Category Archives: Poetry

Remember the Contest!

I do hope that many of you are writing your poems and planning which ones you will submit to the North Shore Poets’ Forum annual Naomi Cherkofsky Contest. The deadline is March 15 — less than two months! See rules under the tab “Poetry Contests” above.

The winners are invited to read their poems, and a few more, during our annual celebration  of National Poetry Month, this year to be held on April 22 at the Beverlly Public Library be, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

The Forum has been hosting this contest for, I don’t know, maybe 25 years. Naomi was one of the original members of the Forum who had a wonderful spirit and was generous in her encouragement of fellow poets, particularly the less confident (me!).

So, please sharpen your pencils and join us for a wonderful celebration of poetry.

To conclude this post, I am including a poem that I hope you will enjoy.

A Ritual to Read to Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of  childhood
storming out to play through the broken dike.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should  consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to  sleep;
the signals we give — yes or no, or maybe —
should be clear:  the darkness around us is deep.

 

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.

 

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.

 

A summer goodbye

Diane's party 7 outing 1 outing 2 outing 3 outing 4 outing 5 outing 6 outing 7 outing 8 outing 9

Goodbye Diane

The North Shore Poets’ Forum gathered this past June to wish a fond farewell to Diane Giardi, a wonderful poet and terrific person, with such a good heart and generous spirit. We will miss her.

Of course, we will keep in touch. She has moved to New York, not the ends of the earth. And, email is just a click away. We hope, as she states in her thank you note, that she will be able to come and visit sometimes.

From Diane:
“Thank you everyone for such a wonderful send-off yesterday, with the delicious meal
at Captain Carlos on the sunny deck and hill top poetry reading and photo shoot looking
over the harbor.  It was all great and I’ll miss such a wonderful group and your poems
and individuality.  Thanks Cathryn for planning this and I’ll keep in touch with maybe
a summer visit.  Enjoy the rest of the summer. ” -Diane
I’ve finally gathered the photos that members sent to me. I have no idea why WordPress presents them so oddly. But, enjoy!

Next meeting coming up

November 2, 2014, and it snowed. Big, fat, wet snow flakes fell all over my backyard and, I assume, although I didn’t go out to check, all over a whole lot of other back yards. I’ll bet one or two of you took the occasion of such an early snowfall to write a poem. And, maybe you will bring it to the next meeting of the North Shore Poets’ Forum on Saturday, Nov. 15, 11 a.m., in the Sohier Room of the Beverly Public Library.

This month Ray Whittier will present the program. I’m not sure what it will be, but I am sure it will be interesting. Everyone is asked to bring a treat for the food table. And, we will have gentle critique of member poems. Please bring 6 to 10 copies to share.

We did not have a meeting last month since we ran into issues at the library and because Mass State had scheduled its Poetry Day meeting the same day. That took precedence. Member Roberta Hung had a number of winning poems in the national contest. Congratulations, Roberta!

Please see under the Meetings tab for the rest of this year’s schedule. But, here’s a heads up: We will meet with Mass State on Dec. 6, 11 a.m., same place, lots of food and fun, for the annual Holiday Party.

Cheers!

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!