Last month I hosted the first of a new reading & performance series at Blue (the best listening venue in Portland, Maine) called VERSES VS. VERSES where writers and songwriters all attack the same theme from different angles.
At the inaugural event in January we had Megan Grumbling, Kathleen Sullivan, and Rob Cimitile (of the band Builder of the House) talking about… “First Times.” The kickoff was really great. A full house. A great audience. Fun contributions from the crowd. And engaging poetry and songs.
For February, the theme is “This Means War” and we’ll be hearing from Portland poet laureate Gibson Fay-LeBlanc, Linda Aldrich, and Doug Cowan of the band Welterweight.
I play at all of these too, so it’s a good chance to see me each month playing a — hopefully — different set of songs while also catching some other talented Maine writers and singers.
It’s always the 4th Monday of every month at Blue — 650 Congress St, Portland, Maine, 04101.
My friends at Chicken 3000 designed a lovely-looking chapbook with fifteen of my poems that have appeared in Poetry Magazine, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Boulevard, Beloit Poetry Journal, and others.
You can now download a PDF of that dope little book here, for FREE:
Ah, sweet defeat. I submitted a book manuscript last year to Tupelo Press and just found out it was selected as one of seventeen finalists for their Dorset Prize by the rad poet Robert Pinsky, who said: ““Truth and music, or to put it another way, reality and real lines: those were the criteria I used to select (these 17) book manuscripts for a final, excellent batch.”
Finding out you were a finalist is, I suppose, the most encouraging way to receive the news “YOU LOSE,” so here I am with a happy #HumbleBrag. I’m at least taking this as a sign that I don’t need to start a new manuscript from scratch. And it really is an honor to have my poems so carefully considered by Robert Pinsky, whose work I adore, and by Tupelo Press, who publish outstanding writing year after year.
This Saturday, April 25th, I’ll be reading poems with Betsy Sholl and Adrian Blevins at The Local Buzz in Cape Elizabeth, Maine as part of the National Poetry Month celebration.
The theme of the reading is called “Poetry’s Legacy” and we’ll each be reading a poem by another writer that has influenced our work, and then read some of our own poems that live somewhere under, beside, or in resistance to that influence.
Here’s the details:
4:00PM – 5:00PM
The Local Buzz
327 Ocean House Road
(at Pond Cove IGA Shopping Center, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107)
Come hear us read while enjoying custom blended teas and coffees, wine or cocktails, and delicious locally sourced food. More information at
Betsy Sholl is a former Maine State Poet Laureate. She has published eight collections of poetry, including Otherwise Unseeable (University of Wisconsin Press, 2014), Rough Cradle (Alice James Books, 2009) and Late Psalm (University of Wisconsin, 2004). Her work has been published in many anthologies, including,Best American Poetry, 2009, and Best Spiritual Writing, 2012, and in literary magazines, including The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Beloit Poetry Journal. She was a founding member of Alice James Books and recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, and two Maine Writer’s Fellowships. Sholl has taught at MIT and the University of Southern Maine, as well as conducting poetry workshops in prisons, public schools, and for various community organizations. She currently teaches in the MFA in Writing Program of Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Adrian Blevins is an Associate Professor of English at Colby College, Waterville, and the author of the poetry collections Live from the Homesick Jamboree(Wesleyan University Press, 2009), The Brass Girl Brouhaha (Ausable Press, 2003), and two chapbooks, The Man Who Went out for Cigarettes (Bright Hill Press, 1996) and Bloodline (Hollyridge Press, 2012). She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including a Kate Tufts Discovery Award for The Brass Girl Brouhaha, a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Foundation Award, a Bright Hill Press Chapbook Award, and, more recently, a pushcart prize, a Cohen Award from Ploughshares and a Zone 3 Poetry Award. A collection of essays she edited with Karen McElmurray titled Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia is forthcoming from Ohio University Press in 2015.
The Reading List is a feature of Poetry Magazine’s blog. Every month, contributors are asked to share some books that held their interest. As a contributor to the February 2015 issue, I got to talk about some of my (and my daughter’s) current reading obsessions.
So — want to know what me, Rachel Hadas, Michael Hofmann, Sally Wen Mao, Ange Mlinko, Craig Morgan Teicher, and other poets are reading these days?