Next meeting coming up

The North Shore Poets’ Forum will meet on Saturday, Sept. 20, in the Barnett Room of the Beverly Public Library, 11 a.m. to 1 ish. Because no food or beverage is allowed in this room, we won’t have any goodies this time. So sorry!

I found my notes from the last meeting, and it turns out I am the one responsible for the program this time. So, since I haven’t decided what it will be, you’ll just have to come to find out.  (Maybe poems about food?!)

My notes also state that Jeanette will present a program on Dorothy Parker in October. Again, we can’t have the Program Room, so no food again. And, we can’t have the Program Room or Barnett Room in November.

I think we should revisit where we meet. So, put your thinking caps on.

See you Saturday.

Summer Outing coming up

We are having a Summer Outing this year with a particular twist — to say goodbye to Diane Giardi, who is moving to New York to start a new chapter in her life. Because of her busy schedule, we are changing the date to the fourth Saturday, June 28. We’ll meet , at Captain Carlo’s in Gloucester, 27 Harbor Loop, at 11:30 a.m., when the restaurant opens. Bring some poetry!

I’ll post more information as the date nears. Please let me know if you can come, so that I can be sure to reserve a table for all of us.



Meeting on Saturday

Please join us for the last official meeting of the year at the Beverly Public Library, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. We are supposed to bring either our own or a favorite poet’s poems about place. If you bring your own, please bring copies to share for gentle critique.

We will also be discussing elections and schedule for next year, as well as a summer outing.

AlamoIn any case, here’s a picture of the Alamo, which is a place, but I didn’t write about it! You, too, have been on vacation or on  a business trip here or there.

When looking for an existing poem about the Alamo, here’s something I found that I think says a lot about place.

Taovayo-Wichita Burial Eulogy

We are children of the earth, and as we go on a journey it means that we are like children crawling upon our mother, and as we exist upon the earth we are kept alive by her breath, the wind, and at the end of our time we are put in the ground in the bosom of our mother.

Now you have been made to contain all things, to produce all things, and for us to travel over.  Also we have been told to take care of everything which has come to your bosom, and we have been told that in your body everything should be buried.  I now come to bury this man.

From G.A. Dorsey, Mythology of the Wichita, 1904

I hope this has inspired you to look for other examples of poetry about place or to write something. See you on Saturday!



Winners of the Naomi Cherkofsky contest

We had a great celebration of National Poetry Month at the Beverly Public Library on Saturday, April 26. Thank you to those who came, in particular the winners of the annual Naomi Cherkofsky contest who came to read their winning entries. Thanks to those who came to listen, to share their own poetry, and to socialize. The food was delicious, the poetry was delightful, and the day was great.

Here are the winners:

1. Timothy Russell, Toronto, OH: The Next Thing I Knew

2. Barbara Blanks, Garland, TX: View From the Pilots’ Barracks

3. Mark Wacomer Stevick, Salem, MA: Cross Our Hearts.

Honorable Mentions

Note: these were not ranked.

Paulette Demers Turco, Newburyport, MA: The Limpet

Richard Samuel Davis, Byfield, MA: Where the Night Sky Can Be Seen

Gwendolyn Carr, Gloucester, MA: As the World Turns

Mark Wacomer Stevick, Salem, MA: Just Drive.

Maryellen Letarte, Lunenburg, MA: He Remembers SOS

Catherine Moran, Little Rock, AR: On the Stairs

Margaret Eckman, Swampscott, MA: Sky Diamonds

Carol Seitchik, Beverly, MA: Copake Falls, The Valley

Carol Seitchik, Beverly, MA: The Sculpture Studio

Carol Seitchik, Beverly, MA: Effluvium and the Afterlife





Why I love NSPF and why you should come to our open mic tomorrow

Massachusetts Poetry Society Jeanette Maes reads during a previous open mic event.

The illustrious leader of the Massachusetts Poetry Society Jeanette Maes.

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for the NSPF for a while now (everyone knows about the best laid plans and so forth) so here I am the night before the NSPF “big” meeting finally getting down to it.

I love the North Shore Poets’ Forum. I really do. It is one of my go-to poetry groups and every meeting is like reuniting with long lost friends. I first joined the NSPF when I was a cub reporter and only about three years out of college. Cathy O’Hare was the big “City Hall” reporter and mentor to me as I tried to figure out what being a reporter was all about. Since she mentored me on my articles I asked her one day to take a look at a poem I wrote. She praised it and invited me to come to the next meeting.

It was overwhelming but fun. I soon started attending the Massachusetts State Poetry Society meetings and the WordCrafter’s sessions (which took place in Hamilton at the time). After a few meetings, the group invited me to be the secretary. I took my role seriously crafting monthly newsletters and snail mailing meeting updates.

We enjoyed many of the same events that still take place–the regular spring outing and the annual Christmas party. But one of the highlights is the National Poetry Month open mic and Naomi Cherkofsky Contest winners’ reading which takes place tomorrow, Saturday, April 26, 11 a.m., at the Beverly Public Library.  It is a chance to throw open the doors of our little group and invite the world to join us in our love of the language and the craft of poetry.

love book

A love of language, a love of books, a love of poetry, and a love of this poetry community = blessed

Typically, we meet the third Saturday of the month and someone offers to do a little presentation on some topic or other. Over the years I have learned about Pulitzer Prize winner writers and delved into the tools of poetry coming to understand things like line break, poetic form, and imagery.

We all bring a speck of food to share and take a break to talk about our lives, about our writing, about our families before we reconvene to share our own poems and partake in a bit of gentle critique. We are a close, connected, and kind community. I love learning and sharing and helping watch my friends grow in their awareness of the wonders of poetry–just as I continue to marvel at the mysteries it unlocks.

Over the years, I have seen how specific poems have been transformed through the hard work of the poet and the loving suggestions of the group. I have grown tremendously from this feedback as well.

We NSPF members are part of a legacy of writers and friends who have been meeting since the 1960s, and sadly, many of whom have passed on. Tomorrow, we will join to congratulate the winners of the Naomi Cherkofsky Contest, named in honor of one such founding poet. Tomorrow, we will memorialize her and we will celebrate the triumph of the NSPF’s continued journey. Tomorrow, we will welcome new friends, honor those contest winners, and toast the poetry of others in our community. And yes, we will share a bite to eat.

So, these are a few of the reasons I love NSPF. I hope you can come tomorrow. I am sure you’ll love it too!

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.

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