March in to Cafe Espresso to hear
Featured Readers Brian Evans-Jones and Meg Leonard Wednesday, March
Brian Evans-Jones hails from Southern Maine - the
Bertwick area, we believe. Originally from the UK, he moved to
this country for several reasons, family for one and to study for
his MFA at UNH.
He notes, "This is a very exciting time for me. I'm
looking forward to a time when writing will be my primary activity.
I'm looking forward to working with a community of talented poets,"
instructors and peers both.
Megan Leonard's poetry has appeared in a variety of
publications. She has been a finalist for the Marcia Jan Vilek
Prize, the Frost Place chapbook contest , and the New Women's Voices
She received the Ruth Forbes Eliot Prize in Poetry and
the Puerto del Sol Poetry Prize...She also know about mazes and
labryinths and can explain the difference between the two.
Two fine young local poets will launch our March
Hoot. Come early for a good seat.
What a great turnout for
our February Hoot ...
with Featured Readers Jody Hetherington and Jessica
Purdy on February 3rd
Cafe Espresso was
packed. Jessica and Jody were in fine form, as were our open Mic
poets. If you haven't been to a Hoot yet this year, plan to attend.
We have a wonderfully strong poetry community in the Seacoast. Month
after month we are blessed to hear some of the finest poets in all
of New England. Plan to attend.
video on PPLP's beginnings on YouTube
One of the closing efforts on PPLP's behalf by Ninth Poet Laureate
Kimberly Cloutier Green was to organize a panel discussion on the
history and origins of the PPLP. With Nancy Moore Hill's passing
this became a clear and important need on our part: to capture
our own history.
The discussion was recorded at PPMtv's Portsmouth
studio, edited by Bill Humphreys, and is now on YouTube! It
features four women who were there at the get-go.
The program is historic. It is the definitive
discussion of how Nancy Moore Hill and compantriots dreamed up the PPLP
and made it (us!) happen.
We hope to find a local venue, like the Library (?) for
a dedicated showing of the film, but if you don't want to wait you
can view it now.
Portsmouth Poet Laureate, Kate Leigh
The Passing of the Quill is part of the
inauguration ceremony, every two years, of the next Poet
Laureate. An ingredient of the Passing of the Quill
tradition is this: after the outgoing Laureate passes the
quill, the new Laureate reads a poem. Here is Kate's
poem. Blog-style, Tammi Truax's introduction appears after
by Kate Leigh
We're fond of the common lilac over
As children we played beneath her branches with our toys.
We love the way she drapes her weight, forming scented bowers.
Now adults, we cut her blooms to grace our homes with poise.
Lilac, no wonder you are named flower of our state.
Weddings planned so brides can stand, cradling your bouquets.
It’s for all your varieties and exhaled breath we wait.
Your white and purple fragrant bunches, favorites of displays.
I hold with Celia Thaxter’s abundant love of flowers.
She basked in joy of tending, from seeds to fully risen.
Her gardens beamed with splendor, both single buds and showers,
Her bliss sustained by those beds, radiant as prisms.
On Smuttynose the Island’s stand of lilacs has gone wild.
For whom is shrub pruning more a pleasure than a duty?
These may be the oldest boughs New England has on file.
Whence springs the caring soul that cherishes their beauty?
Celia says, 'true lover of flowers is born, not made’
May pure ‘joy…..tranquil, innocent, uplifting, unfailing’
Visit our gardens, and while near lilacs’ corsaged glade,
Persuade us always to adore loveliness unveiling.
Obama recently remarked a barren world would be,
One which we will not allow, one void of poetry.
As Portsmouth keeps expanding, let us hope to revere
Lilacs grown by historic homes, and lyric poems sincere.
City Hall Ceremony, May 4, 2015:
Introduction by Tammi Truax
I met Kate Leigh, appropriately
enough, at a poetry reading, I don't know how many years ago. We
have been shepherding each other's work ever since. For example,
she is currently reading a hefty manuscript of mine that I can't
get anyone else to touch. And I know she will give me thoughtful
and intelligent feedback....
I am certain that we, this little city that she loves flaws and
all, will benefit in ways now unimaginable. I am certain her
project, whatever it will be, will also have the mother's, the
gardener's, the healer's touch to it. It will come to us, I
expect, in soft and subtle ways, and we will find ourselves fed
in ways we didn't know we hungered.
It will be peaceful. It will be profound. It will be poetic.
I'd like to close by reading a brief poem written by Portsmouth
very first poet laureate, Esther Buffler, chosen because this
poem reminds me of Kate. Probably because both are/were
by Esther Buffler
like removing one's bra in relief.
Things that bind the spirit,
now no one's looking, nothing to fear;
Old established patterns
have no meaning;
Lifted, arising into an unfettered,
unbothered clear, I am free.
images from the Ceremony and Celebration
Learn about our
previous Laureates here.
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