Author Archives: Jen Payne

Guilford Poets Guild, Madison Lyric Stage, Skunk Misery Ramblers, FOCUS Teen Improv Among Performers Selected for Festival

Press Release From The Guilford Performing Arts Festival

The Guilford Performing Arts Festival has announced its first wave of 38 performers for the 2019 festival. A full schedule of 50 to 60 acts should be in place in August.

The roster to date includes concerts by 24 musical artists; seven performances, readings and other events in drama, storytelling, poetry, literature and history; three dance performances; and interactive programs that include theater improv, a drum circle, musicians’ jam, and mind reading.

All of these events will be free to the public and will be held between Thursday, Sept. 26 to Sunday, Sept. 29 at more than a dozen venues on and around the Guilford Green and various other sites in town.

Artists committed to the festival so far include:

• Music: The Argyle Sax Quartet, Bassless Trio, Cherry Pie, Laura Clapp, the Derek Grippo Project, Driving Route 9, Duo Beltenstrum, Joe Flood, the Hagner-McKay Nonet, Living with Robots, Jim Paradis, the John Spignesi Band, The Racket Downstairs, River Run, Phil Rosenthal and the Guilford Ramblers, Seat of Our Pants, Steve Shelton, Suzanne Sheridan, the Skunk Misery Ramblers, String of Pearls Big Band, Tuxedo Junction Big Band, Wild Maple, and Youth XL will be joined by Noah Baerman and Friends, winner of the first Guilford Performing Arts Festival Artists’ Award in music.

• Drama/spoken word: Dennis Culliton, the Guilford Poets Guild, Dolores Hayden, Herstory Theater, Madison Lyric Stage, and Just One Sip will be joined by Susan Cinoman, the Artists’ Award winner in drama.

• Dance/movement: Natyamandala, Shoreline Ballet, and The Spot/Guilford Acrobatics.

• Interactive: FOCUS Teen Improv will present improvisational theater, Sarah Prown will organize a musicians’ jam, Peter Hawes will lead a drum circle, and Keith Zalinger will attempt to read festival goers’ minds.

The festival received more than 80 applications from performers throughout the Northeast; a volunteer staff of 12, with expertise in various forms of music, drama, and dance reviewed them and selected the artists for this year’s festival.

GPG Poets Featured in International Anthology

The Guilford Poets Guild is well-represented in Coffee Poems: Reflections on Life with Coffee, a new anthology from World Enough Writers.

Editor Lorraine Healy explains, “Whether central to the poem or sitting on a side table, a mere accessory; whether a prop in an internal conversation with a you absent these 25 years or a desperately needed substance without which there is no facing the day, a cup of coffee inhabits each of these poems…Breathe in the scent and may it keep you awake.”

Coffee Poems contains 167 richly-roasted, verbally aromatic poems by poets from 34 states, 5 provinces, and 12 countries: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Canada, France, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Singapore, Spain, and the United States.

Included among the 139 international poets are GPG members Gwen Gunn (“Cafe Cilantro Haven”), Patricia O’Brien (“Midnight Call”), Jen Payne (“Measuring Water by Sound”), and Ed Walker (“Drifting through Quarters”).

Click here for more information and where to buy copies Coffee Poems.

Songs for A Summer Night featuring Julie Harris

Please be sure to attend “Songs for A Summer Night,” featuring song stylist and GPG member poet Julie Harris, accompanied by guitarist Stephen Roane on Thursday, July 11, 7PM on the patio of the Guilford Free Library. This marks the tenth anniversary of the Duo’s performances at the Library. They had the honor of inaugurating the summer series in 2009!

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. This program is free and open to all.


June 29: Moses Gunn Play Company Fundraiser

GPG members Gwen Gunn and Norman Thomas Marshall have recently created the Moses Gunn Play Company, dedicated to the memory of Moses Gunn. Together, they present staged and concert readings of dramatic and comedic plays for the shoreline community. Original and well-known plays will be presented as well as little known masterpieces.

Featured Poet: Carol Altieri

Carol Leavitt Altieri is retired from teaching English, American literature in New Haven Public Schools. Published five books of poetry and winner of the CT Environmental Award for helping to save the Griswold Airport Property in Madison, CT. She loves hiking, reading and the whole world of nature. She is a member of the Guilford Poets Guild.


Blessed Black Cherry Tree
The black cherry is native found from Maine to Florida. Used by native Americans in spiritual practice. Lakota people harvest its branches to mark the end of ceremonial ground. They use its sticks to hold red flags as a prayer to their ancestors.

I wedged myself within the branches
of a black cherry tree,
glad to be positioned there
next to our red barn.

Once its young bark was smooth, reddish- purple,
now plated, leathery, dark gray.
Silver-green lichen scatters on inner tree.
Saw- edged, gold leaves curl, touch one another,
form a pattern against purple- blue sky.
A delicious legacy and nectar for bees.

A Baltimore Oriole flies out from its basket nest
hanging from a fork of the cherry tree.
It catches a spider, then swoops away.
Dressed in rich plumage of flame orange and black,
a pair sings with rich whistles and chatter.

In spring , clusters of hanging blossoms
droop from the stem like locks of white hair.
Fragrant snow squalls of dropping petals
fall when they must.

When I return, I hope you’re still standing
there in your rightful place,
never to be hewn down.


Cedars of Lebanon

Here where mountaintops snare clouds floating
in from the Mediterranean ,we saunter
through the cathedral arched forests
of cedars. Once vast, used for temples and palaces
across Assyria, Persia, Egypt ,Greece and Lebanon.
They enhanced the territory of the Bible
where Jesus revealed himself to his followers.

Enormous trees seem as high as the Cliffs of Babylon
spill light through tracery of limbs.
Some stand alone with distinctive shapes,
others insinuate themselves into relations
with neighbors offering their majesty and homage.
Lines of solid branches crosshatch trunks
send roots into craggy limestone.

Branches in tiers sway in the wind.
Oval blue-green cones break open, scatter seeds.
Fragrant with balsam perfumed resin,
cedar trees intertwine with history of 10,000 years.

Now they must migrate up the mountains
chasing the cold winters
to escape warming, the conflicts of war lords
and colonizers.

Emissaries of the parade of civilizations
and what we owe them, Cedars of Lebanon
tremble. They have seen the past. Will
they see the future?


A Titanic Colony

In our cow pasture
amoebas exude through
New Hampshire soil
clonal, single-celled,
a vast and slippery empire,
40 feet across and genetically
identical.
A giant organized colony
spread by cows in muck.

A billion strong, they
cooperate and coordinate,
reproduce
by shuttling cell parts around
and assisting each other
in dirt and dung.

Scientists say they are persistent
living everywhere underfoot
nurturing life and death
feeding elements on
Earth, never running off
the land, faithful to their place.

Shouldn’t we worship
the ground we walk on,
instead of mocking
and blacktopping it over?

Patricia Horn O’Brien at Acton Public Library

Thursday June 13, 2019
6:00 PM to 7:30 PM
Acton Public Library
60 Old Boston Post Rd, Old Saybrook

On Mother’s Day of 2017 Richard Manders, asked his mother, GPG poet Pat O’Brien, if she’d like to collaborate with him in writing a book about their journey through adoption, separation, reunion, and the years that followed. Thanks to that invitation, the book, The Laughing Rabbit: A Mother, A Son, And the Ties that Bind was written. Through its collection of chapters, by Richard and his mother, Pat, along with chapters by other family members, the book narrates a story that started in 1962 with chaos and heartache, a story that turned a momentous corner in 1982 with a reunion, and a story that continues today, with love and healing and ongoing wonder. Books will be available for purchase.

Free and open to all.

Click here for more information. Registration is suggested as seating is limited and is available one month prior to the event.

Moses Gunn Play Company: Two One-Act Comedies

Readings of Two One-Act Comedies Adapted from Anton Chekhov Plays

The Moses Gunn Play Company will present play readings of two one-act comedies, based on plays by Anton Chekhov, on Saturday, June 1, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park St., Guilford.

Veteran Broadway actor Norman Allen is a guest artist for this performance, joining actor Norman Thomas Marshall who also adapted the Chekhov works – “The Harm of Tobacco” and “Swan Song.”

Together they bring the plays to life in this “theatre of the imagination,” which frees the audience to create each play in their minds, without relying on costumes, scenery, props and the like.

Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.

GPG members Gwen Gunn and Norman Thomas Marshall have recently created the Moses Gunn Play Company, dedicated to the memory of Moses Gunn. Together, they present staged and concert readings of dramatic and comedic plays for the shoreline community. Original and well-known plays will be presented as well as little known masterpieces.