Poetry

Poet and University of Vermont professor Major Jackson was announced as the winner of this year's Vermont Book Award on Saturday night at a gala at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Patrick Rosal

Major Jackson's new collection of poetry, "Roll Deep," takes you on a voyage from Philadelphia, to the Greek Islands, to civil war in Africa. His poems are introspective and have a lyrical sensibility.

Courtesy VCFA

The first-ever Vermont Book Award winner has been announced. Chosen from six finalists, poet Kerrin McCadden of Plainfield won for her collection Landscape With Plywood Silhouettes.

Courtesy MacArthur Foundation

Vermont poet Ellen Bryant Voight has been named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. The 72-year-old will receive what's informally called the "genius grant" including $625,000 to pursue her work with no strings attached.

Courtesy

April is National Poetry Month, and poetry enthusiasts around Vermont have embraced the occasion with readings and new publications. This April, nominations are open for Vermont's next poet laureate, which gives an appointed poet a chance to spread the word about poetry. 

Vermont's current laureate, Sydney Lea of Newbury, has spent his time promoting the literary form at libraries around the state. He'll retire from the position in a few months, when the next poet laureate takes the helm.

Alden Pellett / AP

Poet Galway Kinnell died on Tuesday of leukemia at his home in Sheffield. He had been described as a writer with the ability to flesh out music, raise the spirits and break the heart. He said he discovered the music in language in the rhythm of his mother’s Irish accent. In his career, Kinnell won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

We listen back to an interview with Galway Kinnell that was recorded in 2009.

Courtesy Diana Whitney

Brattleboro resident Diana Whitney's debut collection of poetry, Wanting It, is gathering praise from some of the state’s top poets. Vermont Poet Laureate Sydnea Lea calls it a “brilliant book.” Major Jackson refers to the poems in this collection as “ancient secrets.”

Whitney says the title of the book does not refer to one specific thing.

“It’s the wanting it that’s beautiful, more so than the having,” she says. “If you get what you want, then you don’t get that tremulous longing.”

Plainfield resident and teacher Kerrin McCadden is the winner of the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize for her book, Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes. The collection features poems that tackle the feelings of emptiness that follow divorce, the trials of parenting, and the connection to a place that can be called "home."

Broadcast on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:49 a.m.

Learn more about Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes.

Photo by Wendy Lynch

Poet Gary Margolis has made a career out of writing about a variety of aspects of life in New England. Any reader of his poetry will find that, to Margolis, an early thaw, a Red Sox loss, and a flock of turkeys in the road can be equally poignant. Margolis has assembled new and selected poems into a collection called Raking the Winter Leaves and he spoke with VPR's Peter Biello about it.

Learn more about Raking the Winter Leaves.
 

Thursday, October 25, 2013 at 4:50 p.m. Good poetry is music in itself—any lover of words knows that. But it’s not often that a book of poetry comes with a CD of music. That’s the case with Northeast Kingdom Poet Jerry Johnson’s new collection. The book, Up the Creek Without a Saddle, comes with a CD that features sixteen poems set to music written by Vermont musicians Jon Gailmor and Pete Sutherland. Jerry Johnson spoke with VPR's Peter Biello about the book and the music it inspired.