Al's French Frys

The Dipper - April 2019

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know

 

April News

Thank you to everyone who braved the lion-like weather to join us, Colin McKaig, Peter Money, and Ruth Antoinette Rodriguez at Poetry & Pints at the Brownsville Butcher & Pantry last month! The Brownsville community warmly embraced the headlining poets with rapt attention and loud applause, then entertained us with their own poems at the open mic. This welcoming community is fostered by Lauren and Peter’s enthusiasm and energy, and their wonderful food. If you’re in the Brownsville area, stop by for a snack, a meal, a drink, groceries, meat, cheese, wine, or—coming this summer—ice cream and bbq! Thank you Colin, Peter, Ruth, Lauren, and Peter for a fantastic night.

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With spring underway, we look forward to our favorite summer event: Poetry & Pie on Saturday, August 3, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm! This year is our third year at the beautiful Sweetland Farm in Norwich, Vermont. We’ll have three amazing poets, plenty of pie choices, and an open mic for your original work. Please save the date! We’ll be announcing the headlining poets soon. In the meantime, can you guess who’s coming from these clues?

  • Mystery poet #1 grew up going to Al’s French Frys in Burlington but currently lives out of state.

  • Mystery poet #2 lives in the Upper Valley and champions writing and books every day.

  • Mystery poet #3 was a former writer-in-residence at Paris’ Shakespeare & Co.

Calling all slow readers! The beginning of April means it’s time to announce our second selection for the 2019 edition of the Slow Club Book Club. This season’s book is Swallowing Mercury, by Wioletta Greg, translated by Eliza Marciniak. The author Sarah Perry's blurb for the book immediately had us intrigued:

“Greg writes with a precise, strange charm, and the poet’s acute sensitivity to detail. Little by little, I felt the presence of young Wiola appear beside me—vital, quick-witted and curious, picking her way through the dark woods of faith, family, sex, and politics as if in some melancholy fairytale. I experienced the book like a series of cool, clear drinks, each more intoxicating than the last.”

Can you resist? To join us, just get a copy and read. To be in the know about future titles, please subscribe to our Tiny Letter.

Fantastic poet and all around good guy James Crews has edited a new book of poetry entitled Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Compassion. Yes! This anthology, which comes out on April 9, has a preface by Ted Kooser and includes poems by Mark Doty, Ross Gay, Donald Hall, Marie Howe, Naomi Shihab Nye and many others. The poems in this beautiful book prove to us the possibility of creating in our lives what Dr. Martin Luther King called the “beloved community,” a place where we see each other as the neighbors we already are. Attend the launch for Healing the Divide on Tuesday, April 16 at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont. And look for an interview with James on our blog about this project soon.

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Last month we let you in on Allie Levy’s plans for the Still North Books & Bar in Hanover, New Hampshire. We’re happy to say that renovations for Still North are well underway and the latest news is that a beautiful, original brick wall has been revealed. Allie is still looking for donations to buy the books. Any amount is welcome. If you donate even $1, you get to tell Allie your favorite books, which she’ll compile into a list available at the store once it opens. Let’s all help Allie buy the books!

Always looking for ways to make this newsletter more useful for you, we’ve made some changes to the Submissions and Workshops sections to make them a little less wordy and a little easier for you to scan quickly. We hope you find this change helpful!


April’s Shooting Stars

A cool literary find from each of us to help light up your month! and

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  • Word House in Brattleboro, Vermont, has us giddy. Check out this new venture started by one of Vermont’s finest writers, Robin MacArthur. Workshops, mentoring writing space, and readings! We’re looking forward to visiting regularly. —Shari

  • Author and artist Katie Holten has created a free downloadable tree font from her alphabet based on the the trees in NYC Parks. Let’s all welcome spring by writing poems in Tree! —Rebecca


April Highlights

Randolph and Montpelier, Vermont, celebrate National Poetry Month with their annual series of PoemTown and PoemCity events, beginning with dinner and a reading with poet Kerrin McCadden at the Black Krim Tavern in Randolph at 6:00 pm on Monday, April 1. Check our calendar (and the Kellogg-Hubbard Library website) for more PoemTown and PoemCity events.

Jo Knowles, YA author, roller derby queen, and all around good human, is launching her latest book, Where the Heart Is, at Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, Vermont, on Wednesday, April 3, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm.

Laurie Sheck

Laurie Sheck

On Thursday, April 4, poet Laurie Sheck will be reading at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, at 8:00 pm.

The first annual Exeter Literary Festival takes place Friday, April 5, through Saturday, April 6, in various venues around Exeter, New Hampshire. The Festival features a keynote talk by Dan Brown, book discussions, a picture book scavenger hunt, book trivia competitions, a literary cosplay celebration, panel discussions, readings and signings, and a gala poetry reading at The Word Barn.

Bloodroot Literary Magazine celebrates the launch of its fourth digital edition at Left Bank Books in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, April 9, at 7:00 pm. Come celebrate with readings, an open mic, and snacks.

Yiyun Li

Yiyun Li

On Thursday, April 11, at 4:30 pm, Yiyun Li reads as part of the Cleopatra Mathis Poetry & Prose Reading Series at Sanborn Library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

As part of PoemCity events (see above), Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, is hosting a group reading to celebrate the launch of Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection. This special reading features James Crews (who edited the book), Mary Elder-Jacobson, Megan Buchanan, Alison Prine, Patricia Fontaine, Laura Foley, Carol Cone, and others. The reading on Tuesday, April 16, begins at 7:00 pm.

Namwali Serpell reads from her new novel, The Old Drift, at Sanborn Library at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Tuesday, April 16, at 4:30 pm.

Margaret Atwood. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe.

Margaret Atwood. Photo by Brigitte Lacombe.

Margaret Atwood (yes, that Margaret Atwood), prize-winning author of over fifty books—including The Handmaid’s Tale and Alias Grace—will give a lecture at Dartmouth College’s Spaulding Auditorium in Hanover, New Hampshire, on Thursday, April 18, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm.

Justin Torres, author of We the Animals, gives a reading at Dartmouth College’s Sanborn Library in Hanover, New Hampshire on Friday, April 19, at 4:30 pm. The following evening (April 20), Torres hosts a public screening of the film based on his book at the Loew Auditorium in Hanover, New Hampshire, at 7:00 pm.

PoemTown Randolph hosts Farmer Poets Night on Saturday, April 20, at 7:00 pm, featuring Taylor Mardis Katz, Carl Russell, and Caitlin Gildrien. The reading at Silloway Sugar House in Randolph Center, Vermont, will be followed by sugar on snow and other light refreshments.

On Tuesday, April 23, Bear Pond Books in Montpelier, Vermont, hosts a Poets for Migrant Justice fundraising reading, featuring Nico Amador, Cynthia Dewi Oka, and Natalie Scenters-Zapico. All donations given during this reading will benefit Migrant Justice.

Next Stage Arts Project presents Green Writers Press’ 4th Annual Earth Day Celebration and Reading on Friday, April 26, at 7:00 pm at Next Stage Arts in Putney, Vermont. The evening will feature short readings by Vermont authors, book signings, and cake.

Close out National Poetry Month by seeing Alison Prine read at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont, on Tuesday, April 30, from 8:00 to 9:00 pm.

Visit our calendar for detailed information about these events and more!

 

Worth a Drive

  • Isabella Hammad will be at the Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Wednesday, April 17, at 7:00 pm for a reading and talk about her debut novel, The Parisian, which has been receiving rave reviews.

  • Jane Hirshfield will be reading at Smith College’s Weinstein Auditorium in Northampton, Massachusetts, on Tuesday, April 23, at 7:30 pm.

 

Worth a Listen

 

We're Looking Forward to These April Releases


Calls For Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The Frost Place 2019 LatinX and Gregory Pardlo Scholarships
The winners receive a full fellowship to attend the Conference on Poetry at The Frost Place (July 6-12), including tuition, room, board, and travel.
Deadline
: April 15 | Details

The Hopper
Accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and visual art.
Deadline: June 1 | Details

The Hopper 2019 Poetry Prize
Judged by Kathleen Hellen, the winner receives $500 and publication by Green Writers Press.
Deadline: July 1 | Details

The 2019 Fall MacDowell Literature Fellowship
A Fellowship consists of exclusive use of a private studio, accommodations and three prepared meals a day for two weeks to two months.
Deadline: April 15 | Details

2019 Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry
The prize includes a cash award of $3000 in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 20 copies of the winning title, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion. This year’s prize is being judged by Oliver de la Paz.
Deadline: April 30 | Details

Barnstorm
Accepting unpublished work in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry
Deadline: May 31 | Details

New England Review
Looking for submissions in all genres: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama, translation, creative writing for their website, cover art, and art for their website.
Deadline: May 31 | Details

Howard Frank Mosher First Novel and Story Collection Book Prize
This publication prize is for a novelist or short story writer who writes about Vermont and/or the themes that resonate so well with Howard's work: nature, small-town stories, love, friendship, forgiveness, Vermont, solitude, and rural life, that are part of Howard 's literary legacy.
Deadline: June 1, 2019 | Details

Frost Farm Poetry Conference
Accepting registrations for this year’s conference (June 14 to 16). Registration includes workshops, a one-on-one meeting with your instructor, keynote with Bruce Bennett, critiques with poet-in-residence Rhina Espaillat, panel discussions, readings, a reception, breakfasts and lunches.
Deadline: registration until full | Details

Juniper Summer Writing Institute
Accepting applications for this summer’s institute (June 16 to 22). The institute includes manuscript consultations, craft sessions, workshops, readings, and other events, led by a wide range of instructors, including CAConrad, Gabriel Bump, Ross Gay, Khadijah Queen, Bianca Stone, Ocean Vuong, Dara Weir, and Joy Williams.
Deadline: rolling admissions until full | Details

Mud Season Review
Accepting submissions of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. Mud Season Review pays authors and featured artists $50 for their work. Artists whose images they select to pair with writing receive $15.
Deadline: Reading period begins April 1 | Details

Lifelines Magazine
Accepting submissions of original and unpublished short stories, nonfiction, poetry, and artwork for their 2020 issue. While they consider a broad spectrum of subject matter for publication, they are looking for pieces that speak to the experience of medicine in some way.
Deadline: October 31 | Details


Upcoming Workshops and Classes

Poetry Month workshop with Mary Jane Dickerson
Mondays in April
A workshop for those interested in reading and writing poetry, with a culminating reading at the Deborah Rawson Memorial Library in Underhill, Vermont.
Location: Jericho Town Library, Jericho, Vermont | Cost: by donation | Details

The Gifts of Story workshop with Rebecca Rule
Mondays, April 15 to June 10, 10:00 am to noon

An exploration of the art of story. By writing, telling, and sharing their stories, participants will build bridges to the people, places, and experiences that have shaped their lives.
Location: Upper Valley Senior Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire | Cost: by donation | Details

Spring Writing workshop with Robin MacArthur
Tuesdays, April 23 to May 21, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
This supportive, encouraging, and semi-formal workshop is for writers of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry. Both new and established writers are welcome, though we do have an application process for this intimate session.
Location: 103 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont | Cost: $180 (scholarships available) | Details

Touch Your Words: Teaching Indigenous Languages through Making Symposium
April 12, 9:30 am to 4:45 pm

The recent purchase of metal type in the Cherokee Syllabary has prompted new interest in our Book Arts Workshop. This symposium seeks to bring together makers of all kinds (students, scholars, librarians, writers, artists, and printers) to exchange their experiences and knowledge in tactile learning and explore new possibilities.
Location: Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire | Cost: free | Details

People Need Stores: League of Vermont Writers Spring Program
April 13, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm

Explore the art of storytelling and learn how to shape your writing to tell a compelling story. The agenda includes talks by three writing professionals, a tour the town library for a librarian's perspective on books and writing, and a generative writing exercise with local writer Amy Braun. The program concludes with a Q&A on storytelling and books. Register by April 9.
Location: Pierce Hall Community Center, Rochester, Vermont | Cost: $54-$74 | Details

Matter of Life and Verse: Writing Poetry workshop with Michael Metivier
Tuesdays, April 16 to May 21, 6:00 to 8:00 pm

Learn to create resonance, heightened urgency, and a timeless quality to your work. $25, regardless of AVA membership.
Location: AVA Gallery and Art Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire | Cost: $25 | Details

Fun with Forms poetry workshop with Rebecca Jamieson
April 20, 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
This workshop explores the poetic form and why poets use them. The workshop is open to ages 15 and up. All levels of experience are welcome!
Location: Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, Vermont | Cost: free | Details

603: Writers’ Conference
April 27, 8:00 am to 5:30 pm
The theme of this year’s conference is “The Art of Storytelling.”The keynote speaker will be New York Times bestselling author Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked.
Location: Saint Anselm Sullivan Arena, Goffstown, New Hampshire | Cost: $95-185 | Details

Cartoon Studies Summer workshops
June 3 to August 9

This year’s workshops include Graphic Memoirs with Melanie Gillman, Creating Graphic Novels for the Young Adult Market with Jo Knowles and Tillie Walden, and a Graphic Novel Workshop with Paul Karasik.
Location: The Center for Cartoon Studies, White River Junction, Vermont | Cost: varied | Details

Interview: Dan Chiasson

The Burlington Book Festival lands in Burlington, Vermont, on October 12 to 14, with an amazing lineup including Mary Jo Bang, Dan Chiasson, Maria Hummel, Mark Leyner, Bethany Morrow, and Sharon Olds. This is the second in a series of four interviews in celebration of the Festival.

Poet and critic Dan Chiasson is author of four books of poetry: The Afterlife of Objects (2002), Natural History (2005), Where's the Moon, There's the Moon (2010) and, most recently, Bicentennial (2014). A book of criticism, One Kind of Everything: Poem and Person in Contemporary America, was published in 2006. He has received the Whiting Writers' Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters as well as a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation.

Dan is the poetry critic for The New Yorker, as well as a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, where he writes about poetry, pop music, and film. He was poetry editor, and later advisory editor, of The Paris Review. A Vermont native, Dan teaches at Wellesley College and lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two sons.

His 2014 book, Bicentennial is both a book about Chiasson’s childhood in Vermont and an elegy for his father. In her review in The New York Times, Daisy Fried writes, “Dan Chiasson is after beauty of a kind, so his poems are often beautiful, odd and quite moving. He seldom resorts to lilting cadences or glow-in-the-dark imagery to achieve this, and complicates any move toward traditional lyric warmth; his poetry is genially brainy, jokey, casually formal, sometimes essayistic and humorously oracular.”

Thank you, Dan, for your thoughtful answers to our questions!

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Literary North: Tell us a little bit about your writing process.

Dan Chiasson: I write in the mornings, once my kids are off to school, and before teaching or other obligations. I sit at a small, painted farm table, at a purple Eames chair I got 25 years ago. It's in the hallway of our upstairs. I look out at the main street we live on. People scurry by to the T station at the bottom of the hill. If I'm writing poetry, it comes very fast. But I am hardly ever writing poetry. Usually I'm working on a book review, which is like pulling teeth. I get a few sentences down, then a few more. The openings take me forever. Once I have an opening and I can see where the argument is headed, I take a break. Usually I go for a run and think about the sentences I just wrote, and often I think of new ones when I'm out exercising.

LN: What influences have helped shaped you into the writer you are today>?

DC: I would name two especially. Jamaica Kincaid, whom I met at Harvard, was my greatest influence. She has a phosphorescent mind, and we became instant friends—partly because of our connection to Vermont. I was trying to write fiction when I met her; she convinced me that my stories were really poems. We drank gin and tonics at the old Upstairs at the Pudding in Harvard Square and gossiped about people at Harvard. Just talking to her was a training in what words to use, how to be interesting, funny, alert, lyrical and truthful. Around that same time, 1997 or so, I called up Frank Bidart, a poet I admired. He invited me to his classes at Wellesley, where, needless to say I stood out. Frank, too, was such an easy presence, kind, passionate, and (most importantly) incapable of pretending to like things he didn't like. He kept odd hours then as he does still, so often I'd drop a poem off during the day at his apartment in Cambridge, and hear from him late at night, when he woke up.

LN: As the poetry critic for The New Yorker, you share poetry criticism with very literate readers, not all of whom know much about poetry. What goes into deciding which poets and books to share with readers each week?

DC: I think I'm a teacher by nature. A person happiest explaining things to people who are curious to learn. New Yorker readers are the perfect audience because they love critical prose. How many readers of, say, Alex Ross go to the concerts he reviews? Some, but not many. They read him because of his prose, his arguments, his distinctions. The popular music critic Amanda Petrusich may convince more people to go to a show or buy a record, but still, it's her prose, it's the quality of her mind and the cadences of her sentences. So I try to pick books that interest me, that stir up my desire to put good sentences together, that allow me to convey what's beautiful and necessary about poetry. I would suspect that only a small percentage of my readers go out and buy the books. Maybe I'm wrong, I hope so; but I would contend that criticism is its own end, its own fulfillment, and I'm probably at one extreme in that I do not see my essays as serving the books I'm reviewing, but rather the art of poetry, with the books I'm reviewing as especially rich examples of what it can do.

LN: What brings you joy?

DC: Our sons, ages 12 and 14, both bring a huge amount of cultural information into our house. What brings me joy is hearing them argue about the merits of a movie or a band or a performance, which they do constantly. I would say, animated conversation brings me joy. The discovery of a new work of art or body of work. Being in the places that mean the most to me: many of them in Vermont. I would say, swimming in Bristol Falls or at that little rocky public beach in Charlotte. Also, Al's French Frys. The old places in downtown Burlington that are still there from when I was 12 or 13 and discovering the city on my own: Pure Pop Records, Old Gold. Leunig's. Sneakers in Winooski, where I worked from 6th grade until the summer before my last year of college.

LN: What was the most memorable thing you read in the past month?

DC: I'm deep in teaching Emily Dickinson now. There's a poem that is not that well known, "I watched the moon around the house—" about tracking the moon as it passes across the windows of her bedroom. These stanzas blow my mind, comparing the moon to a severed head and then a stemless flower:

But like a Head — a Guillotine
Slid carelessly away —
Did independent, Amber —
Sustain her in the sky —

Or like a Stemless Flower —
Upheld in rolling Air
By finer Gravitations —
Than bind Philosopher —

Photo by BrianSmithBoston.com

Photo by BrianSmithBoston.com