The Poetry Society of New Hampshire (PSNH) is a non-profit organization that promotes poetry through publications, including the The Poets’ Touchstone literary journal. We celebrate and share poetry through open mics, workshops, contests and collaborations with other artists. To achieve this, PSNH sponsors and supports events all over New Hampshire, including at libraries, art galleries, parks, theaters, and on the radio. We are proud to be a key contributor to the NH State Poet Laureate program, where we recommend a poet to the Governor following a rigorous application and selection process, and support critical activities related to the position.
We welcome all poets and lovers of poetry.
Please check out the various menu options on this website for more information about our organization and how you can be a part of the celebration of poetry across New Hampshire!
How to Join or Renew
Note: You are not required to be a resident of New Hampshire in order to join.
Dues for one year are $25. Dues for three years are $60.
Annual Memberships for Juniors (eighteen years of age or under) and Students (any person who is enrolled as a student in an accredited academic institution) are $10.
We meet the last Saturday of the months of January, April, July, and October, and all are welcome. The July meeting is our annual meeting where we conduct whatever business is necessary. At the other three we have featured readers or workshop leaders. All offer members a chance to read during an open mic. Information on the location of the meetings is communicated via email or in The Poets’ Touchstone.
PSNH Reading Series – Current
PSNH’s Reading Series – “PSNH Presents” – has gone virtual! Mark your calendars for the following events upcoming on Zoom. Contact Jimmy Pappas at firstname.lastname@example.org – if you have any questions or would like to attend.
New events coming soon!
Slam Free or Die
SlamFree Or Die at Stark Brewing Company features open mic nights for poets and spoken-word artists every Thursday night in Manchester, NH. The show includes an open mic every Thursday, poetry slam competitions held twice a month, and a set by a featured reader. This is an all-ages show in a private function room. Doors open and sign-ups begin at 7:00 pm with open mic beginning at 8:00 pm. Featured poets and slams follow the open mic after a short intermission. For the most up-to-date information on the show, check out Slam Free or Die on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or e-mail SlamFreeorDie@gmail.com.Stark Brewing Company is located next to Arms Park at 500 N. Commercial Street in Manchester, NH. There is plenty of free parking at the rear of the building (facing the river) and you can feel free to use the entrance on that side.
New Hampshire Poetry Festival
The 5th Annual New Hampshire Poetry Festival occurred in September of 2019, organized by PSNH and New England College MFA in Creative Writing program (NEC MFA). It was an exciting event celebrating the reading and writing of poetry! While we were unable to organize a festival for 2020 or 2021, PSNH is actively engaged in determining what our options are for 2022. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.
PSNH Reading Series – Past Events
NOVEMBER 23, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET:
Where Slam Meets the Page: Join us for an evening with poet Nathaniel Bek, winner of the 2020 ‘Three Mile Harbor Press Poetry Book Award’. This will be an evening of discussion and poetry on the topic of “Where slam meets the page.” Nathaniel has curated a list of eight poems that range from the page to performance on a national stage. He plans to discuss the editing choices, style, and theory that separates them. This exploration will delve into slam theory, and the challenges associated with trying to merge both facets of poetry. Hope you can join us!
NOVEMBER 16, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET:
Gilbert Arzola on Migrant Workers: Join us as we welcome recent winner of the Rattle Chapbook Prize, Gilbert Arzola. Arzola will discuss his book of poems about the life of his father, who worked as a migrant farm worker, and how migrant work impacted his family. Come hear how he integrates stories of ordinary life — of a difficult life — into his poignant poems. We look forward to a fascinating evening!
NOVEMBER 9, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET:
Spiritual Poetry: Join editors of Soul-Lit,
Deborah Leipziger and Wayne-Daniel Berard, who will be discussing the topic of Spiritual Poetry.
NOVEMBER 2, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET:
Dramatic Monologues: Join poet Midge Goldberg in conversation about the art of writing dramatic monologues. The author of three full-length collections, most recently To Be Opened After My Death, Goldberg will discuss creating characters, giving them their own voices distinct from the poet, using dialogue, and what makes a dramatic monologue a poem as opposed to fiction. Goldberg will present examples from her own work, as well as the work of other poets, and will discuss ideas for publishing and integrating poems into larger collections that participants may have.
OCTOBER 26, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET:
No Word for This: Join poet Brendan Constantine’s workshop and discussion of his ongoing workshops for writers with special needs. Since 2017, Constantine has been working with speech pathologists and clinicians to develop poetry classes for people with Aphasia and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The results are compelling and call for a total reappraisal of this art form. He says, “It’s the most useful I have ever felt as an artist.” Writers of all backgrounds and experience are welcome. Sufferers of “Writer’s Block” strongly encouraged.
OCTOBER 19, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET:
How to Get Your Poetry Manuscript Published: Poet Kyle Potvin moderates a panel that brings together three respected publishers: Eileen Cleary of Lily Poetry Review Books, Diane Lockward of Terrapin Books, and Kirsty Walker of Hobblebush Books. The interactive discussion will provide an opportunity to obtain answers to your questions related to book contests, open submission periods, how many published poems should appear in a manuscript, preferred formatting, expectations for book promotion and much more.
OCTOBER 12, 2021, TUESDAY AT 6:25 PM ET (Note earlier time):
PSNH Presents the NH Teen Poets Laureate Team: Join us and be impressed by the writing talent of NH’s Teen Poets! We invite other high school poets who want to present one poem to obtain the sign-up details from Jimmy Pappas at email@example.com. Pass the word along to teachers and schools!
OCTOBER 5, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET:
Reading and Discussion: Poetry Society of New Hampshire Presents Alice B. Fogel in “Art, Language, Consciousness: Responding to Visual Mystery”: Enter into a discussion with former NH poet laureate Alice Fogel about ways art can inspire unexpected creativity in writing. The poems in her new book Nothing But are a series of indirect considerations on art & consciousness that do not describe or explain the artworks they are triggered by. Rather than focus on narrative, as one could when looking at a representational piece of art, these poems chart the effect of abstract expressionism as a welcome interruption to our constant stream of consciousness. Alice will discuss how she used abstract visual art as an entry into a new way of seeing and even thinking, and explain how she arrived at the unusual structure, as well as content, of the poems. She’ll also read examples from the book and show some artwork.
SEPTEMBER 28, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: PSNH Presents Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer in “The Daily Practice: Why you, too, might want to write a poem a day.”: What happens if you write a poem every day? Of course, you become a better poet—practice anything that much and you’ll improve! Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer will share practical ideas about how to find inspiration day after day, how to meet the blank, and how to share your practice. But she’ll also talk about transformation—the miraculous, mysterious ways that writing poems everyday changes your whole life—the way you see the world, the way you move through it, the way you know and unknow what it is to be alive.
SEPTEMBER 21, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Hedy Habra will read from her award-winning collections, Tea in Heliopolis (Press 53 2013) and The Taste of the Earth (Press 53 2019). In these memoirs in poems, she revisits her upbringing in Heliopolis, Egypt, and her memories of pre-strife Lebanon, contrasting them with her impressions upon revisiting these countries after decades of absence. These poems and photographs weave together personal memories with history, myth, and culture, recalling the intersecting roots of culture and language in an act of artistic recollection that bridges time and space.
SEPTEMBER 14, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: How to Build a Book: Join poet Angela Alaimo O’Donnell in conversation about the art of creating a themed book of poems. The author of two chapbooks and seven full-length collections, most recently Love in the Time of Coronavirus: A Pandemic Pilgrimage and Andalusian Hours: Poems from the Porch of Flannery O’Connor, O’Donnell will discuss thematic and narrative strategies and examine architectural elements that can give a book of poems shape, momentum, and formal integrity. O’Donnell will present examples from her own work, as well as the work of other poets, and discuss ideas for collections participants might be considering.
SEPTEMBER 7, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Join Michael Dylan Welch for selected performances from his year of creating PowerPoint presentations and short movies of his haiku and tanka sequences, plus other content (none of them about the pandemic!). We can also discuss how you might try these presentations yourself! Here is the tentative program (the longest of the two movies is 2.5 minutes; the concluding piece takes about 13 minutes to read; everything else is about 1 to 3 minutes each):
Another Country (train rengay) MOVIE
Things Haiku Say (longer poem)
The Second Eye (tanka)
Shichifukujin – The Seven Lucky Gods (tanka)
Shengxiao (haiku on the Chinese zodiac)
About the Season (Christmas haiku) MOVIE
On the Art of Writing Haiku (quotations and haiku)
AUGUST 31, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Join us and nine readers, each reading one poem from the anthology “A 21st Century Plague: Poetry from a Pandemic,” edited by Elayne Clift and published by University Professors Press. This collection of 70 poems by 52 diverse poets — from an Irish Franciscan brother, to a prison inmate, a nurse, artists, and educators — captures the global experience of the pandemic as well as the individual emotions and struggles that are unique and at the same time universal.
Elayne Clift (VT)
Jeanne Reichman (VT)
J. Kates (NH)
Anna Citrino (CA)
Dan Williams (CA)
Burt Rashbaum (CO)
Carol Barrett (OR)
Lili Sri (NY)
John Bradley (IL)
AUGUST 24, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Join poet and editor Kerrin McCadden for a reading and discussion of invented forms and enabling constraints–specifically their usefulness in writing about difficult material. She will read from her new book, American Wake, a book that investigates ideas of home and the notion of ruin. American Wake is currently a finalist for the New England Book Award.
AUGUST 17, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Join poet and literary advocate Trish Hopkinson for a reading, prompts, and discussion focused on response poetry and poems inspired by other writing or artforms. Hopkinson will read related poems from her book Footnote (Lithic Press, 2017).
AUGUST 10, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Deborah Leipziger, Adam Sol, and Rachel Kann discuss Jewish Poetry.
AUGUST 3, 2021, TUESDAY: No presentation as the moderator takes a beauty rest.
JULY 27, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Join Michael Dylan Welch as he takes on a pilgrimage in Japan: The Weather-Beaten Jizo: Shikoku Pilgrimage Haiku by Shuji Niwano. This presentation, with photos, maps, haiku, and translations, documents poems written on Japan’s famous Shikoku pilgrimage by a retired salaryman just before his life ended. This talk is part travelog, part cultural/spiritual exploration, and part literary inspiration.
Michael Dylan Welch has been investigating haiku since 1976 and has published his haiku, tanka, longer poems, essays, and reviews in hundreds of journals and anthologies in at least 20 languages. Michael co-founded the Haiku North America conference and the American Haiku Archives, and founded National Haiku Writing Month, the Seabeck Haiku Getaway, and the Tanka Society of America. He served two terms as poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, where he is also president of the Redmond Association of Spokenword. His website is http://www.graceguts.com.
JULY 20, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Irish poet Andrea Ward joins us directly from Ireland.
JULY 13, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Irish poet Breda Spaight joins us directly from Ireland.
JULY 6, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Paul Hostovsky returns with a discussion of “No Such Thing As Writer’s Block,” sharing ideas for poems like turning around a cliche, gleaning our teeming childhoods, or just noticing the little moments in life. Paul will be sharing some poems from his new book Mostly, published by FutureCycle Press.
JUNE 29, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Anastasia Vassos takes us on a virtual tour through Greece with poetry and photography. We can all travel to that magical land without ever leaving our seats.
JUNE 22, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Oregon poet Danny Earl Simmons, fresh off publishing his book Tender Melancholy, will be discussing Writing Family Poetry. He will be sharing poems and discussing some of the following questions: Should we tell the truth? What if the subject reads the poem? How do we provide sentiment without sentimentality? How do we get disinterested readers engaged?
JUNE 15, 2021, TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Meet Angela Narciso Torres as she discusses writing Centos and Semi-Centos with some discussion of the List Poem as well. She has a few examples in her book What Happens is Neither (Four Way Books, 2021). The cento is a traditional Italian form that collages borrowed lines from a secondary source. Cento means patchwork. She will talk about the process of writing this form and its variations and how to properly credit the source text. Her poem in POETRY is technically not a cento but a list poem using Filipino folk sayings passed down by her mother which she re-wrote in her own words: (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/149259/if-you-go-to-bed-hungry). And here is a link to her author website: https://www.angelanarcisotorres.com/
JUNE 8, 2021,TUESDAY AT 7:00 PM ET: Join Tamara J. Madison, Tayve Neese, and Sara Lefsyk for a book birthday party for Threed. The opening remarks will include craft discussions on the writer and the book, the editor and the book, and the refinement of the book. Focus poems will include an ekphrastic poem based on a family photo, a poem inspired by a workshop and edited extensively, a poem inspired by Biblical iconography and mythology, and a poem inspired by myths of “the goddess.”