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New Hampshire Poet Showcase
From NH Poet Laureate, Pat Fargnoli

At my request, The NH Arts Council is providing me with a link to the poet laureate page on their website in order that I may showcase poems by a number of New Hampshire Poets. The poets will be by my invitation only, but I plan to include both the famous and the less famous ....those who are seriously working at poetry craft from many areas of the state. A different poet and poem will be presented every 2 weeks.

Featured Poet: Parker Towle, Franconia

Parker TowleParker Towle, of Franconia, has published three chapbooks, SEARCH FOR DOUBLOONS, Wings Press, 1984; HANDWORK, Nightshade Press, 1991; OUR PLACES, Andrew Mountain Press, 1998. He edited an anthology of previously unpublished poems of others from Andrew Mountain Press called EXQUISITE REACTION, in 2000. At The Frost Place in Franconia, New Hampshire he served for fifteen years on the local and advisory boards as well as the faculty of the summer festival. Since 1997 he's worked on the editorial board of THE WORCESTER REVIEW, and edited their special issues on Frank O'Hara, and Stanley Kunitz (with Cleopatra Mathis). His poems have been nominated for a Pushcart, and appeared in four anthologies. In fall 2005, he organized a reading at Dartmouth College in support of The Frost Place, by readers from New Hampshire and Vermont spearheaded by Maxine Kumin and David Huddle.

He practices neurology at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic and teaches at the medical school.

Of "Hooking Rugs and Ice Fishing: Parker writes:

"This story, carried in hospice practice in the "ballad tradition," I presume, was told at the Frost Place during the festival some years ago by, Don Sheehan, our first director, (for 26 years or so until 2006) as an illustration of the sly and unexpected messages that language carries. In typical practice of the narrative, hearing it for the first time, when Don's talk was over I sat in the barn and scribbled it down as fiercely as I could, no doubt adding one of many new spins, enacting the "creative" process we call memory."

Hooking Rugs and Ice-Fishing

He volunteered with a dying patient
expecting to go through the five stages of grief
at the first meeting. Instead
she talked about hooking rugs:

the needle, the thread, the cloth,
the rhythmic movement of the hands.
He tried other matters in conversation --
she talked of hooking rugs

On the next visit she spoke of intricacies
and hardships of ice-fishing that her husband
had done before his death. Week after week,
hooking rugs and ice-fishing

Angered, he said to friends,
"I can't go on with this
interminable hooking rugs
and ice-fishing."

One day as they sat
in the hospital cafeteria,
she going on, he bored and vexed
with hooking rugs and ice-fishing

the room
went silent, air turned
a luminous shade of green, hooking
rugs and ice

fishing stopped. She leaned over and said,
"I could not have done this
without you,"
then on again with hooking rugs

and ice-fishing. Soon after she died. At the funeral
relatives said to him, "Thank you,
all she ever spoke about
was you"



Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: September 19, 2007

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