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:


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.

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.