Poet of the Month for May

Michele September 2013Four poems and a statement of poetics are up at Terri Witek’s Poet of the Month site.

How do poems happen?  These are some of the thoughts from my statement:

My poems rarely end up as they began.  Once the idea is present, then my brain tries to push forward to the idea’s truth and form.  This is hard to describe; it’s like the real poem is about twenty feet in front of me and I’m straining to see it.  I love the feeling of being in revision, but it can be interrupted, even for years.  For example, I began writing a poem when I was in my thirties, imagining the freedom of being post-menopausal.  It was a very long poem.  Fifteen years later (and post-menopausal!), it became a sonnet titled “At Last.”

“At Last,” by the way, was published in this issue of Per ContraI often perform it at readings because it has some sly puns that make the audience laugh.

Review of Sandra Lambert’s THE RIVER’S MEMORY

The River's Memory - Cover

Check out my review of one of 2014’s best novels, The River’s Memory by Sandra Gail Lambert.

Excerpt:  The book is radical in both form and content, only in part because disdain for politics, and for politic behavior, is a characteristic that many of the novel’s women share. Although a historical novel, this is most emphatically not a family saga. None of Lambert’s main characters are weighed down with children, and so the conflicts they face are not about how to survive, or whether to reckon with their own deviance. They see themselves as outside of such concerns. Instead of human error or betrayal leaving indelible marks on generations, it is the land and water, the plants and the animals, that leave their mark.


Book Launch for Back East November 1

Come to the launch party and reading for my poetry collection, Back East! The party starts at 7:00 pm on Friday, November 1 at Longfellow’s Bookstore at One Monument Square in Portland, Maine.

The book is available from the Moon Pie Press website and at Longfellow Books in Portland, Maine, and other independent bookstores. 

Baron Wormser, the contest judge, said this about the collection: “This is the real thing–intelligence and feeling working together in genuine concert.”

Betsy Sholl says “Back East includes a chorus of voices, each making its own hard reckoning on the cliff edge of character and fate, loss and second chance…. Among the great pleasures in this book are its fresh perceptions, its moral seriousness, and its formal beauty.”  Book cover

The cover is a wonderful painting by Lisa Delaney of Cranberry Peak, part of the Bigelow Range in Maine.

“Back East” wins Michael Macklin First Book Competition

Yippee!  My full-length poetry collection, Back East, will be published this fall by Moon Pie Press.  Story here.

Baron Wormser, the contest judge, says ““Michele Leavitt uses the finite resources of poetry—rhythm, form, word choice, sound—to create infinite effects. Her touch is light but reverberant. She has been around numerous blocks and is not only sadder and wiser, but more present to the tragicomedy of transience. This is the real thing—intelligence and feeling working together in genuine concert.”