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‚Äēboth young and old, both renowned and relatively unestablished.¬†Their poems reverberate with what W.H. Auden called ‚Äúmemorable speech‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs poetic tradition.
‚ÄúVermont 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‚Äôs 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 ‚Äėnature‚Äô 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 ‚Äėconstellation/of patches and pitches,‚Äô proof to me that Vermont will always require the imagination of its citizens to exist.‚ÄĚ ¬†‚ÄĒDan Chiasson
Readers who follow Vermont poetry will dive into this volume as if it were a reunion with old friends ‚ÄĒ wildly diverse friends whom it’s strange yet stimulating to encounter in close proximity. In the first 32 pages alone, we meet the tantalizingly elliptical verse of Paige Ackerson-Kiely (who now lives in New York State), the finely stitched reminiscences of Julia Alvarez, Partridge Boswell‘s gritty and exquisite evocation of the farming life, and verses by the late David Budbill, as simple and perfect as river-shaped stones. There are many more “roads” to take, leading to Robert Frost and Ruth Stone and Grace Paley and Major Jackson and newer voices such as Julia Shipley and Alison Prine. Exploring these highways and byways is more than worthwhile. ‚ÄĒ Margot Harrison, Seven Days
‚Äú. . . Roads Taken includes themes one might expect from Vermont‚ÄĒits land, people and animals‚ÄĒbut goes well beyond. . . . Lea and deNiord have shown what a reservoir of poetic talent thrives in this small corner of the nation. . . . In its breadth and beauty this collection captures a century of poetic art in Vermont.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒGeorge Longenecker, Rain Taxi
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.
Dan Chiasson, who wrote the Introduction,¬†is the author of four books, most recently a book of poems,¬†Where‚Äôs the Moon, There‚Äôs 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. 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.¬†Petria‚Äôs works can be found exclusively at Mitchell-Giddings Fine Arts, 183 Main Street, Brattleboro, Vermont, founded in 2014, by Petria and partner Jim Giddings.
Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry, Second Edition
Edited by Chard deNiord and Sydney Lea with an introduction by Dan Chiasson
Featuring the work of almost 100 poets; teaching tools provided by the editors.
370 pages ¬†¬†¬†| ¬† 6 x 9
Pub Date: June 21, 2018
Distributor:¬†Midpoint Trade / IPG; also available through Baker & Taylor, Ingram, and other wholesalers.
Useful for poetry classes with discussion guide available upon request.
Individuals can order via Indiebound.org,¬†online, or contact your local, independent bookstore.
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