Author Archives: Jen Payne

Poet Margaret Gibson Featured at Guilford Poets Guild April Reading

 

The Guilford Poets Guild welcomes poet and author Margaret Gibson for its April Second Thursday poetry reading to be held on Thursday, April 11 from 6:30-8:30 pm  at the Guilford Free Library.

Gibson, a featured poet at the 2018 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival in Farmington, is the author of 13 books of poetry and prose, including Not Hearing the Wood Thrush (LSU Press, 2018) and Broken Cup (LSU, 2014). She has received numerous honors, including the Lamont Selection, Connecticut Book Award, and Melville Kane Award. Her collection The Vigil was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry. Gibson is a resident of Preston, Connecticut.

Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic which is open to accomplished and aspiring poets of all ages wishing to present one original composition to a live audience. Refreshments will be served after the reading, and Gibson’s books will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. This program is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served. Please register by phone, in person, or online (203) 453-8282, guilfordfreelibrary.org.

Read Poems from GPG Event at Guilford Art Center

On Sunday, March 3, the Guilford Art Center hosted the Guilford Poets Guild for a reading of poems inspired by the 2019 Faculty Exhibit. Here is a sampling of poems and images.


The Mettle of Petals
Dan Goldberg
First Impression, Julia Rogoff

We look upon flowers as beautiful things,
The prom corsage, the wedding bouquet,
One dozen red blossoms on Valentine’s Day;
And even when someone passes away,
As a sign of love, respect, and honor,
A stately and somber floral display.

Red, white, and yellow are painted the flowers;
Blue, pink, and purple to pass by the hours.

Lily and lilac, gardenia and rose,
Honeysuckle and hyacinth, are two more I suppose;
Caressing the air, so fragrant and sweet,
Elixir of love, perfume for the nose.

And what of these flowers that delight us for hours,
Showering us over with sight and with scent;
What is their reason, their purpose for being,
With petals so wondrous and magnificent.

The flowers bloom only to pass on their species,
Not for the pleasure of what he or what she sees.


Quiet Contemplation
Dan Goldberg
Centering, Marcy LaBella

The girl with the golden hair
Stares pensively ahead,
With eyes that could penetrate
The deepest blue ocean;
Hands, gentle and expressive,
Lie tender and relaxed,
Red lips, mysterious and beguiling,
Not quite frowning, not quite smiling.

I dare not disturb
Your quiet contemplation;
You look too wrapped up in thoughts
Profound, distant and deep,
Which drift like tumbleweed,
Or milkweed tufts upon the wind.

Are you glancing at your lover’s eyes
In the eternal longing for human embrace,
Your golden hair glistening,
As radiant as summer’s sultry sun,
Your face so soft, so warm, kind and strong.

I hope you have not had much pain,
Nor loneliness, nor sorrow,
Nor feel as blue
As the flowers that surround you,
New worlds await tomorrow.


Say Goodnight, Gracie
Juliana Harris
Say Goodnight, Gracie, Dolph LeMoult

No, no…not Gracie
Hedy
radiant star of the silver screen
who enchanted Pepe LeMoko
and beguiled Samson out of his locks.

Not only the most beautiful,
a scientific genius as well.
Her invention could have
helped us win World War II

Hedy Lamarr

Whatta gal!


Art History
Jane Muir
Yellow Lily, Christa Lorusso

Let’s start with history
Gaul is divided into three parts
And so is this piece of art
Base of stone
Stem of copper
Flower of glass.

The stone, itself a map of history,
Came from maybe Manitoba or even Hartford
Somewhere north of here,
Scoured, shoved, dragged forward by a growing a sheet
Abraded, smoothed cut down to size
Ground down, made round
And finally found, millennium later
On the northern shore of Long Island Sound.

This copper stem
Is of a later time
Not the Ice or Stone Ages
But the Bronze Age, ushered in with
Copper mixed with tin.

And here we have an even later time
A flower, a lily, made of glass.
Glass from the very sand where the stone base lay
Melted sand turn to magic, glass.
A modern day miracle, millennia in the making.


For Want of a Bowl Garden
Jen Payne
Bowl Garden, Linda Edwards

Ah, this.
Yes. This is what I need.
A garden of bowls!

Small enough just
to hold the pieces of stories
I hunger to tell you.
The rhythms and rhymes,
etched in fine detail,
their mark-made patterns
like notes to self:
the whats to remember,
the whos and wheres
to scoop from delicate vessels.
Yessss.
These patinaed memories,
complete and incomplete —

holy, one might say —

swaying like blossoms,
await the bee and me
to drink their sweet nectar,
propagate prose or poems.

Yes this, this is what I need.

Thank you!


Haiku for Wall Platter
Elizabeth Possidente
Wall Platter, Robert Parrot

You see where I am
When I sit still I will sing
A faraway place

Where I am flying
A flourish of gold dances
No hurry wind comes

I see in your eyes
Wisdom of soft fluidity
Reflections of joy


Dancing Scared
Elizabeth Possidente
Incarcerated Scarfaces, Jason Gerace

When first I saw this stoneware piece I looked away
I envisioned pain anger stubborn disarray

I saw a vessel shaped of traditional mold
like a Greek amphora but the difference is bold
This feminine shape by tradition to hold
is contoured thus but fractious and cold

A worrisome grid has been torn at the sides
I fear cries of despair release from inside

See meticulously carved out bars and seams
haunting though on the surface the shape of joy gleams

No more the nurturing of life death and rebirth
this vessel reflects today’s current of life and its girth

How migrants and those of color are thrown in the grid
And scarred by our thoughts our actions our bid.

Though I cannot fathom her colorful moves
I see the amphora like vessel as a goddess who grooves
She dances rhythmic and writhing smooth
She spins her discord in a dance to soothe

************

“I celebrate color, your color, mine
I celebrate origins and all of them shine
I am scarred by my life imperfect at best
I am skidding and sliding There is no rest

I am a house without walls my edges undefined
Impassioned graffiti! Who can follow their lines!
These laws and byways mix me up
I look for answers for water I have no cup

A crisis of credibility. A crisis of systems
A crisis of almighty catechisms
A crisis of stability and prediction
A crisis of comfort and position

I hear so many lies truth tongue-tied
Words velvet-lined and sanitized
Sounds of violence pierce the air
Words that shame No shaming will heal or repair!

I celebrate color, your color, mine
I celebrate origins and all of them shine
I am scarred by my life, imperfect at best
I am skidding and sliding! There is no rest!

Thrill in your dance but never be mean
Dance from your heart and dare to be seen

Look at me now! how I am spinning!
I am flying, all arms and legs, and winning!
A face scarred behind bars but I am me, all me all me all me!
And in this crowd of color I am free. Yes free! Yes free! Yes free!”


Town Jewels
Ed Walker
Town Jewels, Lisa Wolkow

1

learn this way
they said, on amorphous curves
excavate the hard questions
then gauge the stuff of substance
formed with crown transparent,
then beyond that

2

peering through unnatural
forever city pavement,
I young, our tiny fenced yard,
shaded, rocky

we slinked through slender alleys
with fragile balls, barrels of cats,
number two pencils

and a non-crystalline barge
to get here scribbling
about towers adorned in highbrow,
thoughtful


Miss Matisse
Gordy Whiteman
Miss Matisse, Anita Griffith

She sends forth a steamy coo –
“Mon pere, my father, made me
What I am – what you see –
A picture of pleasure – n’est-ce pas?

My lips are – que’st-ce que c’est?
What is it in English? – Alluring?
Heart-shaped – waiting for romance.
Inviting your kiss, si’l vous plait.

Mon pere says what he dreams of
Is an art that is pure and calm –
An art for not only the intellectual,
Not just the business man or the writer,

But for everyman to become a hedonist
For the moment – to just look at me
Without wondering if some deep message
Might be hidden behind my black eyelashes.

Come to me, mon ami, pick me up,
Pour me, take me to your lips.
No, you will not need sugar,
I am sweet enough. Relax. Drink me in.”


A Lily for Gertrude
(in remembrance of Gertrude Talmadge)
Gordy Whiteman
Yellow Lily, Christa Lorusso

At ninety-two she has given up
On the out-of-doors – sits at
Her kitchen table with a window view
Of the white clapboards on the side of

Our house across the way.
So we have planted a rhododendron
And an azalea to brighten
Her springtime hours but come

Early June the scene will lack color.
Day lilies and tiger lilies not yet in bloom –
No show ‘til July. Our rose bush –
The clerk at the nursery blushed

When we asked its name –
“Passionate Kisses” – has been
Slow to pucker up. The lilac’s sweet smell
Has wafted away on the late May air.

What to do to bring color for Gertrude
Beyond the green grass with its dandelion
Threat sprouting here and there.
I need a perennial with flair.

I need a Christa Lorusso creation.
Kiln-formed glass and copper –
Yellow – burnt umber freckles –
A bulb as big as an elephant’s heart –

A show-stopper to ameliorate
The slow hours of later years.
I’ll plant this yellow lily to coax Gert’s smile.
A yellow lily that will stay awhile –

At least ‘til the zinnias –
Boisterous, bouncing beauties
At least – ‘til the zinnias, Gertrude –
The yellow lily – the zinnias…

Guilford Poets Guild Welcomes RATTLE Poetry Prize Winner Rayon Lennon

The Guilford Poets Guild is pleased to welcome poet Rayon Lennon for its March Second Thursday poetry reading to be held on Thursday, March 14 at the Guilford Free Library, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Rayon Lennon was born in rural Jamaica; he moved to New Haven County when he was 13. He currently resides in New Haven. He holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from Southern Connecticut State University. He holds a master’s degree in Social Work and works as an Adolescent Psychotherapist. His work has been published widely in various literary magazines, including, The Main Street Rag, StepAway Magazine, Folio, The Connecticut River Review, The African American Review, Noctua Review, Indianapolis Review, The Connecticut Review, Callaloo, and Rattle. His poems have won numerous poetry awards, including the ($10,000) 2017 Rattle Poetry Prize contest for his poem “Heard” (the poem was chosen out of 15,000 contest entries and nominated for a Pushcart Prize); His poem, “Heaven Tree,” was nominated for Best of the Net by the Indianapolis Review in 2018. He won the Folio Poetry Contest for three consecutive years—2007, 2008, and 2009. He won the Noctua Review Poetry Contest in 2014 and 2015. He also won Rattle’s Poets Respond contest in 2015. His first book of poems, Barrel Children, was released in March 2016, by Main Street Rag Publishing Company. Barrel Children was a finalist for the 2017 Connecticut Book Award for best poetry book. Rayon is close to completing his new poetry book — Homeless at Home; he is also working on a verse novel — Four Paths.

Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic which is open to accomplished and aspiring poets of all ages wishing to present one original composition to a live audience.

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. This program is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served. Please register by phone, in person, or online (203) 453-8282, guilfordfreelibrary.org.

Guilford Poets Guild Poetry Reading in Conjunction with Guilford Art Center’s Faculty Exhibit

Sunday, March 3, 2:00-4:00pm at Guilford Art Center Gallery

Join members of the Guilford Poets Guild as they present original poems inspired by selected works of art in Guilford Art Center’s 2019 Faculty Exhibition. The reading will take place Sunday, March 3 from 2:00-4:00pm, and is free and open to the public. (Snow date, Sunday, March 10)

Ekphrastic poetry takes a painting, sculpture, or other artwork as its inspiration. For this event, members of the GPG will read their poems in response to selected art that is part of GAC’s Faculty Exhibition, which includes works in a wide variety of media by its teaching artists. This interdisciplinary celebration of art should bring a fascinating perspective to the works on view.

Guilford Art Center’s Faculty Exhibition is on view February 1-March 10, with an opening reception on Friday, February 1, 5-7pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public. GAC is located at 411 Church Street in Guilford. For more information, visit www.guilfordartcenter.org.

Will There Be Music? A New Book by GPG Poet Sharon Olson

Will There Be Music?
poems by Sharon Olson

In Sharon Olson’s book Will There Be Music? the poet employs a sharp eye to illuminate scenes from a fifties childhood, and during her journey seeks testimony from an array of disparate voices: a Swedish grandmother, a band of prostitutes, a waitress in a Fellini film. Her investigations into the lives of artists and writers, among them John Sloan, Emil Nolde, Sartre and Stendhal, unfold with lyric intensity, deepening and darkening her report from an America where “gun cases beckon,” an earth that “would never be scrubbed clean.”

Cincinnati, Ohio, Cherry Grove Collections, 2019

ISBN: 978-1625493026, 106 pages, $19.00
Order from Amazon, from Barnes and Noble, or from your local bookseller


The loose ends of lives and generations are expertly bundled in these alert, meditative poems. Part of a poet’s task is to catch the resonances of time and Sharon Olson has done that. —Baron Wormser

‘Will there be music?’ asks the poet in her title poem. This collection definitively answers that question: we cannot live without it. —Fred Marchant


Sharon Olson is a retired librarian, a Stanford graduate, with an M.L.S. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. Her chapbook Clouds Brushed in Later (1987) won the Abby Niebauer Memorial Chapbook Award. A previous full-length book of poems, The Long Night of Flying, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. She has published (with co-author Chris Schopfer) numerous articles about the Sandford family of New Jersey in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. After retiring from the Palo Alto City Library she and her husband moved initially to Guilford, Connecticut, and presently live in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She is a member of Cool Women, a poetry performance ensemble based in Princeton, New Jersey. See author’s blog at slopoet.blogspot.com.

A Celebration of the Poetry of Charlotte Currier

Presented by the Guilford Poets Guild, in collaboration with the Friends of the Library

The Guilford Poets Guild, in collaboration with the Friends of the Library, presents A Celebration of the Poetry of Charlotte Currier. This special Valentine’s Day Second Thursday poetry reading will be held on Thursday, February 14 at the Guilford Free Library, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Charlotte Currier was an early member of the Guilford Poets Guild and a long-time participant in organizing the poetry book sales for the Friends of the Library. She published three books of her work, Shadow and Light: A Retrospective (2008), Poem Box (1993) and Presences (1977), and her poems appeared in numerous publications including Poetry Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, and the Southern Review. Charlotte was a greatly admired teacher of poetry at Wesleyan University before her death two years ago. Students, friends, and associates are encouraged to come and read aloud a poem from her books of published poetry which we will have on display at this event.

Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic which is open to accomplished and aspiring poets of all ages wishing to present one original composition to a live audience.

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. This program is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served. Please register by phone, in person, or online (203) 453-8282, guilfordfreelibrary.org.

Poetry at Florence Griswold: Jac Lahav

Poetry at Florence Griswold
Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m.
Great Americans: Portraits by Jac Lahav

What do Benjamin Franklin, Oprah Winfrey, and Albert Einstein have in common? Each is represented in the exhibition The Great Americans: Portraits by Jac Lahav, on view at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Connecticut, February 9 through May 12, 2019. Organized by the artist and the Museum’s Curator Amy Kurtz Lansing, the 30+, larger-than-life works explore the ideas of who we consider “great” and the cultural underpinnings of our perceptions (whether fact or fiction). Lahav’s nearly seven-foot-tall images of famous figures are layered with references to history, lore, and imagery that have shaped our understanding of that person. Through his cheeky, psychologically complex treatment of iconic figures from politicians to celebrities, Lahav explores the nature of cultural identity, pushing us to contemplate the very notion of “greatness” among American historical figures and exploring the concept of fame itself. Lahav created several new works for his series to reflect the evolving canon of American heroes.

Poets from CT. River Poets, Guilford Poets Guild, and students from the Old Saybrook Creative Writing Class will be presenting the poems they’ve written in response to works in the Jac Lahav’s exhibition. Please join them on Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m. at the Florence Griswold Museum. The program is included with admission to the museum. Light refreshments will be served. Please call the museum with questions: 860-434-5542.