New Hampshire Poetry Fest Schedule

The NH Poetry Fest schedule will be posted in June 2018. Please check back.


a great day of poetry

Saturday, September 15, 2018
New England College
98 Bridge Street
Henniker, NH 03243

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

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8:00-8:45 am - Registration


8:45-9:00 am - Welcome 


9:15-10:30 - Panels


10:45-12:00 Workshops

(pre-registration required) 

Doing Memory in the 21st Century

In this generative workshop, we’ll explore ways of revitalizing or animating the contemporary memory-driven poem by formally containing it in civic or public forms such as the diagnosis, menu, tweet, summons, citation, and so on. Bring two typed copies of any public text—packing instructions, cell phone call, parking ticket—and one photograph of yourself, another person, or a place to class. If time allows, we will also explore exemplary contemporary examples of lyric poems that surprise us by putting what they apparently want to “say” at odds against the structures they ultimately make.

Adrian Blevins is the author of the full-length poetry collections Appalachians Run Amok, winner of the Wilder Prize and just released this spring by Two Sylvias Press, Live from the Homesick Jamboree, and The Brass Girl Brouhaha; the chapbooks Bloodline and The Man Who Went Out for Cigarettes; and the co-edited Walk Till the Dogs Get Mean: Meditations on the Forbidden from Contemporary Appalachia. She is the recipient of many awards including a Kate Tufts Discovery Award for The Brass Girl Brouhahaand a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, among others. She teaches at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

“Like, Poetry is Metaphor.”

Ezra Pound famously said “Only emotion endures,” but it’s not your emotion he’s talking about, it’s the reader’s. How do poets get the reader to feel the emotion that will make the poem endure?  Simply describing an emotional experience--no matter how accurately--is insufficient.  The poem needs to establish an emotional connection with the reader. Using metaphor—describing one thing in terms of another—is an essential poetic technique for bringing this connection about. In this workshop we’ll examine how poets have used metaphor to make the reader feel emotion.  We’ll examine the limits of metaphor: how all  metaphors run their course and break down at some point; how they can get horribly mixed; and how they can  degenerate into cliché. We’ll also try a few exercises at writing metaphors that might become enduring poems someday. Aristotle in his Poetics states that “It [metaphor] is the one thing that can not be learnt from others; and it also is a sign of genius…” In other words, we’ll try our hands at being geniuses for a day.

Robert Crawford has published two books of poetry, The Empty Chair (2011, Richard Wilbur Award), and Too Much Explanation Can Ruin a Man (2005). His sonnets have twice won the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. His poems have appeared in many national journals including The Formalist, First Things, Dark Horse, The Raintown Review, The Lyric, Measure, Light and Forbes.Heco-founded the Hyla Brook Poets, and is a long-time member of the Powow River Poets of Newburyport, MA. Currently, he is the Director of Poetry Activities at the Robert Frost Farm in Derry, NH and is serving as Derry’s first poet laureate. He lives in Chester, NH, with his wife, the poet Midge Goldberg.


How to Do Yoga With Words: The Energy of Syntax

“Poetry is language that sounds better and means more,” wrote Charles Wright. How do we transform the language we use for the everyday into one that creates poetry? In this generative workshop, we will focus on a few rhetorical strategies, all on the level of syntax, that shake language out of its torpor. In poems, how you say something matters as much as what you say. After looking at a few powerful examples, we will practice these new postures in our own writing by taking ordinary sentences and phrases and, in effect, turning them on their head.

Sharon Dolin is the author of six poetry books: Manual for Living (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016); Whirlwind (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012); her ekphrastic collection, Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, reissued 2015); Burn and Dodge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008), winner of the AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry; Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004); and Heart Work (Sheep Meadow Press, 1995). Her translations from Catalan of Gemma Gorga’s Book of Minutes is forthcoming in The Field Translation Series in 2019. She received the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress in 2013, chosen by Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey. She has taught at Eugene Lang College of The New School, Hofstra University, Adelphi, Rutgers, The Cooper Union, the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, and Poets House. Founding Director of The Center for Book Arts Annual Poetry Chapbook Competition, she now directs Writing About Art in Barcelona, a 12-day creative writing workshop:    


Who Are You Talking To?: Revising the “Busted” Poem

In this craft talk, participants will consider motivation—who a poem is speaking to and its occasion for speaking—as a means of revising a "busted" poem. Participants who bring a poem that needs revising will have the opportunity to sketch out new avenues for the poem to change and grow. By examining a series of contemporary poems by Joe Wenderoth, Harryette Mullen, and Kaveh Akbar, we will consider the ways a poem's imagined occasion and audience can present new possibilities for a poem that otherwise seems stuck. 

Matthew Guenette is the author of three full-length poetry collections, including Vasectomania (2017) and American Busboy (2011) both from University of Akron Press. He is also the author of a chapbook, Civil Disobedience (2017), which won the 2016 Baltic Writing Residency Chapbook Contest, published by Rabbit Catastrophe Press. He teaches writing at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, WI.



12:00-1:30 - Lunch

1:30-2:45 - Panels


3:00-4:15 - Panels


4:15-5:00 - Wine Reception                                         


5:00-6:00 - Headliner Reading

Linda Pastan grew up in New York City, graduated from Radcliffe College in 1954, and received an MA from Brandeis University. She has published 15 volumes of poetry, most recently Insomnia which won the Towson University Literary Award and A Dog Runs Through It.  Two of her books have been finalists for the National Book Award, one for The Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She taught for several years at American University and was on the staff of the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference for 20 years. She is a past Poet Laureate of Maryland. Pastan has won numerous awards, including The Radcliffe Distinguished Alumni Award and The Maurice English Award. In 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. Pastan lives with her husband in Maryland. They have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

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