Thursday, October 6, 2011, at 7:00 pm, poets Joan Houlihan and Patricia Lee Lewis will kick off the fifth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Joan Houlihan has been a teacher, technical writer, reporter, critic, and editor. Her books include Hand-held Executions: Poems & Essays (Del Sol, 2003), The Mending Worm (New Issues, 2006), and The Us (Tupelo Press, 2009). In 2004, she founded the Concord Poetry Center, and in 2006 she established the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference for advanced writers. She is also currently on the faculty of Lesley University’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program.
Patricia Lee Lewis was born and raised in Texas, where her three children were also born; for over 30 years she has lived and worked at Patchwork Farm Retreat in Western Massachusetts. She holds an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College, and a BA from Smith College, Phi Beta Kappa. Beloved mentor of many writers, leader of frequent writing retreats both nationally and internationally, she has also been the publisher of The Patchwork Journal. A grant in 2011 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council enabled her to help establish a writing program at her local library. Trained to teach English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), Patricia and friends volunteer in Guatemala. Her first book of poems, A Kind of Yellow, was awarded first place by Writers Digest International. Her second, High Lonesome, is newly released from Hedgerow Books/ Levellers Press.
FROM DIRT, A STIR / by Joan Houlihan
From dirt, a stir put forth its mix, smell
of week and green-held bud, deep cups
sweet and sharp. Warmer started day.
Sun lay wider where us walked.
And ay had seeing out to hers – long cloth tied
with hemp, of smaller head than ay, and that head bent
to sounds from brae, hers hair a gleam-fall over him,
the weaker, full of noise for her and lifting up.
And ay would turn to watch the smoke
go high in thin and thinner twist
the way the sun must bring its burning home.
(“From dirt, a stir” from The Us ©2009. Reprinted by permission of Tupelo Press. All rights reserved.)
KAYAK / by Patricia Lee Lewis
If the kayak had not filled my heart with its
small torpedo yellow and if ripples
had not speckled birch leaves with the rising
sun, and if your voice had carried from the pier
as through the one remaining seagull’s wings,
perhaps you would have kept your place beside
me in the sudden storm. But now, small shapes
surround my boat like shadows. Drowning
is the only sound, the cutting off of air
around your face, the silencing of movement
toward me now, dimming of the earth
away from sun. If courage falls, if love explodes
in yellow light, if what was there, the holding
and the gentle mouth, has turned its back,
the kayak learns the river,
and the heart the rushing cataract.
(“Kayak” from High Lonesome ©2011. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.)