NS Poets’ Forum Meets Saturday!

HI folks,

The new season at the North Shore Poets’ Forum gets started on Saturday, Sept. 17, at 11 a.m., in the Sohier Room of the Beverly Public Library, Essex Street, Beverly. Our eminent founder, Jeanette Maes, will present a program about the renowned poet Donald Hall. He is an elder statesman of poetry, at this point in his life, but still active. We look forward to Jeanette’s presentation.

Fall beckons, and next month will be filled with cooler air and traditional tales of ghostly spirits. Maryanne Anderson will present a program entitled “Hauntings,” on Oct. 22.

Please see Meetings and Events tab for our plans for the following months.

End of summer now, so I will leave you with some end of summer poems.

End of Summer

 

STANLEY KUNITZ

An agitation of the air,
A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night.

I stood in the disenchanted field
Amid the stubble and the stones,
Amazed, while a small worm lisped to me
The song of my marrow-bones.

Blue poured into summer blue,
A hawk broke from his cloudless tower,
The roof of the silo blazed, and I knew
That part of my life was over.

Already the iron door of the north
Clangs open: birds, leaves, snows
Order their populations forth,
And a cruel wind blows.

 

 

XXXIX (from Last Poems)

A.E. Housman

When summer’s end is nighing
And skies at evening cloud,
I muse on change and fortune
And all the feats I vowed
When I was young and proud.

The weathercock at sunset
Would lose the slanted ray,
And I would climb the beacon
That looked to Wales away
And saw the last of day.

From hill and cloud and heaven
The hues of evening died;
Night welled through lane and hollow
And hushed the countryside,
But I had youth and pride.

And I with earth and nightfall
In converse high would stand,
Late, till the west was ashen
And darkness hard at hand,
And the eye lost the land.

The year might age, and cloudy
The lessening day might close,
But air of other summers
Breathed from beyond the snows,
And I had hope of those.

They came and were and are not
And come no more anew;
And all the years and seasons
That ever can ensue
Must now be worse and few.

So here’s an end of roaming
On eves when autumn nighs:
The ear too fondly listens
For summer’s parting sighs,
And then the heart replies.

 

Today, May 12, is Limerick Day!

Our next Forum meeting is Saturday, May 21, and Jeanette Maes is presenting a program on Ella Wheeler Wilcox. We will meet in the Barnet Gallery, and we have been given special permission to have food. However, the library is having trouble with its water so we are advised to bring our own.

As usual, you are encouraged to bring copies of any poems for which you would appreciate gentle critiques.

In the meantime, I came across this in the New York Times today and thought you might enjoy it!

Back Story

(Stolen from the New York Times, 5/12/2016)

There was an old man in a tree, Whose whiskers were lovely to see; But the birds of the air, Pluck’d them perfectly bare, To make themselves nests on that tree.

That might sound a bit like Dr. Seuss, but it was written by the British painter and poet Edward Lear, who popularized limerick poems in his “Book of Nonsense” (1846).

He was born on this day in 1812, which is why today is Limerick Day. (CKO’s emphasis)

The limerick’s name has been traced to France, where an 18th-century Irish Brigade was serving.

The men returned with a song, “Will You Come Up to Limerick?” — an Irish city and county. The chorus may have developed into what became the limerick form, some scholars say.

Lear had been hired to paint an aristocrat’s private menagerie and he came up with his poems to amuse the children in the household. He said he got the idea from an old nursery rhyme.

The five-line poems have an AABBA rhyme scheme, meaning the first, second, and last lines rhyme, as do the third and fourth lines.

The first and second lines introduce a character, activity or setting, while the third and fourth lines are generally shorter to intensify the punch line.


So, just for fun, why not try one?

 

2016 Open Mic!

Wow, it has been a year since I’ve posted anything! Well, that’s life! Some years just run away from you.

But, onward! It is time to spring into Spring with another annual Open Mic and announcement of the Naomi Cherkofsky Poetry Contest winners. If we are lucky, one or two of the winners will be able to come to the Open Mic, too. In any case, we certainly hope you will join us for this lovely celebration of National Poetry Month with a few poems to share.

Date: Saturday, April 16th

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Beverly Public Library, Essex Street, Beverly, Program Room

Light refreshments served.

Most importantly, bring poems!

The May meeting of the North Shore Poets’ Forum will be on the 21st, again at the Beverly  Public Library, at 11 a.m., but this time in the Barnett Gallery, which is lovely. Jeanette Maes will give a program on Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Please join us. After the program and some refreshments, we love to share our own poetry. For gentle critique, please provide 6 to 10 copies of your poem.

The Massachusetts State Poetry Society will meet May 7 at the West Branch of the Peabody Institute Library, 603 Lowell St., Peabody. Contact Jeanette Maes for more information, jeanettemaes@comcast.com, or Roberta Hung, robette02@yahoo.com

Now, for a little poem to  get you in the mood for even more great poetry! This one is by Eamon Grennan, who lives in New York state. I found this in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry column begun when he was Poet Laureate. It continues today and is available free online.

Up Against It
by Eamon Grennan

It’s the way they cannot understand the window
they buzz and buzz against, the bees that take
a wrong turn at my door and end up thus
in a drift at first of almost idle curiosity,
cruising the room until they find themselves
smack up against it and they cannot fathom how
the air has hardened and the world they know
with their eyes keeps out of reach as, stuck there
with all they want just in front of them, they must
fling their bodies against the one unalterable law
of things—this fact of glass—and can only go on
making the sound that tethers their electric
fury to what’s impossible, feeling the sting in it.

 

 

Come to the Open Mic!

driveby marsh and river_artsy
A pretty spring day…surely inspirational!

***Note: I am a goof! I meant Saturday, April 18. Sorry!

Please join us for an Open Mic in celebration of National Poetry Month, also know as April or, per T.S. Eliot, the cruelest month. The event is Saturday, April 16, at the Beverly Public Library, from 11 a.m. to about 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be available. Most importantly, bring your poems, and if you are too shy to share your own originals, bring some poems by a poet you admire.

There will be a sign-up sheet when you arrive. You will be asked to read up to three poems, or up to 10 minutes, whichever is longer. Once everyone who signed up has read, we will start from the beginning again!

I hope to see you there!

 

Meeting on Saturday

 

The next meeting of the North Shore Poets’ Forum is Saturday, March 21, 11 a.m. to 1ish, at the Beverly Public Library, Program Room. It is the first full day of Spring, the Vernal Equinox having officially begun the evening of March 20. So, with any luck but bad, it should be a lovely day.

The program will be led by Jeanette Maes, who will pay tribute to two poets who died recently: Philip Levine and Rod McKuen.

Save the Date

Although we did not have the annual Naomi Cherkofsky contest, we will still have a poetry reading on April 18 with an Open Mic. Please invite your poet friends to join us in our celebration of National Poetry Month.

To get you in a poetic frame of mind, here’s a little number from Seamus Heaney, who also died recently and whose birthplace, Ireland, and its patron saint, St. Patrick, are brought to mind this time of year:

Digging

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.
Under my window, a clean rasping sound.
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds
Bends low, comes up twenty years away
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.
The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.
Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.
I’ll dig with it.

 

Meeting in February at library

The next meeting will be at the Beverly Public Library in the Program Room, 11 a.m. to 1 or so on Feb. 21. Mary Micceli is doing a program on epitaphs. Cheery! It’s sure to bring out a bit of droll humor.

Ellie and family 2
Ellie with three of her daughters and a niece.
Ellie and husband
Ellie and her husband, who married during the war.

Here’s hoping to see you then. And, if Ellie comes, we can all sing Happy Birthday to her, since she just had a lovely celebration to which I was very happy to attend. Here’s a couple of photos.

Meeting is in The Beverly Room

I made a mistake in my earlier post about the November 15th meeting. It will be in The Beverly Room, main floor of the library, on Saturday,11 a.m. There is no food or beverage allowed in this very special room. The reason for the change of venue is a book fair — big and wonderful. Bring some dollars to spend on some books before or after the meeting. And, be sure to bring some of your own poems to share, with copies for gentle critique.