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The Commons
The Arts

Green Writers Press plans launch party for 'Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry'

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Originally published in The Commons issue #408 (Wednesday, May 17, 2017).



BRATTLEBORO—Green Writers Press celebrates the publication of a new anthology, Roads Taken: Contemporary Vermont Poetry, with a launch party and readings at 118 Elliot on Friday, May 19, from 7 to 8 p.m., according to a news release.

With its mystical landscape and fiercely self-reliant citizenry, Vermont has inspired poets from its earliest days. This anthology of contemporary Vermont poets represents a wide range of accomplished voices — both young and old, both renowned and relatively unestablished.

Their poems offer news, in Ezra Pound’s words, that stays news, and they do so in a wide variety of forms and subjects. While there is no such thing as a particular brand of Vermont poetry, the poems in this volume claim Vermont as their place of origin, bearing witness to the remarkably rich and ongoing legacy of the state’s poetic tradition.

Editors of the anthology are former Vermont Poet Laureate Sydney Lea, current Vermont Poet Laureate Chard deNiord, and Dede Cummings, managing editor and editorial director of Green Writers Press. Poet Dan Chiasson wrote the introduction, and Brattleboro artist Petria Mitchell did the cover art.

Chiasson writes that “Vermont tempts poets to epiphany by staying silent, or cold, or flinty, or dark, ironizes their praise. Many people move to Vermont because of the idea of it, an idea that has proven remarkably durable over time: as these poems suggest, so powerfully do the daily necessities of living there, of surviving there, assert themselves.

“This is where Frost comes in: Frost’s poems are the great rural instruction manual for our neck of the woods. His influence is everywhere in the poems collected here, which so often take ‘nature’ not as an idyllic refuge but as a site of careful, strenuous, and repeated steps or actions. The Vermonters in this book come from and live all over. Roads Taken is a ‘constellation/of patches and pitches,’ proof to me that Vermont will always require the imagination of its citizens to exist.”

For more information about the book, visit greenwriterspress.com/book/roads-taken-contemporary-vermont-poetry.

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