Poets of Franklin County
Tara McNamara of Greenfield has been writing with Voices from Inside on and off since 2011. "It keeps me going, pretty much," she says. For the Recorder/Trish Crapo

Poets of Franklin County: From the Heart

Friday, February 12, 2016

Writing is powerful stuff. It’s transformative, empowering and sometimes, just plain fun. Ask Tara McNamara of Greenfield, who’s been taking part in writing workshops offered in Springfield by Voices from Inside, a non-profit organization that runs the workshops for women who are now or have been incarcerated, and for women in the recovery community. McNamara has been writing with the group on and off since 2011. “It helps to keep me going, pretty much,” she said. Now a new series of workshops in Greenfield brings the opportunity closer to home. McNamara, who has become a workshop facilitator, and Gretchen Krull, program coordinator for Voices from … 0

Poets of Franklin County: Anne Yeomans

Friday, February 5, 2016

About midway through Colrain poet Anne Yeomans’ small chapbook, “People Die, But Not Your Brother,” there’s an unassuming poem called “The Third Day.” The moment described is simple, almost mundane: a woman sitting down to breakfast. And the language is simple, too. The first four lines give us: “dark tea,” “bright blue pot,” … 0

Ashfield poet offers writers’ oasis

Monday, February 1, 2016

Ashfield poet Susan Middleton’s living room is on the second floor of a renovated barn on Norton Hill Road in Ashfield. It is airy and comfortable, just as she’s described it in the flier for her spring session of “In Our Nature” writing workshops. The workshops, which run in accordance with Amherst Writers … 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

Poets of Franklin County: Heath poet John Palmer

Friday, February 14, 2014

“I don’t know if ‘hero’ is the right word but I’ve always just loved Cézanne,” Heath poet John Palmer said, when asked how he came to write his poem, “Houses by Cézanne.” The poem appears in Palmer’s full-length … 0

John Palmer poem: “Houses by Cézanne”

Friday, February 14, 2014

‘Houses by Cézanne’ By John Palmer of Heath The road swings south of the dusty houses, slopes past outcropped mules to the sculpted fruit of orchards by the coast, to flowers whose essence rides like gold-green oil in cruets, to the sea. Nobody built these houses. They came … 0