New Poetry Zine by GPG Member Jen Payne

Part artist book, part chapbook, MANIFEST (zine) is the creation of Guilford Poets Guild member Jen Payne. Consider it a hold-in-your-hands art installation featuring Jen’s writing and mixed-media collage work, along with photography, quotes, and bits and pieces of whatnot that rise to the surface as she meditates on a theme.

Layered with colors, textures, and meanings, each issue is handmade then color-copied, embellished, and intricately folded. The result is a thought-full, tactile journey with nooks and crannies for you to discover along the way.

Issue #1, DIVINE INTERVENTION asks the reader to consider the catalysts and consequences of Change: What are the forces that move us? Change us? Propel us with such acceleration that we hardly recognize ourselves?

CLICK HERE to learn more, or just…

July 2020
Divine Intervention

Annual, 2020
2 issues

2 issues, 2020
plus a special gift

Processed through Words by Jen

Ekphrastic May: Poems from Home

Stuck at home during COVID-19, members of the Guilford Poets Guild recently engaged in an ekphrastic exercise of writing poems inspired by works of art in their own homes. Similar to seeing rooms on Zoom, these poems offer a unique and intimate glimpse into the lives of these local poets.

Ekphrastic poetry is a response to a visual work of art, often a vivid, dramatic work that takes a painting, sculpture, or other artwork as its inspiration.

In June, GPG poets will be writing about COVID-19, and their reflections on the pandemic. Stay tuned!


Shelter in Poems

For National Poetry Month this year, the Academy of American Poets asked its readers to share a poem that helps to find courage, solace, and actionable energy. Here is a selection of poems that were chosen from

The Days to Come” by Medora C. Addison
Alone” by Maya Angelou
The 19th Amendment & My Mama” by Mahogany L. Browne
Again a Solstice” by Jennifer Chang
Blessing the Boats” by Lucille Clifton
Manhattan is a Lenape Word” by Natalie Diaz
Hope is the thing with feathers (254)” by Emily Dickinson
The Changing Light” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Migration” by Jenny George
This Bridge Across” by Christopher Gilbert
Consider the Hands that Write This Letter” by Aracelis Girmay
Invictus” by William Ernest Henley
Let Evening Come” by Jane Kenyon
The Conditional” by Ada Limón
Thanks” by W. S. Merwin
Shedding Skin” by Harryette Mullen
Octopus Empire” by Marilyn Nelson
The Bronze Legacy” by Effie Lee Newsome
Gate A-4” by Naomi Shihab Nye
Shaking Hands” by Pádraig Ó Tuama
The Psychic” by Victoria Redel
Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich
Patience” by Kay Ryan
Everyone Sang” by Siegfried Sassoon
Spring Morning” by Marion Strobel
Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas
Danse Russe” by William Carlos Williams

You can share your suggestions with by using the hashtag #ShelterInPoems on your social media or by writing to them at Whether you’re writing in or tagging to them on twitter, facebook, or instagram, will select some of your responses to feature on the Shelter in Poems page.


April is NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month. It’s an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem every day in the month of April.

NaPoWriMo was conceive by poet Maureen Thorson and inspired by NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Maureen started writing a poem a day for the month of April back in 2003, posting the poems on her blog. When other people started writing poems for April, and posting them on their own blogs, Maureen linked to them. After a few years, so many people were doing NaPoWriMo that Maureen decided to launch an independent website for the project:

Guilford Poets Guild members Jen Payne and Juliana Harris are writing a poem a day for NaPoWriMo.

“I have never had the discipline to write every day,” says Juliana, who posts her poems on her Facebook page. “I‘m finding the concentration to write a poem a day is a lifesaver in this time of self-isolation.”

“I agree with Julie,” says Jen, who posts poems on her blog. “Writing can be very grounding. It’s nice to sink my toes into the daily practice.”

If writing a poem a day feel daunting, how about reading a Poem-a-Day?

The American Academy of Poets hosts Poem-a-Day, a daily digital poetry series featuring over 250 new, previously unpublished poems by today’s talented poets each year. U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo serves as guest editor for April 2020. Click here to visit Poem-a-Day now.

Poetry in the Movies

There’s a long tradition of films made about poets and their work. What better time than National Poetry Month to gather some friends, watch a poetry-related movie, and perhaps discuss some of the poet’s work after the film?

Try one of the suggestions below for the perfect cinematic event.

Films about Poets and Poetry

A Quiet Passion—Cynthia Nixon portrays Emily Dickinson in this biographical drama, which recounts the poet’s life and features some of her famous verses.

The Basketball Diaries—Based on the autobiography by poet and artist Jim Carroll, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, this film depicts Carroll’s reckless youth and the writing that becomes his means of clarity.

Before Night Falls—Javier Bardem plays Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas in this film, adapted from Arenas’s own memoir.

Bright Star—Ben Whishaw and Abbie Cornish play John Keats and Franny Brawne in this biographical romantic drama about the famous couple, which features several of Keats’s poems and takes its title from one of Keats’s famous love sonnets.

Il Postino—In this 1994 Italian film, a postman develops a relationship with his only customer, famous poet Pablo Neruda, living in exile in Italy, and through Neruda’s poetry, is better able to express his feelings to his love interest.

Kill Your Darlings—This biographical drama, starring Daniel Radcliffe as Allen Ginsberg, Dane DeHaan as Lucien Carr, Ben Foster as William S. Burroughs, and Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac, takes place in the early days of the Beat Movement when a 1944 murder affects the group of young writers.

Piñero—Benjamin Bratt stars in this biopic about Puerto Rican poet-playwright Miguel Piñero, who cofounded the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City.

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle—The Algonquin Round Table comes alive in this film, which features Jennifer Jason Leigh as Dorothy Parker.

Set Fire to the Stars—Elijah Wood stars as poet John M. Brinnin and Celyn Jones stars as Dylan Thomas in this 2014 Welsh film, based on Brinnin’s memoir of the same name.

SylviaThe relationship of Ted Hughes, played by Daniel Craig, and Sylvia Plath, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, is detailed in this film, which begins with the couple’s courtship as young college students.

Tom & Viv—Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson star as T. S. Eliot and Vivienne Haigh-Wood in a film that depicts their tumultuous marriage and Eliot’s literary success.

Total Eclipse—This film captures the turbulent, explosive affair between Parisian poets Paul Verlaine, played by David Thewlis, and Arthur Rimbaud, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Wilde—Based on Richard Ellmann’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the famous poet, novelist, and playwright, Wilde, starring Jennifer Ehle, Vanessa Redgrave, Jude Law, and Stephen Fry as the eponymous writer, recounts Oscar Wilde’s growing realization and acceptance of his sexuality, leading up to his notorious trial and imprisonment.

Films That Reference Poetry

Big Bad LoveA Vietnam vet keen on writing poetry and prose struggles to improve his personal and his writing life in this film, based on the short stories of Mississippi writer Larry Brown. Brown’s own poems, and those of William Carlos Williams, are in the film.

Dead Poets SocietyRobin Williams plays an English teacher in an East Coast boys’ prep school who inspires his students to love poetry, among other life lessons. The film, which popularized the tradition of carpe diem poems, features verse by Frost, Tennyson, and Shakespeare.

Four Weddings and a Funeral—This romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant and Andie Macdowell features a pivotal scene containing W. H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues.”

Henry FoolThis quirky film features Thomas Jay Ryan as Henry Fool, an ex-convict who encourages a friend, James Urbaniak as sanitation worker Simon Grim, to become a poet. His first work attains public notoriety and chaos ensues. Make it a double feature with the film’s sequel, Fay Grim, starring Parker Posey.

HOWLStarring James Franco as Allen Ginsberg, this film largely revolves around the text of Howl, its composition, initial reading, and the public’s reaction. By the movie’s end, nearly the entire poem has been recited.

Paterson—This subtle, meditative film follows the mundane daily life of a bus driver named Paterson, played by Adam Driver, who lives in Paterson, New Jersey, and writes poems about his everyday life. The film features poems by Ron Padgett.

Poetic JusticeJanet Jackson stars as a young woman struggling to find love and meaning in her life. Maya Angelou‘s poems “Alone” and “Phenomenal Woman” appear in the film, as does Angelou herself.

Shakespeare in LoveThis film is a fictional imagining of the endeavors of a young William Shakespeare, played by Joseph Fiennes, and also starring Gwyneth Paltrow as Shakespeare’s love interest, Viola. The dialogue and subject matter is full of allusions to Shakespeare’s work.

SlamPoetry is a means of redemption in this story about a D.C. youth, his incarceration, and his dedication to the spoken word poetry scene upon release. Slam luminaries such as Saul Williams (whose poetry punctuates the film), Taylor Mali, and Bob Holman have cameos.

The Kindergarten Teacher—In this remake of the 2014 Israeli film of the same name, Maggie Gyllenhaal stars as a New York kindergarten teacher who becomes obsessed with one of her students, who appears to be a literary prodigy. The movie features the poetry of Kaveh Akbar and Ocean Vuong.

Reprinted from the Academy of American Poets website.


50 Must-Read Best Poetry Books

According to Book Riot contributor Rebecca Hussey, there are the “50 Must-Read Best Poetry Books.”

Read her full article here

The Best Classic Poetry Books

If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Sappho

The Essential Rumi by Rumi

The Complete Sonnets and Poems by William Shakespeare

John Donne’s Poetry by John Donne

On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho by Basho

Songs of Innocence and Experience by William Blake

Lyrical Ballads by William Wordsworthand Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Selected Poetry by John Keats

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Goblin Market and Other Poems by Christina Rossetti

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

Gerard Manley Hopkins: The Major Works by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The Best Twentieth-Century Poetry Books

Robert Frost’s Poems by Robert Frost

The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rainer Maria Rilke

Selected Poems by William Carlos Williams

Trilogy by H.D. (Hilda Doolittle)

The Poems of Marianne Moore by Marianne Moore

Selected Poems by Anna Akhmatova

The Selected Poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay

100 Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings

The Selected Poems by Federico Garcia Lorca

Selected Poems by Langston Hughes

Selected Poems by W.H. Auden

New and Collected Poems: 1931–2001 by Czeslaw Milosz

Collected Poems by Robert Hayden

The Essential Gwendolyn Brooks by Gwendolyn Brooks

View With a Grain of Sand: Selected Poems by Wislawa Szymborska

Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery

The Complete Poetry by Maya Angelou

Diving Into the Wreck by Adrienne Rich

The Poetry of Derek Walcott, 1948–2013 by Derek Walcott

Ariel by Sylvia Plath

The Collected Poems by Audre Lorde

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver by Mary Oliver

Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966–1996 by Seamus Heaney

The Best Poetry Books by Living Writers

The Wild Iris by Louise Glück

Neon Vernacular: New and Selected Poems by Yusef Komunyakaa

What the Living Do: Poems by Marie Howe

How We Became Human: New and Selected Poems, 1975–2002 by Joy Harjo

Selected Poems by Rita Dove

Given Sugar, Given Salt by Jane Hirshfield

Urban Tumbleweed: Notes From a Tanka Diary by Harryette Mullen

Picture Bride by Cathy Song

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

Monument: Poems New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey

Book of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young

Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

When my Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Díaz

Bestiary: Poems by Donika Kelly


Poet Evelyn Atreya

In celebration of National Poetry Month, members of the Guilford Poets Guild were invited to share their thoughts about poetry and the life of a poet. Here’s what GPG president and poet Evelyn Atreya had to say:

Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
No, but I know that it was my English homework that I wrote in my high school Chemistry class that met right before English. My English teacher praised the poem and read it to the class. Positive feedback is pretty powerful!

What else do you write besides poetry? Do you have other creative pursuits?
I’m big on To-Do Lists that keep me organized so I have time to write poetry. I find just living is a creative pursuit whether it is cooking, gardening or playing Tai Chi.

How long have you been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and what’s that like?
Ten years of sharing

What inspires your writing today?
The natural world and our relationship to it.

Who are you favorite poets and authors?
Jane Kenyon, Mark Doty, Mary Oliver, Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks), and Buson to name just a few

What book are you currently reading? (poetry or not)
The Essential Haiku, Robert Hass
Chances Are… , Richard Russo

Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated during National Poetry Month in April. What’s your favorite poem to carry about or share with others?
“The Summer Day,” Mary Oliver.

Any last words?
Mary Oliver’s question at the end of “The Summer Day” inspires me each morning as I pull up my window shades to ask myself: So what are you going to do with this wild and precious day?

Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean—
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down—
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Evelyn Atreya lives in Guilford where she is a member and past president of the Guilford Poets Guild. She is a member of the Connecticut Poetry Society and attends its Greater New Haven Chapter workshops. Her poems have appeared in Caduceus, Long River Run, San Diego Poetry Annual, Plainsongs, Connecticut River Review, and in a chapbook, Olives, Now and Then, honoring Donald Hall on his 83rd birthday. Her first book, Regarding Rock, was published by Grayson Books in November 2015. Evelyn also is involved in the Guilford community as an active member of both the Guilford Rotary Club and the Leete’s Island Garden Club.