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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: Parker Towle, Hanover

Parker TowleParker Towle published his first full-length collection of poems, THIS WEATHER IS NO WOMB, in 2007 from Antrim House Books.  He had previously published three chapbooks and edited an anthology of poems of others entitled, EXQUISITE REACTION, from Andrew Mountain Press. He continues as an associate editor at THE WORCESTER REVIEW. He has been nominated for a Pushcart and has had a poem read by Garrison Keiler on THE WRITER'S ALMANAC.  He retired from neurology practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic and teaching at Dartmouth Medical School in April,

My wife, Phyllis and I have been married for 56 years and have been hiking and canoeing together even longer primarily in northern New England but also elsewhere on this continent and in Europe. This poem records a memorable occasion in the Evans Notch area on the Maine-New Hampshire border.


It was not so much the puzzle of the way
through logging slash, the stop and search,
heft pack and start again; nor the heat dripping,
nor you, really, in tears having started
a wrong direction into brambles and flood rubble;
our trail on the map had long dimmed
to moose and deer tracks.  We were
slipping apart, today, on the Fourth of July
in America, alone, pressing into a valley
beyond chainsaw and firecracker, miles
from any other person.  In late sun we
lay down together on a grassy clearing
beside a stream crossing.   
Next day
on our long climb up the stream bed
onto the bald ridge we had barely gone
half-way by noon.  A long traverse
and third peak lay ahead.  By then
we weren’t lost but lagged.  I felt
as if my face were sliding off,
the only thing that held me together
was the dirt and sweat of my body. 
We raged against each other,
and ground behind the last mountain
into a deserted lean-to.  Strain
slipped off with the packs.  At the stream, 
amazing, your naked body turned a waterfall
upside down.  We lathered off grime
and soothed our scrapes.  You --                 
made up your face.  A stove roar under splash
of rain on the corrugated roof drifted us
toward sleep. 

Next morning we arose to mount
the last peak, a hope-draining stretch
over boulder, root and granite slab,
but beyond the summit we eased down pine needle
and gravel slope to the car and camp,
and embraced in a pond it seemed for hours
until three days heat drifted away
like a fragment of leaf.                      




Click here for a list of previous Poet Showcases

Last updated: November 30, 2011

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