(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.

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

MANIFEST (zine): Cat Lady Confessions from Jen Payne

MANIFEST (zine) presents Cat Lady Confessions, a full-color exposé that explores the oft-maligned life of the cat lady: crazy or contemplative? recluse or dancing to the beat of her own drum? You decide.

Now on sale, this 24-page, color booklet includes essays, poetry, and mixed media collage pieces. You’ll get to make your own Cat Lady mask, and dance around to a Spotify playlist curated especially for this issue.

Part artist book, part chapbook, MANIFEST (zine) is the creation of Guilford Poets Guild member Jen Payne. It’s a hold-in-your-hands art installation featuring Jen’s creative efforts along with inspirational 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 and embellished. The result is a thought-full, tactile journey with nooks and crannies for you to discover along the way.

Cat Lady Confessions costs $6.00, but you can subscribe to MANIFEST (zine) and get four issues for just $20.00. Support the project as a $30.00 Sponsor and get four issues plus a special gift!

CLICK HERE for more information or order your copy today!


Issue #2, CAT LADY CONFESSIONS
explores the oft-maligned life of the cat lady: crazy or contemplative? recluse or dancing to the beat of her own drum? You decide. Includes a curated Spotify playlist. (Color, 24-page booklet)


HOLIDAY ROUNDTABLE Open Mic

On Thursday, December 10, the Guilford Poets Guild will present its Annual Holiday Roundtable, with a chance to share and listen to a collection of favorite holiday poems. The special reading will take place via Zoom at 7PM, hosted by the Guilford Free Library. All are welcome to sign up to read one poem for this open mic formatted event, with a limit of 20 readers.

  1. First, please register for the event on the Library’s website, www.guilfordfreelibrary.org. A Zoom link will be sent to you directly.
  2. Then, if you would like to read a poem, please email the Guilford Poets Guild.

Participating Guilford Poets Guild members for the evening include: Carol Altieri, Evelyn Atreya, Gwen Gunn, Juliana Harris, Margaret Iacobellis, Norman Marshall, Nancy Meneely, Jane Muir, Patricia H. O’Brien, Jen Payne, Elizabeth Possidente, Edward Walker, and Gordy Whiteman.

The event is free and open to the public.

Books make great gifts!

“Books make great gifts because they have whole worlds inside of them. And it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world!”  ― Neil Gaiman

Books make great gifts, especially if they’re by your local Guilford Poets Guild members! Many of these books can be ordered from your local bookstore or from bookshop.org — remember shop small, shop local!


Regarding Rock
Evelyn Atreya

Story Journey Spirit
Karen Gronback Johnson

Simple Absence
Nancy Meneely

Our Changing Environment: Guilford Poets Guild 20th Anniversary Anthology

Guilford Poets Guild Welcomes Poet Ginny Lowe Connors in November

In November, the Guilford Poets Guild welcomes poet Ginny Lowe Connors for its Second Thursday Poetry Reading. The reading will take place via Zoom on Thursday, November 12 at 7PM, hosted by the Guilford Free Library.

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

Connors, a retired English teacher, is the author of several poetry collections, including Toward the Hanging Tree: Poems of Salem Village, as well as The Unparalleled Beauty of a Crooked Line and Barbarians in the Kitchen. Her chapbook, Under the Porch, won the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize and she has earned numerous awards for individual poems. As publisher of her own press, Grayson Books, Connors has also edited a number of poetry anthologies, including Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry. A Board Member of the Connecticut Poetry Society, she is co-editor of Connecticut River Review. Connors writes a monthly column for the Hartford Courant: CT Poets’ Corner.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information about the Guilford Poets Guild and upcoming events visit guilfordpoetsguild.org.

Guilford Poets Guilford Welcomes Poet Charles Rafferty, October 8

The Guilford Poets Guild’s Second Thursday Poetry Reading welcomes poet Charles Rafferty. The reading will take place via Zoom on Thursday, October 8 at 7PM, hosted by the Guilford Free Library.

Please register on the Library’s website (http://www.guilfordfreelibrary.org/guilford-poets-guild-reading-by-charles-rafferty/41752/). A Zoom link will be sent to you directly.

Rafferty’s most recent collections of poems are The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017), Something an Atheist Might Bring Up at a Cocktail Party (Mayapple Press, 2018), and The Problem With Abundance (Grayson Books, 2019). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, O, Oprah Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and Ploughshares. His stories have appeared in The Southern Review and New World Writing, and his story collection is Saturday Night at Magellan’s (Fomite Press, 2013). He has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, as well as the 2016 NANO Fiction Prize. Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College and teaches at the Westport Writers’ Workshop.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.