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 

Register Now


8:00-8:45 am - Registration

French Building, 148 Concord Street, Art Gallery/Lobby 
Coffee and pastry

8:45-9:00 am - Welcome 

French Building Auditorium
Coffee and pastry

9:15-10:30 - Panels

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street

Speaking of Max:  A Conversation on the Work of Maxine Kumin
Lowell Building, Room 101                                       

Panelists: Deborah Brown, Chard deNiord, Christine Gelineau, Emily Grosholz
This panel celebrates the achievements of Maxine Kumin over the course of fifty years of writing poetry with an emphasis on what can be learned from her rich body of work and a reconsideration of the many ways her work still vitally participates in the issues of today. Participants on this panel knew Kumin as teacher, mentor, friend or a combination of these. The panel will focus on her poetic technique, how her poetry changed and flourished over time, and will also consider the importance of Kumin’s role as a mentor, as a champion for diversity and human rights, and as an advocate for the natural world, the basis and support, as Kumin reminds us, for any other world we might imagine ourselves to be living in.


Is There Anybody Out There? Knowing When to Ignore or to Cultivate Audience-Response in Poetry                
Lowell Building, Room 102

Panelists: Jennifer Jean, Kirun Kapur, Jennifer Martelli, January Gill O’Neil

How does a writer know when to stop anticipating audience-response? Doesn’t she risk writing obscure, obtuse, or insular lines/poems/collections that leave audiences confused (and in some cases, indignant)? Doesn’t she risk writing groundbreaking and transcendent work? Then again, how does a writer know when it’s best to anticipate and even cultivate audience-response? Doesn’t she risk composing constrained, mediocre, or self-consciously “trendy” lines/poems/collections? Doesn’t she risk writing timeless and inspiring work? Four poets discuss their perceived audiences and how (or, if) they’ve wrangled with them. Plenty of time will be allotted for Q&A.


A Panel Discussion of Poetry and Community
Lowell Building, Room 201                                                   

Panelists: Mary Buchinger, Linda Haviland Conte, Maudelle Driskell, Alice B. Fogel, Rodger Martin, Hilary Sallick

While writing is an interior act, a taking in of the world, it is also an outward gesture. It seeks to engage with and add to the world. This panel, comprised of members of organizations dedicated to fostering the love of poetry, will examine the relationship between poetry and community. Members of the New England Poetry Club and the Poetry Society of New Hampshire will ask: How have our communities of writers (and readers) helped? What more can we do? What impact do we want to make in our community through poetry? We will explore writers’ needs to “test out” work in the world, to develop audiences, to deepen our capacities as readers as well as writers, and to keep going despite the “resistance to poetry” described by Rukeyser. We will also consider the challenges of building community. How can a poetry club avoid insularity, competitiveness, and elitism? How can we invite others into poetry? How can we make poetry part of the larger community?


The Water Between Us: Borders, the White River and other Ley Lines
Lowell Building, Room 202  

Panelists: Kerrin McCadden, Elizabeth A. I. Powell, Karla Van Vliet
Vermont poets Liz Powell, Kerrin McCadden and Karla Van Vliet have been writing in community with each other for almost twenty years. In this panel they will share work that explores the lines that arise between us, the borders, actual and metaphoric, which we cross or we do not cross, and the lines that link us together; work that plumbs the territory of us and them, you and I, I and thou, the territory of now and then and here and there.  After giving our reading we will open space for discussion on this topic in general and specifically the way it emerges in our writing.


A Circle-of-Community
Lowell Building, Room 002   

Panelists: Sarah Anderson, Bill Burtis, Andrew Periale, Bonnie Periale, Jessica Purdy, S Stephanie

Six Poets and a Performance/Visual Artist who participated in Portsmouth Poet Laureate Kim Cloutier Green’s six-month-long state-wide “Circle Project” discuss the benefits, bonding, challenges, and unique artistic and personal experiences of working together in this project.  Their experiences encompassed a personal bonding that has continued beyond the project, venturing into new avenues with their art, including performance, mixing visual with written art, and music. A car crash, in which their group leader was severely injured just days before their community performance, became a community event celebrating not only the art they produced, but their friendship and the Spirit of Community itself. The Poets and Artist will share what each gained, both personally and artistically, how each felt challenged throughout this project, and present a few of the works they created (visual, written, and performance). We also plan to suggest (and advocate!) ways that audience participants can form their own Circles and create an artistic community for themselves in which to further explore their art and their unique place in the community.  


10:45-12:00 Workshops

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street
Workshops (pre-registration required)


Paige Ackerson-Kiely

The Pastoral Elegy

Lowell Building, Room 201

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

Lowell Building, Room 202

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.


Cate Marvin 

“When Money Talks, Nobody Walks”:

Lowell Building, Room 101

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.


January Gill O’Neil

Note to Self

Lowell Building, Room 103

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.


12:00-1:30 - Lunch

Information about area restaurants is provided in your registration materials.

1:30-2:45 - Panels

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street

The Resurgence of the Book-Length Poem
Lowell Building, Room 101

Panelists: Pam Bernard, Martha Collins, Gray Jacobik

Whether a novel, memoir, lyric sequence, or biography, whether formally shaped or narrative, the book-length poem has earned a place on the contemporary literary landscape. More than a trend, this genre expands the possibilities available to poets, as well as the audience for poetry in American culture, and signals a poetry of synthesis rather than exclusion. In this panel we will discuss how the impulse for narrative can be molded with the poet’s tools, how the lyric can be woven into the context of a narrative project, how the tension between lyric and narrative elements can provide a deeper texture and a heightened literary experience. What does this impulse for a more sustained experience on the part of both poet and reader say about what we, as literate people, desire? We will explore, in the works of poets like Rita Dove, Les Murray, and Anne Carson, among others, how narrative capability fused with lyric intention has a capacity to reach not just other poets, but also all readers of literature.


Wild and Holy                      
Lowell Building, Room 102

Panelists: Karina Borowicz, Hannah Larrabee, Mekeel McBride 

This panel will focus on encountering the sacred through poetic engagement with the natural world. We envision an informal and contemplative discussion centered on three contemporary poets who practice this in their art: Mary Oliver, Jane Kenyon, and Chase Twichell. All three featured poets have ties to New Hampshire/New England, and the panelists: Mekeel McBride, Karina Borowicz, and Hannah Larrabee, all have ties to the Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program at the University of New Hampshire.


Metaphysics and Faith in Translation
Lowell Building, Room 201

Panelists: Jeff Friedman, Dzvinia Orlowsky

“Hand—compelled to strike—/do you need an angel?” —M. Jastrun

Though Czseslaw Milosz included Mieczslaw Jastrun in his famous anthology Post-War Polish Poets, he was still virtually unknown and untranslated in English. Considered one of the most significant 20th Century Polish poets, Jastrun thought of himself as a metaphysical poet and a mystic, but the Holocaust, the Russian occupation of Poland and the Communist regime caused him to become a poet of historical necessity, his poems informed by a vision of a world in which “the cup extinguishes its drinker.”  Award-winning poet-translators Jeff Friedman and Dzvinia Orlowsky engage in a dialogue about the process of translating Jastrun. When they first began the translation project, Friedman and Orlowsky knew little about Jastrun and only wanted to try out a few poems. They discuss the six-year journey that lead them to discover his voice in English and to publish the collection Memorials: A Selection and then to begin work on a second parallel volume. They’ll give a reading of his work and talk about why it was important to translate this poet at this particular moment in history. 


From Midway to Manchester: A Reading of Boston-Area Midway Journal Poets
Lowell Building, Room 202

Panelists: Anne Champion, Nadia Colburn, Danielle Jones-Pruett, Kevin McLellan, Ralph Pennel

This reading event will be moderated by Midway Journal and will feature four award winning Boston-area poets, who will read both from their new and/or most recent collections of poems and from the work they have published with Midway in issues past. The four poets represent not only the wide range of styles and voices found in the greater Boston area poetry scene, but they represent the range of styles and voices that can be found in any given issue of Midway from any publishing year, as well. The work of these poets draws from the personal and the public while exploring themes of sexuality (as in sexual/gendered identity and the corporeal), spirituality, and often, unapologetically, attempting to connect the reader to the universal through the illimitable.


Write Short and Share
Lowell Building, Room 002

Panelists: Rose Auslander, JS Graustein, Ben Moeller-Gaa

This panel will explore the value of writing and sharing poems that are 1-10 lines long. Panelists will introduce examples of classic and modern short forms, found forms, and free verse. Panelists will also discuss share-options via social media: using common hashtags, pairing poems with images, posting on personal accounts, and publishing with online journals. The last thirty minutes will be reserved for writing a short poem and planning how to share it.


3:00-4:15 - Panels

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street

Poetry as Raw Emotion: A Group Reading
Lowell Building, Room 101

Panelists: Paige Ackerson-Kiely, Tim Liardet, Cate Marvin, Jennifer Militello

“Poetry” said Wordsworth, “is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings”. The poets on this reading panel agree: they let the most extreme of emotions roil and plough; they let the metal strike the stones. A common characteristic in their work is passion, ferocity, combined with superb technical control. These poets will read from poems which reject what Al Alvarez called “the gentility principle” and break up poetry’s oldest governance to make their own species of tener duende. They will share poems which allow language to be a visible force, organic and visceral, and use poetic intelligence to make articulation new.


Poetry and Literary Citizenship
Lowell Building, Room 102

Panelists: Jennifer Barber, Deborah Gorlin, Elaine Sexton, Ron Slate, Aaron Smith

Five active poets, who are also editors of literary magazines & critics, will talk about the role service plays in their engagement in the world of arts & letters. These poets currently contribute to the conversation as writers, editors, teachers, and critics. Several of the panelists started their careers with day jobs in the business world. All will read from their work and share their stories: how they found their way to publication, how they chose the work they do to support themselves and their communities. Q&A to follow.


The Connecticut River Valley Poets: A Group Reading
Lowell Building, Room 201

Panelists: Pam Bernard, Patricia Fargnoli, Tim Mayo

This event will feature three diverse poets who have shared poems and read together for over 10 years. They come together once more to read from recent books and new poems. Pam Bernard and Patricia Fargnoli both live in Walpole, NH and Tim Mayo lives 15 miles downriver in Brattleboro, VT. The work of these poets draws from nature, family history and the personal. Each has a unique and valid approach to the human condition. 


Terrapin Books: From Seed to First Fruit
Lowell Building, Room 202

Panelists: Kim Bridgford, Lori Desrosiers, Christine Gelineau, Jeffrey Harrison, Laurie Kolp, Lori Lamothe, Jessica Wiseman Lawrence, Diane Lockward, Kyle Potvin, Marybeth Rua-Larsen, Hayden Saunier, Emma Sovich

In this three-part presentation, the moderator will first discuss the birth of Terrapin Books, a new small press for poetry. Topics covered will include the source of the idea for a new press, goals of the press, the necessary legal work, the development of a financial plan, pod vs offset printing, book formatting, cover design, choosing a first project, creating a call for submissions, and publicizing via social media. The second part of the presentation will be a reading from The Doll Collection, the first book put out by the press and the first-ever anthology to focus on dolls. A select group of contributors to this anthology will read their poems. The presentation will close with a Q&A during which the audience will have an opportunity to engage with the moderator and the poets. Final comments will address future projects for the press.


Hobblebush Granite State Poetry Series Group Reading
Lowell Building, Room 002

Panelists: James Fowler, J. Kates, Henry Walters

For six years, the Hobblebush Granite State Poetry Series has been dedicated to publishing New Hampshire poets who deserve a national audience. Although these poets differ in many ways—their upbringings, writing styles, ages (from 31 to 78), writing careers—the roots of their poetry dig deep in the Granite State. At this group reading, three of the ten "Granite State Poets"—Henry Walters, J. Kates, and James Fowler—will read their work and demonstrate why such a series was an inevitability in a region of so many accomplished poets.

5:00-6:00 - Headliner Reading

French Building Auditorium

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 - Closing Meet-Up