Official New Hampshire website
NHSCA logo 50th anniversary tagline


 nh arts home
 program services
trans div
 arts & artists
   artist rosters
   poet laureate
   artist laureate
trans div
nh folklife
 news & calendar
 about us
 site map



Arts & Artists  

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 : Cheryl Savageau, Amherst

cheryl savageauAbenaki poet Cheryl Savageau has been awarded Fellowships in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and three residencies at the MacDowell Colony. Her second book of poetry, Dirt Road Home, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. She was awarded Mentor of the Year by Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, as well as Writer of the Year for her children’s book, Muskrat Will Be Swimming. Savageau’s third collection of poetry, Mother/Land, was published by Salt Publishing as part of their Earthworks series in 2006.  Her poetry has been widely anthologized, most recently in French Connections and The Eye of the Deer.

Of the featured poem, Cheryl writes:

The poem "Amber Necklace," is one of a series of poems that were inspired by my mother’s jewelry in the months after her death.  I would hold a piece in my hands, and a story or memory would come to me.  These poems, in which I explore my mother’s life, and the mother/daughter relationship became part of the new book, Mother/Land.  This particular poem also bridges the different cultures of my mother (French) and my father (French and Abenaki.)  In western Abenaki tradition, human beings are made from trees, and in this poem, my mother literally becomes a tree, a part of the Abenaki land.  The poem is in the form of a white pine on the page, which happened because doing the poem left-justified, as so many poems are, seemed too cold for the spirit of the poem.  So I centered it, and it looked sort of like a tree.  With a few tweaks, the pine tree became the final form. 

amber necklace

inspired by ants
I tasted the sap
that oozed in great drops
from the bark of the pine
it tasted like its needles smelled
like winter like mountains or early morning
too strong for more than just a taste too sticky
to roll into the ball I wanted to carry in my hands like
a golden marble.  I worried for the tree
was it hurt? I asked no just leaking my father told me
it’s made so much extra food
he told me how even in deepest winter
you will not starve in a pine grove
how there is always food within
how the sweet globules turned over millions of years
hard as stone how the insects were caught inside preserved forever
it is not the insects I want but the sweetness they signify
I am caught in the sweet amber
of my mother’s hair
by the light and dark of her
yes and the sticky
the too hard to manage
the I can’t get it
off my hands
I want it now
those moments
of petrified love
where we first find ourselves
before we know
what will preserve us

To learn more about Cheryl Savageau visit...


Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: September 19, 2007

nh | privacy policy | accessibility policy