Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Poetry Calendar: Vermont

It was sixteen degrees below zero here this morning. But the days are noticeably longer, and the poetry season is blossoming.

Coming soon to the Vermont Studio Center: Carol Frost, February 12; John Haines, February 26; both at 8 p.m. Be sure to phone the center on the day of the reading, as Vermont winter can force schedule changes (802-635-2727).

Kingdom Books co-sponsors the Fireside Literary Series at St. Johnsbury Academy's Grace Stuart Orcutt Library -- and welcomes Cleopatra Mathis on Friday March 30 at 3 p.m. More details later.

April is National Poetry Month, and scheduled to read at Kingdom Books are Julia Shipley on April 9, which will be our spring "poets' tea"; and Ellen Dudley and Joan Aleshire on April 28.

Riddle: When is a children's picturebook really a poem? One answer: When it's written by Reeve Lindbergh, who starts each "read-to-me" book with a poem that sees multiple drafts that emphasize rhythm, not just as meter, but also as the back and forth look and love between parent and child. Her newest is My Little Grandmother Sometimes Forgets, and we'll present it with delight on March 12.

And one more quick bit of poetic news: William (Bill) Biddle, retired St. J. Academy teacher, renewed as Lyndon State College prof and simultaneously as a slam poet (!), sent the following e-mail:

I've had a poem published in Poetry International, a nice journal from San Diego. In the same edition with Diane Wakoski, many others . . . my name actually on the cover! [...] I'm so pleased.

It's "The Satellite Man"

The man who came to realign our dish
when satellite signals failed to reach us
couldn't wait to tell my wife what he'd seen
at his previous stop. "They had chickens
that didn't have no arms, that marched around
with giant steps. Like this," he said, goose-stepping
across our dooryard, bobbing his head and shoulders
sideways like Ray Charles at the piano.
"They just walked . . . on their feet,"
he showed again, "and didn't have no hands at all."
This man looked fifty, had his teeth, used tools,
appeared, though uniformed in white, quite normal.
But he confessed he'd lived his "whole life so far"
in Angel of Mercy Parish, Boston,
and had just seen his very first live hen.
Dish reconnected to the heavens, he left
beneath a halo from my wife; no wings.

Bravo, Bill! He'll introduce Rachel Hadas at the March 31 celebration of her work at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.

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