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Arts & Artists  

New Hampshire Poet Showcase
From NH Poet Laureate, Walter E. Butts

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 continue to showcase poems by a number of New Hampshire Poets. The poets will be by my invitation only, but I plan to include those who are seriously working at their craft from many areas of the state.

Featured Poet: Mary Spofford French, Contoocook

Mary Spofford FrenchBorn on Thanksgiving Day in 1932, married Jack in 1951, blessed with eight children. Through marriages we have almost doubled 'our children' and were given 17 grandchildren, and as of this moment 5 great grandchildren.  I grew up in a household that often included grandparents and great aunts, along with my parents and two sisters. I am the pack rat of family stories, memorablia and photos. As our children learned to talk I wrote down the delicious things they said on pieces of paper and in little pocket notebooks. Family life places me .. from here I see the commonalities and differences that connect me,  to to not only them, but to you. I was fortunate to take a writing class with Charles Simic at UNH after our youngest headed off for college, followed by a week long workshop with Wes McNair ..  years ago!  I belong to the Yogurt Poets - writers who encourage me.

This poem is a memory, a reminder of how children see .

The Magic Show

We would walk to the rail road station
then hop along the platform while mother
straightened her hat and checked to be sure
The Pass was in her purse, because
that meant we rode the B&M for free,
because our daddy owned it.  

Well, of course he didn't, but for us  
he did. Especially after we were seated
on the red velvet in the passenger car
and the conducter would come in at one end,
along with sooty smoke, calling out
Tickets ! Tickets Please !

At that, our mother would reach deep
into her bag to pull out the square of print
that made us special. We were headed for Filenes
that magnet for mothers who shopped
in the Basement. A grey and white place
where heating and plumbing pipes
criss crossed just under the low ceiling.  

Where women jostled in their rayon slips
to try on dresses from the racks and in
narrow spaces between low tables where
bargains were mounded in tangled piles.
Being not quite five my eyes were just about
level with the edge of one. I watched
as silk scarfs threaded themselves up

the wide sleeves of a black coat. No sooner
had they vanished when a purple dress
with blue flowers followed. Next were silk
stockings and a pink laced up girdle
with those metal things that dangled
and glittered, and then a bright red nightgown.
Too soon the woman in the black coat
stepped back and disappeared.  



Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: August 23, 2010

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