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Poets of Franklin County
Karen Sims photo 
Paula Sayword looks out from the ledge at Chaco Canyon where she and her partner, Karen Sims, created a funeral ritual for their granddaughter, Ashley Sims, who they raised as a daughter and lost to an accidental heroin overdose in December of 2012.

Poets of Franklin County: Soul Chant

Friday, September 19, 2014

Editor’s note: this is the second in a series of columns by Trish Crapo on poetry that explores aspects of addiction. Readers can find links to her first column on our website: www.recorder.com Ashley Sims died at the age of 22 of an accidental heroin overdose in her Greenfield apartment on Dec. 11, 2012. It was her grandmother Karen Sims’ birthday. Ashley had planned to come to Leyden that night for a celebratory dinner, said Paula Sayword, Sim’s partner and Ashley’s grandmother. “Instead, she was dead on the floor. She didn’t intend to die,” Sayword continued. “We never questioned whether it was on purpose.” Just … 0

Poets of Franklin County: What if I were inconsolable?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Editor’s note: this is the first of a series of columns by Trish Crapo on poetry that explores aspects of addiction. Showing your poems to other people can be tricky. What if whoever’s reading your poem hates it? What if she doesn’t “get” it? Worse, what if she gets it but still hates … 0

Poets of Franklin County: The houses that Emily Dickinson built

Friday, August 15, 2014

Walk or drive down Silver Street near Greenfield High School and you’ll see that three new houses have cropped up on what used to be a wide, grassy lawn. No, it’s not a sudden housing boom but an art installation hosted by Greenfield poet Mary Clare Powell and her partner Violet Walker at … 0

Poets of Franklin County: The things that mothers do that are amazing

Friday, May 9, 2014

Adrie Lester has her hands full. Quite literally, in that as she walks down the hall toward my downtown studio she is holding the hand of her toddler son, Gabriel, as well as carrying bags of supplies for … 0

2014 Poet's Seat Poetry Contest: A diversity of voices

Friday, May 2, 2014

A woman recalls her fighter-pilot father teaching her to drive, swallows fly in the rafters of an old milking barn, a young man wrestles his father to the floor for the last bowl of ice cream. These are … 0

Poets of Franklin County: A moment of grace

Friday, April 25, 2014

In the mid-1980s, Turners Falls poet and devout Catholic Paul Mariani went every Sunday to nursing homes in Greenfield, bringing communion to elderly patients unable to attend church. Bringing communion to the elderly was one of many acts … 0

Poets of Franklin County: 'Ruins Assembling'

Friday, April 18, 2014

The poems in Greenfield poet Dennis Finnell’s new book, “Ruins Assembling,” are different than the poems he and I talked about back in the fall of 2012, when he had won the Bellday Prize, which included publication of … 0

Poets of Franklin County: Laura Gail Grohe, The Linens Project

Friday, April 11, 2014

Late one afternoon, Laura Gail Grohe sat in the window light of a storefront in Greenfield, embroidering. To see a woman calmly embroidering in public is not an unusual sight perhaps, though embroidery seems more antiquated than knitting, … 0

Reclaiming ‘Awe’

Friday, April 4, 2014

On a spring night in 2003, not long after the United States military fired as many as 3,000 satellite-guided, precision missiles on the city of Baghdad within a 24 to 48 hour period, poet L. R. Berger attended … 0

Poets of Franklin County: 'It's my job to imagine'

Friday, March 28, 2014

Almost 16 years ago, two young men convinced a third to leave the bar where they’d all been drinking and get into a truck with them. They then drove him out to a remote spot on the high … 0

‘The Fence’ by Lesléa Newman

Friday, March 28, 2014

THE FENCE (that night) I held him all night long He was heavy as a broken heart Tears fell from his unblinking eyes He was dead weight yet he kept breathing He was heavy as a broken heart … 0

The ‘laughing goddess’

Friday, March 14, 2014

A grown woman encourages some neighborhood children, including her niece and nephew, to sneak out of their homes after bedtime, dress as “gypsies” and run with her through woods and across fields into town to catch a glimpse … 0

The Poets of Franklin County: Lynette Baker Varnon

Friday, February 28, 2014

Because she has two young children and a full-time job as a high school English teacher, Lynette Baker Varnon often writes at night. Not surprisingly, her poems often take place at night, too. Varnon’s poem, “I Rub Her … 0

‘Funny, sadness’

Friday, February 21, 2014

When Lisa Limont was a kid growing up near the sea in Scituate, she and her four siblings played ball on their big lawn or horsed around with their dad, who Limont described as “a really fun guy.” … 0

'Funny, Sadness," a poem by Lisa Limont

Friday, February 21, 2014

Funny, Sadness Funny, sadness was always there and therefore unremarkable. In those years we laughed and sang as we walked to the brook: There’s a hole in the bucket, there’s a hole in the bottom of the sea. Remember when you could walk? We played with your removable … 0