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Book Notes: Post Mills Poet and Editor Wins Grant

Poet April Ossmann (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck)

Poet April Ossmann (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »

Over her long career as a poet, editor and consultant, April Ossmann has applied for any number of grants to support her work. Although she has won awards, none of her grant applications has ever borne fruit.

So it was especially fortifying when she learned recently that she was one of 11 Vermont artists to receive creation grants from the Vermont Arts Council. The $3,000 awards are meant to provide the artists with financial backing while they work on a clearly defined project.

“This is the first time I’ve ever won something for which I’ve applied,” Ossmann, of Post Mills, said in a recent interview. “You have to persist,” she added. “You have to keep the faith and if you don’t feel the faith, you have to persist as if you had it.”

The Arts Council grants are highly sought after, and Vermont artists in every medium are in the same pool. Other grantees in this round include Waterbury photographer Peter Miller, sculptor Alisa Dworsky, of Montpelier, Brookfield composer Erik Nielsen and Barnet filmmaker Jay Craven.

In addition to Ossmann, two other Upper Valley artists working on writing projects received grants: Brooke Ciardelli, who recently parted ways with Northern Stage, the White River Junction theater company she founded, received a creation grant to support her work on an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge. And Strafford writer Jim Schley received a grant to assist his writing of a book-length manuscript about a 19th- century eagle feather headdress.

Ossmann will use the money to replace income she will lose by shifting her attention to writing and away from teaching and editing. She has been working on her current manuscript since her last book, Anxious Music, appeared in 2007. She was the only poet to receive a grant in this round of awards.

∎ In other poetry news from an organization with “Vermont” and “council” in its name, the Vermont Humanities Council has chosen Poetry 180, an anthology of contemporary poems selected by former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins, for this year’s “Vermont Reads” program. Libraries, schools and nonprofit organizations can apply to host a Vermont Reads group. The Humanities Council supplies books and programming support. Applications are due in two rounds, Dec. 7 and May 15. For an application, go to vermontreads.org or call 802-262-2626, ext. 304.

Alex Hanson can be reached at ahanson@vnews.com or 603-727-3219.