End of Year Appeal

Dear Poetry Lover,

Our Annual Retreat at Fielder Farm, the last event of a year in which Sundog has provided support and stimulation to poets in every stage of their process, has just come to a close. Those gathered at this beautiful place at the base of Camel’s Hump included poets with decades of experience as well as those writing poems for the first time. In workshops they discussed not only their own newly crafted work, but also those poems we love to hear over and over again, poems that are the best teachers of poetry we could have. In their free time participants braved high winds and cold temperatures to walk in the woods, stretch their legs and clear their minds. Over hearty dinners, as the sun completed its descent across the mountains, they shared discoveries and sought solutions to troublesome poetic problems.

Participants and workshop leader Stephen Cramer stay at the table to continue conversation after dinner at Fielder Farm Retreat.

“This experience of sharing/being with strangers because of a common passion worked beautifully in all respects,” one participant wrote, “pacing, respect for all levels of ‘practitioners’, didactic content welcome and helpful.” The Fielder Farm Retreat was truly a place where the real work of poetry could begin, in the privacy of one’s thoughts and those written in journals.

Back in June, Sundog provided a different kind of congenial environment, for poems ready to go public and find their audience. Poetry by New Americans, the second event in our annual Justice—and Poetry—For All series, took place in a large studio in the Old North End of Burlington, a neighborhood where many recent refugees have settled. Our celebration focused on the hopes, dreams, and harsh realities of immigrant experience and featured an abundance of readers, from Julia Alvarez to young poets from Iran, Somalia and the Congo. After Julia’s opening poems and talk, she joined the rotating corps of readers. “My tongue is divided in two,” a poem read by Fabiola Mujomba, began,

Back Row: Fabiola Mujombo, Julia Alvarez, Narges Anzali, Olivier Enva, Rajnii Eddins
Front Row: LN, Vera Escaja-Heiss, Tina Escaja

              a border patrol runs through the middle

                frisking words

      asking for proper identification

              for pronunciation

Another, entitled “To all the people who hate Muslims,” was written and read by 14-year old Narges Anzali, who describes herself as having “graphite-stained fingers.” “Do I scare you?” she asks, “Does my family scare you?/ Let me give you a summary of us, in case you didn’t really know us all that well.” The audience of well over a hundred was rapt.

Now, at the beginning of another winter, we at Sundog are preparing for the poetry-filled year ahead. There is much work to do. Our mission-driven events and book publications require extensive planning, many hands, and, of course, funds to bring them to fruition.

Won’t you consider a donation of $50 or $100 so we may continue to bring informative and accessible poetry experiences to Vermonters? We pledge, with your help, to keep on delivering “the news from poems” that William Carlos Williams describes as necessary for survival.

With great appreciation,

The Sundog Poetry Center Board of Directors

Tamra J. Higgins                        Mary Jane Dickerson                       Neil Shepard

Judith Yarnall                           Pamela Harrison                              Lucy Higgins

P.S. Please consider becoming an event sponsor. With a gift of $250 or more, you can select one of the five anchor events to co-sponsor: AMP Nights, Justice—and Poetry—For All, Share Your Heart, our Annual Retreat at Fielder Farm, or our annual book publication.

Sundog Poetry Center Mission Statement

The mission of the Sundog Poetry Center is to promote poetry for the enrichment of our cultural lives: to support Vermont poets in their development through workshops, readings, and publication; and to cultivate in Vermont audiences of all ages a love and appreciation of this art through a variety of poetry programming. Sundog celebrates the power, playfulness, and musicality of poetry, giving voice to what is often left unspoken and connecting the outer world with our inner lives.