Porche will give a short reading and sign copies. Singer-songwriter Patty Carpenter will join her for a few songs the two wrote together, including, “Waves in the Woods,” about Tropical Storm Irene.
They will also sell “Come Over,” a CD of songs written by Carpenter with Porche and performed by the Dysfunctional Family Jazz Band.
Based in Guilford at Total Loss Farm, an artist collaborative, since 1968, Porche has “made a living stringing words together.” Her first volume, “The Body’s Symmetry,” was published by Harper and Row in 1975. “Glancing Off,” poems with copper engravings by Susan Mareneck, was published by See Through Books in 1986.
As a poet in residence across New England, Porche has created writing projects to cultivate the voices of the unheard, at literacy and crisis centers, hospitals, factories, nursing homes, senior centers, a 200-year-old Vermont tavern and an urban working class neighborhood.
“Listening Out Loud” documents Porche’s residency with Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT. As Muse for Hire, she writes poems about moments or milestones in the lives of friends and strangers. “Broad Brook Anthology,” a play for voices, distills her interviews with elders in her hometown.
While advancing the words of her writing partners, Porche’s own poems remained on the back burner. By the woodstove, she wrote poems “that had to be,” but didn’t make time for submissions and contests.
Finally, friends sorted through a thousand poems and assembled this collection. A grant from the Vermont Arts Council saw the project to its final form.
“Sudden Eden” is a splendid collection of poems. Porche’s tone is ingenuous yet sophisticated at once.
The sections develop their own themes with style and forms to match, and grow to a wonderful climax.
Formal trials are made with brisk clarity. But quiet melodies of inspired thought throughout make a more memorable achievement.
Darts of lyric employing various devices hit bulls-eye after bulls-eye without apparent labor. There’s no chipping and chattering from classes; poems sail, unchided by the workshop.
It’s all Porche: perky, insouciant, blushing. Her wit shows us “the five o’clock shadow / of July and August” or “Baby weighs me down like a gallon of milk.”
There’s more. Reliable knowledge of country matters: “some legal country crop with a joke name / like shiitake mushrooms” or the colorful anecdotes in “100 Years of Squares and Reels.” Space lacks to note all the accomplishments of this book.
Many strong poems, for example “Thanksgiving, Four to Six A.M.,” “Blue Seal,” “First Cutting,” “Nocturne,” or “To Hell in a Handbasket,” deserve to be read, reread, and cherished.
Images such as “Varicose skies,” or keen similes (“late clouds / drift apart like marriages”) abound. This collection deserves a prize.
“The wonders of her voice, her strong knowing and tender feelings, are just my cup of mead.” said Stephen Sandy author of “Circular Drives,
“Walking,” “Huang’s Tao Te Ching,” “The Inn At The Beginning Bar And Grill,” and others.
For questions or to reserve a copy of “Sudden Eden” call (802) 464-5425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Bartelby’s Books is located at 17 West Main Street.