GPG President’s Second Book Has Been Released

The Guilford Poets Guild has exciting news to share: our Guild President, Juliana Harris, has just released her second Guilford mystery, “Murder at Pine Brook,”  which is the sequel to “Murder at The Tavern,” which debuted in March of 2020. Both books take place in Guilford and Julie had the pleasure of doing a reading and signing of “Murder at The Tavern” recently at the Medad Stone Tavern, under the auspices of the Guilford Keeping Society.  If you would like to buy a copy or book Julie for a reading, please contact her through our website or at this address: Congratulations, Julie!

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 — 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 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 ( 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.

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.


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,

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

Poems in a Pandemic: Corona With A Twist

Punta de Mita, March 2020
by Ed Walker

Last night we watched stars
gaze over cheering crowds
before the curtain fell

and now I stare at a Mexican sunrise
bobbing on the Pacific
a surfboard between my thighs
the sun peeking out over the Sierras

a sea turtle surfacing looks up at me
or the sun too and it’s so fine
paddling for a wave forgetting
all the beers of yesterday

Poems in a Pandemic: The Unexpected

by Daniel Goldberg

Spring is oblivious to human difficulties,
Why should she care about our cares,
Forsythia and Daffodils usually bloom
Their sunny yellow smiles.

But this year, the Forsythia bloomed
…….And she was sad,
Not the sunny yellow of yesteryears,
Even the Daffodils seemed
Not to smile, but bowed their heads.

We mask our sadness, our boredom,
Our restlessness, our loneliness.
Eyes meet eyes, but not our grins.

We live in the large, the unfathomable,
The pinwheel of the Milky Way,
Our home, vast and mysterious;
Yet, it’s the little things that trip us up,
The unseen, the reshuffled deck,
The unexpected cosmic curveball.

Elemental forces appear, like four
Galloping chariot horses,
Thundering towards us, unwelcome.

Yes, I think it’s time to wash our hands,
Dream of better times, love, care, smile.

Poems in a Pandemic: Pandemic

by Gordy Whiteman

it’s as though the judge has banged his gavel
and given you a sentence of home confinement
but he’s locked up the whole bunch….you….him
her….them….it’s like you’re looking at your cellmates
on the first day in the pen and seeing that the
space is not as big as you would like and the others –
that is how you see them at this moment – the others
have taken over the prime spots – the tv – the radio –
the beds – and they are a surly bunch they have
established a routine and who the hell are you suggesting
that they consider your ideas so now it’s a case of how
do you get through this mess – you can say screw the
edict you’re going out on the street and they won’t even
know that it’s you……’ll have a mask on and sun glasses
so good luck with that and you’re not sure that you want to
go back to that mad scene where the arguments are
unending and why did you get hooked up with that bunch
in the first place and you can bet that when this is over
you will be so out of here because in truth it really does take
two to tango and you have decided that you have picked
the wrong dance partner and the band is not playing your tune

“Oh, give me land, lots of land
Under starry skies above.
Don’t fence me in.
Let me ride to the wide
open country that I love.
Don’t fence me in… ”

Poems in a Pandemic: Ode to My Shopper

by Sharon Olson

I was seventy-one and still counting
when I counted the grocery bags arriving
at my front door, each one labelled
I guess for the shopper’s convenience,
some mnemonic only he had derived,
Poems 1 of 8, Poems 2 of 8, and so forth,
and they were like poems, each item
of slightly different size and voice,
tuna can haikus next to sonnets of milk.

I chalked it up to coincidence, until
the next week new bags came, this time
marked Lyric 1 of 7, Lyric 2 of 7, so
we knew we were in some sort of
telepathic, telegrammatic finger-
tapping sync-apathy, as if he knew
I must write poems and would eat
to write them, not eating words
but snippets of lyric, edible syllables.

The market has stipulated one week
between orders, and I am as I said
earlier seventy-one and still counting.
And so I find myself wondering
what the next code will bring, what
subliminal message my messenger
will write to signal our connection.
He must be a poet, too, composing
behind the front lines and so essential.

FROM SHARON: “Originally appeared in The New Verse News. The New Verse News presents politically progressive poetry on current events and topical issues. They have published several of my poems. I’m always interested to see what poets they present. There are new poems every single day.”

IMAGE: Vertumnus by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

Poems in a Pandemic: A Poem in the Pandemic?

by Margaret Iacobellis

You should, they said, be able to write lots of poetry,
it’s very quiet now you are confined at home
you are free to do what you want, you can choose
your words. You must be filled with words!

Perhaps, but……but
there are no happy trails
filled with synonyms or rhymes with happy singing

No, there are no outlets which are unexplored.
All drawers are cleaned out. All closets closed
Each bookcase shelf dusted and reviewed
Then replaced exactly as before or joining the
tall tall pile of unwanteds now dusty with age
or filled with useless wordage

Even the discovery of a long lost photograph
brings only pain. A smiling face. no longer
here but……but……where?

No……no happy trails the cost to leave now
too high to pay.