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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: Lin Illingworth, Amherst

Lin IllingworthLin Illingworth writes and teaches writing in southern central New Hampshire, although she lived in many cities prior to a Portsmouth visit that called her back to the New England roots planted in childhood. A student once asked her if she is a teacher-who-writes or a writer-who-teaches—a question that remains unanswered because both processes inform each other in essential ways.

“On the day before you were born” arrived while working a prompt to include unknown words in a poem—a prompt from an online class with poet Kim Addonizio. Looking for new words brought in the Latin, but—in truth—the more pressing reality of a step-daughter in labor with a grandson as the poem was being written colored everything. The day before, as my husband and I stopped our bikes every half-hour to check our e-mail for updates, I kept thinking how the green tunnel was a sort of birth canal. The scope of that, coupled with a visit days before to my father as he was getting ready for chemo, had me thinking about how it is all happening, all at once.

On the day before you were born
To Jack

Your grandfather and I rode bikes through
an alley of trees and called their names
to each other, Latin spindling into the wind—
            Acer saccharum
                        Betula populifolia
            Pinus strobus
Syllables clicked from our mouths
like baseball cards clothes-pinned
to the bikes’ bright spokes; even the sun
clicked from The Lion to The Virgin
under unending sky so soon shot through
by planes headed toward you—
Everything took the day off to get ready
for your arrival; maybe my father’s cancer cells stopped
reaching their spindles toward each other and forgot,
for an hour, their multiplication and division, another thing
we will teach you, like how to ride a bike through
a tunnel of green toward some bright end,
that the moving shadows along the path are made
of simpler things—maple, beech, pine—that all
of it belongs to a family , a genus, a species, a sky
and all at once is singular: this day, the moment
you enter, your name held in the wind’s mouth,
wheel-round and full of some new story.




Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: October 20, 2011

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