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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: Catherine O’Brian, North Sutton, NH

Catherine O'BrianCatherine is a graduate of the UNH MA in writing program with a focus on poetry. She received the UNH Thomas Williams Graduate Poetry Award for her manuscript, The White Nightgown. Catherine was a co-founder and contributing editor of the Red Brick Review Journal.  Her poems have been published in Potato Eyes, Green Mountains Review, the Wisconsin Review and The Chariton Review. She has participated in several NH exhibits and anthologies and is a longtime member of Yogurt Poets.  A chapbook of poems, Lucky to Be Born in a House of Milk about growing up in The Philippines was published (Oyster River Press) in 2001 as part of the “Walking to Windward” series.  She has worked for the past 17 years as Coordinator of Arts Education Grants and Programs for the NH State Council on the Arts. She works closely with teaching artists, schools and educators as they develop exciting artist residency projects and arts education programs that bring the arts and creative learning into the lives of young people.  Prior to working for the NHSCA, she developed a poetry and Jazz in the Mills cultural arts series at UNH Manchester.  For nine years she worked as the Program and Teen Director for Girls Clubs in the center city of Manchester and Nashua.  Joys in her life include her family and grandchildren, the arts, jazz, poetry, children’s literature, lake swimming and walking.

The poem, Butter evolved out of my imagination and life experiences.  In March of 2009 I traveled to Montreal, and visited the Montreal Museum of Art where I saw an exhibit of Van Dongen, Painting the Town Fauve. The sumptuous colors and dazzling paintings of the bohemian world of Paris, included portraits of prostitutes and circus scenes in Paris. These images stayed with me. I was particularly struck by the thick black paint around the circus horses’ eye, and their silvery eyelashes. Later, I went to a conference of the NH Children’s Librarians (CHILIS) Association, where I saw a masterful magician, Norman Ng, perform with his dove named Butter. I was entranced by this magician and the idea of a trained white dove named Butter.  Then on Easter morning, my cat actually brought a bird into my bedroom, startling me and making me think of spring, of animals and death, and then of resiliency, as the bird flew away. 


I was dreaming about Butter,
the magician’s white dove
on Easter morning
of circus horses in Paris,
eyelashes painted
dark kohl lining their eyes
sparkling with glittery silver
painted like women of the night
leaping through rings of fire.

Until the cat brought in a yellow finch
carried it warm and alive
in her soft mouth, set it down
by my bed.

When it flew straight into my dream

I knew it was a sign of death
a sign of flight.
I held it briefly, one wing
not quite right.
Still it flew.



Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: August 10, 2011

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