(Keeping On) Lady of Spain

LADY OF SPAIN

she seems about to whirl into a dance
this Spanish lady so precisely arrayed

in a pattern of black and white
with a perky red feather in her hat

curved arm and fist resting on a hip
heart-shaped lips in a pursing pout

eyes slightly slanted mysterious
staring back at those studying her

remaining opaque so that no one can tell
if she’s full of tabasco or sweet cream


Poem by Gwen Gunn. Artwork: Flamenco, a pottery pitcher by Anita Griffith

GPG Poet Juliana Harris Writes New Mystery Novel Set in Guilford

Forget 2020, Guilford Poets Guild member and community volunteer Juliana Harris is starting out 2021 with a bang! In February, she won the grand prize in a national writing contest; in March, she was selected as Person of the Week by the Guilford Courier; and now, she’s announced the publication of her new book Murder at the Tavern: A Guilford Mystery. Set against the backdrop of Guilford’s historic Medad Stone Tavern, Murder at the Tavern takes the reader along for an exciting sleuthing adventure.

“The book was inspired by an unexpected encounter I had many years ago with a well-known gentleman from Guilford,” says Harris. “It got me to thinking of a plot for a mystery: what if a person like him was framed for murder? This thought rattled around in my brain for about 35 years until it finally made its way to my word processor!”

The result, as the back cover alludes: The body of a young woman is found brutally beaten in the woods behind the Tavern, and the murder weapon turns out to be the walking stick of 73-year-old Ashley Hamilton Reynolds. Squire, as he is fondly known around his hometown, is the scion of one of Guilford’s oldest and most reputable families. He claims his walking stick had gone missing a few days before the murder. But how can this be proved? And, if he is innocent, who is the real killer?

Harris says she remembers writing her first poem when she was a freshman in high school for a school assignment. The poem went on to win a prize in a statewide contest and she has been writing poems and essays ever since. Her work has appeared in publications across the country and her two novels are available online: The Fork in the Road and Pacific Heights. An award-winning professional actress, she is also a singer/songwriter. She joined forces with guitarist Stephen Roane to form The Harris/Roane Duo in 2008. The Duo has performed concerts across the state and are recording their third CD. Harris receives constant artistic stimulation from her participation in the Guilford Poets Guild, the results of which can be found in the chapbook Portraits, about her family with the help and support of Guild members.

To read Harris’ winning essay “The Great K-10 Race,” and to purchase copies of her books, visit http://www.guilfordpoetsguild.org.

Murder at the Tavern: A Guilford Mystery can be purchased at Breakwater Books, directly from Julie via the Guilford Poets Guild website, or from online retailers.

(Keeping On) I’ll Try To Remember

I’LL TRY TO REMEMBER

When I look at your face there’s something familiar,
I’ve seen you before, I’ll try to remember,
Perhaps it’s your eyes, those long lovely lashes,
Or maybe your lips, rosy red and mysterious.

I’ve waded the waters on tropical islands,
Clear and warm, my feet in soft sand,
Bermuda, Grenada, Barbados, Tobago,
Aruba, Bonaire, Saint Kitts and Nevis,
Antigua, Saint Martin, Saint John, and Saint Lucia;
I thought I saw you there, your mermaid hair
Floating in the ripples of the sunlit sea,
Frolicking over the glistening waves.

At night with my father on the way back from Mattituck,
Just the two of us sailing, homeward bound,
My hand in the water glowed green as lime jello,
The luminous plankton excited and smiling,
Or was it your tail, swishing and splashing?

On Lloyd’s Neck, Long Island, across from Stamford,
Stones, oval and white, my father had gathered,
The remnants of glaciers worn smooth by the waters;
He sailed them to Stamford, and painted on faces,
By the picture window, in our home he displayed them,
The sun in the west, warmed and caressed them,
In my long-ago memory, they remind me of you.


Poem by Daniel E. Goldberg. Artwork: Empowered by Cheryl Tuttle

(Keeping On) Amusing?

AMUSING?

Eighth grade celebratory trip was to Play Land
Our local amusement park

We all bought tickets and spread out
I went to Dodgems where you drive around in small cars
Trying not to get hit
But if you do—if, say, George keeps bumping you
It means he has a crush on you.

And then the House of Mirrors
If you’re fat you can look fatter
Or thinner, how you think you really look
And if you’re thin, don’t look

And then the Roller Coaster
Open only to ages 12 and above
Don’t stand directions say
Absolving Play Land of suits
When thin is thrown to standing
And maybe even killed

Next are the Biggest Wheel cages’ gentle rides
Up and around with distant views
I went with Hillary, most popular eighth grade girl
And shared my binoculars.
She turned away and oohed and aahed
Oohed and ached at far away Long Island Sound

And when we disembarked, I had to ask again
For my binoculars back. Not once, but twice
As George ignored me but greeted her.

Mom asked later, was your day amusing?

I answered, Hilarious!


Poem by Jane Muir. Artwork: Wonder Wheel by Julie Ryan

GPG Poets Included in New Connecticut Anthology of Poems

Grayson Books announces the publication of Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis. Edited by Connecticut’s Poet Laureate Margaret Gibson, this poetry anthology includes work by Connecticut poets, including Guilford Poets Guild members Gwen Gunn, Patricia Horn O’Brien, and Jen Payne.

Each poet writes of their relationships with the earth in a time of climate crisis. The scope of the poems goes far beyond Connecticut to the whole ecosystem we humans share. “It’s hard to believe that the poems in this essential collection all come out of a single small state,” writes Chase Twichell, author of Things As It Is and Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been. “But make no mistake; these are not poems about Connecticut. They are poems about the world—our one and only world—and the damage we inflict upon it. Ranging from expressions of profound love for and intimacy with the earth and its many creatures to grief and rage at our species’ self-destructive blindness, each poem is a testament to our planet’s preciousness and a grave warning of its fragility. Waking Up to the Earth is a resounding wake-up call.”

Guilford Poets Guild poems include “Of Stones and Time,” by Gwen Gunn, “Getting to Prayer,” by Patricia Horn O’Brien, and “When I Call it the Zombie Apocalypse, Neither of Us Is as Scared as We Should Be,” by Jen Payne.

Waking Up to the Earth: Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis is a 138-page paperback book available through Ingram Book Company, Grayson Books, from local booksellers or from amazon.com for $20.00. For more information, contact gconnors@graysonbooks.com or visit www.graysonbooks.com.

(Keeping On) Sweet Morass

SWEET MORASS

Each day of seven days
a repeat that neither sails
beyond the rest nor lags
In laziness or in duress
but sits handsome in its
reticence, its nudge from
earth to foggy brush to
heaven’s vague offering
until we neither know to fly
the vaguely referenced
place of smudged trees,
of swamp, of a heaven
clearing just enough to
send us to our calendars
to recover day or month
or year, to wonder if,
in the layers of this universe
our families still dwell, never-
mind old friends, our grocer,
the neighbors we haven’t
spied for … who knows …
the days or years,
the dreamy week
it’s been since when …


Poem by Patricia Horn O’Brien
Artwork: Cylinder Series by Alice Chittenden

(Keeping On) Suggested Title: Tenacious

SUGGESTED TITLE: TENACIOUS

No matter what we think
or how it feels,
we don’t really break break,
even our break downs
imply eventual turn ups.

Oh sure, we bend a little,
(bend over backwards, too)
fold under pressure sometimes
lean into the pain
collapse with exhaustion
appear to come apart at the seams
and yet…

And yet.
Upon this holy ground of spirit
there is still room to breathe,
we are not damaged, we are flexible
we are not falling apart, we are rebuilding
we are not broken or undone.

By the very fibers of our being,
we are strength and grace
unyielding.

 


 

Poem by Jen Payne
Artwork: Untitled by Lisa Wolkow

(Keeping On) A Portrait

A PORTRAIT

Of all the artwork on display
I keep returning to your portrait.
What is it that draws my eye
back to this small painting.

Is it your pale blue gaze?
Your face filling the entire space?
Or is it…
That fiercely arched eyebrow?


Poem by Juliana Harris
Artwork: A Portrait by Scott Paterson

Guilford Poets Guild and the Guilford Art Center Present Ekphrastic Poems in March

Poets and artists alike have been “Keeping On” during the pandemic. Proof can be seen at the Guilford Art Center’s Faculty Exhibit and its accompanying series of poems written by members of the Guilford Poets Guild — both on view through the month of March. The exhibit and poems share how GAC instructors and GPG poets have engaged with their creativity to help them “keep on” during this time of the pandemic.

This is the fourth ekphrastic collaboration between the Guilford Poets Guild and Guilford Art Center, usually culminating in a reading at the Center. This year’s event is virtual, with poems appearing on both organization’s websites throughout the month.

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. With the GAC Gallery reopening, many GPG poets were able to view the artwork in person, while others visited the gallery virtually via photos and a walk-through video available on the GAC Facebook page.

If you can, be sure to visit the “Keeping On” Faculty Exhibit yourself. The gallery is free and open to the community Wednesday – Friday, 12:00-4:00pm and Saturdays 10:00 am-4:00pm. Mask wearing and social distancing is required upon entry. For more information contact Guilford Art Center at www.guilfordartcenter.org or 203-453-5947.

The Guilford Poets Guild is a group of award-winning, published poets from the shoreline who meet regularly to share poems and promote the love and engagement of poetry within 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 Guilford Art Center, the Madison Art Society and the Florence Griswold Museum. The Guild recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with the publication of its third anthology of poems, Our Changing Environment. The book is available for purchase online at http://www.guilfordpoetsguild.org and from Breakwater Books in Guilford.