Guilford Poets Guild Celebrates National Poetry Month

The Guilford Poets Guild will celebrate National Poetry Month remotely this year, with a series of poetic posts here on its new and updated website. Members of the guild will be sharing their experiences as poets in a series of online interviews, as well as some of their favorite books and poems. Plus, learn about “30 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month at Home or Online,” and more.

 
The GPG 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.
 
Membership is by invitation, and current members are Carol Leavitt Altieri, Evelyn Atreya, Gwen Gunn, Juliana Harris, Margaret Iacobellis, Karen Gronback Johnson, Norman Thomas Marshall, Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, Jane Muir, Old Saybrook Poet Laureate Patricia Horn O’Brien, Sharon Olson, Jennifer A. Payne, Elizabeth Possidente, Jane Ulrich, Edward Walker, and Guilford Poet Laureate Gordy Whiteman.
 
The Guild recently celebrated its 20th anniversary with the publication of its third anthology of poems, Our Changing Environment. You can support your local bookstore by purchasing copies from Breakwater Books in Guilford.
 
For more information about the Guilford Poets Guild, follow our Facebook page, @guilfordpoetsguild.
 
National Poetry Month poster, with permission from the Academy of American Poets. Artwork by Samantha Aikman

GPG Welcomes Poet Charles Rafferty, March 12

The Guilford Poets Guild’s first Second Thursday Poetry Reading of 2020 welcomes poet Charles Rafferty. The reading will take place on Thursday, March 12 from 6:30-8:30pm at the Guilford Free Library.

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.

Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic which is open to accomplished and aspiring poets of all ages wishing to present one original composition to a live audience. Refreshments will be served after the reading. This event is free and open to the public.

Upcoming spring readings include: April 9 – Ginny Connors, May 14 – Guilford High School Poetry Contest Winners.

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. Please register by phone (203-453-8282), online (guilfordfreelibrary.org) or in person. For more information about the Guilford Poets Guild, visit guilfordpoetsguild.org.

Guilford Art Center and the Guilford Poets Guild Present an Ekphrastic Poetry Reading in Conjunction with the GAC Student Exhibition

Join members of the Guilford Poets Guild as they present original poems inspired by selected works of art in Guilford Art Center’s 2020 Student Exhibition. The reading will take place Sunday, March 1, 2-4pm, and is free and open to the public.

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. For this event, members of the GPG will read their poems in response to selected works of art that are part of GAC’s Student Exhibition, which include works in a wide variety of media by current and recent adult students. The Poets Guild frequently holds ekphrastic readings (including last year at GAC, for the Faculty Exhibition), and always brings a fascinating perspective to works on view.

Guilford Art Center’s Student Exhibition is on view February 21 – March 6, with an opening reception on Friday, February 21, 5-7pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public. The Art Center is located at 411 Church Street/Route 77 in Guilford.

The Guilford Art Center is a non-profit school, shop and gallery established to nurture and support excellence in the arts.  Through classes for adults and children, gallery programs, a shop of contemporary crafts, and special events, the Center fulfills its mission to provide opportunities for the public to participate in the arts, to experience their cultural and historical diversity, and to appreciate the process and product of creative work. 

For more information contact www.guilfordartcenter.org or 203.453.5947.

Featured Poet: Juliana Harris

Juliana Harris remembers writing her first poem as a freshman in high school. 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 she has published two novels, a chapbook of her poems (Portraits) and is currently at work on her first mystery. An award-winning professional actress, Julie is also a singer/songwriter with two CDs to her credit. She and guitarist, Stephen Roane, tour the state as The Harris/Roane Duo. She currently serves as president of the Guilford Poets Guild, and was a member of the committee that produced the Guild’s third anthology, Our Changing Environment.


Lillian Hellman, Eat Your Heart Out

Mother chose the perfect hat
for her appearance
in front of the HUAC—

a snappy straw boater
trimmed in black
with just a wisp of a veil.

I can see her now,
amid the chaos
of pounding gavels and popping flashbulbs,

demure and brave in black crepe—
the hat adding just the right note
of insouciance.

What a pity
the committee
never summoned her.


On the Train to Manhattan

I have a panoramic view
of the incoming passengers.
A soldier boards at Stratford,
dressed in sage and khaki camouflage,
combat boots the color of desert sand.
He turns and takes a seat
revealing the face of an El Greco saint,
stares straight ahead through sunken eyes
until disembarking at Grand Central
where he is swallowed in the throng.

I pray his tour of duty has come to an end.


Past Glory

Autumn lingers

on this winding lane.

A naked maple,

once splendid,

basks in the radiant carpet

of its fallen leaves.


My Sister Is Afraid

she is losing her mind.
which is not surprising,
considering the strain of madness
which pervades our family
like a dark stream
snaking its way
through an underground cavern.

Our grandmother
began her descent into despair
with blinding migraines
progressing into a darkness
which kept her immobilized.
When I asked her how she could endure shock therapy
she answered, If you felt as I do,
you would do anything to make it stop.

Our aunt,
gifted by vengeful gods
with beauty and talent,
fought the same demon
in a different way.
Her symptoms manifest
in maladies
which literally crippled her,
leaving her helpless on her own bed of pain.

And now the cup has passed
to my sister,
who echoes words
I remember from other lips.
…..I can’t cope.
…..I’ m afraid.
And I wonder
why I have been spared.

It’s a Celebration!

In 2019, the Guilford Poets Guild marked its 20th Anniversary, both in spirit and with the publication of its third anthology of poems, Our Changing Environment.

This remarkable group of local writers includes award-winning, published shoreline poets, two poets laureate, septuagenarians, octogenarians, and a few newly-minted nonagenarians — many of whom gathered on the eve of the New Year to celebrate.

Pictured above are poets Gordy Whiteman, Juliana Harris, Jane Muir, and Norman Thomas Marshall.

Copies of the 20th Anniversary maybe purchased at GPG events, from Breakwater Books in Guilford, and by clicking on the BUY NOW button below.

Guilford Poets Guild’s 20th Anniversary Anthology
Our Changing Environment
8 x 8 paperback, 128 pages
ISBN: 978-0-578-55715-1
$20.00 (plus $2.75 shipping per book)

Norman Thomas Marshall Wins Prestigious Department of Veteran Affairs Awards

On Thursday, November 7, Guilford Poets Guild member Norman Thomas Marshall was awarded the 2019 National Veterans Gold Medal for Drama from the Department of Veteran Affairs for his dramatic portrayal of abolitionist John Brown. He also won the local Connecticut award for Humorous Poetry.

These prestigious awards are presented annually for achievements by veterans in visual arts, dance, drama, music, poetry and writing. The event was held at VA Connecticut Healthcare System’s West Haven campus.

Marhsall is pictured here with Linda Accordino, Associate Director for Patient Care Services at Connecticut VA Healthcare System.