Monday, May 12, 2014

Monday Muse: New Hampshire's Poet Laureate

. . . the language of poetry isn't only the translation
or expression of experience; the language of 
poetry is experience. . . .*
~ Alice B. Fogel

New Hampshire's current Poet Laureate is Alice B. Fogel. Formally nominated in November 2013, Fogel was appointed to the five-year position and began serving in January of this year. She succeeds the late Walter E. Butts, who held the post from March 2009 through March 2013. Forgel's term concludes in 2019.

In making the appointment, which for the first time includes an annual honorarium, New Hampshire governor Maggie Hassan cited Fogel's ability to "[help] convey the human relationship to the natural world in a way that all poetry readers can appreciate." Fogel says her goals as the state's "abassador for poets" are to bring more poetry to more people, get more people reading poetry, and collaborate with in-state arts organizations to promote poetry within and without the state.**

Information about the honorary position, which has no specified duties, is found in my January 10, 2011, post about Walter Butts.

* *  * * *
. . . I write poems to make new things out of language. 
Words are my paint, my clay, my dance steps. I like how they taste, 
look, sound, move, feel, interconnect, come with history, association, 
archetype, surprise. I love how they can be molded and altered, 
rearranged, punned with, and onomatopoeiaed. . . .***

Alice B. Fogel is the author, most recently, of Interval: Poems Based upon Bach's Goldberg Variations (forthcoming in 2014 from Schaffner Press), which was awarded the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature, and the best-selling poetry collection Be That Empty: An Apologia for Air (Harbor Mountain Press, 2007). 

Fogel also has published Strange Terrain: A Poetry Handbook for the Reluctant Reader (Hobblebush Books, 2009), which she based on a program she devised for New Hampshire Humanities Council. Her objective in writing the book was to make poetry as accessible as possible.

Fogel's other, earlier poetry collections are I Love This Dark World (Zoland Books, 1996) and Elemental: Poems (Zoland Books, 1993).

Her poetry, Fogel toward a Valley News interviewer in 2013 (see link below), is not "about my life. . . I'm much more interested in perception and different takes on reality and how we can express the inner life we share with the whole planet." To that end, Fogel takes as her themes nature (especially), human consciousness and awareness, relationship or connectedness, memory, time's passage, love, loss, joy.

In her carefully, elegantly written poetry, Fogel makes much of language, layers images and allusions to show rather than narrate what is happening, uses metaphor, similes, and syntax to heighten emotional effect or influence meanings, writes sometimes entirely in third person, and sometimes does not punctuate. Cadence and music are noteworthy. While critics apply such descriptors as "complex" and "intelligent" to her poems, Fogel says that a poem is not complete until it is read (Amoskeag Journal "Author Spotlight"). Multiple readings of Fogel's poems tend to reward. 

Rather than offer a complete poem here, I've chosen a selection of lines from a variety of Fogel's poems to give a sense of how beautifully she creates images and how musically she works her words:

". . . With my body like a brine spiraling. . . ." (from "Variation 1: Yhwh")

". . . I brewed the rutilated / light till it refracted in the wells between comets rocketing. . . ." (from "Variation 1: Yhwh")

 ". . . that dry crackling of pallid / corn stalks clacking. . . ." (from "To the Bone")

". . . Dark, darker, the syrup / darkening under midnight's departing moon: the comet / moonlighting, the sap—moonshine. . . ." (from "Sweet Vein")

". . . To crush sloughed leaves / with slim sounds no louder in heaven // than none — migrate / through tunnel skin meant to briefly // burrow in — emerge / clean removed and hunt whole again." (from "Variation 6: Snake")

Poems by Fogel have appeared in The Boston Globe and scores of prestigious magazines, journals, and literary periodicals, including Adanna, Atlanta ReviewBarrow StreetChelsea Magazine, Crab Creek ReviewCrazy HorseGreen Mountains Review, Iowa Review, LettersMassachusetts Quarterly, Minnesota ReviewNotre Dame Review, PleiadesPloughshares, Poetica, Poetry DailyPoetry NorthwestPoet's Choice (from Robert Hass), SpillwayTriQuarterly Review, and Yale Letters.

Some of the anthologies that include Fogel's poems are Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poets on Art 2013A cappella Zoo #8: Spring 2012 (Volume 8),  2008 Poets' Guide to New HampshireBedside Guide to No Tell Motel Vols. 1 & 2 (No Tell Motel, 2007), Best American Poetry OnlineClaiming the Spirit Within: A Sourcebook of Women's Poetry (Beacon Press, 2001), Rattapallax 5 (A Journal of Contemporary Literature) (Ram Devineni, 2001),  Under the Legislature of Stars: 62 New Hampshire Poets (Oyster River Press, 1999), Poet's Choice (Ecco Press, 1998), and Best American Poetry (Collier-Macmillan, 1993).

A lecturer in English at Keene State College, Putney, Vermont, who also teaches students with learning disabilities, Fogel is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (1997); has been nominated at least six times for a Pushcart Prize; and has been honored with an Alligator Juniper Writing Award and a Daniel Varoujan Award for an unpublished poem (nontranslation) (New England Poetry Club). She completed in 2012 a residency at Carl Sandburg National Historic Site, Flat Rock, North Carolina.

For her company Lyric Couture, Fogel designs one-of-a-kind clothing (what Fogel calls "collaged artwear") of repurposed materials.


Photo: Keene State College

All Poetry Excerpts © Alice B. Fogel

* Quoted from Keene State College News of Fogel's Appointment (See link below.)

** Quoted from "An Interview with New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alice B. Fogel", Video, Hobblebush Books, February 6, 2014 (Video is below.)

*** Quoted from Alice B. Fogel's "Poetry is an Art, Or: How to Not 'Get' Poetry", in Gwarlingo, 2013 (Here, Fogel shares a chapter from Strange Terrain.)

Shelly Angers, "Alice Fogel Named NH Poet Laureate", The Forum, November 30, 2013

"Alice Fogel Named N.H. Poet Laureate", Poetry Society of New Hampshire, November 20, 2013 (pdf)

"Alice B. Fogel Named New Hampshire Poet Laureate", Keene Sate College News, November 20, 2013

Alice B. Fogel Resume 

Alice B. Fogel Poems Online: "Disturbance" in Audio at Alice B. Fogel Website; "The Riven House", "To the Bone", and "Variation 22: Equivocator", All at Alice B. Fogel Website;"Sweet Vein", "To the Bone", "Morning Glory", and "Variation 16: Actor", All at Alice B. Fogel Website; "House of Hoarding" at Amoskeag Journal (read "Author Spotlight"); "Variation 1: Yhwh" at The Best American Poetry Blog; "The Self, Falling" at Magdalansminimarat's Blog; "Hearts" in The Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel - Second Floor at GoogleBooks; "Awakener" at CHEST Journal; "The Doubtful House" and "The Glass House", Both at Construction Magazine; "House of Clothing" at No Tell Motel; "Variation 6: Snake" at Mayday Magazine; "The Necessity" at Compendium; "The Closet", "The Playhouse", and "The Riven House", All at Spittoon 3.4

Melannie Plenda, "Poetry Opens Doors for Alice Fogel", SentinelSource (The Keene Sentinel), November 30, 2013

Nicole Smith, "Alice B. Fogel and the Mystery of Poetry", Valley News, September 27, 2013 (Fogel discusses her poetry handbook and her writing process, her background, and publishing experience, as well as several manuscripts she is writing.)

Beth Beasley, "New Sandburg Poet to Work with Youth", BlueRidgeNow, March 4, 2012

Eileen Tabios, "Be That Empty: Apologia for Air by Alice B. Fogel", Review, Galatea Resurrects, July 20, 2008

Review of Strange Terrain, World Class Poetry

Review of I Love This Dark World,  Publishers Weekly, April 1, 1996

Alligator Juniper

Beacon Press

Poet Laureate Page at New Hampshire State Council on the Arts

New Hampshire Page at Academy of American Poets

Oyster River Press

Poetry Society of New Hampshire

Schaffner Press

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