Summer News from GPG Poets

Guilford Poets Guild member and Guilford’s Poet Laureate Gordy Whiteman was recently featured in the Hartford Courants Poets Corner.

“The thing about poetry,” Whiteman says, is that it gets “the whole novel, the whole history, biography, love story on one page, and I get the answers I didn’t even know I was looking for.” He says poetry helps him think things out and that he often finds himself mentally conversing with a poet as he reads a poem. “You want a five-star evening? Read a book of poetry.”

Click here to read the full article.


The body of a young woman is found brutally beaten in the woods behind the Medad Stone 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?

Find out in the new book by GPG member Juliana Harris, MURDER AT THE TAVERN: A GUILFORD MYSTERY. ($15) Click here to order from Julie.

Juliana is also participating in the AARP Superstar 2020 Contest. Check out her entry here, then check back on August 6 to see if she makes it to the Finals! Good luck Julie!


Poet Gwen Gunn says “I am in the process of writing the dialogue to an operatic musical by Hillarie Clark Moore, based on the award-winning romantic novel Tregaron’s Daughter by Madeleine Brent.


Guild member Jen Payne recently published the first issue of MANIFEST (zine), part artist book, part poetry chapbook. It’s a hold-in-your-hands art installation featuring her writing, mixed-media collage work, photography, 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, embellished, and intricately folded. The result is a thought-full, tactile journey with nooks and crannies for you to discover along the way. Click here to read more about Manifest (zine) and the first issue, DIVINE INTERVENTION, available for $5.00.


Poet Sharon Olson reports that she read recently as one of two featured readers for Poetry Center San José’s Well-RED reading series (June 9), and her poem “That Day” was featured on Verse Daily (July 12).


GPG Poet Nan Meneely’s new book, SIMPLE ABSENCE, has been nominated for the National Book Award. Click here to purchase a copy from Amazon.

One of poetry’s dreams is amplitude, the book of poems that gives a sense of life’s fullness, even as it depicts the losses. Nancy Meneely’s SIMPLE ABSENCE speaks eloquently to that dream, the range of poems honoring and testifying to a host of situations—public and private. Each poem deftly enacts the drama of trammeled and untrammeled emotion. Though the poems embody essences of form and feeling, lines and stanzas moving crisply down the pages, there is nothing minimal here. The breadth and depth are both inspiring. – Baron Wormser

Nan Meneely’s SIMPLE ABSENCE, refers, I assume, to the poet’s absence of authorial ego, since there’s nothing else absent in these richly-textured, various-structured, deeply-felt and capacious poems (plus a few prose pieces). Great pleasure is to be garnered from Meneely’s powers of description; precise, wholly new, better than anyone’s I know. Wonder is to be had, as well, in the particular objects, observations, ideas and emotions this poet chooses to treat as subjects: idiosyncratic in the best sense. From first thought to last, the reader’s ride is electric and ultimately bedazzling. I want to pour Meneely’s poems into my bathtub and soak in them, or mix them up in my juicer and drink them: I want to have written them. – Gray Jacobik

The stunning front cover is Griswold Point December, by Scott Kahn.


Poet Pat O’Brien shared this recent poem, along with a judge’s fabulous critique.

And Almost Home

He’d only just added
three French phrases,
one algebraic formula, ease

with his locker key.
He’d elbowed
his buddy in the hall.

Daydreamed

the night into being,
his favorite
Hey, cute thing!
just before maple leaves
garlanded the spikes
of his perfect hair, his sweet/

smart-ass smile no guard
against the descent
of the undermined tree,

the wind with its last lesson.

– – – – –

A 16-year-old boy has died after being struck by a tree near Clayton Heights Secondary. At 2:24 p.m. Friday, emergency crews were called to a wooded area by the school, at 6965 188 St. They found the boy in serious condition after being struck by a tree, which toppled during a wind storm. Firefighters initiated “first responder protocols” according to Deputy Surrey Fire Chief Larry Thomas. Fire crews continued medical assistance on route to hospital. However, the boy succumbed to his injuries once he had arrived at the hospital. Surrey School District spokesperson Doug Strachan said Friday the final bell had gone and kids were heading home. They had been warned to stay away from treed areas because of the high winds. Strachan said extra counseling would be available to kids when they return to school on Monday and that the school’s website would be updated with pertinent information. Fire crews were incredibly busy on Friday as winds and rains took down trees, which in turn knocked out power. More than 12,000 homes were without power in the Surrey area on Friday afternoon.

– – – – –

About your poem, “And Almost Home,” Mr. Zdanys notes: This is a powerful and yet low key build-up to a moment of crisis and loss, the ripples of action in this lyric moment standing outside of time and bringing us up to and into the moment of time named in the epigraph. The poet works backwards in this poem, in a kind of brisk countdown, to those closing moments of a life, based on an account in a newspaper. The sense of standing outside of time and yet being engulfed in time is what gives lyric poetry its defining authority, and the poet manages that clearly and well here. The recurring use of the long “e” sound sends a jarring aural message, an expression of surprise and pain, throughout the poem. It is a long sound, not a quick one, and therefore it is a counterpoint and a background noise to the fast and unexpected action of the falling tree and the death of the boy.

 


Echoes of the natural world and early life on a farm in East Andover, New Hampshire enhance the poetry in HIKING THE RUGGED SHORE, as do the variety of creatures and landscapes always thoughtfully observed by GPG Poet Carol Altieri. Her poems criss-cross the planet, interwoven with travels in the United States and abroad.

Altieri simultaneously evokes the strong emotions that followed the untimely losses of her sisters, daughter, and husband. Gradually, moving from grief to acceptance to appreciation, she inspires the reader to consider the pendulum that swings between the memories and experiences of family and our engagement with the natural world.

HIKING THE RUGGED SHORE is 132 Pages with 50 Color Photos, $20.00. Available online or from Carol,  carolaltieri@comcast.net.


Looking for something new to read?
Check out these books by GPG members:

Our Changing Environment: Guilford Poets Guild 20th Anniversary Anthology

Hiking the Rugged Shore, Carol Altieri

Regarding Rock, Evelyn Atreya

Tastes, Gwen Gunn

Murder at the Tavern: A Guilford Mystery, Juliana Harris

Letters from Italy, 1944, Nancy Meneely

Simple Absence, Nancy Meneely

Bulletin from Suburbia, Jane Muir

When Less than Perfect is Enough, Patricia O’Brien

The Laughing Rabbit: A Mother, A Son, and The Ties That Bind, Patricia O’Brien

• Will There Be Music, Sharon Olson

Evidence of Flossing: What We Leave Behind, Jen Payne

• Waiting Out the Storm, Jen Payne

Ekphrastic May: Eagles Mere, Summer 2020

Members of the Guilford Poets Guild are writing ekphrastic poems this month, poetry inspired by artwork hanging in their home.

Eagles Mere, Summer 2020
by Gwen Gunn

the porch is cool at the Reily Cottage
modestly named for a place with ten bedrooms
on a lake in the Endless Mountains

our family has outgrown
any one or our family’s homes
so each summer we now meet here

relic of nineteen century summer retreats
in a town where the Sweet Shop
the Book Nook……are social centers

some of us boat and swim
some of us read and talk on the porch
shaded by ancient hydrangeas

the young ones are coaxed from digital to board games
to group singing……sung by varying talents
we take turns to finish a complex puzzle

even the family living in Denmark joined us
until this summer none of us now can meet
since outside the cool porch a hot danger lurks

Poet Gwen Gunn

In celebration of National Poetry Month, members of the Guilford Poets Guild were invited to share their thoughts about poetry and the life of a poet. Here’s what poet Gwen Gunn had to say:

How did you come to being a poet?
I played at writing poetry from high school days, but got serious when moving to Guilford and becoming part of Richard Raymond’s workshop in the mid-seventies, the group that became Guilford Poets Guild.

Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?
No. Fortunately.

What else do you write besides poetry? Do you have other creative pursuits?
I’ve recently taken up drumming.

What has been the defining moment in your life as a poet/writer?
It’s in the future.

How long have you been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and what’s that like?
Forty-five years. I began while in diapers. At first it was messy.

What inspires your writing today?
The pandemic, of course. Climate disasters. Love and Beauty.

Describe your poem-writing process.
I get a thought or impression that whirls around in my head awhile before I write it down.

Where do you like to write? With what?
Anywhere, with anything.

Who are you favorite poets and authors?
Emily Dickinson, ambiguity and all. I admire poets who write imaginatively in narrative like Marilyn Nelson and Gray Jacobik, and those who dare to try to write political poems, with wit, like Gemma Matthewson, with loud ferocity, like Norman Marshall, and with quiet ferocity, like Carolyn Forche. I will never forget the latter speaking at the Yale Historical Society without notes her prose poem, “The Colonel,” soon after returning from corrupt El Salvador in the late seventies. I love Margaret Gibson’s amazing way of writing about our environment with rage and love, hope and despair, and all the poets in my writing groups who continue to be my support, my inspiration, and my dearest friends.

What book are you currently reading? (poetry or not)
Eleanor by Gray Jacobik, a fabulous biography in verse about Eleanor Roosevelt. A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14h Century by Barbara Tuchman. It puts our present state in perspective.

Poem in Your Pocket Day is celebrated during National Poetry Month in April. What’s your favorite poem to carry about or share with others?
I was going to say “Hope is a Thing with Feathers” by Emily Dickinson, but then I ran across this most-appropriate-for-this-month poem by W.S. Merwin:

SEPARATION

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

Any last words?
Not yet, thank God. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. Probably not the first to so respond.)


Gwen Gunn has had poems published in Connecticut River Review, Fresh Ink, and Caduceus, among other places. She co-edited the poetry magazine Embers. With her partner Norman Marshall she performs Poetry’s Greatest Hits. Her book of poetry and paintings, Tastes, is for sale at the Clinton Art Gallery.

Moses Gunn Play Company: Two One-Act Comedies

Readings of Two One-Act Comedies Adapted from Anton Chekhov Plays

The Moses Gunn Play Company will present play readings of two one-act comedies, based on plays by Anton Chekhov, on Saturday, June 1, 2 to 4 p.m., at the Guilford Free Library, 67 Park St., Guilford.

Veteran Broadway actor Norman Allen is a guest artist for this performance, joining actor Norman Thomas Marshall who also adapted the Chekhov works – “The Harm of Tobacco” and “Swan Song.”

Together they bring the plays to life in this “theatre of the imagination,” which frees the audience to create each play in their minds, without relying on costumes, scenery, props and the like.

Admission is free, and refreshments will be served.

GPG members Gwen Gunn and Norman Thomas Marshall have recently created the Moses Gunn Play Company, dedicated to the memory of Moses Gunn. Together, they present staged and concert readings of dramatic and comedic plays for the shoreline community. Original and well-known plays will be presented as well as little known masterpieces.

Moses Gunn Play Company: “The Sunshine Boys”

 


Moses Gunn Play Company presents:
“The Sunshine Boys” by Neil Simon

Saturday, May 4, 2:00 pm

at the Guilford Free Library
67 Park St, Guilford, CT 06437
Free and open to all. No registration necessary.

GPG members Gwen Gunn and Norman Thomas Marshall have recently created the Moses Gunn Play Company, dedicated to the memory of Moses Gunn. Together, they present staged and concert readings of dramatic and comedic plays for the shoreline community. Original and well-known plays will be presented as well as little known masterpieces.