Brattleboro Literary Festival Brattleboro Literary Festival

Poetry

Thursday, October 14, 2021

- EDT
Poetry, Identity, and Coming of Age
Diana Whitney
Diana Whitney
You Don’t Have to be Everything
Joy Ladin
Joy Ladin
Book of Anna
Lynn Melnick
Lynn Melnick
Landscape with Sex and Violence

Diana Whitney’s inclusive anthology for teen girls, You Don’t Have to Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves, was released by Workman Publishing to critical acclaim and became a YA bestseller.The poems in this collection speak candidly about rage, shame, desire, depression, sexual violence, body image, self-love, gender identity, and much more.

In this virtual event, four poets from the anthology—Leslie Marie Aguilar, Joy Ladin, Lynn Melnick and editor Diana Whitney— read their own poems and talk about the project. They’ll discuss how poetry has been a path for self-discovery and self-acceptance of their younger, and now adult, selves; how poems can facilitate empathy for self and others; and the important role poetry plays in allowing us to re-imagine and re-write our identities and stories.

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Saturday, October 16, 2021

- EDT
New England Poets
Jennifer Militello
Jennifer Militello
A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments
Peter Filkins
Peter Filkins
Water/Music

Exploring the space between nature and culture, the poems in Peter Filkins’ new collection  Water / Music anchor themselves in the timely and the timeless. Rich and diverse in their formal intricacy, they move with ease from narrative to meditation, from close physical observation to the haunts of memory, and from lyric sorrow to the pleasure of living in the world.

Jennifer Militello’s new collection,  The Pact,  confronts obsession, intimacy, and abuse―it offers an indictment against affection and a portent against zeal. Through love poems inspired by such disparate spaces as a British art museum and the reptile house of a local zoo, poems comparing a romantic affair to the religious cult at Jonestown and a mother’s role to a Congolese power figure bristling with nails, The Pact makes familiar themes new, odd, and deadly cutting.

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- EDT
Parallel Lives
Heather Clark
Heather Clark
Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath,
Maggie Doherty
Maggie Doherty
The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the 1960s


In 1950s America, women were not supposed to be ambitious. In fact, women were respected for not pursuing their own careers and instead focusing their attentions on the home and family. Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton were born into this cultural moment and reached their formative years when this ideology of the dutiful woman was at its height. But if in 1950s America women of a certain class were supposed to sacrifice their own careers for those of their husbands, Plath and Sexton were having none of it. Join us to learn about the lives and art of these two legendary poets.

Heather Clark’s book is Red Comet: The Short and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath and Maggie Doherty’s book is The Equivalents: A Story of Art, Female Friendship, and Liberation in the1960’s.

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- EDT
Telling Stories With Poetry
Vijay Seshadri
Vijay Seshadri
That Was Now, This Is Then
Kerrin McCadden
Kerrin McCadden
American Wake

In his fourth collection, That Was Now, This Is Then: Poems, Vijay Seshadri affirms his place as one of America’s greatest living poets. The essence of Seshadri’s writing is conversation and he is fluent in an unusually wide range of forms — he ranges here from rhymed quatrains to fat blocks of prose — and his voice is typically chatty.

A New England poet equally at home in Ireland, Kerrin McCadden explores family, death and grief, apologies, and all manner of departures in her new collection American Wake. An “American wake” is what the Irish call a farewell to those emigrating to the United States. This collection by a writer of extraordinary gifts will appeal to readers who believe in the potential of carefully hewn words to unveil our world and our deepest feelings to ourselves.

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- EDT
Another World: Poetry and Art by Young People from The Poetry Studio.
Ann Gengarelly
Ann Gengarelly
Another World
Tony Gengarelly
Tony Gengarelly
Art on the Spectrum: A Guide for Mentoring and Marketing Artists with ASD
Chard deNiord
Chard deNiord
In My Unknowing

Another World is an extraordinary book that features poetry and art by young people  (ages 5 to 17) from The Poetry Studio. Founded in 1995 by Ann Gengarelly, The Poetry Studio is indeed “another world” that inspires imagination and discovery. The students’ poems, in original and exceptional ways, invite us to remember the creative spirit and the importance of meeting with that part of oneself that is so often neglected. 

Chard deNiord is the  former Vermont Poet Laureate. deNiord is the author of seven poetry collections include In My Unknowing, Interstate, Speaking in Turn: a collaboration with Tony Sanders; The Double Truth, Night Mowing,  Sharp Golden Thorn, and Asleep in the Fire. DeNiord has also authored two books of  interviews with renowned American poets,  Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs: Reflections and Conversations with Twentieth Century American Poets and I Would Lie To You If I Could.

According to prize winning poet/professor, Bruce Smith “The students’ poems. . . are cracks in the construction, cures for the hurt, color for the bleakness, and challenges to the system.  These poems of love and rage are counter forces to unfeeling and silence.  They are maps to be consulted when navigating the world. . .”  Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People’s Poet Laureate for 2019-2022, has also commented:   These students' poems and art are so beautiful and refreshing - they ring of truth in a time of lies. We need them.

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- EDT
The Poetry We Feel
Edward Hirsch
Edward Hirsch
100 Poems to Break Your Heart

In 100 Poems to Break Your Heart, poet and advocate Edward Hirsch selects 100 poems, from the nineteenth century to the present, and illuminates them, unpacking context and references to help the reader fully experience the range of emotion and wisdom within these poems. For anyone trying to process grief, loneliness, or fear, this collection of poetry will be your guide in trying times. 

Jane Hirshfield’s collection Ledger holds some of her most important and masterly work yet. From the already much-quoted opening lines of despair and defiance ("Let them not say: we did not see it. / We saw"), Hirshfield's poems inscribe a registry, both personal and communal, of our present-day predicaments. They call us to deepened dimensions of thought, feeling, and action. They summon our responsibility to sustain one another and the earth while pondering, acutely and tenderly, the crises of refugees, justice, and climate. 

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- EDT
Latinx Voices
Deborah Paredez
Deborah Paredez
Year of the Dog

Tomas Morin’s new collection Machete addresses some of the concerns of life as a Mexican American in his home state of Texas. It is infused more generally with a fresh and zany take on the diversity of our culture, bringing together seemingly disparate scraps of history, geography, ideology, and sensibility—as here, where we find Willie Mays, Marx, moon shot, and a bit of miracle. In these poems, culture crashes like waves and leaves behind Billie Holiday and the CIA, disco balls and Dante, the Bible and Jerry Maguire. They are long, lean, and dazzle in their telling. 

In the tradition of women as the unsung keepers of history, Deborah Paredez’s second poetry collection, Year of the Dog, tells her story as a Latina daughter of the Vietnam War.The title refers to the year 1970―the “year of the Metal Dog” in the lunar calendar―which was the year of the author’s birth, the year her father prepared to deploy to Vietnam along with many other Mexican-American immigrant soldiers, and a year of tremendous upheaval across the United States.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

- EDT
The First Time
Shanta Lee Gander
Shanta Lee Gander
GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA
Alexandria Hall
Alexandria Hall
Field Music

What does it mean to move away from the shadow of one’s mother, parents, or family in order to come into being within this world? As collective memory within the Black diaspora has been ruptured, Shanta Lee Gander’s first poetry collection GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA time travels by creating and recapturing memory from a fractured past to survive in the present and envision a future. 

In her remarkable and assured debut collection Field Music, Alexandria Hall shows us daily life in rural Vermont, illuminating the beauty and difficulty inherent in the dichotomies of human language and experience.


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- EDT
The World We See
Chard deNiord
Chard deNiord
In My Unknowing
Elizabeth A.I. Powell
Elizabeth A.I. Powell
Atomizer: Poems

With Chard deNiord’s sixth collection of poems, In My Unknowing, we find ourselves in a world beheld by the spark of seeing, on the border of Platonic emission: a world of salt sorrow and red lust, coterminous with everything at once. It is a world about to evanesce, but is as yet legible to us in these masterful poems, which are in themselves a species of musical awareness. 

In Atomizer, Elizabeth A. I. Powell examines pressing questions of today, from equality and political unrest to the diminishing of democratic ideals, asking if it is even appropriate to write about love in a time seemingly hurtling toward authoritarianism. With honesty and humor, her poems explore fragrance and perfumery as a means of biological and religious seduction.

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- EDT
Are We Having a Moment? Writing poetry in the time of the pandemic and poetry’s resurgence in the culture
Vijay Seshadri
Vijay Seshadri
That Was Now, This Is Then
Shanta Lee Gander
Shanta Lee Gander
GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA
Diana Whitney
Diana Whitney
You Don’t Have to be Everything
Chard deNiord
Chard deNiord
In My Unknowing

Poetry has famously flourished in times of crisis—including pandemics past—thanks to poets and writers galvanized by suffering and confusion, from Boccacio’s Decameron in the 14th century to Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague in 1912 to Camus’ 1947 The Plague to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera in 1985. And certainly the electrifying effect of Amanda Gorman’s reading at the Presidential Inauguration on Jan. 20. Within hours of delivering her poem, the young poet went viral, and in a single day Gorman attracted more than two million Instagram followers. 

Poetry has enjoyed phenomenal success the last few years…from the rise of youth poets to online audiences. Poets Shanta Lee Gander, Jane Hirshfield, Vijay Seshadri, and Diana Whitney will discuss resurgence and how the pandemic has affected their writing. Moderated by Chard deNiord, this panel promises to be lively and illuminating.

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- EDT
Life and Death
Mark Wunderlich
Mark Wunderlich
God of Nothingness: Poems
Dan Chiasson
Dan Chiasson
Math Campers

God of Nothingness is a book for those who have seen death up close or even quietly wished for it. In these poems, honed to a devastating edge, Mark Wunderlich asks: How is it we go on as those around us die? Exquisite in its craft and capaciousness, God of Nothingness is an unflinching journal of solitude and survival. 

An extraordinary, often mesmerizing engagement with the nature of identity and other existential trappings, The Math Campers, Dan Chiasson’s new collection of poetry, is a meta-kaleidoscope of literature and literary influence. A geometric swirl of the many faces of the author’s family and friends (particularly his teenage sons), it is colored and blended by the joy as well as confusion that accrues over our scarcely understandable stretch of time.

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