(Keeping On) 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


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


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



Poem by Jen Payne
Artwork: Untitled by Lisa Wolkow

(Keeping On) 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.

Juliana Harris Wins Grand Prize in National Writing Contest

KaleidoscopeWoJo Reflections on Women’s Journeys has announced the Grand Prize Winner of its Holiday Writing Contest. “The Great K-10 Race” is the winning essay, written by Juliana Harris. The goal of Kaleidoscope is to empower women writers through the written word but also through workshop/seminars and webinars. These activities foster the art of storytelling at the individual group and team levels. Their contests are held on a regular basis with a $100 award for first place. “They asked for a reminiscence of family holidays and I submitted a piece I had written about a Thanksgiving years ago,” said Harris, who is President of the Guilford Poets Guild. “I shared it with Guild at one of our bi-monthly meetings and their enthusiasm caused me to submit it.” She is the author of two novels, a chapbook of poetry and her book, Murder at the Tavern: A Guilford Mystery, is currently available at Breakwater Books in Guilford.

Read the Winning Entry Here

Guilford Poets Guild Welcomes Poet Marilyn Nelson in March

In March, the Guilford Poets Guild welcomes esteemed poet Marilyn Nelson for its Second Thursday Poetry Reading. The reading will take place via Zoom on Thursday, March 11 at 7PM, hosted by the Guilford Free Library.

Please register on the Library’s website, http://www.guilfordfreelibrary.org. A Zoom link will be sent to you directly.

A former Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut (2001-2006), Nelson is the author or translator of seventeen poetry books and the memoir How I Discovered Poetry. She is also the author of The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems, which won the 1998 Poets’ Prize, Carver: A Life In Poems, which won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, and Fortune’s Bones, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Frost Medal.

The event is free and open to the public.

Photo ©Peter Wynn Thompson/AP Images

Attention Poetry Lovers

Dear Fellow Poetry Lover:

Despite hunkering down this past year, the Guilford Poets Guild has been busy. While we had to cancel our regular poetry readings at the Guilford Library last spring because of the pandemic, we were able to resume them via Zoom in the fall with readings by Priscilla Ellsworth, Charles Rafferty, and Ginny Lowe Connors. We hosted a virtual Holiday Roundtable reading in December, and we are currently working with Guilford High School to coordinate an event with student poets this spring.

In 2019, we published the 20th Anniversary Anthology, our third anthology of shoreline poets. The theme was “Our Changing Environment”—although none of the poems considered a pandemic. Copies of the anthology are available at Breakwater Books, the Guilford Art Center, and here on our website.

Our website also includes books published by our members, videos of poetry readings, upcoming events, and news items. During the pandemic, the site featured “Poems in a Pandemic,” “Ekphrastic May: Poems from Home,” and a series of poet interviews during National Poetry Month.

And so we press on, meeting twice a month on Zoom to share and polish our work, and making plans for our 2021 Second Thursday Readings starting in the Spring.

We wish you the best in this challenging time and, if you care to contribute, we deeply appreciate your support. Donations can be made by mail or by using the Donate button below

Stay well, stay safe, vaccinations are just around the corner,

Carol Leavitt Altieri, Evelyn Atreya, Gwen Gunn, Juliana Harris, Margaret Iacobellis, Karen Gronback Johnson, Norman Thomas Marshall, Nancy Meneely, Jane Muir, Patricia Horn O’Brien, Sharon Olson, Jen Payne, Elizabeth Possidente, Jane Ulrich, Edward Walker, Gordy Whiteman


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