Wednesday May 4th
Barter is a poet living and working in Bar Harbor, Maine. His
first book The Singers I Prefer was
a Lenore Marshall Prize finalist; his second book is just out from
BkMk Press in 2013. His poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Georgia
Review, The American Scholar, Epoch and other magazines and has been
featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and The Writer's Almanac.
Christian has held the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University
and been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. An editor for
The Beloit Poetry Journal and sometime teacher at College of the
Atlantic, his primary occupation is working on a trail crew,
planning and overseeing construction and rehabilitation of hiking
trails on Mount Desert Island.
English is variously a historic
building preser-vationist, a husband, joiner, father of two, timber
framer, grandfather of two, humorist, lay preacher, father-in-law,
dry stone mason, Justice of the Peace and Model T truck driving
He recites his brand of poetry in
performance settings throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and
His work has been published in
several anthologies. He has collaborated with former Portsmouth Poet
Laureate Maren Tirabassi and New Hampshire humorist Rebecca Rule to
create a spoken word Christmas CD entitled Sticky Mittens and
Angel Feet, which was adapted for the stage by Gamaliel Theatre
Production Company and toured as a four person show entitled
KatieTowler on Virginia Prescott's
"Word of Mouth" NHPR podcast
After her book launch at 3S Artspace author Katie Towler has been
doing readings and signings around the region. One of her stops was
with Virginia Prescott's "Word of Mouth" radio program.
We are huge fans of Katie's memoir. If you missed the 3S launch
event (and if you didn't) here's an opportunity to hear Katie
discuss her work in a fine interview by Virginia Prescott.
The podcast includes a brief audio excerpt (which we didn't no
existed) of Robert reading his Prescott Park posted poem.
The podcast is 14 minutes. Worth it. ~Ed.
Event at Ceres Bakery
was April 1
Ceres Bakery: gallery area
POEMS for PEACE: BELOVED COMMUNITY
A wonderful youth poetry program
took place April 1st, organized by Poet Laureate Kate Leigh. Parents and
community members took pictures. The young poets were terrific.
Ceres was packed. We'll be posting a gallery here in the near
future. Check back.
on how the PPLP
came to be
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.
Letter from the Laureate: Update
early May, I became the tenth poet laureate of Portsmouth. Although
I do not go around with an laurel wreath on my head, I feel so
honored. This first year I have learned how meaningful working with
a committee can be. I want to thank the PPLP Board members for
teaching me and helping me fulfill this role well.
Poems for Peace - a poetry
program for schools
As my Poems for
Peace vision unfolded, we started with a letter to school
districts associated with all the communities from which our
poet laureate program draws nominations. We thought: if the
community is eligible for the laureateship, perhaps they might
want to take advantage of our Poems for Peace
classroom=based program. They did.
I have spoken with classes from fourth grade through
high school seniors. I have addressed groups ranging in size
from 12 to 75. Some classes are limited to 45 minutes; some I
have the luxury of over an hour.
African Burying Ground as
I use the African Burying Ground as a prompt and an
example not only of excellence in community response, but also
of the positive changes possible in our society. The discussion
takes us into difficult territory, but important and thoughtful
questions and examples are raised. I have been very impressed by
both the students and their teachers.
In the program I read them the poem by Jerome Meadows,
which I call the I Stand For poem. I also sometimes read
poems from the book of slavery poems called I Lay My Stitches
The Classroom Process
let students know I have no expectations for poetic form.
Instead, I explain, I am interested in their thoughts, in what
they have to say. I write with them. Usually the teachers do,
too. We keep a quiet writing space for anywhere from ten to
fifteen minutes, then share. No one is required to share, but
most do. No one is required to pass in their poems to me; some
do. Along the way I have learned a few ways to encourage shy
students. I always wish I had more time with them.
The program has been well-received at each school and
class I've visited. I also offer students what I call follow-up
options. I explained about our Youth Hoot in January and was
able to build some interest in it.
National Poetry Month at
Ceres Bakery Gallery April 1st
Now I am
encouraging participation with either poetry or art, or both, in
the National Poetry Month show at Ceres Bakery's gallery,
beginning with a Youth Poetry Reading April 1, at 5:30.
I hope to hear from teachers throughout the month of
March to build participation. I've created a flyer for this
event, and have circulated it to the teachers with whom I have
been in touch. I hope this event is as successful as the Martin
Luther King Day event at the South Church was in January.
We had a young reader from the Moharimet School as a
The results of this project might not be evident instantly; I
view them as seeds planted to flower in the future.
After School Poets
|After School Poets on
their way into Portsmouth Library
with After School Poets working on poetry and art in the
My 'pet project' is
the After School Poets program, which has been running
for several months at Portsmouth Public Library. I have several
young poets getting their start at writing verse, whose mothers
are essential to the process going smoothly. Not only will some
of them be participating in April, but a some of this group's
work will be on display at the Library in May.
Youth and Eldercare
To an extent, I'll feel my work will be complete when I
am able to go visit at least one eldercare facility with a
couple of young poets to share poetry with these members of our
community. I hope to organize this for summer or perhaps fall of
By the way, the African Burying Ground adds an
interesting element to our already fascinating artistic
community. It draws visitors who care immensely about Black
History. This includes, of course, the artist from Savannah,
Jerome Meadows. The PPLP helped to support his efforts to
produce Blank Page last October.
I just heard he may be
coming back to do another Blank Page at the first anniversary of
the African Burying Ground in late May. Stay tuned.
Thank you for this
ongoing opportunity. And for your support.
images from the Ceremony and Celebration
Learn about our
previous Laureates here.
~ ~ ~