The New Hampshire State Arts Council joins our poetry community and the family and friends of
Walter E. Butts in mourning his loss on March 31, 2013.
Read Walter’s obituary here.
Photo by Keith Kuzmak.
We offer one of Walter's poems in memory of him.
The Lake by Walter Butts
I don’t know how Father managed
that summer I was five,
on his factory pay,
to bring us to the glistening lake
and white clapboard cottage
for a week, its small rooms
filled with early July light,
and what seemed to me a thousand birds
singing through the open windows,
past the waving flowered curtains.
Perhaps he borrowed the money
from my uncle, who would
be dead a few years later,
at fifty-four, the only time
I ever saw my father weep.
But we were happy those days,
my parents and I,
by that lake called “Silver,”
and in its bright water
that returned us,
redeemed and shivering,
back to our currency of air.
Each afternoon, I walked
along the shoreline,
gathering shells and stones
from where the wet sand
touched a mysterious silence
echoed through me,
even on that final morning
of clouds and rain,
when we left for home.
The information below is from Walter's tenure as New Hampshire's Poet Laureate: 2009 - 2013 (2014):
In times of great turmoil, poetry is more crucial than ever, says New Hampshire’s brand new poet laureate.
“I really believe that poetry in many many ways is the literary form that we have that is closest to expressing the human condition, the human spirit,” says Walter Butts, whose nomination was ratified Wednesday, March 3, 2009 by the state Executive Council.
Butts is a resident of Manchester who teaches at Hesser College’s Manchester campus and at a low residency Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. He was selected through a nomination process facilitated by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Hampshire Department of Cultural Resources that culminated in a recommendation from the Poetry Society of New Hampshire to Governor John Lynch. He replaces Patricia Fargnoli of Walpole.
New Hampshire Poet Showcase
From Walter E. Butts
"At my request, The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts is providing me a link to this page in order that I may continue to showcase poems by a number of New Hampshire Poets. The poets will be by my invitation only . . . A different poet and poem will be presented every month, a process established by the previous laureate, Patricia Fargnoli."
Click here to view this month's showcase
Butts will serve a five-year term that comes with no specified duties – and no compensation. Like his predecessors, however, he plans to work hard to advance the visibility of poetry and poets.
"There’s a fantastic community of poets in the state,” says Butts, who before moving to Manchester seven years ago lived in Portsmouth for close to a decade. While there, he and his wife, the poet S Stephanie, organized poetry reading series on the Seacoast.
The new poet laureate plans to work in conjunction with independent bookstores and arts organizations around the state to offer opportunities to the public to connect with poets and poetry. He also hopes to create opportunities for New Hampshire poets to network with small publishers in the state. He’ll make himself available for readings and the like, as well.
A native of the town of Le Roy, in western New York state, Butts has lived in several cities with active poetry communities, including Rochester, N.Y., Boston, Albany and New York City. Along the way, he worked in human services jobs and took college courses, writing poetry all the while. In 1995, he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College, which launched his teaching career.
Butts has published three books of poetry, Sunday Evening at the Stardust Café, Movies in a Small Town and The Required Dance, in addition to several chapbooks. His poems and critical essays have appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals.
Calling himself “honored and humbled” by his selection as poet laureate, Butts adds: “This appointment compels me, in a very positive sense, to really be involved, to really participate. It’s an ideal situation for a poet to be in.”
For more information about Walter E. Butts visit: