Dear Calliope Community,
You can feel it in the air, and hear it, as the nightly peepers tune up: Spring is coming, and every day the sunlight stays just a little bit longer. It’s a magical time of rebirth and renewal—and what better way to celebrate than with the magic of poetry? Join us, as Daylight Savings Time begins, on March 13 at the West Falmouth Library, when poets Rich Michelson, Susan Donnelly, and Mary Ellen Redmond (along with our open mic readers) welcome the new season in style. Remember we “spring forward” so 3 PM was 2 PM the day before!
As a first taste, below is a touching poem by Susan, whose work has appeared widely—in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and many other publications, including her new chapbook about childhood, Sweet Gooseberries. This poem, from the current edition of the Valparaiso Poetry Review, use an antique iron as the springboard for a meditation on the passing of time, and human connection, and, ultimately, kindness.
MRS. MAHER’S IRON
— for David
Heavy, this old blackened
triangle, bringing to mind
the gigantic labors of wash day,
and the frail woman who’d visit
your mother, how her hands
must have hefted this, pressed
forward, set it down a moment,
raised and reheated it —
an expedition around collars,
the wrinkles at each button
like those at her squinting eyes,
the journey down a sleeve
a tracing back to her wedding day
in 1890 when she and Mr. Maher
took a coach—imagine!—from
the church to the reception.
A fine day that, when her wrists
were strong, and the ring
fit her finger. Now she lived,
long widowed, in one room
on the Old Age Assistance,
and glad enough to visit
the kind neighbor who’d set out,
always, a sandwich with the tea.
You can hear more of Susan’s work (along with Rich’s and Mary Ellen’s) on March 13. The reading will run from 3 to 5 p.m., with open mic sign-up at 2:45 p.m. A donation of $5 is suggested to help fund the poets’ stipends. You can read more about each poet below.
You can hear more from Susan when she leads the March 12 Calliope Poetry Workshop, “Choices and Changes: Revision and Critique,” which will also take place at the West Falmouth Library. Only two seats remain; for more information go to calliopepoetryseries.com and email email@example.com to reserve a space.
See you at Calliope!
About the March Readers
Susan Donnelly is the author of four chapbooks—her latest, Sweet Gooseberries, was published in 2015—as well as three full collections: Eve Names the Animals, Transit, and Capture the Flag. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals, textbooks, anthologies, websites, and blogs, including The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor. Her poem “Chanson on the Red Line” appears in the 2016 Common Threads collection published by Mass Poetry. She lives, writes, and conducts poetry classes and consultations in Arlington, Massachusetts.
Richard Michelson, who just completed his second term as Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts, has been a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award, the National Jewish Book Award, and the Harlem Book Fest Award, and he is the only author ever awarded both the Sydney Taylor Gold and Silver Medals in a single year from the Association of Jewish Librarians. His many books for children, teens, and adults have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker, and among the best Dozen of the Decade by Amazon. The University of Pittsburgh Press published Michelson’s latest poetry collection, More Money than God, in 2015, and his most recent children’s book, S Is for Sea Glass, was written on the porch of his summertime gingerbread cottage in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. He recently received a 2016 Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship.
Mary Ellen Redmond earned her MFA in poetry from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her poems have appeared in The Drunken Boat, Free State Review, Comstock Review, Cape Cod Review, and Rattle. A former slam poet, she represented Cape Cod at the National Poetry Slam Competition in Providence, Rhode Island. This is her twenty-second year teaching English to students in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District. Her son, a submariner stationed on Guam, has given her the new designation as a “Guam Mom.” He has a poem of hers tattooed on his rib cage.
About Calliope: Poetry for Community
Founded in January 2008 by Alice Kociemba, Calliope seeks to foster and celebrate community through a shared appreciation of poetry. The readings have featured both well-known and emerging poets, and many have included an open mic for local poets. For more information about upcoming events, go to calliopepoetryseries.com.
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