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Poetry & Politics Conference With 12 Poets Laureate in New Hampshire

October 20, 2011

(from left) Dave Parsons, JoAnn Balingit, Bruce Dethlefsen, Lisa Starr, Walter Butts, Marjory Wentworth, Dick Allen, Julie Kane, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda

A dozen of us gathered in Concord, NH Oct. 13-16 to explore and celebrate poetry as it relates to politics, community, social change    Sponsored and organized by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project, especially by its director George Geers in concert with NH Poet Laureate Walter Butts, the event sent us on the road on Oct. 14 to read with superb NH poets throughout the state, and then on Oct. 15, we participated in panels as part of an all-day conference on Poetry and Politics. The event was capped by a reading featuring all of us, and afterwards, we met to plan future gatherings, events and project.

Participating poets laureate were:

  • Dick Allen, Connecticut
  • JoAnn Ballingit, Delaware
  • Walter E. Butts, New Hampshire
  • Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin
  • Marie Harris, New Hampshire
  • Julie Kane, Louisiana
  • Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Virginia
  • Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Kansas
  • David M. Parsons, Texas
  • Betsy Sholl, Maine
  • Lisa Starr, Rhode Island
  • Marjory Wentworth, South Carolina

Poetry AND Politics: “On the Road” Friday, October 14, 2011 — here where we went:

Poet(s) Laureate: Walter E. Butts (NH), Richard Allen (CT), Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda (VA) and Marie Harris (NH)
Local Poet(s): Faculty and student poets
Venue: Southern New Hampshire University, Robert Frost Building, Walker Auditorium

Poet(s) Laureate: Julie Kane (LA) and Lisa Starr (RI)
Local Poet(s): Catherine O’Brian
Venue: Concord Public Library, Auditorium
Time: 10:15 a.m. to Noon

Poet(s) Laureate: Walter E. Butts (NH) and Richard Allen (CT)
Local Poet(s): Faculty and student poets
Venue: New England College, Simon Center, Great Room

Poet(s) Laureate: Bruce Dethlefsen (WI)
Local Poet(s): Maudelle Driskill
Venue: Abbey Greenleaf Library (in downtown Franconia)

Poet(s) Laureate: Dave Parsons (TX)
Local Poet(s): Rodger Martin, Jim Duffy, Bill Doreski and Jeff Friedman
Venue: Keene State College, Mountain View Room, 3rd floor, Student Union Building

Poet(s) Laureate: Caryn Miriam Goldberg (KS)
Local Poet(s): Peter Money and  April Ossman
Venue: Lebanon Community College, Auditorium

Poet(s) Laureate: Betsy Sholl (ME) and Marjory Wentworth (SC)
Local Poet(s): S. Stephanie and Sid Hall
Venue: Toadstool Book Store in Milford

Panels at the Poetry & Politics Conference, Oct. 14th:

9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Poetry & Community – with David M. Parsons, JoAnn Balingit, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Lisa Starr, Betsy Sholl: What is the role of poetry in the community? What are possible activities that might be undertaken on national, regional, and local levels?  We’ll discuss existing community building programs and examine how they work. Panelists will provide information on programs within their respective states they’ve found particularly effective, followed by questions/answers.

11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. – Poetry & Education – with Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Julie Kane, JoAnn Balingit, David M. Parsons: How might poetry be introduced into public school curriculum? We’ll discuss various poets in the schools programs, funding issues, and strategies for effectively integrating poetry within a larger educational context. This panel will include readings of student work from anthologies and other texts, and be followed by a Q&A.

1:15 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. – Poetry & Social Justice – with Marjory Wentworth, Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Walter Butts, Lisa Starr, Bruce Dethlefsen: How might poetry provide a discourse for social justice activism and address racism, environmental dangers, poverty and other troubling issues confronting our society?  We’ll read relevant poems, discuss existing programs in prisons, migrant camps, and urban centers, and examine matters of social responsibility, activism, and poetry. Followed by a Q&A.

2:45 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. – Poetry & Politcs – with Dick Allen, Marie Harris, Marjory Wentworth, Caryn-Mirrriam-Goldberg, Bruce Dethlefsen: This panel will continue the discussion begun at the 2003 first gathering of State Poets Laureate by then New Hampshire Poet Laureate Marie Harris. Once again we’ll explore poetry’s capacity to bring about social, political, and cultural change during these particularly challenging times. We’ll look at programs and activities that have emerged during the past decade, and consider poetry’s future role. Followed by a Q&A.

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