Entries by webmaster


(an excerpt from my selected newspaper columns as poet laureate, to be published in autumn 2020 as Seen from All Angles: Lyric Everyday Life) I have tried—with what I consider good reason—not to talk much about my own poetry in these columns I make an exception this month only because I also try to consider the […]

Abattoir Time

The widower pushed the tailgate shut and fell. The two sounds –click and thud– seemed synchrony, As if one in fact were function of the other. The red calf, bound for veal in the pickup’s bed, Looked rearward over his shoulder. No one there. A ginger-hackled rooster, framed by the door Of the loft, screamed […]

A Monk After Dark

One boot sags dumb like him in a corner. He drops the other to the floor with a grimace. He’s still devout. If his face contorts, It’s from pain in both his shoulders. A nuisance,   Not metaphor. It’s the fruit of labor– A day-long dig springtime in the garden: Parsnips enough for the brothers, […]

Balloons and Flowers

–for Goran Simic I dropped into sleep while reading a book of poems by the Bosnian friend I write for here. They’re brilliant, full of red flowers and graves and wrenching accounts of his homeland during the 90s. They lend some perspective   on our COVID-19 scourge, which I don’t mean to downplay, much less […]

Old Leather Suitcase and Me: A Fable

I found this suitcase slumped in a dark attic corner like a drunk awash in self- pity.  I was Me once. There’s a burn mark beside one latch. I tell myself, with a bit of wonder, Me used to smoke in those days. Indeed– and drink. And booze and bright ash equaled char, perhaps in […]

Why Poetry?

The following essay is from my forthcoming collection, The Music of What Happens, a compendium of newspaper articles I wrote as Vermont Poet Laureat (2011-2015): People have often asked me, of course, why I chose poetry as my principal vocation. I like to joke that it’s all about money, women, and fame . . . […]

The Singin’ Rage

Fats and Little Richard would come to our rescue, but before they did I ached for Patti Page, “The Singin’ Rage,” as the radio deejays dubbed her. I remember loving “How Much Is that Doggie in the Window?” And “Mockingbird Hill”– maybe corny, yet it robbed my breath. In her much older age, that star […]

Fantasies in’56

Hank Nicci worked as the gas pump man at Greville’s Sunoco all that summer. He had a heart like a Valentine, but softball-sized, tattooed on a shoulder. It said Mom. What else would it say in those times? His bleach-blond girlfriend looked like a star right out of the movies, at least in my eyes. […]

The Rural Sublime

…the only sensible impression left is, “I am nothing!” –Coleridge Farmwives conjure elaborate quilts. Woodworkers busy themselves at their stations. No shortage at all of craftspeople here, but however deft these artisans, their work’s no balm for my sudden unease. Today I’ve sampled maple balls and poutine, and from a provisory bleacher, heard the roars […]

Assumptions and Cullings

I sometimes come on headstones in backwoods graveyards girt by their own shallow graves the size of bathtubs and by brush, through which each one juts valiantly upward. Lately, whenever I take to my local river, small cavities in either side’s high sand tiers look empty to me as those graves must be by now. […]