On April 21, 2021

‘Poetry Without Tears:’ An interactive workshop with Vermont Poet Verandah Porche

Friday, April 23, at 7 p.m. —VIRTUAL— Guilford poet Verandah Porche will lead a free, virtual interactive poetry workshop. This event is organized by the Children’s Literacy Foundation (CLiF) and is open to teens and adults.

Since the fall, CLiF has been offering adult programs and book discussions with local authors, in addition to its children’s programming. Previous featured authors include Sarah Stewart Taylor, poet Rajnii Eddins, bestselling author Dan Brown, and Chris Tebbetts, who recently co-authored a thriller with James Patterson. In honor of National Poetry Month in April, this session will celebrate poetry and encourage writers of all levels to create their own poems.

Poetry Without Tears will be a safe space to write a first poem or sharpen skills. Verandah Porche will share her poems and talk about finding beauty in our own language. Participants will create a collaborative poem where each person adds a few lines. Porche will offer a prompt for inspiration and we’ll write for 5-10 minutes. Those who wish to can share their work.

Verandah Porche works as a poet-in-residence, performer, and writing partner. Based in rural Vermont on the commune Total Loss Farm since 1968, she has published “Sudden Eden” (Verdant Books), “The Body’s Symmetry” (Harper and Row) and “Glancing Off” (See Through Books). She has read her work on NPR stations, in the Vermont State House and at the John Simon Guggenheim Museum.

Porche developed a practice called “told poetry” or “shared narrative” to create personal literature with people who need a writing partner. She has run collaborative residencies in hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200 year-old Vermont tavern, and an urban working class neighborhood. “Listening Out Loud” documents her residency with Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut.

Porche began working as a poet in schools in the 1970s. She initiated—and for almost 30 years taught—the poetry program at Vermont’s Governor’s Institute on the Arts. The Vermont Arts Council presented her with its Award of Merit, and its first Ellen McCollough-Lovell Award. Marlboro College gave her an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in 2012. Porche was featured in “Freedom and Unity: The Vermont Movie.” Her project, “Shedding Light on the Working Forest,” exploring the lives of people who work in the woods, a collaboration with visual artist Kathleen Kolb, has toured New England. “Broad Brook Anthology,” a play for voices, honors the lives of elders in Guilford.

Her current project, “Faces of Home,” is a series of self-portraits in words narrated by residents of Great River Terrace, a community for people who had experienced homelessness, with portraits painted by River Gallery artists. In addition, Porche serves on the Guilford Select Board, exploring the poetry of civic life.

CLiF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to nurture a love of reading and writing among low-­income, at-­risk, and rural children up to age 12 throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. Since 1998, CLiF has supported and inspired more than 300,000 young readers and writers through its literacy program grants and has given away over $8 million in new, high­-quality children’s books.  For more information about that clifonline.org.

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