Thursday, April 03, 2008

Time to Register: Poets' & Writers' Weekend

Poets' and Writers' Weekend to bring creative energy
to historic Main Street in Manchester, Vermont

Emerging poets and writers will be in for a rare treat when they gather
together at Peter Palmer’s 18th century compound in Manchester Center, Vermont from April 25-27 for the 1st Annual Manchester and the Mountains Poets' and Writers' Weekend: The Emerging Writer.

In addition to participating in workshops and interactive sessions designed to get the creative juices flowing, attendees will gain inspiration from the buildings themselves – carefully sited to be in harmony with the natural environment. Palmer has donated the weekend use of this exceptionally beautiful property to the Greater Manchester Arts Council (GMAC) and the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce, which are sponsoring this
event in collaboration with area businesses and organizations.

“Each of the four buildings in the complex is a case study in dynamic
balance”, explains Peter Palmer, an expert in historic building restorations, who lived with his wife Susan in the Oliver Rice House for 17 years until they moved to E. Dorset in 2000. “For example, if you look carefully at the chimney on the Wheelwright Blacksmith House, you’ll notice that it was placed slightly to the side. While asymmetrical, the chimney is balanced by the two dormers that give the building architectural interest. In essence, the builder’s unexpected design really works.”

Beginning in 1975 when he purchased Ye Olde Tavern on Main Street, Palmer began to find other structures that were worth saving. Starting with the Oliver Rice House, he then bought, carefully dismantled, transported (from Bennington and S. Shaftsbury), and reassembled the Rice Barn, the Parker-Cole Barn, and the Weir Wheelwright Shop on the 5-acres behind the tavern, just off the commercial district. As emerging poets and writers explore their “home” for the weekend, they will also notice how Palmer thoughtfully placed the structures to be in harmony with nature.

“Because part of the site is a reclaimed gravel pit, I had to bank two of
the buildings into the slope of the land”, Palmer continued as he showed Rosalie Fox (owner of Fox Communication) and Beth Meachem (wearing her dual GMAC and Chamber of Commerce hats) around the rolling meadow and recontoured land. This labor of love has been what Palmer calls “a real creative adventure”, similar to what poets and writers experience when they put pen to paper.

“This a wonderful place to hold a weekend gathering for poets and writers”, adds Palmer who realizes the role that his dynamic property can play in inspiring creative thought. “Old buildings are like gems. You dig them up. You clean them up. You find them a good home. When they shine – as these buildings do – people notice what you’ve brought to life and they too get excited.” With the complex on the market, Palmer hopes that a prospective buyer will also be excited about its potential future use, ideally to be preserved as a community resource.

Inspiration is what motivated Peter Palmer to nurture his “no-plan place” which, like the writing process, evolved in to something wonderful. He invites the public to drive under the yellow barn openings to the right of Ye Olde Tavern to see his “gem” near the center of town.

The 1st Annual Manchester and the Mountains Poets' and Writers' Weekend: The Emerging Writer will be held from Friday, April 25th to Sunday, April 27th. This weekend of learning, collaboration, and sharing will bring emerging poets and writers together with professional writers, poets, agents, and book publishers in intimate workshops and interactive discussion sessions. Based at the Palmer property, special events will also be held throughout the Manchester, Vermont community. In addition to the Greater Manchester Arts Council and the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce, literary partners include the Northshire Bookstore, Tupelo Press, The Mountain Goat, the Reluctant Panther, Fox Communication, and other local businesses.

For registration information, call the Manchester and the Mountains Chamber of Commerce at 362-6313, ext. 15 or email Visit to download a registration form. Early birds: register now and receive a 10% discount!

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