Greetings Again from Frost-land, The past four days have been hectic, but bittersweet in their ability to paralyze the mind in a frenzy of poetic thinking. Each morning a one-hour lecture on craft or criticism; each afternoon a three-hour intensive workshop; each evening a reading in the Henry Holt Barn. This format seems to umbrella nicely today’s general consensus on writing: critical theory, feedback, and reading/listening walking hand-in-hand down the street to poetic success.
The readers this week have been the seminar faculty (excepting a few), and the faculty here are some of poetry’s biggest voices today. The list in brief: Patrick Donnelly, Vievee Francis, Jennifer Militello, Cleopatra Mathis, Jill Osier, Nicole Terez Dutton, Page Hill Starzinger and David Baker. Check them out! The Osier/Dutton night was a nice touch. Osier is this year’s Frost Place Chapbook winner and hence fellow seminar participant. Dutton is a major emerging voice and current Frost Place Dartmouth Resident Writer. It spread out the series nicely between established and up-and-comers. The readings were varied in style, length, and subject matter of each poet’s verse, but each equally enjoyable in their own unique way. Highlights: David Baker, animated educationaire, providing a class-room style handout for the audience (which benefitted both the effectiveness of his poem and its intro)((what a great reading from David!)), and Vieviee Francis not noticing the mouse on the wall behind her all night (that amazingly emotion-laden voice and poetically inclined inflections were enough to draw that little critter out of hiding).
This all might feel a bit short-handed if I didn’t mention something about the man that caused this gathering of poets from across the nation. So, two poems you might not know by Frost (that may not sound at time likes like Grandfather Reflection): The Bear, and Reluctance. If this were Mortal Combat, these are what I would call finisher-poems for their ending moves. On a side note, remember reading Stopping By The Woods On A Snowy Evening in 3rd grade? Remember thinking you’ve heard it so many times over the course of your life you knew everything about it? Did you know it’s a Rubaiyat? If so, pats on the back for you. If not, hit the books once more like I did and figure out what the hell that is and why it’s effective in formal poetry.
Wish I had more to say this evening, but quite frankly, I’m parsed. Ouch, wish I hadn’t taken that prosody course last semester. I encourage everyone to take a look at each of those great poets listed above and read through at least a couple of their pieces. You won’t be disappointed by the variance or quality.
All the best from the East to the West,
PICTURES | 1st: The Frost Place on an August Night (J. Bennett, 2013); 2nd: David Baker reads in the Henry Holt Barn (J. Bennett, 2013)
Cover Image Source: bookstockvt.org