New Hampshire Poetry Fest Schedule



a great day of poetry

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The New Hampshire Institute of Art
148 Concord Street
Manchester, NH 03104-4858 

Many thanks to Gibson's Bookstore, which will be handling sales of books by presenters at the festival.

Register Now


8:00-8:45 am - Registration

French Building, 148 Concord Street, Art Gallery/Lobby 
Coffee and pastry

8:45-9:00 am - Welcome 

French Building Auditorium
Coffee and pastry

9:15-10:30 - Panels

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street

10:45-12:00 Workshops

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street
Workshops (pre-registration required)


Oliver de la Paz

Poetic Obsession


Poets, like painters, try to capture experience and place it on the page.  Imagine Van Gogh painting--trying to capture the explosions in the stars for his Starry Night. Now imagine the poet's attempt at capturing the essence of a lived moment. It can be daunting and can pursue the poet during every moment away from the page.  There is no failing this moment.  For, the pursuit of reliving the moment is only as good as the moment you face the page . . . or rather, only as good as the moments you're willing to face the page.  And so we come to the essence of this workshop.  The poetic obsession's purpose is to take you back to a life lived and translate the lived life into the imagined life.  Our job, out of all this, will be simple.  Our plan will be to find the secret door to our experience and open it.  Perhaps it's a door you've passed everyday and were afraid to open.  Perhaps it's an empty storefront you've seen as you've driven through your neighborhood.  Yet you've imagined yourself opening that door.  You've seen yourself taking a step and walking in and that image of yourself in relation to that door has obsessed you.  We will not be looking for ways out, but for ways in. Through a series of prompts, exercises, and examples I will demonstrate ways writers can reinvigorate their own writing by looking closer at singular obsessions.

Oliver de la Paz is the author of four collections of poetry: Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby, Requiem for the Orchard, and Post Subject: A Fable. He also co-edited A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry. A founding member, Oliver serves as the co-chair of the Kundiman advisory board. Additionally he serves on the Executive Board of Trustees for the Association of Writers & Writing Programs. His work has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as American Poetry Review, Tin House, The Southern Review, and Poetry. He teaches at the College of the Holy Cross and in the Low-Residency MFA Program at PLU.


Michael Dumanis

LINE & LINE-BREAK: An Experiment in Radical Revision


For this revision workshop, we will start with the assumption that every time we put a word on a page or break a line, we are making a choice which has profound consequences for the poem as a whole, and that we could have just as easily made any other choice and had a different poem. This session encourages us to free ourselves from the original intentions that caused us to sit down and write our first draft. We will try reshaping our poem in wildly new directions, imagining new possibilities while engaged in the act of creation. We will also ask ourselves, what makes for a good line of poetry, and generate a series of new lines that we could use in any poem.  All participants should bring two copies of an old poem from ten to thirty lines in length that they would like to radically reimagine.

Michael Dumanis is the author of the poetry collection My Soviet Union (University of Massachusetts Press), which won the Juniper Prize for Poetry, and coeditor, with poet Cate Marvin, of the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century (Sarabande). His recent work has appeared in the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day Project, The Believer, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, The Iowa Review, LitHub, and Ploughshares, He is a professor at Bennington College, where he teaches literature and creative writing, and serves as Editor of the print literary journal Bennington Review.

Rebecca Morgan Frank

Ekphrastic Poetry: Writing to and from Art


In this introduction to ekphrastic poetry writing, you will have the opportunity to read and write poetry in response to works of art. The Greek word ekphrasis means description, but ekphrastic poetry can also tell stories, explore emotions or ideas, serve as a catalyst for self-exploration, or catapult you into artist freedom. Through a set of writing exercises, we’ll explore ekphrastic poetry’s possibilities as a cure for writer’s block, an avenue to richer imagery, and a path to new topics and ways of seeing in your poetry. A variety of art postcards will be provided for this generative workshop.

Rebecca Morgan Frank is the author of three collections of poetry: Little Murders Everywhere (Salmon 2012), a finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery Award; The Spokes of Venus (Carnegie Mellon 2016); and Sometimes We’re All Living in a Foreign Country, forthcoming from Carnegie Mellon in Fall 2017. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, Guernica, and elsewhere. Co-founder and editor-in-chief of the online literary magazine Memorious, she is the Jacob Ziskind Poet in Residence at Brandeis University.


Elizabeth Powell

Freeing the Inner Poet from Witness Protection: Deep Journaling for Better, Truer Poems


The writer/poet Sarah Manguso in her book “Ongoingness: The End of a Diary” observes that experience itself wasn’t enough. She says her “diary was my best defense against waking up at the end of my life and realizing I had missed it. The journal was an amulet against the passage of time.” 

I don’t think we realize we can be asleep to ourselves for decades, in a sort of self-imposed witness protection program for our true self. 

The great fact is that we have this great question as artists that we all must answer in our own way: Does art reflect life or life reflect art? And we don’t ever have to totally answer it, but we do have to say: What are we running from? What images swirl in our heads that we don’t understand? Do we even know what honesty is in relation to ourselves and our writing even if we are writing in the third person? How do we have faith in our creative choices? How long do we want to silence the inner voice that has the key to our creativity and poetry? How do we get our most authentic voice into our work? As poets, we often have much of our truest, creative self in a sort of self-imposed witness protection program.

For writers of all genres, journaling is and can be an act of creative discovery. In this session we’ll explore myriad types of journaling particularly fruitful in encourage new shoots and growths for our poems. We will work through examples and exercises, including: sketching with words, dream and travel journals, dialoguing with the known and unknown through journaling, using fragment and observation for poetic journaling, pastiche and pillow book journaling, morning pages, spiritual journaling, among others. We will look at how different methods of journaling can help us get our exiled self out of the witness protection program and onto the page. Come begin the lifelong cultivation of the truth through journaling whether you’ve been keeping a diary all along or never, this workshop will have something that speaks to you.

Author of the New Yorker 2016 "Books We Love", "Willy Loman's Reckless Daughter", Elizabeth A. I. Powell is also the author of “The Republic of Self” a New Issue First Book Prize winner, selected by C.K. Williams. Winner of the Robert Dana Prize in Poetry in 2016, Powell also won a 2013 Pushcart Prize. Powell has also received a Vermont Council on the Arts grants and a Yaddo fellowship. Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Black Warrior Review, Ecotone, Harvard Review, Handsome, Hobart, Indiana Review, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Slope, Sugarhouse Review, Ploughshares, Post Road, and elsewhere. She is Editor of Green Mountains Review, and Associate Professor of Writing and Literature at Johnson State College. She also serves on the faculty of the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha and the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing and Publishing. Her website is:

12:00-1:30 - Lunch

Information about area restaurants is provided in your registration materials.

1:30-2:45 - Panels

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street                           

3:00-4:15 - Panels

Lowell Building, 88 Lowell Street

5:00-6:00 - Headliner Reading

French Building Auditorium

Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Gregory Pardlo's collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is also the author of Air Traffic, a memoir in essays forthcoming from Knopf. Pardlo is a faculty member of the M.F.A. program in creative writing at Rutgers University-Camden. He lives with his family in Brooklyn.

6:15-8:00 pm - Closing Meet-Up