Workshopping with Kerrin McCadden

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Workshop in progress. Photo by Ma’ayan D’Antonio

By, Ma’ayan D’Antonio

Kerrin McCadden, is the author of Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes, winner of the Vermont Book Award and the New Issues Poetry Prize. As well as a resident of Montpelier. Kerrin held a workshop for reinventing poetry, a way to revise poetry. The workshop took place at the Kellogg-Hubbard Library on Monday, April 16. Kerrin, humble as she was introduced, wanted to know the participants’ names and where they are with their poetry. As each in turn said their name, they all talked in depth about where they are with their poem, someone even stated that they “accidentally wrote a poem”.

Kerrin, who mostly teaches high school kids finds it wired when grownups sit so still in front of her, “adults” she stated with a laugh. Geof Hewitt and Rick Agran (other PoemCity presenters) were also in attendance. “I’m always looking for new ways to look at poetry,” Agran said when he introduced himself.

Kerrin wanted the participants to be willing to think about how to make a poem work. As well as contemplate what makes a poem work? She explained that we don’t always know what is best for our poem, and at times a poem is not its best self. So how do you make it better? The more you push it around, the more it will tell you when it is done.

She presented an exercise to flex the ‘poet muscle’. To enable contrast try to fit five words that don’t necessarily work together in a poem, this will allow more room for the subconscious creativity to surface what we tend to keep back.

She gave different ways to reinvent a poem.

– Translate the poem into more then one language, then back to English and see what the end results bring. You might be surprised.

– Create tension by shifting focus.

– Take an old poem and write it a companion.

– Consider cutting the openings and endings of a poem and see what you are left with.

– Look at the large scale of the poem to create a new poem, you may find that the small things change into something even better- deeper.

– Change the order in which you give the information to the reader.

– Shift verb tense, try from the past to the future.

– Change the point of view from the I to him or you.

McCadden also suggests to look at a thesaurus, from different publications as well as different decades, to find new and interesting words to use.

Irish Poetry and Music

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Angela Patten

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, enjoy award-winning poet Angela Patten’s poetry together with the Irish Traditional Music Session hosted by Sarah Blair, Hilari Farrington, Benedict Koehler, Rob Ryan and regulars at Bagitos Irish Saturdays! Come join them on Saturday, April 28. Angela Patten, author of three poetry collections. As well as a prose memoir High Tea at a Low Table (2013), that was published by Wind Ridge Books of Vermont in 2013, lives in Burlington where she teaches at the University of Vermont.

This venue is not accessible.

2 to 5 pm| Bagitos Bagel & Burrito Cafe, 28 Main Street

Environmental Poetry Reading with Sean Prentiss, Julia Shipley, James Crews, and Jody Gladding at Down Home Kitchen

down home kitchenJoin us on Monday, April 30, for our PoemCity finale at Down Home Kitchen in downtown Montpelier. During “Environmental Poetry,” four poets will share poetry that deals with how place affects us as humans and writers. The poems read by Jody Gladding, James Crews, Julia Shipley, and Sean Prentiss will be infused with language that evokes landscapes, people, animals, and plant life. These poems aim to bring thereader intimately into a single spot on this earth.

A delicious Down Home supper is available at this event: a cup of homemade soup (veggie, gluten-free, meat options), bread, a side salad, and scratch-made dessert for $20. All beverages extra. You can attend without buying food. 

6:30 pm | Down Home Kitchen, 100 Main Street

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Jody Gladding

Jody Gladding’s work explores the places where language and landscape converge. Translations from Bark Beetle (2014) is her most recent poetry collection and a new book, the spiders my arms, is forthcoming. Gladding has also translated thirty books from French. Gladding directs the Writing Program at the Vermont Studio Center and lives in East Calais, Vermont.

Crews Author

James Crews

James Crews‘s work has appeared in Ploughshares, Raleigh Review, Crab Orchard Review and The New Republic, among other journals, and he is a regular contributor to The London Times Literary Supplement. He is the author of two collections of poetry, The Book of What Stays (2011) and Telling My Father (2016), and is co-editor of the forthcoming anthology of LGBTQ environmental poetry, Queer Nature. Crews lives on an organic farm in Shaftsbury and teaches at Southern Vermont College and Community College of Vermont.

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Julia Shipley

Julia Shipley is the author of a debut collection, The Academy of Hay (2015) which won the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize. Her story “The Giving Tree” was selected as a notable narrative in Best American Science and Nature Writing 2017. Her prose book Adam’s Mark: Writing from the Oxhouse (2014) was named a 2014 best book about New England by the Boston Globe. She is a recipient of fellowships from The Frost Place and The Studios of Key West. Her poems and essays have appeared in The Collagist, FIELD, Gettysburg Review, Harvard Review online, North American Review, Orion Magazine, Poetry, Utne Reader and Verse Daily. Shipley holds an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars and works as an independent journalist.

Sean Prentiss is the award-winning author of Finding Abbey: A Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, a memoir about Edward Abbey and the search for home. Finding Abbey won the 2015 National Outdoor Book Award for History/Biography, the Utah Book Award for Nonfiction, and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for Biography.

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Sean Prentiss

It was also a Vermont Book Award and Colorado Book Award finalistPrentiss is the co-author of the environmental writing textbook Environmental and Nature Writing: A Craft Guide and Anthology, the forthcoming textbook, Advanced Creative Nonfiction, and the co-editor of The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, a creative nonfiction craft anthology. Prentiss is also the series editor of the Bloomsbury Publishing Writers Guide Series. This textbook line includes a variety of forthcoming textbooks all focused on creative writing. Prentiss and his family live on a small lake in northern Vermont and he teaches at Norwich University and in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

birds words and notes

A celebration of the world around us in poetry, reflection, and music featuring poetry by Scudder Parker, reflections by Bryan Pfeiffer, with music by Ruth Einstein and D. Davis including standards and original compositions on violin and guitar. It all takes place on Friday, April 27 at North Branch Nature Center.

Everyone welcome, admission by donation to benefit North Branch Nature Center.

 7-9 pm | North Branch Nature Center, 713 Elm Street