The Summer Solstice is upon us—June 21st this year! For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, we are awaiting the longest day and the Earth tilting toward the Sun. GWP is thrilled to have the summer ahead of us. Our summer interns and fellowship recipient, Connie, are starting on Monday! We will take the summer to read our submissions on Submittable.
We love working with and publishing our farmer-writers. Here is a great summer reading list for when you find time, lolling around the barn, lying in the hammock after planting seedlings . . . so wash the sweat off your brow, change out of those Carharts, and take a break—especially on the longest day of the year!
What a fabulous review of Peter Gould’s Horse-Drawn Yogurt, 2nd Edition, Revised by Peter Coyote:
“For years I thought that I’d written the best book on the communal, counter-culture reality. It’s called Sleeping Where I Fall and has been in print since 1999. Peter Gould has written a real contender, and perhaps even a better book. It turns out I met Peter one night about 47 years ago when my girlfriend, Nichole Wills, my daughter, Ariel, her son Jeremiah and my dog, Josephine, pulled down their long snowy road and were taken in. We were traveling from commune to commune from the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania throughout New England, establishing a counter-cultural trade route; assessing surpluses and needs, publishing them, and sending the book back around. 47 years later Peter sent me the book for a blurb for the new edition and I fell into it as if it was a vat of honey. He really nailed the amount of labor, reclaiming of abandoned and abused shelters and machinery, and the diplomacy of making friends with the older farming generation which was on its way out. My family, the Diggers, did the same at every place we lived — Olema, Forest Knolls, Trinidad, Salmon Creek, Black-Bear Farm. His story could have been — and in many degrees is — our story. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Peter Gould must be my brother-by-another-mother. I urge you to read his book. It’s glorious! Peter’s tone-perfect narratives capture the back-to-the-land movement—the danger, the disappointments, the values, the joys of living a life of meaning in harmony with one’s deepest intentions, and the thrill of expanding the heart’s perimeter to include everyone you meet. He really nails the amount of labor, in salvaging thrown-away machines and lumber, forging bonds, in learning skills that would have passed away with the previous generation. Horse-Drawn Yogurt is a great read by a fine writer and an even better reminder of a time and season when many young people were fearlessly committed to living lives of meaning and ecstasy. You can’t beat that combo.”
—Peter Coyote, actor, author, Zen Buddhist priest
Farm Girl by Megan Baxter is a memoir of urgent grace that crosses boundaries of genre and time. In her second year of college, Megan finds herself bonded to a lover spiraling into addiction and two thousand miles away from her heart’s home—a stretch of forty certified-organic acres along the banks of the Connecticut River separating Vermont and New Hampshire. In the crucible of a rainy Portland winter, Megan is forced to decide whether to embrace her future as a farm girl or to continue growing into the woman everyone hopes she’ll become. Farm Girl is about two love affairs that force a decision: the love between two people and the love between Megan and the landscape. With innovative prose and lush description, Farm Girl raises the earth up as a character and asks questions about the work we choose to sustain us—how careful attention and devotion to the earth transcends human tragedy.
“A startlingly lovely memoir . . .” —Jodi Picoult
“This is a book about groundedness, I think — about the soil into which one can sink one’s feet when the going is impossible. It’s a remarkable account.” —Bill McKibben
“. . . Crews has written [Bluebird], a book of love poems: to the Earth, to rural living, to his community, to his husband, and to each one of us.” –Shari Altman, Literary North
James Crews’ work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Sun Magazine, Ploughshares, and The New Republic, as well as on Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newspaper column. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Ph.D. in Writing & Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is the author of four collections of award-winning poetry, including The Book of What Stays (Prairie Schooner Prize and Foreword Book of the Year Citation, 2011), Telling My Father(Cowles Prize, 2017), Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment. He is also the editor of several anthologies of poetry: Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection; and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. He leads Mindfulness & Writing retreats online and throughout the country, and works as a creative coach with groups and individuals. He lives on an organic farm with his husband, Brad Peacock, in Shaftsbury, Vermont.
Lucas Farrell’s award-winning debut poetry collection entitled the blue-collar sun is the winner of the 2020 Sundog Poetry Book Award in Partnership with Green Writers Press and will be coming to bookstores and online in time for Earth Day, 2021.
“I love these poems. They’re both warmly familiar and also weird AF. They made my heart leap for the ordinary, fascinating world.”
A wonderful review of the blue-collar sun by SevenDayspoetry critic Benjamin Aleshire
“That the recipient of Vermont’s newest poetry award is a farmer, equally comfortable shoveling manure and penning urgent existential verse, is an auspicious sign for literature in this corner of the world.”
About the Poet
Lucas Farrell lives in Townshend, Vermont, where he and his wife own and operate Big Picture Farm, a small hillside goat dairy and award-winning farmstead confectionery. His first book of poems, The Many Woods of Grief (University of Massachusetts Press), was awarded the Juniper Prize for Poetry. He has two daughters.
Enjoy the summer reads & shop at those farmer’s markets!
If you feel like supporting one of our favorite, local farms . . .
The SUSU commUNITY Farm is an Afro-Indigenous stewarded farm and land-based healing center in Southern Vermont that elevates Vermont’s land and foodways.
“There is no liberation without community.”