Upcoming readings of KIN S FUR

Here’s where you can hear me read ALL KINDS OF FUR (and, sometimes, other poems of mine) — and learn about the controversial tale from the Brothers Grimm that it’s based on. Come experience erasure, a contemporary form of visual poetry. Copies of my book will be available, and I look forward to talking with you.

But– how can a poet like me read such a visual form of poetry like erasure??? For me, readings of ALL KINDS OF FUR are more like performances. More on this in another blog, here.

Please scroll to the bottom for my upcoming reading, 1 December 2021.

— 28 June 2018, Thursday. 6:30 pm. At Devaney, Doak & Garrett Booksellers. Farmington, Maine.

Thanks to all who came! Almost 50 people! I was so glad to read here  because I first started going to this bookstore in 1984, when I began, in earnest, my folklore fieldwork in Rangeley, just up the mountain from Farmington.  It was a wonderful break to drive down the mountain to this bookstore and spend delicious hours remembering my life as a reader and writer. Then, in the 1990s when my books / exhibit catalogues on folk arts of the western Maine timberwoods came out, DDG carried them.

Thanks to Kenny Brechner who provides such a vital cultural resource for all of us in the region– readings, partnerships with local schools, special programs for families and children, and much more.

He has copies of my book for sale in the store, now.

— 5 August 2018, Sunday. 6:00 pm. Featured poet at the Hugh Ogden Memorial Evening of Poetry, held annually at Ecopelagicon (nature store). 7 Pond Street, Rangeley, Maine. 207-864-2771.

What fun this was! 52 people came, our largest audience for the Ogden Evening of Poetry yet.

11 October 2018, Thursday. 1:30-2:45. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. In Prof. Debra Lattanzi Shutika‘s folklore class “Personal Experience Narratives and Storytelling. Robinson Hall 106B. I’m looking forward to being back on campus, talking with students in the Folklore Studies Program I founded in 1977.

  13 October 2018, Saturday. 11:30 am to 12:45 pm. 1204 Merton Hall. Fall for the Book Literary Festival. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. I’ll be sharing the hour’s reading with my dear friend, the poet J. Michael Martinez.

What an honor to be invited “home” to the university where I taught for 36 years! Our Folklore Studies Program at Mason has partnered with Fall for the Book since at least 2002 and has brought many folklorists–and writers who weave folklore into their works–to this literary festival: Michael Bell on New England vampires, Ray Cashman on Northern Ireland folktales and folk customs, Bill Ellis on many things otherworldly, Elaine Lawless on women escaping violence through silence and story, Elizabeth Tucker on campus ghostlore, and many more.

— 18 October 2018. 7:00pm. Featured poet at the Dan Crowley Storytelling Concert at the annual meeting of the American Folklore Society. Buffalo, New York.

13 December 2018. I was the featured author in my women’s book group in Farmington, Maine. Thanks, everyone, for your support!

25 April 2019. I was the guest speaker in Professor Susan Tichy‘s graduate poetry seminar at George Mason University, 4:30 – 7:10pm. It was in one of Susan’s classes that I first learned about erasure poetry and began writing what would become my book. I’m looking forward to being with her and her students. Here’s information on the MFA: Poetry at Mason. When I taught in the Folklore Studies program at Mason, I offered a course called “Living Words: Folklore and Creative Writing,” and Susan and I co-taught a graduate seminar in the English and Scottish Traditional Ballads.

20 June 2019, Thursday. I read from KIN S FUR at the Carrabassett Library in Carrabassett Valley, Maine. 4:30pm. Rob Lively was once again be my co-reader. Free and open to the public.

10 November 2019, Sunday. 1:30pm. At a talk sponsored by The Shiretown Bookers, I discussed the Grimms’ tale “Allerleirauh” (“All Kinds Of Fur”) that my poems are based on. And I read from the first section of my book. University of Maine, Farmington. North Dining Hall. All are welcome. Free.

22 February 2020, Sunday. 3:00pm. I performed ALL KINDS OF FUR at the Thomas Memorial Library, 6 Scott Dyer Road, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Part of “The Local Buzz” writers series organized by Portland poet laureate Linda Aldrich and former Portland poet laureate Marcia Brown. I read with biographer Mark Griffin. Free and open to all.

— 21 August 2020, Friday. 7-9pm. On Zoom. With poets Wesley McNair, Sidney Wade, and Felix Acuna, I’ll read my poems set in Maine. We’ll be celebrating the opening of the new writers’ retreat– The Oranbega Retreat Center in Orland, Maine. Email the Center at infoAToranbegacenterDOTcom to receive a link to Zoom and join us!

1 December 2021, Wednesday. 6-7:00 p.m. 

2021-12-01 UNE_LIB_MWWC_PoetryReading

Zoom link and live stream info here.

Writing KIN S FUR

Here is an example of how I went about writing the erasure poems of my book ALL KINDS OF FUR, published by Deerbrook Editions. I’ll add more detail later, but for now, I hope these images show you glimpses of my process.

I would choose a section of my translation of the Grimms’ tale “All Kinds Of Fur” that I thought might work as a moment of the story. Then, usually, I would “ghost” out the text, put all the words in gray font so I could more easily let words rise in my imagination. (Here, you’ll see, I left the words in black). Then, I’d start writing all around the sheet of paper some of the words I saw available to me, and I’d ask myself if any of them were words that All Kinds Of Fur, herself, would say at this point in the tale:

I’d write several versions of the poem, and often, I’d take the most recent version to my colleagues in the workshop I was attending at George Mason University’s MFA Poetry Program. Here’s what I showed to others in the 2012 Heritage Workshop taught by poet Eric Pankey:

I kept working on this page, and I took it to another workshop session, during the MFA course I was auditing with Susan Tichy on “Sequence, Collage, and Daybook” in 2013. I wanted to think about what sections were working and what sections were not. Here are my notes on what the graduate student poets and Susan said:

I was still unsure of this page. I liked the parallelism and the power I was placing in the domestic, but– if All Kinds of Fur were stalling, could her hands be “fully” hers? So I showed many of the poems to one of my most trusted readers– Susan Tichy. Between us, we decided there were some serious problems with the page, and I knew I needed to rewrite substantial parts of this page and the next. Here are the notes I took from that 2014 conversation:

More writing. And, here are the pages (29/30 and 31/32) as they appear in my book ALL KINDS OF FUR, published by Deerbrook Editions in 2018:


I revised the pages–rearranging lines, increasing spaces between some lines–to enact a moment of transformation when All Kinds Of Fur, who has been long “castled,” finds a way to move forward. Her reclaims her ability to read ashes and to use the power of the nutshell once more.