This Friday, July 25th, I'll be reading poems at the Cape Split Chapel in South Addison along with former Maine poet laureate Betsy Sholl, former Portland poet laureate Bruce Spang, Rachel Contreni Flynn (winner of the Dorset Prize), and the always-feisty Kathleen Sullivan. We'll be revving our engines at 7pm. Can't wait to see beautiful Washington County in the summertime.
Poetry readers and writers, If you're in Maine this week, come to the Stone Boat Open Poetry Reading on Peaks Island. This Wednesday (July 9th) at 7pm, I'll be the featured reader, but everyone who attends is invited to bring a poem to read. Here's the details from Jesse Mantsch, the series organizer:
Wednesday July 9, at 7pm at Janii & Lawrence's workshop/ boat shelter/poetry venue/pump house (at the top of Elizabeth St. on Peaks Island). Feature poet: Christopher Robley Poet, songwriter, musician, & producer, with roots in the other Portland, these days Chris delivers his well-crafted work to appreciative audiences right here in our own Portland. His poems have been picked up by such journals as: POETRY, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Beloit Poetry Journal, RHINO, Magma Poetry, Pacifica Literary Review, and Arsenic Lobster. He is the winner of Boulevard's 2013 Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers and the 2014 Maine Literary Award for "Short Works Poetry." READ MORE about Chris (and check out video clip of his music) at his excellent site: http://blog.chrisrobley.com/ As always, we will have an open reading, so bring a poem of your own work or another's to read, or come just to listen, thats fine too. And please bring food! and/ or something to drink. (but if you dont have something to bring, please come anyway. The words and voices are what we want the most.)
Thursday, August 14, 5:30 pmIn partnership with Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Summer Garden Series: Poetry of Home, Place, Community Poets: Christian Barter, Christopher Robley, Betsy Sholl This program relates to the 2014-2015 museum exhibit, "Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland." Three Maine poets, including former Maine Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl and the 2014 Maine Literary Award winners for poetry (book length and short work), read their work in the Longfellow Garden. The poets focus on themes of home, family, sense of place, and community, echoing the themes explored in the new MHS museum exhibit, Home: The Longfellow House and the Emergence of Portland. Cost: Free for MHS and MWPA members; $5 for non-members. Pay at the garden gate. The Maine Historical Society / Longfellow House is located at 489 Congress Street • Portland, ME 04101.
I was in New York last week for BookExpo America, so I couldn't attend the Maine Literary Awards ceremony on Thursday, May 29th in Portland (hosted by The Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance) — but I awoke Friday morning to an email with news that I'd won the award for "Short Works Poetry." Wicked! Thanks to Joshua Bodwell for organizing this annual lit-shindig, and to Gibson Fay-Leblanc for reading my quickly-prepared acceptance speech in my stead. Also, big thanks to fellow finalists Bruce Spang and Rachel Contreni Flynn who are both fantastic writers and who've been helpful readers of my own poems. Lastly, the hugest thanks to badass poet Betsy Sholl for being such a welcoming force in my new writing life in Maine.
Just found out that I'm a finalist in the category of "Short Works Poetry" for the Maine Literary Awards this year. Even better, my fellow finalists (the competition!) are both friends of mine: Rachel Contreni Flynn and Bruce Spang. So we can all have a celebratory drink of Moxie no matter who wins. The Port City Poems anthology in which I had a poem appear last year is also a finalist in the Anthology category. Woo-hoo! Winners will be announced at an awards event on May 29th in Portland. Check out all the categories and finalists HERE.
I've been reading Poetry Daily — also known as Poems.com — nearly every day for over a decade. It's set as my default page on both of the internet browsers I use. So I was thrilled last week to hear they'd be featuring my poem "Second Honeymoon" today on their site. Check it out HERE, and if you like their website and mission, you've got a few days left to donate to Poetry Daily's annual fund drive.
Some recent readings, publications, and such.
Here's Esmé "reading" POETRY Magazine in her stroller. When I took this picture last summer I thought, maybe one day I'll have a poem in POETRY. That day will come sooner than I thought. Last month I got an email saying they'd accepted one of my poems. Wicked. I was at the food court at the mall, a very literary place indeed. I cussed, jumped a little (one-inch vertical), and drank a disgusting Mountain Dew in celebration. I'll keep you posted on when that issue is due out.
Sometimes I write these weird little sonnets, all called "Yip." Beloit Poetry Journal took one of them for their Spring 2014 issue. Thanks, BPJ.
Here's my friend Megan Grumbling reading at LFK in Portland, Maine. She's working on a really killer series of Persephone poems kinda-sorta about that socialist hoax called Climate Change.
Ah, Marden's (in Lewiston, Maine): home of $1.99 poetry collections. It's like a perpetual fire sale, only of your favorite writers' books.
Arsenic Lobster published one of my Semitone Étude poems on their site last year, and then it ended up in the year-end anthology pictured here on my kitchen table. Tasty tasty poisonous crustacean.
Selfie! This is in the bathroom at a placed called Outliers in Portland, Maine where there's a pay-phone hanging next to the urinal. You can pick it up and listen to Beat Poets read while you pee. I think I listened to Michael McClure, but I couldn't be sure. Didn't recognize the poem.
Magma Poetry, a great magazine from over yonder 'cross the pond, published a poem of mine called "tin can telephone" for their Shape of the Poem issue. My poem was shaped like a Christmas Tree. Just kidding.
Jaap Blonk made some amazing sounds at a tiny little used record shop in Maine. Cozy, but for the dusty merchandise that made me sneeze for the next two days. I can only imagine how much dust Jaap inhaled while vocalizing and hyperventilating and grunting his way through his stunning improvisatory poems.
The poster for Jaap's reading. Very punk rock, I think.
Jeffrey Harrison reading poems from his new book Into Daylight a few weeks ago on a sofa chair on an island in a kitchen in Maine.
And my friend the brilliant Betsy Sholl reading from her new collection at Longfellow Books. She should have people announce her like that: "The Brilliant Betsy Sholl," only she's far too humble, so we'll need to organize on her behalf.
I read some poems a couple days ago as part of the monthly Local Buzz series in Cape Elizabeth, Maine. You can see how prepared I was from the torn Local Buzz business card serving as my bookmarks. But it was lots of fun hearing the other poets read, for sure, and though I think I sped through my own poems, people seemed to enjoy the bits they caught. Last fall, Boulevard announced that I'd won their Poetry Prize for Emerging Writers, and that 3 of my poems would be published in the Spring issue — so I've been looking forward to receiving that copy pictured above for a while now. Thanks again to Edward Nobles for selecting my poems. Alright, enough about me. Here's a poem you should read by Ellen Bass.