New Hampshire Poetry Fest Schedule

a great day of poetry

Many thanks to Gibson's Bookstore, which will be handling sales of books by presenters at the festival.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The New Hampshire Institute of Art
148 Concord Street
Manchester, NH 03104-4858 

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8:00-8:45 am

Registration, coffee and pastry          


8:45-9:00 am




Panel Discussions


10:45-12:00 Workshops


Paige Ackerson-Kiely

The Pastoral Elegy

Traditionally, the pastoral mode depicted rural life, and idealized work, landscape, and principles of innocence and devotion. An elegy is a poem written in response to a death, though it also contains admiration for the dead within the poem. We'll read some traditional examples of the pastoral and the elegy, then, through a series of guided prompts, we'll work to create a contemporary pastoral that describes and holds reverence for the land, while elegizing the defilement of landscape and modernization of rural life and culture. You don't have to be from the country to participate. You don't even need to love the woods.

Paige Ackerson-Kiely is the author of the poetry collections My Love is a Dead Arctic Explorer (Ahsahta 2012), In No One's Land (Ahsahta, 2007), and other works of poetry and prose. Though she came of age in the Lakes Region of NH, she now lives in Yonkers, NY where she is the Associate Director of the Sarah Lawrence MFA in Writing Program and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at New England College.


Wyn Cooper

Engaging the Senses to Write a Poem of Place

Many poets try to describe a place, whether it’s what they see from their window, where they wish they were, or some other imagined location. Visual descriptions of such places aren’t terribly difficult, but too often they don’t succeed in making a reader feel like they are truly in that place.  Why do you feel like you know Montana when you’ve read Richard Hugo’s Montana poems? Why do you feel like you have visited Detroit after reading Philip Levine’s poetry? This workshop will guide the writer through using all the senses to create more successful poems of place. We will read a few examples of poems that succeed at creating place through the senses, then write one or two poems and share them. 

Wyn Cooper is the author of four books of poems, most recently Chaos is the New Calm (BOA Editions, 2010). His fifth book, Mars Poetica, will be published by White Pine Press in 2018. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Slate, The Southern Review, AGNI, and in 25 anthologies of contemporary poetry. His poems have been turned into songs by Sheryl Crow, David Broza, and Madison Smartt Bell, among others. He has taught at Bennington and Marlboro colleges, and at The Frost Place. He lives in Boston and Vermont, and works as a freelance editor of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His second book, Postcards from the Interior, is composed of 52 poems that each describe a place.


January Gill O’Neil

Note to Self

Photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Think of the self as source material, an all-access backstage pass into a world of our own making and unmaking; a door to enter and exit however we please. In this workshop, we will look to the self as center for language, experience, image, and inspiration. Much of this class will be generative, as we write to broaden our sense of how and where we might find poetry in our private and public domains.

January Gill O’Neil is the author of two poetry collections, Misery Islands and Underlife. Misery Islands was selected for a 2015 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. It was also selected by Mass Center for the Book as a Must-Read Book for 2015 and won the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award. She is the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, an assistant professor of English at Salem State University, and a Cave Canem fellow. With Ben Berman, she co-edits poetry for the literary magazine Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices.  January’s poems and articles have appeared in American Poetry Review, New England Review, and Ploughshares, among others.


Cate Marvin 

“When Money Talks, Nobody Walks”: POEMS ON PLACE IN TIME

It’s my opinion that the image is the primary building block for any good poem.  This is because we all see things differently, and as such, we all notice different aspects of our environment.  This course asks that students bring poems in which they describe a significant venue in their lives where a dramatic change occurred (whether an argument took pace there, or it was the very last place at which you saw a particular person, etc.).

Here are your instructions:

  1. Give your poem the title of the exact location. It should be a “real” name. Take advantage of the fact that real life is pretty poetic when you come right down to it.
  2. Pick three identifying objects from this setting that reveal color, light, and/or smell. These objects could be anything from bar stools, to a particular species of plant, to a make of car.
  3. Close the poem with a statement that is either:
    1. an advertising jingle from a radio or television advertisement from your childhood; or,
    2. a scrap of song lyric from the time during which the situation/setting you’ve built your poem around. While the language should be lifted (and not “yours”), it should operate as closure for the poem, and therefore be a statement that provokes.
  4. Your poem must be at least 20 lines.

This workshop will address the strengths and successes of poems written in response to this prompt, with an emphasis on how one creatures singular (signature) details.

Cate Marvin’s first book, World’s Tallest Disaster, was chosen by Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 2001. In 2002, she received the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. She co-edited with poet Michael Dumanis the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century(Sarabande Books, 2006). Her second book of poems, Fragment of the Head of a Queen, for which she received a Whiting Award, was published by Sarabande in 2007. Marvin teaches poetry writing in Lesley University’s Low-Residency M.F.A. Program and is Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. In 2009, she co-founded the nonprofit organization VIDA: Women in Literary Arts with poet Erin Belieu. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, her third book of poems, Oracle, was released from W.W. Norton & Co. in March 2015. During the academic year of 2016 – 2017, she will serve as a Visiting Professor at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.


Lunch on your own


Panel Discussions


Panel Discussions


Headliner Reading: Ellen Bryant Voigt

Photo credit: John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Ellen Bryant Voigt has published eight volumes of poetry, most recently MESSENGER: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (2007), and HEADWATERS (2013).  Her collections have been finalists for the National Book Crit­ics' Circle Award, the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, and she has received recognition from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Academy of American Poets, the National Endowment of the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, the Fellowship of Southern Writers and Pushcart.  A former Vermont State Poet and Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, she lives in Cabot, Vermont, and is a 2015 MacArthur Fellow.


6:15-8:00 pm

Open Reading and Closing Celebration   

First come, first served for reading. Five minute limit.