Poet Verandah Porche will be artist in residence in northern New Hampshire middle and high schools and in communities including Bethlehem, Lancaster and Lincoln this fall, offering workshops, trainings, community poetry readings and conversations, all based on the theme "Writing on the Land: Exploring the nature of the place we live."
This residency, coordinated by the Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire as the first of its 2014-15 fall offerings, will provide students and community members throughout the region an opportunity to think, write and talk about their personal relationship with the land and landscape of northern New Hampshire.
"Each of us has stories and unlinked images about our relationship with the land," Verandah says. "The weather is our intimate. The seasons make demands and offer rewards. These are uncertain times everywhere, for ourselves and our students. What does the land we live on mean to us? What does our home place have to offer for strength and solace? These are some of the questions we'll explore."
The residency begins Sept. 29 through Oct. 1. During these first three days, Verandah will work with students and teachers during the day; each evening she will offer a poetry reading related to the land and landscape and introduce her "told poetry" process to the community, training interested participants as scribes, who can then create short, powerful writing based on interviews with friends, family, colleagues or other community members, offering the interviewees a chance to tell their own story.
On Wednesday, Oct. 1, she will also offer an after-school teacher workshop at the Lin-Wood Public School.
On Oct. 8 and 9, Verandah will return to Bethlehem and Lincoln, working in the schools during the day and offering evening gatherings to share the poetry the community has created and to participate in a discussion of one's connection to the land and ideas around land, land use, and community.
Adults from throughout the region as well as middle, high-school and college students are invited to attend the free evening programs.
Verandah Porche, an award-winning poet from Vermont, has been publishing her poetry for more than three decades. In addition to her own books of poetry, her work has been seen in The Atlantic, The Village Voice, Ms., The New Boston Review and Vermont Organic Farmer, among others.
In 1998, the Vermont Arts Council awarded Verandah a Citation of Merit for her contribution to the state's cultural life, and in 2012, Marlboro College awarded her an honorary degree, doctor of humane letters.
Writing on the Land: A Reading and Training with Verandah Porche
Monday, Sept. 29, 7-8:30 p.m.: Weeks Memorial Library, Lancaster
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 7-8:30 p.m.: Bethlehem Public Library, Bethlehem
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 7-8:30 p.m.: Lincoln Public Library, Lincoln
Verandah will share poems from her books and her daily writing practice as well as narratives gathered from her work as a writing partner. She will invite participants to reflect on their own relationship with the land and the experiences, writing and ideas that have influenced and shaped this relationship. Verandah will show participants how to become "scribes" in their own communities, creating short, powerful "told poems" giving voice to the stories of others. Free; preregistration is requested.
Writing on the Land Teacher Workshop:
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 4-5:30 p.m. (networking and snacks 3:30-4 pm) at the Lin-Wood Public School, Lincoln. In this informal workshop, participants will reflect on their place and read, create and share poems drawn from living on the land, seeking a language rooted in place. Cost: $10 (certificates will be provided); $5 for Arts Alliance members. Preregistration is requested.
Writing on the Land: A Community Poetry Sharing and Conversation
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 7-8:30 p.m.: Bethlehem Public Library, Bethlehem
Thursday, Oct. 9, 7-8:30 p.m.: Lincoln Public Library, Lincoln
Verandah will read several poems and students and adult community members will share their writing and the "told poems" they have gathered with a wider audience. After the reading, Courtney Wrigley, project coordinator of North Country Listens, will facilitate discussions about land, land use and community. Free.