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Book Notes: Aug. 15, 2014

Norwich — Searching the darkness for her dogs among the apple trees near her Norwich home that night in October 2012, Lizi Boyd found her curfew-breakers ... and the raw material for her next children’s book.

“Suddenly the (flash)light caught their eyes, and their bright collars, and the apples in the branches,” Boyd recalled Thursday, on the eve of this afternoon’s launch of Flashlight at her home studio. “I saw the possibilities almost immediately: a completely black background, and the shape of the beam revealing things.”

Taking a break from the fine-tuning of her previous book, Inside Outside — a text-free “visual poem” which follows a child exploring and discovering interior and exterior worlds through changing shapes and light — Boyd Googled for books in which a youngster in a white-on-black world flashes beams that frame wildlife afoot, a-wing, and a-rooted in windows of light and living color.

“I thought, ‘It’s so simple,’ ” Boyd said. “ ‘Someone must have tried this.’ ”

After discovering otherwise, the Woodstock-raised Boyd “cut out some (black) pages the next day and started painting. Chronicle Books just released the finished product, again free of words, in which the child protagonist ventures out of a tent with a flashlight and widens his — or is it her? — world.

“I loved the first one,” Norwich Bookstore owner Liza Bernard said of Inside Outside. “This one takes it to a whole new level.”

Boyd welcomed the opportunity.

“It’s a very different project when you’re working with text — rolling words in your head all the time,” she said. “Then when you start drawing, you see what words you need to cut. In this process, you have to get to the most meditative place you can find, and see what happens as you go along.”

Boyd also is adjusting to idea of sharing the release of the book with Upper Valley friends, neighbors and followers, so soon after publication.

“I really want to celebrate,” she said. “I’ve never had a launch party. Usually a lot more time goes by before you promote something, when you’re on to the next project. It’s a little anticlimactic when it comes out.”

Staff from the Norwich Bookstore will sell copies of Flashlight for the artist to sign during the launch party at her home studio on Old Coach Road. For more information, call 802-649-1114 or send e-mail to info@norwichbookstore.com.

Upcoming Readings, Presentations

While they both write books mostly for children and young adults, don’t let your age of, oh, 30 or older deter you from going to the Strafford Townhouse on Thursday night to hear Gregory Maguire and M.T. Anderson read from their works. Maguire, who lives part of the year in Strafford, wrote the Wicked Years series of novels that imagined a parade of back stories and sequels to The Wizard of Oz, and in turn inspired the much-decorated Broadway musical Wicked. Anderson won the National Book Award in 2008 for the first volume of the two-part Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing and reached the finals in 2012 for Feed. Staff from the Norwich Bookstore will be selling copies of a number of the books of both authors after the reading, which starts at 7 p.m.

Laura Foley of South Pomfret will read from her new collection of poetry and short prose, Joy Street, at the Norman Williams Public Library in Woodstock on Wednesday night at 6:30. A previous collection, The Glass Tree, won the Silver Foreword Book of the Year Award and reached the finals for the New Hampshire Writer’s Project’s Outstanding Book of Poetry. She has served a poetry fellowship at The Frost Place, and earned a Bunner Prize from Columbia University for her scholarship on Wallace Stevens.

Write Stuff

The Lake Sunapee region’s Center for the Arts is inviting area writers to submit prose and poetry for a contest highlighting the photography of L.B. Chase.

The deadline to submit a single page of writing is Sept. 12. The winning writers will read their resulting work on Oct. 3, during the center’s First Friday gathering at Lake Sunapee Bank’s New London office, 321 Main St. The mission: to respond in poetry or in prose to a series of 12 Chase photographs, C ircles and Spheres.

Chase has photographed wildlife for the National Park Service and The Nature Conservancy, and more recently created pocket-sized calendars with photos that he gave to family and friends. Writers are welcome to choose one photograph or focus on the entire collection. Rules are available at centerfortheartsnh.org/Call_to_Writers__2.php.

For Better or Verse

Veteran Proctor Academy English teacher Laurie Zimmerman recently celebrated publication of her first full-length collection of poetry, the 83-page Bright Exit, by the Quercus Review Press of California. The book was a finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Award, the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and the Washington Prize. She has had her verse featured on New Hampshire Public Radio, and is a former poetry editor of Radix magazine.

David Corriveau can be reached at dcorriveau@vnews.com and at 603-727-3304.