poems forward, to help them write those poems and also started a magazine called Good Fat. The second issue is now out and their poems, as well as the poems of others, are featured in there. But his idea really was to recognize that there are these populations in New Hampshire and in Portsmouth that—you know, their voices aren’t heard, and to give them an opportunity to find expression.

Why does a city like Portsmouth need a poet laureate?

I wouldn’t say that Portsmouth needs a poet laureate. But Portsmouth is a center for the arts. Poetry has been strong there for a long time. I moved to New Hampshire in 1975 and one of the first things I became involved in was a regular poetry reading at what was then a little coffee shop on Washington Street. It’s now part of Strawbery Banke. The Conant Coffee House. And we had a poetry reading there every other week.

Having a poet laureate I think kind of coalesces that kind of community, in a way. The projects serve as a catalyst to bring poets together, but also really to bring other members of the community in to witness poetry, to write poetry, to enjoy poetry in a lot of different ways.


The New Hampshire Beat Festival

An array of amazing artists and speakers will be on hand for an event that will be as entertaining as it is enlightening all backed the masters of improvisational music Larry Simon and The Beat Night Band.

The Beat Festival is a culmination of projects, poets, performers and artists that I’ve been involved with the last year and an awareness and fundraising event for the three organizations that I’ve done poetry classes with. All proceeds from ticket sales and raffle will go to Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth for those going through recovery, The Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth for at-risk youth and the International Institute of New England in Manchester helping refugees and immigrants to New Hampshire. Representatives from each of these organizations will on hand to give us some info and inspiration.

Connect with the Beat Festival Facebook event here.

Check out the article about the Festival and some other stuff by Debbie Kane.

See the poster below for more detailed information about all the presenters and performers that will be at the amazing community event and tickets are on sale now at 3S Artspace at this link!

This beautiful poster made for print created by Mike Teixeira of Deck Presentation