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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: Neil English, Epsom

Neil EnglishNeil English is variously a historic building preservationist, a husband, joiner, father of two, timber framer, grandfather of two, humorist, lay preacher, father-in-law, dry stone mason, Justice of the Peace and Model T truck driving poet. He recites his brand of poetry in performance settings throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts. His work has been published in several anthologies including; Portsmouth Unabridged: New Poems for an Old City, Entelechy International: A Journal of Contemporary Ideas, Images from Ruin and The Other Side of Sorrow. English has collaborated with former Portsmouth Poet Laureate Maren C. Tirabassi and New Hampshire humorist Rebecca Rule creating a spoken word Christmas CD entitled Sticky Mittens and Angel Feet. Soon after its release, the material from the CD took on a life of its own when it was adapted for the stage by the New Hampshire based Gamaliel Theatre Production Company and toured New Hampshire and southern Maine as a four person show entitled Travelers. Vice President of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, Neil brings his enthusiasm for poetry to venues as varied as The Goffstown State Prison for Women, the Melvin Village Hiker's Club, the Northwood Masonic Lodge, Yankee Night at the Belknap Mill and schools from the elementary grades through the university level. Neil lives in Epsom with his wife and best friend, Leigh and their two cats; Lydia and Buzzwell T. C. Throckmorton III, who always comes when he's called.

Of his poem “Sneak Preview” Neil writes:
“Back in the summer of 2003, my daughter-in-law, Lisa was expecting our first grandchild. I had stopped in for a quick visit on a Sunday afternoon. Lisa pulled an envelope from its perch on top of the refrigerator and excitedly asked if I'd like to see the images. I sensed exactly what was coming and said, “No thanks, I'm really into the magic and the mystery of birth and despite the technological advancements of sonograms, I need to wait it out, full term, just as I had patiently done for my own two children.” I watched as her smile faded into disappointment, then utter bewilderment. Having thought it over, I apologized to Lisa for my archaic traditional position but she never offered the images a second time. A couple of months later, I arrived in the morning at the house I was restoring in Deerfield and was greeted by the young woman at the door. “Would you like to see my new sonograms?” Sienna queried in a voice that took me instantly back to Lisa's only offer. Knowing, at that moment, that some hard- nosed traditions must evolve I said, “Yes, by all means, I'd love to see them!” The poem was fully developed by lunch break. As I jotted the first lines down on a scrap of spruce clapboard, I had no idea that the poem would shift into a prayer for world peace. That's the magic and mystery of the birth of a poem.” 

Sneak Preview

We met six months
before your birth . . .
you stared out
in disbelief
with that “excuuuuse me” look
where your beautiful face
would grow to be,

sonogramed so soon
into the present.
And I stared in
at the safety of your fetal nest,
hid my involuntary tear
from your mother's gaze
and prayed that,
in gestation time remaining,
we might make this world
a more peaceful place

for you

and all who follow.               


Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: September 19, 2007

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