With its mystical landscape and fiercely self-reliant citizenry, Vermont has inspired poets from its earliest days. This anthology of contemporary Vermont poets represents a wide range of accomplished voices―both young and old, both renowned and relatively unestablished. Their poems offer news, in Ezra Pound’s words, that stays news, and they do so in a wide variety of forms and subjects. While there is no such thing as a particular brand of Vermont poetry, the poems in this volume claim Vermont as their place of origin, bearing witness to the remarkably rich and ongoing legacy of the state’s poetic tradition.
“Vermont tempts poets to epiphany by staying silent, or cold, or flinty, or dark, ironizes their praise. Many people move to Vermont because of the idea of it, an idea that has proven remarkably durable over time: as these poems suggest, so powerfully do the daily necessities of living there, of surviving there, assert themselves. This is where Frost comes in: Frost’s poems are the great rural instruction manual for our neck of the woods. His influence is everywhere in the poems collected here, which so often take ‘nature’ not as an idyllic refuge but as a site of careful, strenuous, and repeated steps or actions. The Vermonters in this book come from and live all over. Roads Taken is a ‘constellation/of patches and pitches,’ proof to me that Vermont will always require the imagination of its citizens to exist.” —Dan Chiasson
About the Editors:
Sydney Lea was Vermont’s 2011-2015 Poet Laureate. He has published numerous books in multiple genres, among them Pursuit of a Wound, a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. He is the founder of New England Review and has been awarded Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Guggenheim fellowships; he has taught at Dartmouth, Yale, Wesleyan, Vermont, and Middlebury colleges, as well as at Switzerland’s Franklin College and Budapest’s National Hungarian University. His stories, poems, essays and criticism have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and many other periodicals, as well as in more than fifty anthologies. He lives in Newbury, Vermont, and he is active both in community literacy efforts and in environmental conservation.
Chard deNiord is the Poet Laureate of Vermont and author of five books of poetry, most recently Interstate, The Double Truth, and Night Mowing. His book of essays and interviews with seven senior American poets (Galway Kinnell, Ruth Stone, Lucille Clifton, Donald Hall, Robert Bly, Jack Gilbert, and Maxine Kumin) titled Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on Twentieth Century American Poets was published by Marick Press in 2011. His poems and essays have appeared widely in such journals and anthologies as The Pushcart Prize and Best American Poetry, the Kenyon Review, The New England Review, The American Poetry Review, The New Ohio Review, AGNI, The Harvard Review, The New York Times, Ploughshares, and Salmagundi. He is the co-founder and former program director of the New England College MFA Program in Poetry and a trustee of the Ruth Stone Trust. For the past 19 years he has taught English and Creative Writing at Providence College where he is Professor of English. He lives in Westminster West, Vt. with his wife, Liz.
Dede Cummings, managing editor/director
Dede Cummings’ poetry has been published in Mademoiselle, Connotation Press, Bloodroot Literary, and other magazines and online journals. Her poetry collection, To Look Out From, won the 2016 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. She lives in Vermont with her family and runs the solar-powered home office for Green Writers Press.
Dan Chiasson, who wrote the Introduction, is the author of four books, most recently a book of poems, Where’s the Moon, There’s the Moon (Knopf 2010). He is the poetry critic for The New Yorker, and a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books. Chiasson was born and raised in Burlington, Vermont, attended Amherst College, and received a Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is a professor of English at Wellesley College.
Book cover artist, Petria Mitchell, studied at the National Academy of Design, New York and Vesper George School of Art in Boston.
“Mitchell’s confident signature paint handling and use of dramatic diagonals distinguishes her in the field of contemporary landscape painters. “Her paintings are a bold statement of dynamic color applied in a manner where each brush stroke appears to dance off the canvas. Her compositions and Textures evoke a fleeting ephemeral moment for the viewer… blink once and it becomes a memory” —Christopher Madkour, director, SVAC.
Her exploration of the ethereal world of light and atmosphere through the use of tonal gradation and converging lines dissolving into accumulating layers of mist are signature elements in her works.
“Painting is the process of becoming receptive to oneself. My work begins as an emotional and spiritual response to shapes in our natural environment. Creating a cohesive compositional structure instills a sense of well-being and equanimity. These paintings are compositions of internal places not visited on foot. Using nature as an initial reference point, allows me to play with limitless visual possibilities, with a thorough appreciation for abstraction.”
Petria’s works can be found exclusively at Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts, 183 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont, founded in 2014, by Petria and partner Jim Giddings.
Pub Date: May 12, 2017; Launch Party/Reading at 118 Elliot, Brattleboro, Vermont, 7:00-8:00 PM.
Paperback Original; 6 x 9; 310 pages; $24.95
Available wherever books are sold and from Midpoint Trade Books.