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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

Looking closer

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Conway poet Amy Dryansky came to my studio on April 16, the day after two bombs detonated in Boston, killing three people and wounding at least 140 others. I admitted that the event weighed heavily on my mind. Though we did not dwell long on the events in … 0

Poems that sing

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Alice Parker takes a quieting breath and then, in a haunting voice, delivers the beginning line of an Emily Dickinson poem she has set to music. “I sing to use the waiting,” Parker begins. The melody is spare and slow and at moments uncomfortably vulnerable, not unlike a … 0

‘Ripples on the water’

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lozenges of light fatten and stretch across the water’s surface as participants in a water fitness class move slowly and deliberately at the far end of the Greenfield YMCA’s pool, sweeping foam dumbbells through the water or raising and lowering their legs. Each movement sends strands of light … 0

Poets of Franklin County: Poetry loves cocktails

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mix equal amounts gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and freshly pressed lime juice. Shake with ice and strain: You’ve just made a pale green cocktail called a “Last Word,” a Prohibition-era drink originally made with bathtub gin. This, and other unusual cocktails make their way into the poems … 0

Poets of Franklin County:
Dennis Finnell

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Greenfield poet Dennis Finnell admits that the poems in his new book, “Pie 8,” may not be the easiest reads. He smiles as he recalls that some friends to whom he’d given a copy phoned and asked, “Can you give us some guidance here?” “Say them out loud, … 0

‘Why is it so hard to pray, yet so easy to sin?’

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The mood was lively at The Franklin County House of Correction on Dec. 13, the date of the second annual Poetry Slam organized by writing and poetry instructor Jim Bell. Twenty inmates and 11 staff gathered in the jail’s library to hear 10 contestants compete in three rounds … 0

Poets of Franklin County: Maya Smith Janson

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Florence poet Maya Smith Janson recently took some time between her end-of-the-day office hours and an evening poetry group to talk about her first full-length collection of poems, “Murmur & Crush.” Janson’s is the fourth collection from Hedgerow Books, the poetry imprint of Levellers Press in Amherst. Janson … 0

Tumbling into place

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Every once in a great while something astonishing happens to those of us who write. Every now and again, a poem just “falls” on us, tumbling into place in our minds and then onto the page with a clarity and sense of wholeness that startles. Poet Joshua Michael … 0

Poets of Franklin County: Shape & Nature

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Local poets, gather your poems! Shape & Nature, a new “creative projects press,” is holding a book contest for its 2012 “Things to Come” Poetry Prize. You’ve got 2 1∕2 weeks to submit a manuscript of 50 to 75 pages. No problem, right? You’ve got drawers and folders … 0