Tag Archives: Poetry

Featured Poet: Carol Altieri

Carol Leavitt Altieri is retired from teaching English, American literature in New Haven Public Schools. Published five books of poetry and winner of the CT Environmental Award for helping to save the Griswold Airport Property in Madison, CT. She loves hiking, reading and the whole world of nature. She is a member of the Guilford Poets Guild.


Blessed Black Cherry Tree
The black cherry is native found from Maine to Florida. Used by native Americans in spiritual practice. Lakota people harvest its branches to mark the end of ceremonial ground. They use its sticks to hold red flags as a prayer to their ancestors.

I wedged myself within the branches
of a black cherry tree,
glad to be positioned there
next to our red barn.

Once its young bark was smooth, reddish- purple,
now plated, leathery, dark gray.
Silver-green lichen scatters on inner tree.
Saw- edged, gold leaves curl, touch one another,
form a pattern against purple- blue sky.
A delicious legacy and nectar for bees.

A Baltimore Oriole flies out from its basket nest
hanging from a fork of the cherry tree.
It catches a spider, then swoops away.
Dressed in rich plumage of flame orange and black,
a pair sings with rich whistles and chatter.

In spring , clusters of hanging blossoms
droop from the stem like locks of white hair.
Fragrant snow squalls of dropping petals
fall when they must.

When I return, I hope you’re still standing
there in your rightful place,
never to be hewn down.


Cedars of Lebanon

Here where mountaintops snare clouds floating
in from the Mediterranean ,we saunter
through the cathedral arched forests
of cedars. Once vast, used for temples and palaces
across Assyria, Persia, Egypt ,Greece and Lebanon.
They enhanced the territory of the Bible
where Jesus revealed himself to his followers.

Enormous trees seem as high as the Cliffs of Babylon
spill light through tracery of limbs.
Some stand alone with distinctive shapes,
others insinuate themselves into relations
with neighbors offering their majesty and homage.
Lines of solid branches crosshatch trunks
send roots into craggy limestone.

Branches in tiers sway in the wind.
Oval blue-green cones break open, scatter seeds.
Fragrant with balsam perfumed resin,
cedar trees intertwine with history of 10,000 years.

Now they must migrate up the mountains
chasing the cold winters
to escape warming, the conflicts of war lords
and colonizers.

Emissaries of the parade of civilizations
and what we owe them, Cedars of Lebanon
tremble. They have seen the past. Will
they see the future?


A Titanic Colony

In our cow pasture
amoebas exude through
New Hampshire soil
clonal, single-celled,
a vast and slippery empire,
40 feet across and genetically
identical.
A giant organized colony
spread by cows in muck.

A billion strong, they
cooperate and coordinate,
reproduce
by shuttling cell parts around
and assisting each other
in dirt and dung.

Scientists say they are persistent
living everywhere underfoot
nurturing life and death
feeding elements on
Earth, never running off
the land, faithful to their place.

Shouldn’t we worship
the ground we walk on,
instead of mocking
and blacktopping it over?

Guilford High School Poetry Contest Winners

Each year, as part of National Poetry Month, the Guilford Poets Guild sponsors the Guilford High School Poetry Contest. This year’s winners, selected from more than 70 entries, were (from left to right) Lauren Mitzelfelt (third place), Julia Rubbo (Gordy Whiteman Prize), Ella Stanley (Second Place), Christopher H. DeNegre (runner-up), and Shayla Flynn (runner-up). First place winner Meredith Bloss is not pictured. In addition to receiving cash prizes, framed certificates, and books of poetry, the student poets were invited to read their winning poems at the Guild’s Second Thursday Poetry Reading on May 9 at the Guilford Free Library.

GPG Hosts Sharon Olson, Author of Will There Be Music?

 

The Guilford Poets Guild is pleased to host member Sharon Olson for an afternoon of poetry on Saturday, April 27 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Guilford Free Library. She will read from her new book of poetry, Will There Be Music?

Olson is a retired librarian, a Stanford graduate, with an M.L.S. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. Her chapbook Clouds Brushed in Later (1987) won the Abby Niebauer Memorial Chapbook Award. A previous full-length book of poems, The Long Night of Flying, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. Her second book Will There Be Music? was published by Cherry Grove Collections in early 2019. She has published (with co-author Chris Schopfer) numerous articles about the Sandford family of New Jersey in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. After retiring from the Palo Alto City Library she and her husband moved initially to Guilford, Connecticut, and presently live in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She is a member of Cool Women, a poetry performance ensemble based in Princeton, New Jersey. She has also been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild since 2008.

Remember to bring your own poem to share during the Open Mic. Refreshments will be served after the reading, and Olson’s books will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public.

The Guilford Poets Guild, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is a group of poets from Guilford and the shoreline area who meet regularly to share poems and promote a general appreciation of poetry in 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 the Madison Art Society and the Florence Griswold Museum. Watch for its 20th Anniversary Anthology being published later this year.

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.

April is National Poetry Month!


National Poetry Month was inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture.

Join the Guilford Poets Guild for our SECOND THURSDAY POETRY READING on April 11 featuring poet Margaret Gibson. (Thursday, 6:30pm at the Guilford Free Library, click here for details.)

Then click here to discover more than 30 other ways you can celebrate National Poetry Month yourself!

Read Poems from GPG Event at Guilford Art Center

On Sunday, March 3, the Guilford Art Center hosted the Guilford Poets Guild for a reading of poems inspired by the 2019 Faculty Exhibit. Here is a sampling of poems and images.


The Mettle of Petals
Dan Goldberg
First Impression, Julia Rogoff

We look upon flowers as beautiful things,
The prom corsage, the wedding bouquet,
One dozen red blossoms on Valentine’s Day;
And even when someone passes away,
As a sign of love, respect, and honor,
A stately and somber floral display.

Red, white, and yellow are painted the flowers;
Blue, pink, and purple to pass by the hours.

Lily and lilac, gardenia and rose,
Honeysuckle and hyacinth, are two more I suppose;
Caressing the air, so fragrant and sweet,
Elixir of love, perfume for the nose.

And what of these flowers that delight us for hours,
Showering us over with sight and with scent;
What is their reason, their purpose for being,
With petals so wondrous and magnificent.

The flowers bloom only to pass on their species,
Not for the pleasure of what he or what she sees.


Quiet Contemplation
Dan Goldberg
Centering, Marcy LaBella

The girl with the golden hair
Stares pensively ahead,
With eyes that could penetrate
The deepest blue ocean;
Hands, gentle and expressive,
Lie tender and relaxed,
Red lips, mysterious and beguiling,
Not quite frowning, not quite smiling.

I dare not disturb
Your quiet contemplation;
You look too wrapped up in thoughts
Profound, distant and deep,
Which drift like tumbleweed,
Or milkweed tufts upon the wind.

Are you glancing at your lover’s eyes
In the eternal longing for human embrace,
Your golden hair glistening,
As radiant as summer’s sultry sun,
Your face so soft, so warm, kind and strong.

I hope you have not had much pain,
Nor loneliness, nor sorrow,
Nor feel as blue
As the flowers that surround you,
New worlds await tomorrow.


Say Goodnight, Gracie
Juliana Harris
Say Goodnight, Gracie, Dolph LeMoult

No, no…not Gracie
Hedy
radiant star of the silver screen
who enchanted Pepe LeMoko
and beguiled Samson out of his locks.

Not only the most beautiful,
a scientific genius as well.
Her invention could have
helped us win World War II

Hedy Lamarr

Whatta gal!


Art History
Jane Muir
Yellow Lily, Christa Lorusso

Let’s start with history
Gaul is divided into three parts
And so is this piece of art
Base of stone
Stem of copper
Flower of glass.

The stone, itself a map of history,
Came from maybe Manitoba or even Hartford
Somewhere north of here,
Scoured, shoved, dragged forward by a growing a sheet
Abraded, smoothed cut down to size
Ground down, made round
And finally found, millennium later
On the northern shore of Long Island Sound.

This copper stem
Is of a later time
Not the Ice or Stone Ages
But the Bronze Age, ushered in with
Copper mixed with tin.

And here we have an even later time
A flower, a lily, made of glass.
Glass from the very sand where the stone base lay
Melted sand turn to magic, glass.
A modern day miracle, millennia in the making.


For Want of a Bowl Garden
Jen Payne
Bowl Garden, Linda Edwards

Ah, this.
Yes. This is what I need.
A garden of bowls!

Small enough just
to hold the pieces of stories
I hunger to tell you.
The rhythms and rhymes,
etched in fine detail,
their mark-made patterns
like notes to self:
the whats to remember,
the whos and wheres
to scoop from delicate vessels.
Yessss.
These patinaed memories,
complete and incomplete —

holy, one might say —

swaying like blossoms,
await the bee and me
to drink their sweet nectar,
propagate prose or poems.

Yes this, this is what I need.

Thank you!


Haiku for Wall Platter
Elizabeth Possidente
Wall Platter, Robert Parrot

You see where I am
When I sit still I will sing
A faraway place

Where I am flying
A flourish of gold dances
No hurry wind comes

I see in your eyes
Wisdom of soft fluidity
Reflections of joy


Dancing Scared
Elizabeth Possidente
Incarcerated Scarfaces, Jason Gerace

When first I saw this stoneware piece I looked away
I envisioned pain anger stubborn disarray

I saw a vessel shaped of traditional mold
like a Greek amphora but the difference is bold
This feminine shape by tradition to hold
is contoured thus but fractious and cold

A worrisome grid has been torn at the sides
I fear cries of despair release from inside

See meticulously carved out bars and seams
haunting though on the surface the shape of joy gleams

No more the nurturing of life death and rebirth
this vessel reflects today’s current of life and its girth

How migrants and those of color are thrown in the grid
And scarred by our thoughts our actions our bid.

Though I cannot fathom her colorful moves
I see the amphora like vessel as a goddess who grooves
She dances rhythmic and writhing smooth
She spins her discord in a dance to soothe

************

“I celebrate color, your color, mine
I celebrate origins and all of them shine
I am scarred by my life imperfect at best
I am skidding and sliding There is no rest

I am a house without walls my edges undefined
Impassioned graffiti! Who can follow their lines!
These laws and byways mix me up
I look for answers for water I have no cup

A crisis of credibility. A crisis of systems
A crisis of almighty catechisms
A crisis of stability and prediction
A crisis of comfort and position

I hear so many lies truth tongue-tied
Words velvet-lined and sanitized
Sounds of violence pierce the air
Words that shame No shaming will heal or repair!

I celebrate color, your color, mine
I celebrate origins and all of them shine
I am scarred by my life, imperfect at best
I am skidding and sliding! There is no rest!

Thrill in your dance but never be mean
Dance from your heart and dare to be seen

Look at me now! how I am spinning!
I am flying, all arms and legs, and winning!
A face scarred behind bars but I am me, all me all me all me!
And in this crowd of color I am free. Yes free! Yes free! Yes free!”


Town Jewels
Ed Walker
Town Jewels, Lisa Wolkow

1

learn this way
they said, on amorphous curves
excavate the hard questions
then gauge the stuff of substance
formed with crown transparent,
then beyond that

2

peering through unnatural
forever city pavement,
I young, our tiny fenced yard,
shaded, rocky

we slinked through slender alleys
with fragile balls, barrels of cats,
number two pencils

and a non-crystalline barge
to get here scribbling
about towers adorned in highbrow,
thoughtful


Miss Matisse
Gordy Whiteman
Miss Matisse, Anita Griffith

She sends forth a steamy coo –
“Mon pere, my father, made me
What I am – what you see –
A picture of pleasure – n’est-ce pas?

My lips are – que’st-ce que c’est?
What is it in English? – Alluring?
Heart-shaped – waiting for romance.
Inviting your kiss, si’l vous plait.

Mon pere says what he dreams of
Is an art that is pure and calm –
An art for not only the intellectual,
Not just the business man or the writer,

But for everyman to become a hedonist
For the moment – to just look at me
Without wondering if some deep message
Might be hidden behind my black eyelashes.

Come to me, mon ami, pick me up,
Pour me, take me to your lips.
No, you will not need sugar,
I am sweet enough. Relax. Drink me in.”


A Lily for Gertrude
(in remembrance of Gertrude Talmadge)
Gordy Whiteman
Yellow Lily, Christa Lorusso

At ninety-two she has given up
On the out-of-doors – sits at
Her kitchen table with a window view
Of the white clapboards on the side of

Our house across the way.
So we have planted a rhododendron
And an azalea to brighten
Her springtime hours but come

Early June the scene will lack color.
Day lilies and tiger lilies not yet in bloom –
No show ‘til July. Our rose bush –
The clerk at the nursery blushed

When we asked its name –
“Passionate Kisses” – has been
Slow to pucker up. The lilac’s sweet smell
Has wafted away on the late May air.

What to do to bring color for Gertrude
Beyond the green grass with its dandelion
Threat sprouting here and there.
I need a perennial with flair.

I need a Christa Lorusso creation.
Kiln-formed glass and copper –
Yellow – burnt umber freckles –
A bulb as big as an elephant’s heart –

A show-stopper to ameliorate
The slow hours of later years.
I’ll plant this yellow lily to coax Gert’s smile.
A yellow lily that will stay awhile –

At least ‘til the zinnias –
Boisterous, bouncing beauties
At least – ‘til the zinnias, Gertrude –
The yellow lily – the zinnias…

Will There Be Music? A New Book by GPG Poet Sharon Olson

Will There Be Music?
poems by Sharon Olson

In Sharon Olson’s book Will There Be Music? the poet employs a sharp eye to illuminate scenes from a fifties childhood, and during her journey seeks testimony from an array of disparate voices: a Swedish grandmother, a band of prostitutes, a waitress in a Fellini film. Her investigations into the lives of artists and writers, among them John Sloan, Emil Nolde, Sartre and Stendhal, unfold with lyric intensity, deepening and darkening her report from an America where “gun cases beckon,” an earth that “would never be scrubbed clean.”

Cincinnati, Ohio, Cherry Grove Collections, 2019

ISBN: 978-1625493026, 106 pages, $19.00
Order from Amazon, from Barnes and Noble, or from your local bookseller


The loose ends of lives and generations are expertly bundled in these alert, meditative poems. Part of a poet’s task is to catch the resonances of time and Sharon Olson has done that. —Baron Wormser

‘Will there be music?’ asks the poet in her title poem. This collection definitively answers that question: we cannot live without it. —Fred Marchant


Sharon Olson is a retired librarian, a Stanford graduate, with an M.L.S. from U.C. Berkeley and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Oregon. Her chapbook Clouds Brushed in Later (1987) won the Abby Niebauer Memorial Chapbook Award. A previous full-length book of poems, The Long Night of Flying, was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. She has published (with co-author Chris Schopfer) numerous articles about the Sandford family of New Jersey in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey. After retiring from the Palo Alto City Library she and her husband moved initially to Guilford, Connecticut, and presently live in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. She is a member of Cool Women, a poetry performance ensemble based in Princeton, New Jersey. See author’s blog at slopoet.blogspot.com.

A Celebration of the Poetry of Charlotte Currier

Presented by the Guilford Poets Guild, in collaboration with the Friends of the Library

The Guilford Poets Guild, in collaboration with the Friends of the Library, presents A Celebration of the Poetry of Charlotte Currier. This special Valentine’s Day Second Thursday poetry reading will be held on Thursday, February 14 at the Guilford Free Library, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Charlotte Currier was an early member of the Guilford Poets Guild and a long-time participant in organizing the poetry book sales for the Friends of the Library. She published three books of her work, Shadow and Light: A Retrospective (2008), Poem Box (1993) and Presences (1977), and her poems appeared in numerous publications including Poetry Magazine, Southern Humanities Review, and the Southern Review. Charlotte was a greatly admired teacher of poetry at Wesleyan University before her death two years ago. Students, friends, and associates are encouraged to come and read aloud a poem from her books of published poetry which we will have on display at this event.

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.

The Guilford Free Library is located at 67 Park Street in Guilford. This program is free and open to all. Refreshments will be served. Please register by phone, in person, or online (203) 453-8282, guilfordfreelibrary.org.