Alexandria Peary & Wally Swist

Thursday, June 7, 2012, at 7:00 pm, poets Alexandria Peary and Wally Swist will continue the fifth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Alexandria Peary

Alexandria Peary is the author of two books of poetry, Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers (2008) and Lid to the Shadow (2010).  The latter was selected for the 2010 Slope Editions Book Prize.  Her work has also received the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets and the Mudfish Poetry Prize and has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, New American Writing, The Gettysburg Review, jubilat, Massachusetts Review, Fence, Crazyhorse, Spoon River Review, Verse, Literary Imagination, and Pleiades.  She has published literary essays on Caroline Knox and Laura Jensen as well as humorous prose in New Hampshire Magazine and Brain, Child.  She is thrilled to say that she has recently been invited to blog for Mother Writer Mentor (  Her degrees include two MFAs (University of Iowa and University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and a PhD (University of New Hampshire).  She  is an associate professor in the English Department at Salem State University.

Wally Swist

Wally Swist has published seventeen books and chapbooks of poetry. A short biographical documentary film regarding his work, “In Praise of the Earth,” was released by award-winning filmmaker Elizabeth Wilda (WildArts, 2008). Also, he has published a scholarly monograph, “The Friendship of Two New England Poets, Robert Frost and Robert Francis” (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009). A recording of a poem from his reading in the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, accompanied by jazz cellist Eugene Friesen, a member of Paul Winter Consort, is archived at His forthcoming books include Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love, selected by Yusef Komunyakaa as a co-winner in the Crab Orchard Series Open Poetry Competition, and Winding Paths Worn through Grass, selected by Steven Schroeder and the Editorial Board of Visual Artists Collective.


LILACS AS CHART Alexandria Peary

The purple & white bars
rising and falling
are on mute
around the cellar hole

on mute
the long and short
eeee      ee
sounds rising and falling

near the word count
beside the cellar hole

those electronic and

of the purple & white bars
rising and falling
in the dappled place

are joined now by the neutral,
black, and tan bars
that are on hold
in a flesh-tones graph,
the long and short o sounds

like paused petals

in the dappled place
in the spliced woods
strips of
birches and poplar

with grooves from
wagon wheels in the granite
near the double-decker

it takes a decade
in the granite woods
for the petals to
descend, dove
-colored sounds,
in September.


I pull up the twisted jack pine post
with gloved hands, surprised to find

I need to jerk the cinderblock
it is attached to out of the ground,

where it leaned on one side for years.
I mallet the new metal base two feet deep

with the back-edge of an axe.
The echo of my pounding on the target

2 by 4 in the center ricochets through
the woods on either side of the road.

Ravens lift above the trees to begin
their wonk-wonk, and with each swing

I am jolted into a joy of hammering.
After I snap down the metal locks

at the base with the strokes of a hammer,
I place the four-foot tall milled pine post

into it, then center the white pine platform
on top, drive in wood screws to secure

the new box on both sides and in back,
then bank the base with the stones

I unearthed, and fill in the old spot with dirt.
I walk around it, to admire its height,

its straightness, its square to the road.
Now when I check the mail, I open the lid,

knowing I erected what is durable,
and raised what is reliable in myself.