Featured Poet: Karen Gronback Johnson

After living almost her whole life in CT, Karen Gronback Johnson and her husband retired three years ago to a farm in the mountains of Virginia. In her previous life Karen was a member of the clergy in East Haven, a police chaplain, and co-founder of East Haven United. She has been affiliated with members of Guilford Poets Guild since 1978 and now works with the Ridgeline Writers. Karen grows a lot of their own food and has recently taken up stained glass work.


Love After All

An unsuspecting swan trails
shining threads within its sapphire wake
A vivid branch flares red among
the dowdy leaves of late summer
Salt scent of turning tide
teases my soul to far off
places where you are as if
thirty years were some swift
accident of good fortune that
you should love me after
all this time.


Veranda Lullaby

Sky fades to dusty purple
Cicadas drone a rasping rattle
The hound barks at deer
unseen behind the scrim of trees
Hummingbirds vie for a turn
at the feeder chasing
and chattering

I seek no omen
no harbinger of good or ill
save fireflies
dancing for each other
I sit in the shelter of
the veranda that wraps
its arms around this house
and it is enough.


Snow will come

Predictions cast no doubt
The moon of early evening shrouds
herself in hoary cloud and I
am left uneasy with details
left undone as if the fact
of snow could silence
all as easily as
some sweet apocalypse
to make common all
disparities of circumstance
sifting mercy or disguised
by a forgiveness so deep
not one might escape the peace
that falls so gently
so relentlessly when the
snow will come.


Home Visit
After the painting High & Dry by Donna Favreau

It seems like just a couple years
but Margie tells me it’s six at least
because Morgan was only five last time
I came home A drive around town reveals
she may be right
the tackle shop now a pizza joint
the drug store closed and vacant
boards on the town dock giving in
to splinters and rot
Rounding the bend down Old Cove
and there’s Bart’s sailboat in a cradle
by the garage and I remember now
hearing that he’d passed and how
he loved that thing like a woman
and I almost wish I could stay
move back and reclaim the old life
but then there was a reason
I moved on.

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)

A good time was had by all…

On Thursday, November 14, the Guilford Poets Guild celebrated the publication of its 20th Anniversary Anthology, Our Changing Environment, with a special reading by poets featured in the book, including Laura and Victor Altshul, Barbara Batt, Sherri Bedingfield, Daniel Boroughs, Jill Carter, Dolores Hayden, Roberta Whitman Hoff, Joan Hofmann, Celeste Markle, John Muro, Isabelle Paris, Michael Pedevillano (reading for Tony Pedevillano), Stephen Roane, Krista Surprenant, Karen Torop, and Mary Buell Volk. Also in attendance was Carin Roaldset, whose photograph speaks volumes on the cover of the new book.

Gordy Whiteman was the superb emcee, weaving anecdotes and introductions for more than 50 new and long-time fans of the Guilford Poets Guild, including the anthology editor Edwina Trentham, and the anthology committee chair and book designer Jen Payne.

On Thursday, December 12, the annual Holiday Roundtable event will feature additional readings from the 20th Anniversary Anthology by members of the Guilford Poets Guild. Please watch for details.

CLICK HERE for more about the 20th Anniversary Anthology

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GPG Poet Nan Meneely Featured on National Video Anthology

Guilford Poets Guild member Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely has recently been added to the Brainwaves Video Anthology, a collection of more than 1,000 videos with 2 million views in 234 countries.

The Brainwaves Video Anthology is produced and filmed by Bob Greenberg, and includes thinkers, dreamers and innovators; some of the brightest minds in education. The series is meant to inspire and engage the viewer to dig deeper and learn more. In the words of Georges Melies, (The Invention of Hugo Cabret) “Now sit back, open your eyes and be prepared to dream.”

“Tired”
“Sunday in Park with George”
“Still Life With Grandmother”
Teachers Make a Difference – My Students

Nancy Fitz-Hugh Meneely, Smith College B.A. in hand and nothing at all to suggest she knew how to make a lesson plan, began professional life as an English teacher in Vermont’s Waterbury High School. When, after two happy years, Vermont suggested it was important that she sport a real credential, she acquired a Master of Arts in Teaching from Yale. After discovering her best students were listening to her from inside hallucinations, she moved into the work of training community/school teams in drug abuse prevention at Yale’s Drug Dependence Institute. Later, with a Master’s of Education in Human Relations from the UMass School of Education, she tacked back and forth across a career path in training, counseling and education, finishing paid employment in a twenty-year career with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, DC, where she worked first in emergency management training and then directly in support of response and recovery operations. She retired north to Guilford, CT, and now devotes much of her time to the Guilford Poets Guild, the Guilford A Better Chance Program, and the town’s Human Services Council.

August Poetry Reading Features Guilford Poets Guild and Madison Art Society

One of the Guilford Poets Guild’s favorite events is the ekphrastic poetry reading held in conjunction with the Madison Art Society’s Annual Art Exhibit. The exhibit is currently on view at Guilford Art Center’s Mill Gallery where the poetry reading will take place on Wednesday, August 14 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Ekphrastic poetry 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 art that is part of the 44th Annual Madison Art Society exhibit (July 29 – August 16) which includes more than 100 paintings and sculptures.

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year, the Guilford Poets Guild is a group of 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. Its upcoming anthology, Our Changing Environment, celebrates the Guild’s 20th anniversary and will be available this fall!

The August poetry reading is free and open to the public.

Guilford Poets Guild, Madison Lyric Stage, Skunk Misery Ramblers, FOCUS Teen Improv Among Performers Selected for Festival

Press Release From The Guilford Performing Arts Festival

The Guilford Performing Arts Festival has announced its first wave of 38 performers for the 2019 festival. A full schedule of 50 to 60 acts should be in place in August.

The roster to date includes concerts by 24 musical artists; seven performances, readings and other events in drama, storytelling, poetry, literature and history; three dance performances; and interactive programs that include theater improv, a drum circle, musicians’ jam, and mind reading.

All of these events will be free to the public and will be held between Thursday, Sept. 26 to Sunday, Sept. 29 at more than a dozen venues on and around the Guilford Green and various other sites in town.

Artists committed to the festival so far include:

• Music: The Argyle Sax Quartet, Bassless Trio, Cherry Pie, Laura Clapp, the Derek Grippo Project, Driving Route 9, Duo Beltenstrum, Joe Flood, the Hagner-McKay Nonet, Living with Robots, Jim Paradis, the John Spignesi Band, The Racket Downstairs, River Run, Phil Rosenthal and the Guilford Ramblers, Seat of Our Pants, Steve Shelton, Suzanne Sheridan, the Skunk Misery Ramblers, String of Pearls Big Band, Tuxedo Junction Big Band, Wild Maple, and Youth XL will be joined by Noah Baerman and Friends, winner of the first Guilford Performing Arts Festival Artists’ Award in music.

• Drama/spoken word: Dennis Culliton, the Guilford Poets Guild, Dolores Hayden, Herstory Theater, Madison Lyric Stage, and Just One Sip will be joined by Susan Cinoman, the Artists’ Award winner in drama.

• Dance/movement: Natyamandala, Shoreline Ballet, and The Spot/Guilford Acrobatics.

• Interactive: FOCUS Teen Improv will present improvisational theater, Sarah Prown will organize a musicians’ jam, Peter Hawes will lead a drum circle, and Keith Zalinger will attempt to read festival goers’ minds.

The festival received more than 80 applications from performers throughout the Northeast; a volunteer staff of 12, with expertise in various forms of music, drama, and dance reviewed them and selected the artists for this year’s festival.