Category Archives: Poetry

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.


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?

Guilford High School Poetry Contest Winners

Each year, as part of National Poetry Month, the Guilford Poets Guild sponsors the Guilford High School Poetry Contest. This year’s winners, selected from more than 70 entries, were (from left to right) Lauren Mitzelfelt (third place), Julia Rubbo (Gordy Whiteman Prize), Ella Stanley (Second Place), Christopher H. DeNegre (runner-up), and Shayla Flynn (runner-up). First place winner Meredith Bloss is not pictured. In addition to receiving cash prizes, framed certificates, and books of poetry, the student poets were invited to read their winning poems at the Guild’s Second Thursday Poetry Reading on May 9 at the Guilford Free Library.

GPG Hosts Sharon Olson, Author of Will There Be Music?

 

The Guilford Poets Guild is pleased to host member Sharon Olson for an afternoon of poetry on Saturday, April 27 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Guilford Free Library. She will read from her new book of poetry, Will There Be Music?

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. Her second book Will There Be Music? was published by Cherry Grove Collections in early 2019. 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. She has also been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild since 2008.

Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic. Refreshments will be served after the reading, and Olson’s books will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

The Guilford Poets Guild, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is a group of poets from Guilford and the shoreline area who meet regularly to share poems and promote a general appreciation of poetry in the community. Throughout the year the GPG hosts a number of poetry readings including its popular Second Thursday Poetry Series, a Holiday Roundtable, the Guilford High School Poetry Contest, and coordinates poetry/art events with the Madison Art Society and the Florence Griswold Museum. Watch for its 20th Anniversary Anthology being published later this year.

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. Please register by phone (203-453-8282), online (guilfordfreelibrary.org) or in person. For more information about the Guilford Poets Guild, visit guilfordpoetsguild.org.

April 11: Connecticut Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson

 

The Guilford Poets Guild is honored to welcome Connecticut’s new Poet Laureate 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, just announced as CT Poet Laureate, was 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.