đź‘Źđź‘Ź A Mayor that ❤️ arts: Sefatia Romeo-Theken shares Ruthanne Collinson #pocketpoem âśŤď¸Ź

It’s free and simple to participate in National Poem in Your Pocket Day.  From Mayor Romeo-Theken:

“I’ve selected a poem by former poet laureate, Ruthanne “Rufus” Collinson, “Jumping In”. The view from my City Hall office is the building Collinson writes about, and the poem’s span of time and special moments –celebrating kids, seniors, connections and kindness– are music to read.”- Mayor Romeo-Theken, Gloucester, MA

JUMPING IN

I was 12 years old
dreaming already
of the life within life,
writing plays and poems,
clumsy beyond description
when I arrived at Central Grammar School,
to a daily journey over the bridge,
learning about the universe of Gloucester
from my new friends,
learning art and history and language
from my new teachers.
What I will never forget
is the lesson I learned from the kind eighth grade girls
on the playground.
In elementary school, I fell down everyday at recess,
playing jump rope, trying to jump in.
My new friends at Central Grammar
taught me to look up,
to wait until the rope swung high,
to wait for the thin shimmering line
to reach its highest arc,
to enter then
and begin to keep the rhythm.
And here I am today.
The school has become a residence for the elders
and, once again,
I am learning to jump in

-RUTHANNE “RUFUS” COLLINSON

Reminder- kids poetry contest is closing soon. Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Libraray childrens services Poetry Without Paper 2018 contest And send them to the Mayor’s office– she promises to read them!

✍️🎶Happy #pocketpoem day! Three from John Ronan. What poem will you share?

It’s free and simple to participate. Carry a Poem. Share a Poem.

John Ronan, a poet, playwright, journalist and a National Endowment for the
Arts Fellow in Literature, shares two sonnets: “The Parlor” and “The Lesson.”  And the very short, “Arrowhead.”

Arrowhead
The bifacial point, found in a potato
field in Maine, is still sharp,
a Micmac weapon or crafted heart
knapped from the whole cloth of stone.
Flint’s a slap in the face, elegist
relic only as long as you look.
Says: crow shadow and opaque.
Adds: I will exist without witness.

-John J. Ronan

John Ronan served as Gloucester’s Poet Laureate 2008-2010, maintaining the website resource dedicated to Gloucester poets, Gloucester Poet Laureate, and producing Salt and Light: An Anthology of Gloucester Poetry, published spring 2010. He is the host of the Cape Ann TV (now 1623 studios) program, The Writer’s Block.  His most recent anthology is Taking the Train of Singularity South from Midtown. He read “We, Helsmen” at Mayor Romeo Theken’s 2018 Inauguration. Ronan helped to establish Poetry without Paper; the 12th annual deadline for this beloved annual tradition is approaching. Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Libraray childrens services Poetry Without Paper 2018 contest 

What’s your favorite LOVE poem? Monthly Poetry and High Tea gatherings @SandpiperBakery by Eastern Point Lit House

Naturally Love is the theme for February, the first month for Bread Poets Society Monthly Poetry and High Tea gatherings @SandpiperBakery by Eastern Point Lit House. Philip Storey set up shop last week to spread the word.

February 2018 – What’s Your Favorite Love Poem? Lit House Philip Storey will lead. Specialty French pastries, tea, coffee and themed poetry. 3pm Sunday, February 11, 2018. Sandpiper Bakery, 65 Middle Street, Gloucester, MA. $25

Eastern Point Lit House High Tea at Sandpiper Bakery monthly poetry gatherings.jpg

IMG_20180203_121935

 

Winners announced! Poetry aloud! SFL Poetry without Paper reception June 15

20150604_190508.jpgSAVE THE DATE poetry aloud!

POETRY WITHOUT PAPER AWARDS June 15

The 14th Annual Poetry without Paper Awards Ceremony and Poetry Reading is Thursday June 15th at 6:30pm at Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Public Library under the direction of Christy Russo. Author and poet John Ronan will present awards to High School, Middle School and Elementary school students who will then read their poetry aloud. Winners in each division receive prizes,  a book of poetry, certificate of excellence, and an invitation to appear on Cape Ann TV’s long running series The Writer’s Block. Poetry without Paper is open to students living in or attending school in Gloucester. Look for it each April.

2017 Call for Applications for Gloucester’s 5th POET LAUREATE is OPEN!

APPLICATION DEADLINE IS JUNE 9

Links for: 2017 Poet Laureate application (digital format) or 2017 Poet Laureate application (PDF format submit 5 copies).

The City of Gloucester’s Committee for the Arts announces the release of the 2017 Call for Applications for the four year position of Gloucester Poet Laureate. 

The position of Gloucester Poet Laureate is dedicated to building community through poetry and encouraging a love of poetry among people of all ages.  The position was most recently held by the late Peter Todd, appointed in 2014.  During Peter’s time as Poet Laureate, he generously shared his talents with his beloved City of Gloucester. 

Under City Ordinance, the process to select the Poet Laureate is administered by the Committee for the Arts and will involve a Selection Panel including representatives from the local literary community thanks to Eastern Point Lit House and The Gloucester Writers Center.  A recommendation from the Selection Panel will be forwarded to the Committee for the Arts for review and then forwarded on to the Mayor for nomination, subject to confirmation by the City Council.

The Call for Applications is available for download at the Committee for the Arts page on the City website: http://gloucester-ma.gov/index.aspx?nid=102.  Copies also are available at the Sawyer Free Library, the City of Gloucester Mayor’s Office, Eastern Point Lit House, the Gloucester Writer’s Center, and other locales.  Applications must be submitted by 12 pm on Friday, June 9th , 2017. Contact Judith Hoglander, Committee for the Arts with any questions.

gloucester CFTA City Hall WPA mural

 

Haunting for Halloween: Pumpkin carving and poetry John Greenleaf Whittier & Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

Jack o’lantern traditions. There’s this – our annual amateur foray

20161023_191235

 

and then this public art tableau  that we stop for each year, just past 370 Main Street, Gloucester (before the Crow’s Nest heading into downtown Gloucester)

20161023_081522

 

20161023_081514-1

The history of carving jack o’lanterns includes a description in a Victorian era poem by John Greenleaf Whittier (b.1807 Haverhill, MA-d.1892 Danvers, MA; resided/buried in Amesbury)-  a Massachusetts poet, legislator, journalist, editor, Quaker, and abolitionist. Cape Ann, North Shore, Essex County, and New England appear in his prose. 

Excerpt from The Pumpkin, ca.1846 Thanksgiving poem

Oh, fruit loved of boyhood! the old days recalling,

When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!

When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,

Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!

When we laughed round the corn-heap, with hearts all in tune,

Our chair a broad pumpkin,—our lantern the moon,

Telling tales of the fairy who travelled like steam,

In a pumpkin-shell coach, with two rats for her team!

 

Whittier was a contributing founder of Atlantic Monthly.  He was wildly popular, successful, and influential in his time. He helped many other writers. Letters to Whittier “poured in at the rate of ten, twenty, and sometimes thirty a day, making all manner of unreasonable requests and sending innumerable axes to grind…” In 1887 “deluged by over a thousand letters and manuscripts at his birthday, he put a public notice…that he could not answer any letters or read any manuscripts…”* Schools, cities and towns across the country were named after him. “People seem determined to use my name lately in many ways. Within a week I have had two ‘literary Institutes’** named for me, and a big vessel launched last week from Newburyport yard carries “Whittier” in brass letters to her element. I hope I shall not next hear of my name attached to notes of hand!”
Elizabeth Stuart Phelps was “one of the many woman writers Whittier befriended, but their relationship was especially close. Whittier wrote her scores of letters during his life and they met often to discuss religious themes. Whittier once wrote of her: Miss Stuart Phelps was there-an intense nature-frail but strong-a Puritan with passion and fire of Sappho and the moral courage of Joan of Arc.”** Phelps spent her summers at the seaside in East Gloucester, and was equally compassionate about social concerns.
Whittier and Phelps joined other luminaries at gatherings held in the Cambridge home of James (editor/publisher) and Annie Fields (writer) and other salons.  Who might be mixing it up there? Charles Dickens, Mary Abigail Dodge, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Dead Howells, Sarah Orne Jewett, Lucy Larcom,  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Phelps, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Celia Thaxter and Whittier. Jewett, Longfellow and others visited and wrote about Gloucester. Here’s a link from the Cornell University library to Phelps’ Atlantic Monthly article The 10th of January  about the tragic 1860 Pemberton Mills collapse and fire in Lawrence, MA*** (estimated 90-200+ killed), less known than the horrific 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire (146 killed).
*Letters of John Greenleaf Whittier 1861-1892, Volumes I II III, 1975, Harvard, edited by John B. Pickard. Fun read!  We’re told one of the colleges was Whittier college, Salem, Iowa
**ditto above and below any mentions from letters in the timeline

Selected Whittier links and timeline bits:

1908 poem: The Gloucester Mother, by Sarah Orne Jewett, copy of McClure’s Magazine where it first was published: http://www.unz.org/Pub/McClures-1908oct-00702
1888: Whittier “Was there ever such a droll thing?”** letter to Annie Adams Fields gossiping and happy for Elizabeth Stuart Phelps in love with a younger man “Love seems to have cured her…I feel rather aggrieved that I wasn’t consulted.” He calls her E.S.P.  To Celia Thaxter who Whittier visited on the Isle of Shoals, “treasuring evenings in her parlor room where she told ghost stories or they exchanged folk tales:   “What do you think of Eliza Stuart’s marriage to young Ward? He is a good fellow and Elizabeth for once in her life is happy!” Phelps married Herbert Dickinson Ward in 1888–he was 27 and she was 44. It didn’t go well: she bucked his surname within three years and wrote Confessions of a Wife in 1902.
1888 Whittier letter to Annie Fields after editing a new edition of his poetry: “I hope I am correcting a little of the bad grammar, and rhythmical blunders, which have so long annoyed my friends who have graduated from Harvard instead of a country district school.”
1886 Whittier poem: To a Cape Ann Schooner
1886 Whittier letter mentioning Elizabeth Stuart Phelps sending a “very pretty shade of fine lace work…because of its exquisite color” gift on Christmas Eve, which Whittier re-gifted 🙂
1884 Whittier letter to Annie Fields: “Have you seen Elizabeth Phelps lately? I am not in favor of capital punishment, but the burglars who robbed her of her hard earnings would fare hard if I were on the jury that tried them…”
1882 Whittier letter “The world can no longer be to me what it was while Emerson and Longfellow lived. They should have outlived me, for Emerson was never sick, and Longfellow until the last two years had splendid health. A feeling of loneliness and isolation oppresses me. But as Emerson said to me the last time I saw him ‘the time is short’ “ collection of Swarthmore college
1879 Whittier letter to Elizabeth Stuart Phelps: “Dr. Bowditch says that a man of active brain ought to make a fool of himself occasionally and unbend at all hazards to his dignity.” admittedly hard for these two
1877  Mark Twain (work friend),  Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow at Whittier’s 70th birthday celebration. Hawthorne and Whittier were not exactly fans of each other’s works.
1873: Whittier thank you note to Elizabeth Stuart Phelps for sending her book
1868: Whittier letter to Annie Fields complimenting Elizabeth Stuart Phelps The Gates Ajar “Good in itself and full of promise.” 1869 he’s promoting it to Harriet Minot Pittman
1868 Whittier thank you note to James Thomas Field for paying him the $1500 check
1866 Whittier poem: Snow bound: A Winter Idyll  his bestseller and dedicated to his family- memories from childhood
1857 Whittier poem: Garrison of Cape Ann* opens with a view of Cape Ann as seen from Po Hill: “From the hills of home forth looking, far beneath the tent-like span,
Of the sky, I see the white gleam headland of Cape Ann.” For readers that have come this far–the complete Garrison of Cape Ann follows the break.
1843 Whittier poem: Massachusetts to Virginia (in reference to George Latimer, alleged fugitive slave) “The fishing smacks of Marblehead, the sea-boats of Cape Ann…”  Woodie Guthrie 1958 This Land is Your Land feels like a 20th Century connection.

Continue reading “Haunting for Halloween: Pumpkin carving and poetry John Greenleaf Whittier & Elizabeth Stuart Phelps”