Memphremagog Arts Collaborative-Newport, VT

ORGANIZER: Memphremagog Arts Collaborative (MAC)

CONTACTS: Dianne Laplante:; Deb Smith:


L to R: Greg Delanty, Geof Hewitt, Leland Kinsey and Jerry Johnson. Missing are Peggy Sapphire and Jenny Rossi.


The poet’s dreams shall have the capacity to defeat the actual at any point.
William Butler Yeats

When asked about the power of poetry in today’s society, Poet Galway Kinnell responded, “[While] poetry is rather invisible publicly, it exerts a quite powerful influence on a very large number of individuals. In this way, it percolates up through the populace and, over time, may have a profound effect on who we are as a people and how we relate to each other and to other peoples and to other creatures.”

The Memphremagog Arts Collaborative (MAC) in Newport, Vermont is hosting a “100 Thousand Poets for Change” event at their Gallery at the MAC Center for the Arts, 158 Main Street, on Saturday, September 24th, 11am-5pm, with an open house reception featuring live music and readings by Vermont poets of note and the community-at-large. Admission is free. All are welcome. The MAC is excited about participating in what is sure to be a lively, illuminating and impactful day of poetry for all impassioned residents of the planet; poets and non-poets alike. The MAC’s annual “Fall Artwork Changeover Celebration” will follow from 5-7pm with a wine & cheese reception that includes music by cellist Ellen Sullivan and pianist Jim McKimm and an opportunity to meet our artists and speak with them about their work.

The MAC extends an invitation to Northeast Kingdom residents and all good citizens of the world including our neighbors in nearby Quebec and children of all ages to compose a “Haiku for Change” in honor of this historic event. Haikus, with name, age and contact info noted, may be mailed to the MAC Center or dropped off in person at the Gallery. The MAC will be selecting haikus to feature at the gallery as well as forwarding to local newspapers.

The question is not what you look at, but what you see.
— Henry David Thoreau

Among the gifted poets confirmed to celebrate “100 Thousand Poets for Change” at the MAC in what promises to be the launch of an extraordinary movement on an extraordinary day are Antonello Borra, Greg Delanty, Geof Hewitt, Jerry Johnson, Leland Kinsey, Jenny Rossi and Peggy Sapphire. Among the poets unable to join us on the 24th are Ann B. Day, Beth Kanell and Juliette Rose Wunrow, who will be sending poems along to be read by proxy in honor of this fantastic seminal worldwide event.

Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
— Novalis

September 24th, 2011. A day for the world to be inspired by its poets, dreamers and visionaries! A day for poets, dreamers and visionaries to carry forth a new vision for this world. A day for a new world to be forged from the poetry, dreams and visions of all its good people.

Note: “100 Thousand Poets for Change” is the largest poetry event in History. Participants worldwide are growing daily. As of September 16th, more than 600 events in 450 cities in 95 countries have been organized to creatively, peaceably and poetically demonstrate/celebrate the promotion of serious social, environmental, and political change on September 24, 2011. Following September 24th all documentation on the 100TPFC website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change as an historical event and the world’s largest poetry reading.

About Our Participating Poets:

Antonello Borra is Associate Professor of Italian at the University of Vermont. Antonello graduated from the University of Turin, Italy in 1988. He earned his MA (1993) and PhD (1998) from Brown University. From 1998 to 2001, he was Assistant Professor of Italian at Ithaca College, New York. In 2001 Antonello joined the faculty of the Dept. of Romance Languages at the University of Vermont as Associate Professor of Italian. Antonello will be reading his poems in Italian and in English.

Greg Delanty, a Guggenheim Fellow, born in Cork, Ireland in 1958, is generally placed in the Irish tradition. However, Greg now lives for most of the year in Vermont, where he teaches at St Michael’s College. Greg became an American citizen in 1994, retaining his Irish citizenship. Irish novelist Colum McCann, who has himself resettled in America, has described Greg as the poet laureate of the contemporary Irish-in-America: “Delanty has catalogued an entire generation and its relationship to exile. He is the laureate of those who have gone.”

Beloved poet, teacher, writer, mentor, Geof Hewitt, a 1966 Cornell graduate, worked as a writing consultant for the Vermont Department of Education from 1988-2009. Geof still teaches as a visiting writer-in-the-schools and for an undergraduate B.A. program for adults. Over the years Geof’s poetry has been published in prestigious periodicals, including Harper’s and The Paris Review. Additionally, Geof has been active in poetry slams since 2000, either competing or hosting. In 2004 Geof won the Vermont slam championship and, because no sanctioned championship has been held since, Geof, with typical humor and contagious affection for the form, is fond of boasting that he is the state’s “reigning slam champ.”

Jerry Johnson, a retired college professor, now resides on a farm in the Northeast Kingdom where the natural beauty of the landscape inspires and imbues much of his work. Jerry is an active member of The League of Vermont Writers, and The Poetry Society of Vermont who presented him the Corrine Eastman Davis Memorial Award for his poem “Sugaring.” Jerry’s poems and stories have appeared in many Vermont publications, including The Mountain Troubadour, the Chronicle, North Star Monthly, Green Mountain Trading Post, Caledonian Record, Hardwick Gazette, Newport Daily Express, and Northland Journal.

Leland Kinsey was born and raised on a farm in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom where his ancestors settled in the early 1800s. He has conducted writing workshops for the Vermont Arts Council and the Children’s Literacy Foundation at over 100 schools in New Hampshire and Vermont. Since receiving his M.A., Leland has worked as a farmhand, printer, horse trainer and has taught courses at Elderhostel in writing, birding, astronomy and canoeing. He has published four books of poetry, including most recently The Immigrant’s Contract. Leland is known as the “unofficial poet laureate of the Northeast Kingdom.”

Jenny Rossi, a Northeast Kingdom native now residing in Burlington, has a  newly released chapbook, “Riches for One/Poverty for Two” by Deadly Chaps Press. Additionally, Jenny’s poems have been published in Short, Fast, and Deadly, and Strange Horizons. “Rossi’s work is stunning,” says author Alan Boye. “In just a handful of words she can pierce the very core of what it is like to be a human being.”

Peggy Sapphire is a former editor of Connecticut River Review, and author of two poetry collections: A Possible Explanation, ‘06, In The End A Circle, ’09. Her non-fiction includes publication in Education Digest on the subject of school violence and the relevancy of student disenfranchisement. Peggy has served as a Board member for a women’s shelter in Lamoille County, VT. She lives with her husband in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, in the house they designed and built together.

Poets by Proxy:

Four poems sent along by Ann B. Day in honor of 100 Thousand Poets for Change will be read by Geof Hewitt: 1) Riding the Vermonter in May 2) Nine/Eleven Prayer 3) The Forest Path 4) Beech Leaves

Mountain Psalm by Beth Kanell will be read by Sean Andrew. Beth Kanell is a poet and author of several adventure travel and local history books. For The Darkness Under the Water, her first novel, she drew on her family background of New England farm and forest, a neighbor’s tales of his Abenaki heritage, and the discovery that part of her own town, in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, had vanished underwater. Mother of two grown sons, Beth has always told stories, especially to teens, and the story of 15-year-old Molly Ballou became the one that mattered the most. Beth lives in Waterford, Vermont, with her husband and many apple trees.

Soup Kitchen Soliloquies by Juliette Rose Wunrow, 2011 St. Johnsbury Athenaeum High School Poetry Contest Winner, will be read by Deb Smith. Soup Kitchen Soliloquies has been described by author Reeve Lindbergh, this year’s acting judge, as “thoughtful, with wonderful detail, compelling images and strong structure.”

Newport, Vermont’s “100 Thousand Poets for Change” event is free and open to the public. Everyone is encouraged to come and meet the poets and join in the conversation. There will be refreshments, music and open mic poetry readings throughout the day. For more information re: attending or participating please contact Dianne Laplante at or Deb Smith at The MAC is grateful to our 100TPfC event sponsors: Passumpsic Savings Bank, Community National Bank, and Coldwell Banker All Seasons Realty.

The Memphremagog Arts Collaborative, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization dedicated to fostering appreciation for the arts and humanities, and our community’s rich cultural heritage.

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