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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: Alexandria Peary; Milford, NH

Alex PearyBorn in Dover, NH, Alexandria Peary publishes poetry, creative nonfiction, and scholarly articles and is currently completing her second manuscript of poems.  Her first book of poetry, Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers, was published by Backwaters Press in 2008.  Her creative writing has appeared or is forthcoming in journals including The Gettysburg Review, jubilat, Poets & Writers Magazine, New Hampshire Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, Fence, Pleiades, Verse, Fine Madness, The Spoon River Review, and Crazyhorse. Her poetry has received a Pushcart nomination and has been awarded the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets.  She has a MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa (’94) and a second MFA in Poetry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (’99).  She is finishing her doctorate at the University of New Hampshire, Durham.  She has presented on writing at venue including the Conference of College Composition and Communication and the New Hampshire Writer’s Project.  Since 2000, she has served as the Writing Program Director and a professor at Daniel Webster College in Nashua, NH, where she designs and teaches courses on poetry, composition, writing-for-publication, strategies for overcoming writer’s blocks, and creative nonfiction.

This poem was a breakthrough for me, written when I lived in Northampton, MA, a few miles away from the home and literal grave of Emily D.  I tried to structure the poem like the music of Philip Glass, specifically, using the way his repetitions evoke strips of color.  Of course, it is also one more homage to that most beloved of poets.  I wanted to give her another grave, one with an open door.  I wanted to give her a final home different than the one physically located in Amherst, with its stone decorated  with drippings of candle wax and dried petals left by fans.  Overall, my poems are meta, or interested in drawing attention to the presence of language—such as is the case with this poem.  Meta writing, I suppose, is another way to also bring mindfulness into the act of writing and reading.

The Egyptian Tomb of Emily Dickinson

The author reading in her grave is an orange dotted line
then a red continuous line, a house light & more head lights,
above that, a row of (etc.), what a car alarm looks like:
4 signs repeated together: a cherry, a pineapple, cloud, raindrop &
then brief yellow dashes moving like birds, “To be continued.”
The red line lies above the orange line at 75 mph
on the mountains on the last page—while a crow goes
from behind, deleting the orange dotted line—each dash
worth 5 points, cherry and pineapple 10 points, the glow-in-the-dark
haystacks & speeding garbage truck, 50—through
to the underlined parts of the room where I write.
The red line lies above the orange line at 75 mph
on the mountains on the last page in the dark morning.
She reads and reads in this large building in a room
in western Massachusetts—in this primitive dark
a fish skeleton goes by.  The walls are decorated with
repetitions, electronic and natural sounds, someone coughing,
an alarm clock going off.  A large gloomy ballroom
with an answering machine, & then a black mental swimming pool
ended by three dots.

Originally appeared in Mudfish, winning the Mudfish poetry prize, as well as in New Voices: University & College Poetry Prizes, Eighth Edition, Editor, Heather McHugh, and in Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers, Backwaters, 2008.

For more information about Alexandria Peary visit:



Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: September 3, 2009

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