Poets of Franklin County

Poets of Franklin County: Fred Pelka

Friday, December 5, 2014

In Easthampton poet Fred Pelka’s poem “Clots,” pricked fingertips toughen as they heal until they are “hard as elevator buttons,” allowing an unusual transcendence in the poem’s last lines. “You’re nothing without your scars,” the poem asserts. Pelka’s new full-length book of poems, “A Different Blaze,” was recently published by Hedgerow Books, an imprint of Levellers Press, a publishing house formed by the worker-owners of Collective Copies in Florence and Amherst. One inspiration Pelka cites for “Clots” is a photography exhibit by Alan Brightman called “Ordinary Moments” that he saw back in the early 1980s. Brightman’s photographs showed people with disabilities doing ordinary things, Pelka … 0

“Clots,” a poem by Fred Pelka

Friday, December 5, 2014

“Clots” You say stitches limit a person but dig deeper. You’ll see how they release as well as bind. Isn’t there a tranquility in that — a lovely still presence of wounds, salty as the moon ascending, drawing each tide behind it like a skirt? You’re nothing without your scars. There’s a whole mortal world to embrace where each pricked fingertip will grow … 0

Poets of Franklin County: ‘The Light We Leave’

Friday, November 21, 2014

What happens when images and words are given the chance to interact, not in a hierarchical way — say, an image illustrating a passage of text, or a caption explaining the content of a photograph — but in a way that invites conversation? Two Bement teachers, Amie Keddy of Wendell and Deborra Stewart-Pettingill … 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 Shake with ice and strain: You’ve just made a pale green cocktail called a “Last Word,” a Prohibition-era drink originally made with bathtub gin.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