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Poets of Franklin County

Poets of Franklin County: Word choice matters

Friday, July 17, 2015

What do poetry and the language of government have in common? More than you might think, according to State Representative Ellen Story of Amherst. Story is a Democratic state legislator in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 3rd Hampshire District, which is composed of the towns of Amherst, Pelham and Precinct 1 of Granby. But Story has also long been a lover of poetry, and will be reading poems of Mary Oliver in collaboration with cellist Eugene Friesen in a Mohawk Trail Concert performance at the Federated Church at Charlemont, 175 Main St., Charlemont on Friday, July 24, 7 p.m. and Saturday, July 25, … 0

Poets of Franklin County: When poets come out to play

Friday, July 10, 2015

It was a dark and stormy night. No really, it was. Rain poured steadily as we wended our way from Leyden to Ashfield on Thursday for Lakehouse Poetry, a new open mic in the newly open Ashfield Lakehouse. The monthly event is hosted by Sequoia LeBreux, the Mohawk Regional High School junior who … 0

Poets of Franklin County: Eric Wasileski

Thursday, July 2, 2015

For some, fireworks are big, gorgeous displays of color and sound that celebrate our country’s independence. But for Eric Wasileski, Greenfield poet and veteran, they are a nightmare. Wasileski joined the military at 18, after graduating from Greenfield High School. He served from 1991 to 1999 and received combat ribbons for two missions: … 0

Words Carry Weight

Thursday, August 29, 2013

People began to gather near sunset at 17 Miner St. on June 21, the night of the summer solstice. It was around 6:30 p.m. and folks helped themselves to chips and other snacks then wandered through the quiet backyard near the rotary in Greenfield, carrying bottles of soda … 0

Poets of Franklin County

Friday, June 7, 2013

It’s not an exaggeration to say that poet Kristin Bock grew up with a paint brush in her hand. She lives now in a beautiful Greek Revival home in Montague Center with her husband, painter Geoff Kostecki. Their home is filled with paintings, in both modern figurative and … 0

Act of creation

Saturday, May 25, 2013

When a fish falls from the sky, South Deerfield poet James Heflin knows what to do with it. Drawn to “what’s unusual,” Heflin said that when he began writing his poem “Sage” he had been thinking about an unusual phenomenon called “fish rain,” a scientifically observed event in … 0

Honoring mystery

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ashfield poet Abbot Cutler’s new book, “Say Dance, Say Night,” makes a sturdy 10th addition to the Slate Roof Press list of books by local poets. The collection gathers poems from 12 years of writing, ranging from a poem about Cutler’s experiences in Borneo in the Peace Corps … 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