After 35 years away, Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely returned to Connecticut to pursue what Baron Wormser calls “the poetry life”. She thrives by her association with both The Guilford Poets Guild and The Connecticut River Poets and, with Gray Jacobik, founded an ongoing week-long summer poetry retreat for Frost Place programs alums. She has taught at high school, college and graduate school levels and managed Federal and State training programs. Her first book, Letter from Italy, 1944 (Antrim House)was noted by the Hartford Courant as one of thirteen important books published by Connecticut writers in 2013. It provided the libretto for an oratorio of the same name composed by her sister, Sarah Meneely Kyder. The oratorio was debuted by the GM Chorale with the Yale Symphony Orchestra in 2013 and performed again in 2017 by the Hartford Chorale with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Karyl Evans’ documentary about the making of this oratorio garnered a Regional Emmy Award. Her second book, Simple Absence (Antrim House), was nominated for The National Book Award and placed as a Grand Prize Finalist for the 2021 Next Generation Indie Awards and the 2021 Eric Hoffer Award.
On December 4th at 2pm, The Moses Gunn Play Company will present THE MAGIC CHRISTMAS DOOR, written and performed by Guilford Poets Guild Member Norman Thomas Marshall. It is a story of a poor, rural Southern boy facing a gloomy Santa-less Christmas because of the arrival of a new baby sister. The accompanying medical and pharmaceutical expenses have exhausted all the money that his parents had set aside for Christmas presents for the children. In the midst of a Christmas Eve medical crisis, a miracle of 1949 technology intercedes. THE MACIC CHRISTMAS DOOR is an episode from Marshall’s coming of age memoiric work-in-progress novel whose working title is BETWEEN WARS or BECOMING JOHN BROWN. Register here for this virtual presentation.
On Thursday, December 9th, the Guilford Poets Guild will present its Annual Holiday Roundtable on Zoom, with a chance to share and listen to a collection of favorite holiday poems. The special reading will take place at 6:30PM, hosted by the Guilford Free Library. Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic – all are welcome to sign up to read one poem for this event, with a limit of 20 readers.
First, please register for the event on the Library’s website, www.guilfordfreelibrary.org. A Zoom link will be sent to you directly.
Usually we ask for book donations for the Community Dining Room at this event, but because we are meeting on Zoom this year, please consider donating books or food to the Community Dining Room – more information about opportunities for giving can be found here: https://communitydiningroom.org/how-to-help/
Participating Guilford Poets Guild members for the evening may include: Carol Altieri, Evelyn Atreya, Julie Fitzpatrick, Gwen Gunn, Juliana Harris, Norman Marshall, Nancy Meneely, Jane Muir, Patricia H. O’Brien, Hannah Pat Oboyski, Elizabeth Possidente, Edward Walker, and Gordy Whiteman.
On November 11th at 7pm, The Guilford Poet Guild welcomes Poet Rhonda Ward to our Second Thursday Poetry Series! At 6:30pm there will be an Open Mic. If you would like to participate in the Open Mic, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for the Poetry Series Evening, please visit the Guilford Free Library Website.
Rhonda M. Ward is a native of Dayton, Ohio where she grew up across the street from the home of the poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar and began reciting his poems at the age of eight. She has organized poetry readings in the southeastern Connecticut region for nearly 20 years. She currently co-hosts the annual Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading at the Mystic Museum of Art which will celebrate 14 years in 2022.
Rhonda’s poems have appeared in print and online, most recently in Connecticut Woodlands, Cape Cod Quarterly, the nature anthology Waking Up to the Earth (edited by Connecticut Poet Laureate, Margaret Gibson), and online at the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day Project.
Ward has served on the board of directors for The Writers Block Ink and Soul Mountain Retreat. She has collaborated with visual artists on numerous projects including 3 Steps Forward, 2 Steps Back, which addresses systemic racism and was on exhibit in April 2021 in Vero Beach, FL.
Ward has read her poetry internationally, including Skiathos, Greece, Cumbria, UK, and Sofia, Bulgaria. She was appointed Poet Laureate for the City of New London in 2017 and passed the torch to the next poet laureate in April 2021.
Guilford Poets Guild Member Julie Fitzpatrick, Winner of the 2020 Artist Award Grant for Spoken Word, will be presenting her new work, “All the World’s a Stage: A Guilford (Pandemic) Love Story” on September 25th at 12 noon on the Guilford Green.
Fitzpatrick interviewed more than 70 Guilford residents to create her spoken-word piece, which interweaves Shakespeare’s insights with pandemic tales and local love stories. “All the World’s a Stage” examines love in its many forms—showing how and where it can appear in places obvious and unexpected, and how it has the capacity to lift up and unite people.
The show will feature five female performers who represent many diverse facets of the Guilford community: Stephanie Little Brown, Dana Canaveri, Alice Chen, Victoria Newman and Meg Teape. Christina Stevens will provide ASL (sign language) interpretation. Julie will play the Poet Narrator of the piece. More information on the exciting upcoming festival can be found at: https://guilfordperformingartsfest.org/the-festival/festival-schedule-2021/
On October 14th at 7pm, The Guilford Poet Guild welcomes Poet Greg Coleman to our Second Thursday Poetry Series! At 6:30pm there will be an Open Mic. If you would like to participate in the Open Mic, please email: email@example.com.
Greg Coleman, MS, MFA, is the owner of HeartStone Labyrinths, llc, a poet and writer, a political activist, and a master labyrinth designer an artist. He has done labyrinth/writing workshops at the Clockhouse Writers Conference at Goddard College and The Freshwater Poetry Festival and poetry workshops at the Clinton Art Gallery’s Poetry Place on revision, writing a long poem, and Walking With Your Muse – a labyrinth workshop to help writers to move beyond a hurdle in their writing. Greg has created over 100 Intentional Labyrinth designs, each with its own handbook that describes its intention and how to use it. The designs are created to help individuals and groups work with particular physical, emotional, and spiritual concerns. He has given workshops on labyrinth design, and using labyrinths to understand and work with abundance, grief, and finding one’s path, among other topics, in high schools and colleges, hospitals, and at wellness fairs in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. For over four years, he has written his weekly Vigil Letter, a commentary on the week’s political events. He lives with his wife Edwina and his cat Emily Jane in Moodus, Connecticut, where he creates new labyrinths, gives workshops, writes essays and poetry, and works with individual clients. To read more about Greg’s life and work, please visit his website: http://heartstonelabyrinths.com/about-heartstone-labyrinths-llc/about-me/
On September 9th at 6:30pm, the Guilford Poets Guild welcomes Rennie McQuilkin, former CT Poet Laureate (2015-2018) to join our Second Thursday Poetry Series! We will begin with an Open Mic. If you would like to participate in the Open Mic, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rennie co-founded the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, which he directed for 9 years. His poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, The American Scholar, The Southern Review, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, and other publications. The author of several poetry collections, he has received a number of awards, including fellowships from the NEA and the CT Commission on the Arts, the CT Center for the Book’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and its 2010 poetry award. He lives in Bloomfield, CT.
The new issue (June 2021, Issue 4) of the online poetry journal Circumference, edited by Gemma Mathewson and Mark McGuire-Schwartz, has just appeared. Three Guilford Poets Guild members have poems in this issue: Juliana Harris, Edward Walker, and Patricia Horn O’Brien. You can read the issue here. Congratulations!
On May 13 the Guilford Poets Guild hosted a quintet of talented young poets at its Second Thursday Poetry Reading. The following five students read their work via Zoom on the Guilford Library website: Kilee Simon, Anushree Ajgaonkar, Cameryn Ludwin, Alex Ferguson, and Haley Moriarty. Usually, at this time of year, The Guild hosts an Awards Program for GHS students but, due to the Pandemic, an in-person gathering was not possible. This year, due to the cooperation of George Cooksey and the English faculty at Guilford High School, who chose poems for The Guild to select, a lively evening of poetry was enjoyed online. The Guild looks forward to returning to the usual format next April with the high school poetry contest held during National Poetry Month.