Tuesday, June 25, 2019

by Judith Janoo


Edge of the Gorge        
           Man is by nature a political animal Aristotle


Judith at Barton Public Library, 2018
Canyons between us we can’t understand.                                         
Tell me stranger at this political divide,
what thresholds you failed to cross,

what you lost, that there’s more
than nothing between us.

Freedom of thought, soft as Lambs-ear,
cashmere, fragrant as thyme-walked
ground. Somewhere between love & hate,

atheist & saint. Even Tolstoy wrote first of war.
Peace falls like spring rain, an eagle feather.

Tell me neighbor of thresholds you failed
to cross, what you lost, that there’s more
than nothing between us.

“Can you divide this apple into three halves?”
your daughter asked, feeding other hungry mouths

as she opened hers. Division as portioning.
Peace drops like a whisper between prairie warbler
and lark bunting, one feeder, tern and gull, one shore,

low tide and high. Over mountains, plains, drop
all your thoughts, friend, until edges give way, tell me
of thresholds you failed to cross, what you lost,

that there’s more than nothing between us. I’m wary
watching the broad-winged hawk circle, dive & rise.

Let stones shake from the ground up.
I want to feel the lift of your breath
on my cheek as you speak.

                                  ~  Judith Janoo

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mark Creaven's poem written in meeting, June 5, Word Slinging....

Mark Creaven, June 5, 2019

WORD SLINGING


Only the way the corners of my mouth                              
Break their silence and curve
Ever so gently
Do I show how pleased I am
To see one line fall upon the page
Followed by its sister
Waiting for a while
Another line burps upon the page.
The air seems to move
To blow the words one atop
The other.
Now the thread that was
An idea breaks and I am
Left gasping, trying
To tie it all up
In a bright and shiny bow.

                                                                  

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Sylvia Manning finds a poem she wrote in Barton in 1973, to Albert Huffstickler.

To see a (not very good) picture of Albert Huffstickler (Huff), you can go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Huffstickler

There are several websites where you can read his poems.  Here's the poem Sylvia Manning found today in old papers, one she wrote in Barton in 1973:


to Huff

I say I cannot write
but to you of course it's true
that there is blue flame
beneath an orange coffee pot
and to you it will continue
to be important that sometimes
in the long October morning
a cow brays
outside a city dwelling
as though to say

                       'since I'm here, and you,
                       another, you will know me.
                       I don't care how long it takes.
                       Your morning will always
                       have blue flames and
                       warmth in small cities.

                       (Friends taught.)

                       My mama taught me to make noise.
                       I'm like you.'

and to this day you are
my coffee memory.

                                                                   Barton, Vermont
                                                                                                                            October 24, 1973



(Now Sylvia is amused that she thought of Barton as a small city; and now Albert Huffstickler has been dead more than 17 years.)







Sunday, March 31, 2019

Carol

Carol Waller Youmans

About Poetry Making

When I picked up my pen,
I thought about reading to 34 earnest ears
Circled in a room
(If Jeannie forgot to come)
And I missed them so much
That I picked up the phone instead
And called a friend
I haven't talked to
in months.
                            Carol Youmans












I’ve written about this before,
But you haven’t heard how poems
Have driven me from bed to pin the words
Down before they pop like bubbles and wetly disappear.
I wrote once that a poem had written
Me one morning:
“the words bubbled up in finished wholes,
                        clean as though I’d read them.”
Morning moments on just waking are rich for me:
Images shimmer airily behind my sleep-slugged eyes
And if I don’t have a fast pen
On the floor near my bed and something to write on,
They’ll get away – swept out of my head
By the day’s bright start and a cat
That needs feeding.

                                                                                                      Carol Youmans
                                                                                                      Barton, August 2017



Take down the
Sleek
Shrieking
Emblems of greed and corruption
Degrading the ridges’ calm
By humans so far removed from nature’s touch,
Perspective, alignment, understanding,
They destroy rather than revere.
They think when God gave them dominion
(as the scriptures say)
She meant exploiters not stewards,
Reverence, honor, humility, not slaughter.
But they will not destroy the earth.
Earth will win when our teeming terms shut down.
When the last of the swarming, brawling, quarrelling race
Asphyxiates or starves or drowns,
The earth will go on serene and free of mange.

                                                                                                  Carol Youmans
                                                                                                  Barton, August 2017











Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lawrence Ferlinghetti turns 100! Happy b'day to American poetry's St. Lawrence!

Here's a link to a video of him reading his Populist Manifesto No. 1:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed42SgpIOek
Or, check this out:
https://poetrydispatch.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/lawrence-ferlinghetti-populist-manifesto-no-1/


POPULIST MANIFESTO #1

(1976)
Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up too long
in your closed worlds.
Come down, come down
from your Russian Hills and Telegraph Hills,
your Beacon Hills and your Chapel Hills,
your Mount Analogues and Montparnasses,
down from your foot hills and mountains,
out of your tepees and domes.
The trees are still falling
and we’ll to the woods no more.
No time now for sitting in them
As man burns down his own house
to roast his pig.
No more chanting Hare Krishna
while Rome burns.
San Francisco’s burning,
Mayakovsky’s Moscow’s burning
the fossil-fuels of life.
Night & the Horse approaches
eating light, heat & power,
and the clouds have trousers.
No time now for the artist to hide
above, beyond, behind the scenes,
indifferent, paring his fingernails,
refining himself out of existence.
No time now for our little literary games,
no time now for our paranoias & hypochondrias,
no time now for fear & loathing,
time now only for light & love.
We have seen the best minds of our generation
destroyed by boredom at poetry readings.
Poetry isn’t a secret society,
It isn’t a temple either.
Secret words & chants won’t do any longer.
The hour of oming is over, the time for keening come,
time for keening & rejoicing
over the coming end of industrial civilization
which is bad for earth & Man.
Time now to face outward
in the full lotus position
with eyes wide open,
Time now to open your mouths
with a new open speech,
time now to communicate with all sentient beings,
All you Poets of the Cities’
hung in museums, including myself,
All you poet’s poets writing poetry about poetry,
All you dead language poets and deconstructionists,
All you poetry workshop poets
in the boondock heart of America,
All you house-broken Ezra Pounds,
All you far-out freaked-out cut-up poets,
All you pre-stressed Concrete poets,
All you cunnilingual poets,
All you pay-toilet poets groaning with graffitti,
All you A-train swingers who never swing on birches,
All you masters of the sawmill haiku
in the Siberias of America,
All you eyeless unrealists,
All you self-occulting supersurrealists,
All you bedroom visionaries and closet agitpropagators,
All you Groucho Marxist poets
and leisure-class Comrades
who lie around all day
and talk about the workingclass proletariat,
All you Catholic anarchists of poetry,
All you Black Mountaineers of poetry,
All you Boston Brahmins and Bolinas bucolics,
All you den mothers of poetry,
All you zen brothers of poetry,
All you suicide lovers of poetry,
All you hairy professors of poesie,
All you poetry reviewers drinking the blood of the poet,
All you Poetry Police—
Where are Whitman’s wild children,
where the great voices speaking out
with a sense of sweetness and sublimity,
where the great new vision,
the great world-view,
the high prophetic song of the immense earth
and all that sings in it
And our relation to it—
Poets, descend
to the street of the world once more
And open your minds & eyes
with the old visual delight,
Clear your throat and speak up,
Poetry is dead, long live poetry
with terrible eyes and buffalo strength.
Don’t wait for the Revolution
or it’ll happen without you,
Stop mumbling and speak out
with a new wide-open poetry
with a new commonsensual ‘public surface’
with other subjective levels
or other subversive levels,
a tuning fork in the inner ear
to strike below the surface.
Of your own sweet Self still sing
yet utter ‘the word en-masse’—
Poetry the common carrier
for the transportation of the public
to higher places
than other wheels can carry it.
Poetry still falls from the skies
into our streets still open.
They haven’t put up the barricades, yet,
the streets still alive with faces,
lovely men & women still walking there,
still lovely creatures everywhere,
in the eyes of all the secret of all
still buried there,
Whitman’s wild children still sleeping there,
Awake and sing in the open air.
Lawrence-Ferlinghetti-Quote


And here are prompts lifted from the above [print on one page, cut into strips, if these aren't enough, get some more, everybody takes one]:
Poetry isn’t a secret society,
it isn’t a temple either.
Secret words & chants won’t do any longer.

Time now to open your mouths
with a new open speech,
time now to communicate with all sentient beings….

Of your own sweet Self still sing
yet utter ‘the word en-masse’-

Poetry the common carrier
for the transportation of the public
to higher places
than other wheels can carry it.

Poetry still falls from the skies
into our streets still open.

The hour of oming is over,
the time of keening come,
a time for keening & rejoicing
over the coming end
of industrial civilization
which is bad for earth & Man

Poets, come out of your closets,
Open your windows, open your doors,
You have been holed-up too long
in your closed worlds.

No time now for our little literary games,
no time now for our paranoias & hypochondrias,
no time now for fear & loathing,
time now only for light & love.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Steve Cahill, our very own, now renown for The Vermont Writers' Prize!

Read all about it:


Our Steve Cahill, aka S.J.

COLCHESTER, Vt. – S.J. Cahill is the winner of the 2019 Vermont Writers’ Prize for his short story “Family Ground,” which explores the moral dilemma of the Vietnam War and its impact on a Vermont community. The Vermont Writers’ Prize is awarded annually by Green Mountain Power and Vermont Magazine, and “Family Ground” is published in the March/April issue of Vermont Magazine which is on newsstands now. “Cahill’s ‘Family Ground’ is a captivating story and very touching,” said Phil Jordan, editor of Vermont Magazine. “He writes with clarity that draws out the emotion in this personal story while Vermont remains a central feature, which is a wonderful tradition for winners of this Prize.” S.J. Cahill was a Vermont Writers’ Prize finalist in 2014. Now, the East Burke resident will receive a $1,500 prize for this short story, which was fueled by his own life experiences. "I'm thrilled to win this award and to win it for this story," Cahill said. "As a military veteran who didn't serve in Vietnam, I was intrigued with the moral dilemma. Most people have forgiven those who refused to go but there are some who never will.” “Family Ground” tells the story of a young man returning to Vermont after fleeing to Canada to avoid the Vietnam draft. He is worried whether he will be welcomed home, aware of his father’s own military service and the death of a neighbor’s son in Vietnam. The story opens with a clear demonstration of Tommy’s relationship with his father: “They argued about everything. His father was a Holstein man, Thomas favored Jerseys. They debated tractors and balers, cover crops, dry hay and silage, and had disputes over milkers and beef. They never agreed about the rotation of Winter Rye and Clover or the best forage grasses for pasture land. But their biggest battles were over life styles. Thomas liked playing his horn in a local blues band; his father said milking time came early and he needed to settle into running the family farm. They argued constantly. About everything.


[from NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 4, 2019 Media Contact GMP: Kristin Kelly, (802) 318-0872]

(No argument from us about whether or not Steve is a wonderfully talented writer.) 


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

If poets meet on Wednesday, are they Wednesday Poets?

left to right:  Sylvia Manning, John Bushnell, Mary Jo Langford, "Nick" Larry Nicholson, Mike Bednarski, Nancy Masterson, Sandra Gravitt, Paul Martin.  In the public library in Seguin, Texas, March 6, 2019.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Valentine poem for a little girl


Sylvia Manning stands behind Judith Janoo in blue on the right.

Valentine for Little Girl

Little one in line
in San Antonio yesterday,
if you were mine
I’d have brought you up and away


just like your mother did,
she whom you stand beside,
a tired but very glad kid
after that long bus ride


from wherever you had to wait
until those big folk let you go.
Finally you’re here, and not too late
to smile for all of San Antonio.


One of us will learn your name,
where you’re from, and your mother’s.
If we never see you again, all the same,

you have our hearts, you and the others.
                                                                                                                                                                  Sylvia Manning, Feb. 6, 2019

Friday, January 25, 2019

a sentence from Mary Oliver's book, Blue Pastures



Isn't this why we write poetry or attempt any kind of art?


"The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time."

                                                             p. 7, Blue Pastures, Mary Oliver (Harcourt & Brace)







Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Jed Feffer's poem, The Archetypal Recipe


The Archetypal Recipe                                                        
Jed last summer

Swirling pink and green cupids
aiming arrows on the candy dish cover.          
Moth balls packed around the clothes
in the walk in closets.
Leaves banked against the garage,
The sweet smell of age inside
where bicycles, skates and tires sat.
An upholstered green Pontiac
with colorful red and chrome Chief
bonneting the hood.
A backseat of dust motes
and grey velvet cushions
as the motor purred down the street.
Walks in Forest Park Zoo
where bears snorted Wonderbread,
and chimps swayed in the urine laced air.
Trips to the X where we entered
the Bijou for a quarter
to see Steve Reeves demolish
the Temples of the Infidels.
Coming back to the small
bricked ranch on Shawmut Avenue
with balsa wood rubber banded aircraft,
and paddles fitted with tiny pink balls
attached to very long elastic strings.
These were the recipes of childhood
at Bubbie's and Grandpa Jake's.
These were the lunches of fried fish
heavy with oil and onions.
Kreplach, meat filled Jewish dumplings,
swimming in chicken broth;
Lokshen, noodle puddings,
filled with butter and cottage cheese;
fricassee'd chicken  with tiny golden mushrooms.
Cold gefilte fish swimming in carrots and gelatin
served with bright beet horseradish.
Blintzes bursting with cheese and covered
in sour cream and berries;
Apple strudel with walnuts and raisins;
Poppy seed Hamentashen and
cinammon nut rugelach.
Bubbie, dressed in her nightgown
sipping coffee without her teeth,
and doling it out to us, her grandchildren.
Grandpa, reading the Yiddish paper
with his black rimmed glasses,
looking like Nikita Kruschev.
The children lined up to get Chanukah gelt,
or answering the primeval Passover question:
"Why is this night different from all other nights?"
All recipes for familial warmth.
Mrs. Rispler coming from across the street
proclaiming, "Molly, so when did they get here??"
Bubbie hovering around the room like a giant dreidal
ladling, cutting, lifting, smiling,
and later when the questions would arise
over this recipe or that one,
she would plead ignorance,
happy to keep the mystery of her power alive.
"Just put a little of this with eine bissel of that, 
you know!" And of course we didn't.
We would be affectionately kept enthralled
by the recipes and the routines
never fully grasping the logic beneath the myth.
The plums ripening fully green and fully ripe
in the center of the yard,
the tree like some symbol of the first Eden
growing smack dab in the middle of the 
little ranch house lot on Shawmut Avenue.
Bubbie forever aproned; Grandpa forever smiling;
Recipes for male and female,
for light and dark,
for family and belonging.
Forever enshrined in the little rooms of our hearts.

Jed Feffer
Greensboro, Vermont
January 2, 2019






Jed Feffer seated on the left, not at his
grandparents' place on Shawmut Avenue but at
the Wednesday Poets' (first ever) Winter Gathering