Poetry Broadside

Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, Tammi Truax, came up with a really cool project, a Japanese themed poetry broadside contest. A Broadside is generally a sheet of paper 11×17 with a poem and an image.

For this contest, Tammi asked that a poet team up with a visual artist to inspire each other and create the broadside together. I challenged my friend John-Michael Albert to come up with a poem that I could work with visually. He sent me almost twenty to choose from in the Japanese tanka form. But it was his poem about the crows and the question he asks that grabbed me.

In Japan the crow is both messenger of God and a bad omen. In Greek mythology, Apollo, the God of poetry and plagues sent a crow to spy on Coronis. Alberts poem captured all this mystery and intrigue about the crow for me. And being in the middle of the pandemic, the question that the poem asks feels especially appropriate as we learn the hard way that we are not the most powerful force in this world.

Another important aspect of the contest is that it brings attention to and celebrates Asian culture in a time when Asian Americans are experiencing new levels of prejudice and violence.

All the other entries for the contest can be viewed here on the PPLP website

I’m happy to say that our Broadside won the contest judged by poet and translator Patrick Donnelly This is what Donnelly had to say about our broadside

“I loved so many things about this broadside: the handmade feel of the whole production, and the integration of art and poetry, the dynamism of the artwork, and the surprise of scale in which an assertive crow surmounts the planet itself; the charming metaphors of the poem which evoke sound, sight, and even taste, and its skillful syllabics—of course, a gesture towards the ubiquitous syllable-counting of traditional Japanese poetry; the witty allusion to the inkan, the red mark of the artist’s stamp, with which Nelson and Albert sign their work; and the fact that the poem ends with questions, wondering whether crows or people are the rightful owners the world. The poem itself is, “smart, hungry, and curious”, which are extremely valuable qualities in making art.” Patrick Donnelly

Covid Spring

I’m really excited and honored to be included in Covid Spring,
an anthology of Covid pandemic themed poems
by New Hampshire poets from New Hampshire State poet laureate Alexandria Peary and published by Hobblebush Books.

“Fifty-four of the state’s poets are represented in this anthology, writing of job loss, loneliness and love, masks, social distancing, surreal visitors, uncertainty, graduations deferred, grief, neighborly and less-than-neighborly acts, observing the beginning of the pandemic and making projections about the future, recalibrating or confirming what it means to be human, to be a resident of this region. In a remarkable range of poetic form and style, these writers provide a thirty-day snapshot of what life was like in the Granite State in April of 2020.” NH State Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary

Below is my contribution to Covid Spring which can be purchased from Hobblebush Books

Coronalove

A corona is a halo of light:
ring of fire of solar explosions,
aura of a holy person,
steady burn of the only love we’ve ever known.

Quarantine is a lazy pattern
of slowly bouncing off the walls.
Now, I would trade a lifetime of hug-less safety
for one warm deadly embrace.

The virus erases all borders.
No wall can mitigate its migration.
Segregated just out of reach by six feet of air.
Confined to the cages of our own homes.

There’s no change without pressure.
As the crushing gravitational fusion of hydrogen lights our star
so does the gravity of our situation break our hearts
to forge some new element.

We can’t go back to the way it was.
That was the path that led us here.
Cleaner air and water around the world
shows us an answer we’ve been looking for.

The drama, thriller, horror, comedy of this moment
can’t be watched from the couch.
Re-enter the wild world, rubbing our eyes in the sun
like newborn bees emerging from the honeycomb.

The nurse and the grocery clerk are all of us.
Despite their masks, I see them more clearly:
the corona glow around their holy heads;
the steady burn of the only love that’s ever mattered.

Mike Nelson

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 tribepoetryproject@gmail.com. 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.