Monthly Archives: April 2014

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!