To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Collected Poets Series has not one but two spectacular events planned for this week:
On Thursday, April 3rd, at 7:30pm, Annie Boutelle, founder of the Poetry Center at Smith College and author of three collections of poems, and New Jersey performance poet, Jack Wiler, will read from their most recent work.
On Saturday, April 5th, at 7:30pm, one of the Pioneer Valley’s favorites, Janet Aalfs, poet and Director of Valley Women’s Martial Arts in Northampton, and the 19-year old poetic prodigy from Amatlan, Mexico, Ekiwah Adler-Beléndez, (with musical accompaniment by Tony Derricotte), will also read from their work.
Annie Boutelle, born and raised in Scotland, was educated at the University of St. Andrews and New York University. Author of Thistle and Rose: A Study of Hugh MacDiarmid’s Poetry, she teaches in the English Department at Smith College, where she founded the Poetry Center.
She has published poems in various journals, including The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Poet Lore, Iris, Painted Bride, Nimrod, and Poetry. Her book of poems based on the life of Celia Thaxter, Becoming Bone, was published in 2005 by the University of Arkansas Press. Nest of Thistles, poems focusing on her Scottish childhood, won the Samuel French Morse prize from Northeastern University Press and was published in the Fall of 2005 by University Press of New England.
Jack Wiler was raised in Wenonah, South Jersey. He was editor of the magazine Long Shot for many years and has worked with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in New Jersey as a visiting poet in the schools. His work has been anthologized in Aloud, the anthology of the Nuyorican Poets Café, the Outlaw Poetry Anthology from Thundermouth Press, and Bum Rush the Page. Most recently his work was included in The Breath of Parted Lips, Vol. II, a collection of poems from the Robert Frost Place (CavanKerry Press, 2004). His newest collection is Fun Being Me (CavanKerry Press, 2006).
Janet Aalfs, poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts (2003-2005), is the author of Reach (Perugia Press, 1999) and Red (self-published, 2001). She won first prize in the 2004 Boston Herald poetry contest judged by Alice Quinn of the New Yorker. Head Instructor and Director since 1982 of the Valley Women’s Martial Arts, Inc., a non-profit school and community organization founded in 1977, Aalfs is a 5th degree black belt in Karate, a 4th degree black belt Modern Arnis, and a student and instructor of tai chi and qigong internal arts.
Ekiwah Adler-Beléndez, born in Amatlan, Mexico, was called a child prodigy at age 12 when he published his first book of poetry, Soy (I Am). Now aged 19, Adler-Beléndez has since published two more volumes of poetry, Palabras Inagotobles (Neverending Words) and Weaver, each of which has been widely acclaimed by critics. Born with cerebral palsy, Adler-Beléndez has said that, “I cannot walk by myself, yet in my poems I not only walk, but give myself license to have eight legs and experience movement.”