Contest Winners and Reading — Coming Up

Just a quick note to say that the winners of the annual Naomi Cherkofsky national contest have been chosen, but the judge needs to get the names and contact info — always a secret — which the contest chair has to pull together. So, we’ll keep you posted.

Then, everyone should join us at the Beverly Public Library on Saturday, April 26, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a celebration of National Poetry Month, with readings of the winning poems followed by an open mic. Light refreshments will be available.

See you then!

Trying to publicize the contest

So, newspapers these days make you, the subscriber and would-be reader, do all the work of trying to get something published. I have been on my little computer here for hours and hours, trying to add the Naomi Cherkofsky contest to the calendars of Boston Globe, Boston.Com, Salem News, Lynn Item, and possibly, although not necessarily, to all their affiliates. (See here, Poetry Contests, for details.) I also tried to add the announcement to the North Shore Sunday calendar, which would, presumably, add it to all the Wicked Local papers. This proved beyond my capabilities. So, I am relying on an old friend and former coworker to do the job for me. Here’s hoping she is allowed to do it!

Now, will anyone read those? I’m not sure. Therefore, I beg you, my fellow poets in the North Shore Poets Forum and those of you who aren’t but occasionally drop into this blog for a bit of news, to enter the contest, to tell your friends to enter the contest, to tell them to tell everyone to enter the contest. If they aren’t poets, please encourage them to join us on April 26 for our National Poetry Month celebration, during which the winners of the contest read their winning entries. An Open Mic follows, during which we have always had very talented people show up to share their work. After all, most people don’t write, but they do enjoy. Here’s to those wonderful enjoyers!

And, here’s another little poem to get you in mind of warm breezes and Spring.

More Than Enough

By Marge Piercy

The first lily of June opens its red mouth.
All over the sand road where we walk
multiflora rose climbs trees cascading
white or pink blossoms, simple, intense
the scene drifting like colored mist.

The arrowhead is spreading its creamy
clumps of flower and the blackberries
are blooming in the thickets. Season of
joy for the bee. The green will never
again be so green, so purely and lushly

new, grass lifting its wheaty seedheads
into the wind. Rich fresh wine
of June, we stagger into you smeared
with pollen, overcome as the turtle
laying her eggs in roadside sand.
Note: Marge Piercy is one of the featured poets at this year’s Massachusetts State Poetry Festival.

Annual Poetry Reading date and time change!

Life is full of changes. So, the North Shore Poets’ Forum has a little change to announce. The annual Poetry Reading in celebration of National Poetry Month that features readings by winners of the Naomi Cherkofsky contest followed by an Open Mic is from the third Saturday in April to the last one. That’s April 26, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the Beverly Public Library.

I have been a sleepy, lazy, cold lady this winter and haven’t posted much. Still am. But, here’s a little poem by Billy Collins to give you — and me — hope. (Note: WordPress does not allow all poetic formatting! So, I have an ellipse to indicate stanza breaks.)


By Billy Collins

If ever there were a spring day so perfect,
so uplifted by a warm intermittent breeze
that it made you want to throw
open all the windows in the house
and unlatch the door to the canary’s cage,
indeed, rip the little door from its jamb,
a day when the cool brick paths
and the garden bursting with peonies
seemed so etched in sunlight
that you felt like taking
a hammer to the glass paperweight
on the living room end table,
releasing the inhabitants
from their snow-covered cottage
so they could walk out,
holding hands and squinting
into this larger dome of blue and white,
well, today is just that kind of day.

Share your favorite poet

Bring along some poems by your favorite poet to share with the group at our meeting Saturday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m., at the Beverly Public Library. Add a few words about the poet and the reasons you think he/she is so terrific. We had intended this agenda for last month, but then changed it to a Seamus Heaney retrospective given his recent demise. It was a great meeting, and I expect the next one will be, too.

I will bring Mary Oliver (I think) and Roberta said she was going to bring Elizabeth Bishop. Of course, I mean their poems, not their bodies, although that would be a kick. One (quiz time: which one?) is not with us anymore, but given the onset of the Halloween season (it is a season in Salem), it might work. (Just kidding.)

At our September meeting we also outlined an agenda for the rest of the formal Forum year.

November 16: Write a poem about thankfulness. If you can’t write one, bring one by another poet to share.

December 7: Joint meeting with Mass State Poetry Society. This year we will have a special Tribute to Althea Adelheim, one of our founding members who died this year. As usual, we will have lots of good food. We will also have a Yankee Swap, gifts in the $5 range, with the Most Apt Poem contest sponsored by the North Shore Poets’ Forum. To participate, you simply write a poem to describe the swap gift you are bringing. You do not sign the poem or swap gift package. A judge will determine which poem was the best description of the swap gift, and the winner gets $10. It’s always fun!

January 18: We are stretching our poetic muscles and writing poems in forms. In addition, bring another form poem by an established poet to share.

February 15: Mary Miceli will lead a program on rhythm, using the rhythm of music as an easy route to understanding. You might consider bringing in the sheet music, or simply the words, to one of your own favorite songs.

March 15: Even though St. Patrick’s day is right around the corner, Melissa and I (Cathryn) are ignoring that great day and presenting a program on the Imagist poets.

April 26:  Annual National Poetry Month celebration with readings by the winners of the Naomi Cherkofsky contest followed by an Open Mic.

May17: Poems of Place. Bring, write, explain.

Anyone who was at the September meeting who has a different recollection of the decisions made regarding the agenda, please let me know.


Shall we reconsider the topic?

Of course by now you know that Seamus Heaney died yesterday. He was a wonderful poet. and since I left it that we should all bring poems by a favorite poet to our Sept. 21 meeting, how about if instead we do a tribute to Seamus Heaney? I will get copies of some of my favorite of his poems, and I would love it if others of you brought copies of his poems that you particularly like. I think we should all take turns reading the poems and discussing.

Let me know what you think.
Cathryn, aka Cathy

Next meeting is Sept. 21

The next meeting of the North Shore Poets’ Forum is Saturday, Sept. 21, 11 a.m., at the Beverly Public Library. We have to set up our agenda, so please come prepared to volunteer to prepare a program.

For the first meeting, too, I hope you will bring a poem or two by a different poet (not yourself) to read. Then we’d like to hear what you admire about this poet/poem.
New this year: If you bring a poem of your own that you want to share, please bring six or seven copies so that we can gently critique it. This is in the longstanding tradition of the poets’ forum that we all need feedback, that there is always more to learn, and that we humbly realize we need help to become better poets.

I look forward to seeing you next month.

Photos from National Poetry Month contest reading

Roberta Hung listens to the winners of the Naomi Cherkofsky Memorial Contest .

Roberta Hung listens to the winners of the Naomi Cherkofsky Memorial Contest .

There isn’t a harder working intellectual mind full of curiosity and brilliance than Roberta Hung. Unfortunately, Roberta has been busy painting and

Ellie is such a brave and beautiful soul reading from her notebook of thoughts and poems.

Ellie is such a brave and beautiful soul reading from her notebook of thoughts and poems.

participating in an online course regarding ancient Greek history and did not have any new poems to share that wonderfully sunny Saturday we celebrated National Poetry Month by honoring the winners of the Naomi Cherkofsky Memorial Contest and participating in the annual open mic event.

(Roberta, if you happen to read this please post the information about your class and the artistic group in the comments section! )

You can read all about who the winners were in Cathryn’s earlier post. But I was just going through a ton of photos and came across these from our reading.

Richard Samuel Davis received an honorable mention for his poem “Waiting for Deer at the Island Refuge”

Richard Samuel Davis received an honorable mention for his poem “Waiting for Deer at the Island Refuge”

(You know how it goes, you take the photos and you love the representation of the

The illustrious leader of the Massachusetts Poetry Society Jeanette Maes.

The illustrious leader of the Massachusetts Poetry Society Jeanette Maes.


moment but you never seem to get the pictures developed. It’s as true today in the digital worlds as it was in the days of film. Tell me you don’t have at least a few rolls of film kicking around in a drawer somewhere that you have no idea what’s on it!)

I do so wish that I had been better about posting sooner, so I could give a recount of the wonderful words that were shared. I am sure that I took notes, buried now in my notebook, highlighting some turn of phrase that I loved. I promise that when I do come upon those notes, I’ll leave a comment on this post with them!

At any rate, here are a few of the other photos I took that day (don’t worry Joan, I didn’t take any of you!) and where I think I have the correct identification I’ll make a notation.


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