Porche to lead free online poetry workshop

On Friday, April 23, at 7 p.m., Guilford poet Verandah Porche will lead a free, virtual interactive poetry workshop.

The event, organized by the Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF), is open to teens and adults. You can sign up at

Since the fall, CLiF has been offering adult programs and book discussions with local authors, in addition to its children's programming.

Previous featured authors include fiction writer and journalist Sarah Stewart Taylor, poet Rajnii Eddins, bestselling author Dan Brown, and Chris Tebbetts, who recently co-authored a thriller with James Patterson.

In honor of National Poetry Month in April, this session will celebrate poetry and encourage writers of all levels to create their own poems.

According to a news release, “Poetry Without Tears” will be “a safe space to write a first poem or sharpen skills.”

Porche will share her poems and talk about finding beauty in our own language. Participants will create a collaborative poem, where each person adds a few lines. At that point, “Verandah will offer a prompt for inspiration, and we'll write for 5-10 minutes. Those who wish to can share their work.”

Porche works as a poet-in-residence, performer, and writing partner. Based on the commune Total Loss Farm, since 1968, she has published Sudden Eden (Verdant Books), The Body's Symmetry (Harper and Row) and Glancing Off (See Through Books). She has read her work on public radio, in the Vermont State House, and at the Guggenheim Museum.

She has developed a practice called “told poetry” or “shared narrative” to create personal literature with people who need a writing partner. Porche has run collaborative residencies in hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200-year-old Vermont tavern, and an urban working-class neighborhood.

Listening Out Loud documents her residency with Real Art Ways in Hartford, Conn.

Porche began working as a poet in schools in the 1970s. She initiated and, for almost 30 years, taught the poetry program at Vermont's Governor's Institute on the Arts. The Vermont Arts Council presented her with its Award of Merit and its first Ellen McCulloch-Lovell Award. Marlboro College gave her an honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2012.

Her recent project, Shedding Light on the Working Forest, exploring the lives of people who work in the woods, a collaboration with visual artist Kathleen Kolb, has toured New England, as has Broad Brook Anthology, a play for voices that honors the lives of elders in Guilford.

Her current project, Faces of Home, is a series of self-portraits in words narrated by residents of Great River Terrace, a Brattleboro community for people who had experienced lack of housing, with portraits painted by River Gallery artists.

In addition, Porche serves on the Guilford Selectboard, exploring the poetry of civic life.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates