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Forum, June 28: Leadership Isn’t a Game; Hanover Stops the Music

Published: 6/27/2016 5:00:04 PM
Modified: 6/27/2016 5:00:05 PM

Effective Leadership Isn’t a Game

Aren’t at least some of us getting sick of columnists who condemn Hillary Clinton for her “dull” positions? The latest was Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (“Clinton’s Uninspired Message”) in the June 25 Valley News, who excoriated her for her “tired cliche” beliefs in clean energy, small business and “small-ball initiatives.”

Anyone who has seen the latest Michael Moore documentary Where To Invade Next has learned that the only bank in Iceland that didn’t fail during the country’s recent economic crisis was the one run by women!

Women in positions of political and/or economic power tend to favor incremental changes that take in both context and time. Often responsible for running households, they don’t usually look for dramatic, grandstanding confrontations or eye-catching positions devoid of common sense or substance. In other words, battle as entertainment isn’t usually the goal. How bo-ring.

Isn’t it time we stopped looking at politics solely as a version of a football game — i.e., both violent and, when translated to politics, frivolous — and instead value candidates who show practical common sense, letting the “excitement” go as a dumbing-down distraction?

Nan Bourne


Hanover Stops the Music

Kudos to the town of Hanover for successfully shutting down the Madaila concert at the new Skinny Pancake in Hanover. What a disgrace. This was a benefit concert for the nonprofit Vital Communities, an organization focused on improving our region.   Hanover officials have harmed that organization, discouraged new business from considering the town and pushed artists away. What have they accomplished? They maintain the same stale environment they have so meticulously cultivated. God forbid we have new restaurants or new places to see live music. Shame on you. Keep raising those parking meter fees.    

Chris Rosenquest


Looking for the Good in Poetry

Patrick Gillespie, a Strafford poet (full disclosure would include “self-published”) presents a critique of a column by Chard deNiord (“Readers Aren’t the Problem With Contemporary Poetry,” June 17. To read it is to conclude that he looked at deNiord’s article — less than once. Fact is, I agree with Gillespie on some points, not least that the obscurity of much contemporary verse is to blame for much of its neglect.

But, as deNiord points out, another severe problem is that, in school settings and elsewhere, poetry is too often presented as a vehicle for ideas or messages, rather than as an art whose primary material is memorable language. When Gillespie asks if any of us has found such language in today’s verse and uses the first stanza of Frost’s Hyla Brook as a measure, he does set the bar pretty high, no? But if he means to stress current authors’ neglect of meter and rhyme (demands for which would disqualify the psalms, Milton’s Paradise Lost, and most of Whitman, to cite only three examples), I infer that he just hasn’t read much current poetry.

Here’s a very short list of today’s writers who use meter, rhyme or both: Andrew Hudgins, Brad Leithauser, Dana Gioia, Elizabeth Alexander, Julia Alvarez, Marilyn Hacker, Mary Jo Salter, Rachel Hadas, Rafael Campo, Charles Fort — even, on occasion, deNiord himself. None of these writers, trust me, is a “fool,” as Gillespie avers all us contemporaries are. The plain fact is that most of the poetry of any age is not very good. (We remember Robert Frost, for instance, but forget his once much-celebrated contemporary Trumbull Stickney.) Like Billy Collins, deNiord urges an approach to poetry in which readers would not feel “stupid” if they failed to distill a poem to some single “hidden meaning” or to find some utilitarian application for it. To practice such an approach in the classroom or even in conversation is difficult, to be sure; but it is surely worth the effort.

Sydney Lea

Newbury, Vt.

Chard deNiord is the poet laureate of Vermont. Sydney Lea held the position before him.

Why Mention Divorce?

In his June 23 letter to the editor, Bob Williamson describes the Orlando shooter as a “once-divorced domestic abuser who’d pledged to his friends his determination to kill gays, Jews and others he despised.”

Can I ask in what universe being divorced can be put in the same sentence as one that describes someone as violent, bigoted, ignorant and dangerous? As if being divorced is some character flaw, or moral failing, that could lead someone down that path to mass murder.

I am divorced. The divorce was horrible, but I am a better person, woman and mother because of it. To be lumped in with a description of a mass murderer is, frankly, insulting.

Mitzi Bockmann


Get on Board, Bernie Sanders

Ralph Nader supporters guaranteed that Al Gore would lose the election to George W. Bush. Remember?

Until Bernie Sanders directs his supporters to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of writing in his name, we may as well face the fact that Donald Trump could win the election.  I know of people who are going to vote for Bernie “to prove a point” — which will put us at the end of the Trump sword.

Sanders said he would vote for Clinton. Not enough! He should drop out of the race, tell supporters to send money and support to Clinton. Sanders is guaranteeing, as Nader did, that the election could end in disaster.

Honey Donegan


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