Norwich’s Second Annual Poetry Open Mic Night Event

Norwich’s Second Annual Poetry Open Mic Night Event
Time: 7 pm
Date: 15 April 2015
Location: The Mill, Wise Campus Center, Norwich University

Norwich University will be hosting its second annual open mic night poetry reading! Last year, over 65 students from Norwich and Montpelier High School and community members participated. Once again, students, faculty, and community members alike are all welcome to read poems at Norwich’s Poetry Open Mic Night on Wednesday, April 15th.

We are excited to announce that Vermont’s spoken word champion, Geof Hewitt will MC and read some of his own work. This reading is open to all high school or college students and all community members. We welcome anyone interested in reading a poem or attending the event – it is free and open to the public!

For more information contact Sean Prentiss at


Read Like a Spoken Word Poetry Champion with Geof Hewitt

Read Like a Spoken Word Poetry Champion with Geof Hewitt
Time: 4 pm
Date: 6 April 2015
Location: Webb Hall, Room 303, Norwich University

On Monday, April 6th reigning Spoken Word champion of Vermont Geof Hewitt will host a class on spoken word poetry at Norwich University. This class is free and open to the public. Hewitt will use his personal experience Vermont spoken word champion to teach students and community members how to take their poems from written works to spoken word slam poetry. This skill will improve students public speaking skills, confidence, and will help prepare students for the upcoming Poetry Open Mic Night event being held at Norwich on April 15!

This event is free and open to the public – all are welcome!

For more information contact Sean Prentiss at

You Come Too: Robert Frost’s Spring Poems

The Vermont Humanities Council not only is a great supporter of PoemCity, but they have annually contributed a program to the month’s schedule of events. As part of their “You Come Too” series, executive  director Peter Gilbert leads a community discussion about a group of poems. The series started in November 2008 and has gained a good following here in Montpelier discussing British poets such as John Donne, William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot and contemporary poets such as Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, and Seamus Heaney.

As part of PoemCity, the next “You Come Too”  installment will be on Thursday, April 3rd at 5:30 at the Vermont Humanities Council. We’ll be discussing three of Robert Frost’s poems about Spring:

“Two Tramps in Mud-Time”

“Nothing Gold Can Stay”

“Mending Wall”

Click on each poem above to read it.

We are grateful for VHC’s continued support of PoemCity, their “You Come Too” series, and also their Speaker’s Bureau, which has provided us with some programs in past editions of PoemCity.

Read the poems in advance or upon arrival. RSVPs are encouraged, but not required. Please call for more information, 262-2626 ext 307. The Vermont Humanities council is located at 11 Loomis Street.

You Come Too

Photo courtesy of the Vermont Humanities Council

PoemCity 2014 is supported in part by the Vermont Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Vermont Humanities Council.



Listen to Peter Gilbert’s VPR commentary on Robert Frost’s poem “A Prayer in Spring” CLICK HERE

2014 Broadsides Contest Winner: David Dillon

a note from our friends at Chickadee Chaps and Broads:

Dear Vermont Poets and Friends,

Chickadee Chaps & Broads is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s Vermont Poetry Broadside Contest is David Dillon of East Albany, VT. His poem, “Northeast Kingdom Wind Song” was selected by Vermont Poet, Jody Gladding.


Ms. Gladding said of Dillon’s work that she enjoyed how his poem is, “full of the elemental energy that is the storm.” Adding that,”I like all its verbs, I like being thrown by the reference to a Costa Rican resort, I like it that the wind is female. As the poem says, ‘this song rouses all.'”


The two finalists for the second annual Vermont Poetry Broadside Contest are Arlene Distler of Brattleboro, Vt for her poem “Fish Counter,” and Tom Martin of Franklin, Vt for his poem “The Mail Box.” Both finalists will receive a copy of this year’s winning Broadside.


David Dillon will receive five copies of his signed and numbered limited edition Broadside, handset and letterpress printed at May Day Studio, and illustrated by Vermont Arts Council award-winner Gabriel Tempesta.


Mr. Dillon’s broadside will be on public display in downtown Montpelier during the month of April as part of PoemCity’s month-long poetry festivities. Copies will be available for purchase at The Drawing Board throughout April 2014 and online while supplies last at Chickadee Chaps & Broads’ online store.


As part of CC&B’s mission to nurture the work of Vermont Writers Mr. Dillon will receive a complimentary three- night stay at the Writer’s Retreat in Craftsbury, Vermont.


Both Jody Gladding and David Dillon will give a reading at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier on April 15th, 2014. Gladding will read from,”Translations From Bark Beetle,” her newly released collection from Milkweed Editions, and David Dillon will read his winning poem along with a selection from his first book of poems, “From The Porch.”

Julia Shipley & Kelly McMahon
For more information about these ladies and their work, go to:
From the Porch by David Dillon

David’s book is available at Bear Pond Books


A Preview of 2014

Dear Poets,

You’re probably wondering what’s going on… where can you find info about April’s schedule, and where the heck is your poem going to be placed? Our team is rapidly putting the final touches on this year’s PoemCity and we have lots to share with you—so stay tuned! In the meantime, here are a few things:

DAVID BUDBILL. As we do every year, we will kick off our celebrations on April 1st at the Vermont State House with a reading by a prominent Vermont poet. This year, we are delighted to bring David Budbill to the State House. He will be introduced by Linda Ramsdel, owner of Galaxy Bookshop (Hardwick).

Many of you probably know his work either through his many books, Lost Nation Theater’s productions of Judevine (2007, 2008), A Song for My Father (2010), and Two for Christmas (2012) and his regular appearances on The Writer’s Almanac, hosted by Garrison Keillor.

David Budbill will be the visiting writer at Norwich University, holding a reading and class visits there in April. He’ll reprise “Baseball with Budbill and Barasch” for us on April 10th at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library. We’re happy to feature David and his work as part of PoemCity 2014. The reading on the 1st starts at 7 pm in the House Chambers. Read some of his work HERE.

SATELLITES. We’re taking a small step towards a big dream this year—satellite locations! While downtown Montpelier will remain the hub of PoemCity, we are happy to include a few new sites in Vermont this April: PoemCampus Norwich University (Northfield) and PoemTown Randolph (serving the greater Randolph area). We’ve also partnered with the Vermont Information Centers Division to include a few Welcome Centers with unique poetry displays of their own.  If you’re traveling from out of town, you can make a pit stop and read poetry there too!

We’ve worked very hard these past five years to make PoemCity a stand-out month in Montpelier, and to establish a community tool kit for other locations that want to host a similar celebration in their home communities. We are grateful to the organizers at Norwich University and in Randolph for testing the waters and providing us with feedback.

AWARDS AND OUTREACH. The Vermont Downtowns and Village Centers Award for Best Special Event was presented to PoemCity at the Vermont Downtowns Conference in June 2013 in Barre. We are very proud to have this statewide recognition, which beat out other contenders from around the Vermont.

Most recently, Julia Shipley’s article about PoemCity was published in the March/April 2014 edition of Yankee Magazine. The notice has been stellar, with our friends and partners tweeting about it and sharing it over Facebook. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it HERE. The issue is on newsstands now, and I recommend you pick one up—there are quite a few interesting articles.

We are grateful for the continued funding of the Vermont Humanities Council, the City of Montpelier’s Arts Fund, and for the hard work of our fantastic volunteer crew.  And speaking of social media, please follow, friend, and otherwise like us! @PoemCityVT and on

We’re looking forward to seeing you in April.


Rachel and Phayvanh

Rachel and Phayvanh

Broadsides Contest 2014

Our friends at Chickadee Chaps and Broads are running their broadsides contest again this year–details below:

Postmark deadline: February 1, 2014.
Entry Fee: $15.
Submission Guidelines: Submit up to three poems (30 line limit, please). Previously published ok– but please acknowledge where.

To enter via email: Email brief bio along with your name, address and phone, and attach three poems as a single pdf Entry fee is payable via PayPal to same email address. All submissions will be acknowledged.

To enter via mail: Items may be submitted via snail mail to May Day Studio, 190 River Street, Montpelier VT 05602. Checks should be made to May Day Studio. Please include SASE. Items mailed will not be returned. Please do not send originals or your only copy. All submissions will be acknowledged.

Winner will be notified via mail/email by March 1, 2014, and announced on our website.

The final juror will be Jody Gladding.

Last year’s winner was Ralph Culver, chosen by Sydney Lea.

Call for Submissions PoemCity 2014

Dear Poets,

We are starting early this year, and giving you a bit more time to get your poems to us for next April’s PoemCity display. Please follow the submissions guidelines below, and send us your best work. Thanks! -p Continue reading

Bringing Norwich to Montpelier

Enriching the study of poetry for students in our community is one of the rewards we receive from organizing PoemCity each year. In 2013, we are happy to have been able to feature the writings of students from Norwich University in nearby Northfield.

Montpelier and the Central Vermont region is host to generations of Norwich alumni and so this partnership seemed a natural fit.

Norwich, the nation’s oldest private military college, is known for programs such as engineering and nursing, but not so much for creative writing—yet! This month though, poetry was a very much a part of their campus life.

Ivelliam Ceballo wrote THIS ARTICLE for the NU campus newspaper about how the students are approaching poetry study. Yesterday, poet Major Jackson visited the campus to work with the students and offer a reading on the campus.

Professor Sean Prentiss sent me this note recently:

Last week, two creative writing classes from Norwich University visited Montpelier to enjoy PoemCity. This group of 25 students started out by reading the poems they submitted to PoemCity. These poems are all on display at the Vermont Center for Independent Living (11 E. State St).

From there, the students and I, wandered State and Main Streets reading poems in the light rain and talking about which poems were their favorites. The students were excited to see their poems on display and to see an entire city devoted to poetry for one month.

Sean Prentiss’s poem “Electrons Pushing Against Electrons” is on display at Capitol Stationers.

Norwich Students 2013 SPrentiss

Norwich Students 2013 1 SPrentiss

Norwich Students 2013 3 SPrentiss

Norwich Students 2013 2 SPrentiss


Student Poets Take Part in PoemCity by Ivelliam Ceballo

Photos are courtesy of Sean Prentiss.

Poems to Bear the Unbearable

Today’s brown bag lunch presentation will be led by VCFA alum Mary Fillmore and will focus on trauma (individual and cultural) and how poetry offers a way to respond to the experience. We’ll use the Holocaust as one example of traumatic experience and the role poetry serves—beyond closure or resolution—one of deeper reflection and resonance.

We are very happy to bring back Mary who last year led a wonderful presentation on the poetry of the First Nations of Canada. We had a very full house then, and learned quite a lot about a group of writers little known to us. She is a good presenter and will likely offer some time for Q&A as well.

I look forward to seeing you all there. Please note that this program is taking place at the Vermont College of Fine Arts on College Street. College Hall, Room 205. I will post some signs out front. Please feel free to bring your own lunch. We’ll start promptly at 12 Noon.



Some Holocaust poems can be found HERE

2013 Vermont Poetry Broadside Contest Winner

Dear Curators and Caretakers of Vermont’s Cultural Largess,

Happy National Poetry Month!

We are so pleased to announce the winning poem of Chickadee Chaps & Broads’ first Vermont Poetry Broadside Contest, written by Ralph Culver of Burlington, is now available. His poem, “Signed Self Portrait: February,” selected by Vermont Poet Laureate, Sydney Lea, has become a beautiful letterpress broadside, illustrated by Craftsbury artist, Gabriel Tempesta, handset and published by Kelly McMahon of May Day Studio in Montpelier and available in a signed and numbered edition of 60.

2013 Broadside

The final broadside is on display at The Drawing Board, with limited editions available for purchase.

The poetry broadside will be on display in the window of the Drawing Board on Main Street in Montpelier throughout April in celebration of National Poetry Month, as part of MontpelierAlive and the Kellogg Hubbard Library’s PoemCity programming. Copies are available for purchase at the Drawing Board throughout April 2013 and online while supplies last at our online store:

Ralph Culver received five copies of his broadside and a complimentary four- night stay at the Writer’s Retreat in Craftsbury, Vermont.

If you’re visiting Montpelier, you can hear Ralph read “Signed Self Portrait: February” and other poems from his award winning new chapbook, Both Distances recently published by Anabiosis Press, at 3:30pm on Saturday, April 27th in the Hayes Room of the Kellogg Hubbard Library.

As part of our small spirited effort to promote letterpress printed literature, Chickadee Chaps & Broads will be offering the Vermont Poetry Broadside contest annually over the next decade to build a Vermont letterpress printed and illustrated broadside archive.

Thank you for your support,


Julia Shipley & Kelly McMahon

Photo is courtesy of Chickadee Chaps and Broads.