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Book Notes: Poetry Group Honors One of Its Own

Valley News Staff Writers
Published: 3/9/2017 10:00:41 PM
Modified: 3/10/2017 12:16:54 AM

The Norwich Bookstore brings in writers for readings and books signings from a wide area. But the next two events at the independent shop are dedicated to writers with close ties to the Upper Valley.

The first is Hanover resident Carol Armstrong, who is slated to attend a celebration for her recent volume of poems, Rich Remembering, on Wednesday evening at 7. Armstrong is in her 90s, and a member of the Hanover-based poetry group the Still Puddle Poets. Members of the group worked with Armstrong to publish her work and they will be on hand in Norwich to read from the poems.

The second event, on March 23, is a discussion with novelist Melanie Finn about her second book, The Gloaming. Finn spent part of her upbringing in Strafford and now lives in the Northeast Kingdom.

First published in the United Kingdom under the title Shame, The Gloaming tells the story of Pilgrim Jones, who leaves behind her comfortable life after a series of personal setbacks and wanders off alone into Tanzania. The book has earned praise from reviewers. Newsday recognized it as one of several books that deserved greater notice in 2016.

The Norwich Bookstore discussion of the book will be facilitated by Carin Pratt, and the store management is asking would-be participants to have read the book beforehand and to sign up in advance. The event starts at 6 p.m.

The events are free, but space is limited. Call the bookstore at 802-649-1114 to reserve a spot.

Summer Readings

Summer is still a ways off, but the lineup has been announced for the annual Canaan Meetinghouse Readings.

The series starts July 6 with readings by poet Cynthia Huntington, a longtime Dartmouth College professor, and novelist Rick Moody, whose most recent book is Hotels of North America, a work of fiction. In 1997, Ang Lee directed an acclaimed adaptation of Moody’s novel, The Ice Storm, starring Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver and Joan Allen.

Following them to the Meetinghouse podium will be former Dartmouth president James Wright and mystery writer Megan Abbott, on July 13; poet April Ossmann and novelist and poet Victoria Redel, on July 20; and poet Major Jackson and novelist Alexander Chee, on July 27.

All readings start at 7:30. They are free, but donations to support the Canaan Library are welcome.

Bookstock, the annual Woodstock literary festival, has announced a slate of writers that’s almost too long to list here and now. In addition to many writers from the Upper Valley, the well-known poets Paul Muldoon and Molly Peacock are among the writers whom festival organizers have recruited for the last weekend in July.

For a full accounting, go to

Writing Contests

The Poetry Society of New Hampshire is inviting Granite State students in grades 1 to 12 to submit verses to its annual contest.

April 30 is the deadline for students in the junior division (grades 1 to 8) and the senior division (grades 9 to 12) to enter the competition, with two copies each of up to three typed poems. Entries also must include a signed statement certifying that the poem is original. Teachers also may submit entries on behalf of their students. For more guidelines and snail-mailing directions, visit

The poetry society is running the contest in concert with the New Hampshire Council of Teachers of English as part of National Poetry Month.

The Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph is inviting aspiring dramatists to enter its third annual Vermont Issues Playwriting Contest.

May 31 is the deadline to submit scripts that “frame and delve into pressing topics important to Vermont communities, topics which either affect Vermonters today or have affected Vermonters in the past,” according to an announcement from the Chandler. Plays should have a running time of at least 45 minutes.

The entry fee is $20. Playwrights may submit a second script at a fee of $15. Judges with theater experience will examine the scripts and pick up to five finalists, each of whom will receive a cash prize of $100. The plays will receive staged readings in the Chandler’s Upper Gallery between September 2017 and May 2018.

For application forms and more information, visit

The New London-based Literary Arts Guild is inviting aspiring poets to enter to its sixth annual contest celebrating National Poetry Month in April.

Wednesday is the deadline to submit poems, on the theme of “Two,” in the age categories of adult, high school, middle school and elementary school. Poet Jennifer Millitello, winner of the guild’s inaugural contest in 2012, will judge this year’s entries. The top three finishers in the adult category, and the winning writer in each of the school categories, will be invited to read their poems at the Newbury, N.H., town offices on April 7, as part of the Center for the Arts’ First Friday celebration.

To learn more, visit

Book Sales

The organizers of the Five Colleges Book Sale are accepting donations of gently-used tomes in the run-up to their annual sale the weekend of April 22 and 23.

April 15 is the deadline to donate books at this year’s collection point: 224 Gilman Office Center in White River Junction. The site, near the post office, accepts donations from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Drop-off boxes for small donations also are available at the Hanover Co-op Food Stores, Howe Library in Hanover, Lebanon Public Library and Kilton Library in West Lebanon.

The sale’s organizers are not accepting encyclopedias, magazines, or homemade VHS tapes or CDs.

Library Benefits

Back home in Woodstock from a recent performance at Carnegie Hall, 11-year-old Will Drebitko on Saturday afternoon joins eight adult pianists at the Norman Williams Public Library who will take turns playing duets, trios and quartets in a recital benefiting library programs. The music begins at 2, with the ensemble taking on works of composers ranging from Carl Philip Emmanuel Bach to Scott Joplin. Admission is by donation.

Literary Adaptations

On March 19 at the Hopkins Center in Hanover, the children’s theater touring company of the Kennedy Center will stage a musical adaptation of Mo Willems’ series of books for early readers about Elephant Gerald and his sidekick Piggie. The performance of Elephant and Piggie’s We Are in a Play! is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium. To reserve tickets ($13 to $23) and learn more, visit or call 603-727-3304.

Library Openings

The Tenney Memorial Library in Newbury, Vt., is accepting applications for the position of library director.

The library is looking for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree, preferably a master’s in library science, and with Vermont certification. The position calls for working 25 hours a week.

Letters of interest, resumes and references may be emailed to or snail-mailed to Tenney Memorial Library, Post Office Box 85, Newbury, Vt. 05051.

Alex Hanson can be reached at and at 603-727-3207. David Corriveau can be reached at and at 603-727-3304.

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