Happy New Year! I actually celebrate the new year at Halloween or Samhain, following the Celtic calendar as it seems it is at that time of year we begin the plunge into darkness and retrospection. However, since most people celebrate the New Year with the actual changing of the calendar, I too find myself reflecting […]

via Entering A New Year with Serenity  — Poetry, Reflections and Thoughts

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Poetry Event

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More Winning Poems from 2016

Here are the winning Poems from our 2nd and 3rd place 2016 winners.

Second Place Winner Noah Bogdonoff

wicker basket, at the end of the world
I hope that the end of the world is in June

and that I am unemployed

(imagine my relief

at never having to write another cover letter)

and that the quiet man with a blanket

under an awning at Kennedy Plaza

has the sense to celebrate.
I hope that I am where the word “plaza”

sounds foreign and unappealing

Berkshires, Adirondacks

Hudson Highlands, White Mountains
somewhere lonely
and that the fireflies don’t let up

until the bitter end

believing as arthropods believe

in a nameless tomorrow
no—
I only hope that I have the sense

to pack a wicker basket

hold someone’s hand on a high hilltop

eat dinner slowly

and lie naked in the grass

rehearsing decomposition
(it will be itchy

but then we will be gone)
dinner will be apples, cheese, bread

and bad beer

and my friend’s lips

will taste childish

and we will travel backwards

through the gates of knowledge

swallowed in the disappearing constellations.


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Third Place Winner Kara Provost

Rising
Taste of tea
like bitter brown earth
calling me to something

as steam whispers off
black cold ground
in early morning sun,

light rising
from behind tangled trees
in the empty lot across the street.

Empty of houses
but full
of crazy-leaning trunks, brambles

crunch of years
of fallen leaves, skulls
of thrown-out jack-o-lanterns,

rustle of gymnastic squirrels
chased by feral cats, smooth gray-suited catbird
yowling commentary

punctuated by twitches of his neat upright tail
and dry knocking of woodpecker,
head red against dark wood.

In spring there’ll be
an explosion of green
like every cycle before

and we’ll go a little crazy
with joy staring at the empty lot,
the skeleton trees refleshing with leaves
as if something we’d never seen.

 

 

 

 

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Galway Kinnell inducted to Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame

On Sunday, October 30, Galway Kinnell was posthumously inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame.

Dr. Robert Billington presented the award to members of the Pawtucket Arts Commission, Miriam Plitt and Mary Lou Moran.  Mary Lou had been involved with the Pawtucket Arts Council, which sponsored  the Galway Kinnell Poetry Contest  and Kinnell often returned to his roots in Pawtucket to present the award.

Pawtucket also remembered Kinnell by electing him to its Hall of Fame. Patrick Conley said on October 30, “Today we do likewise.”

 

 

 

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Winning Poems

Basic Training

My father was a fierce soldier
but not at the front.
He battled for cash, using
jeeps from the motor pool
as taxies—bloodying the faces
of his non-commissioned enemy
that threatened his enterprise.

One day he lost control speeding
to a train depot—the jeep launched,
spun— ejected his body.
There was surgery; they stitched
a steel plate into his head—
sent him home with severance
and a medical discharge.

He was lucky—and so was I
to be the son trained up
with his tales of glory:
like his thrashing a bull
of an anti-Semite Oakie,
or sucker-punching a sergeant
who called him a queer-ass pussy.

I believed this tough bastard,
my father. Why not?—
there were photos of him
posed stern and handsome
in khaki fatigues, helmeted,
with a rifle slung
over his shoulder. I couldn’t see
his feral eyes nor the cut
of his arrogant mouth.

No time for play or gentleness—
my father was busy fitting me
for war. From packages wrapped
in camouflaged paper
my uniform grew.
First canvas leggings and a webbed gun belt,
then a cartridge case and a holster.
The last of it was a plastic helmet liner
that wobbled when I walked
no matter how tight I cinched
its leather strap under my chin.
Straighten out,
Cut your hair, Be a man—
beat and beaten, his drill went on.
Sit-ups, hard gut, jaw set,
I was lost in his macho-bullshit—
trudging miles, years
on a forced march to crazy.

And still later, after the old man
got a transfer to the after-life,
I took up his position:
the sole defender
of an island, armed to the teeth,
afraid of the world.

Violence singed the air,
and I inhaled deeply.
Crossing lines, my rage
concealed in self-pity—
I shot the bitch of tenderness
at point blank range.

I’m sick of this life
fixed like a bayonet.
It would be pretty to believe
in the miracles of lions and lambs
and swords made to plough
the soil of a giving earth.

So I’ll tell us both I was saved;
that God, or some gentle woman
helped my soul shed its darkness
to see all the children broken
by war, by fear
by the crush of ignorance,
find their place among the stars.

Walking the Steere Hill Preserve

Once there were orchards
freighted with abundance
and windfalls of red and gold.
It was a slow time of hands
and horses bearing crates
piled high on wagons held
steady over ruts and stones.

I walk the old farm road
past meadows of indiangrass
and Queen Anne’s lace swayed
by their elegance. The sky
is lavender and swallows
lighten me with their curving
grace. The sun tastes fine.
I think I can fly.

But gnats think otherwise,
and I fall then retreat
to a path through the woods.
Not much light but lots of quiet—
pine needles underfoot and tiny white moths
falling like a weird snow.
One finds my palm and rests
nearly weightless, profound
in its inconsequence.

My breath gives it motion
but not life. One go-round to a customer,
I say to the trees, to my moth
with its golden eye,
and its dead and dying tribe
scattered among the leaves.
I let the moth fall—
then backtrack to the meadow.

First place winner Ira Schaeffer

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A Poetry Break with Galway Kinnell from poets.org

https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/poetry-breaks-galway-kinnell-reads-daybreak

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Winners Announced

And the winners are:

First place: Basic Training/Walking Steere Hill – Ira Schaeffer, Warwick, RI
Second place: Wicker Basket – Noah Bogdonoff, Providence, RI
Third place: Rising – Kara Provost, Barrington, RI

Honorable mentions:
Schedule for burning/Object Permanence -Christopher Kondrich, Providence
Sleeping Under Stars/View from Fifth Floor – Alexis Drutchas, MD, Providence
A Tour of the New Botanical Garden – Norma Jenckes, Pawtucket

Congratulations!

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