Verandah Porche Reads from Sudden Eden on April 24 in Cambridge
The poet Verandah Porche, a New England treasure, will be reading from her new collection Sudden Eden. The book party is being held at a Cambridge home (parking will be permitted) on Wednesday, April 24 from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Please call 617 354 6237 for the address.
Reviews of Sudden Eden have been uniformly ecstatic and Verandah’s unique presentation of them has drawn keen crowds. This collection covers her life as a working poet who has carved out a career beyond the mainstream of literary magazines and salons. She is the go-to poet when institutions want to commission a commemorative poem, so she has marked New England history with countless such works. To name just a few: the 40th anniversary of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England; a bicentennial verse play for her town of Guildford, Vermont (filling up the Grange Hall twice); the Silver Anniversary of the Vermont Governor’s Institute on the Arts; and the 200th anniversary of the The Old Tavern at Grafton.
Verandah Porche has created a participatory genre she calls “Told Poetry” in which she helps elders, workers, children, and cancer patients craft their experiences into poetic form. She has marked countless births and deaths, birthdays and harvests with public poetry, putting special emphasis on the wide, supportive neighborhood of farmers, singers, writers, and artists she has helped to sustain around her all these decades.
Verandah came to Boston University in 1963 from New Jersey and immersed herself in the 1960s invention of a new culture, full of fresh types of protest and of community. (Full disclosure: as an 18-year-old, I lived with Verandah in Somerville in 1966-67 where her “Hovel” was an important social and political center, and we have been friends ever since.) Together with Ray Mungo and Marshall Bloom, she left for DC to establish the unique lefty version of “AP” called Liberation News Service (LNS), where she was the poetry editor. Then, In 1968, with a posse of friends, she founded one of the very first “hippy farms” – part of a movement which changed the face of Vermont. There she and her friends have established a world of berry pies, anti-nuke demos, and mutual aid. Known officially as Packer Corners Farm, its nickname is Total Loss Farm – an actual category on the income tax return.
Verandah comes from a long line of protesters. As she told one interviewer, Susan Green: “In the museum on Ellis Island, there’s a picture of my maternal grandfather on a picket line. But my relatives would picket in their finery. My mother told me, ‘Don’t look like a schlump. Wear your best clothing to a demonstration.’”
Verandah Porche is coming to Cambridge with all the language finery she has poured into this especially beautifully-designed volume Sudden Eden. Old friends and future friends are all welcome.
like buttons on a mattress
that trained our sleep
into a slalom course:
there were two ways to lie down
without harm and I remember them.
Sue Katz, an author, journalist, blogger and rebel, used to be most proud of her martial arts career and her world travel, but now it’s all about her edgy blog Consenting Adult. Sue is a regular contributor to Open Media Boston.