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
PSNH’s Reading Series – “PSNH Presents” – has gone virtual! Mark your calendars for the following events upcoming on Zoom. Contact Jimmy Pappas at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to attend.
MARCH 7, SUNDAY AT 1:00: The Down Cellar Poetry Salon hosts Smoky Quartz, the online journal of literature and art published by the Monadnock Writers’ Group. We will explore the work of three poets with deep roots in New Hampshire—Denny Caldwell, Maura MacNeil and Rodger Martin—looking at our New England point of view as well as other aspects influencing these writers. The Smoky Quartz editors will share tips on getting published.
MARCH 9, TUESDAY AT 7:00: Acclaimed jazz composer, saxophonist, and poet Roy Nathanson and award-winning author Jeff Friedman will discuss how their years of conversations, interactions and collaborations have led them to develop new directions in their work and to complete their most recent books of poetry. Roy will read from his book Conversations and Other Songs (Madhat Press, October 2020) and Jeff will read from his, The Marksman (Carnegie Mellon University Press, November 2020). Roy’s saxophone will act as a third voice connecting the conversation between the two poets.
MARCH 12, FRIDAY AT 7:00: Round Robin on the theme of African-American poetry. Bring in your favorite poems by an African-American poet or your own poems, stories, and songs on your experiences with race issues.
MARCH 16, TUESDAY AT 7:00: The Powow River Poets–including Meredith Bergmann, Barbara Lydecker Crane, Rhina P. Espaillat, Don Kimball, Joan Kimball, Andrew Szilvasy, Anton Yakovlev, and Paulette Turco–will be reading on the theme “Sonnets for What Matters.” They will be doing two rounds each with some possible non-sonnets thrown in to see if the listeners can spot them. A packet of sample poems will be available for attendees who request them before the event from Jimmy.
MARCH 23, TUESDAY AT 7:00: Writing the “inscape”: Brian Evans-Jones will discuss different ways we can make our poems convey our interior landscapes with power and immediacy. He will read poems that try to use form, language, and layout to enact both our own thoughts and internal experiences, and the inner truths of things outside ourselves.
MARCH 30, TUESDAY AT 7:00: The Teen Poets Laureate of New Hampshire will be reading, screen sharing, and discussing some of their work. An open mic later will be available for any teen poets and for those who may be thinking of applying for next year’s Teen Poet Laureate program. Remember we screen share. Contact Jimmy Pappas at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be a part of the program.
APRIL 6, TUESDAY AT 7:00:Sydney Lea will discuss lyric poetry’s capacity to make connections that are unpredictable, even–or maybe especially–to the writer. That is its “right brain” function. As a rule he is leery of exercises, but he has a few broadly designed ones to call that function into play, meanwhile escaping his own or anyone’s natural but often inhibitive struggle for “meaning.” He will share one of these, more if there’s time, in the hope that it may resonate with participants, so they can add them to their creative quivers. We will do some in-“class” writing.
APRIL 9, FRIDAY AT 7:00: “NH Poets Laureate Round Robin, Part 1”: A celebration of the life and poetry of Pat Fargnoli. We will be screen sharing and discussing her poems, some from the recent special issue of The Poets Touchstone. We will also show two poems on video. Anyone who wishes to read a poem by Pat or tell a story about Pat, please contact Jimmy Pappas at email@example.com.
APRIL 11, SUNDAY AT 1:00: The Down Cellar Poetry Salon presents Irish poet Anne McDonald in an interactive session on how you can use your five senses in your poetry. Worksheets and writing tip sheets will be sent to all attendees.
APRIL 13, TUESDAY AT 7:00: “Anatomy of a Failing Poem.” In this presentation, Marilyn McCabe will take you through her thought process on a poem that just doesn’t seem to be working . . . yet. A PDF of her article “Beneath the Skin: Levels of Editing” will be available to participants.
APRIL 16, FRIDAY AT 7:00: “NH Poets Laureate Round Robin, Part 2”: A celebration of the poetry of our four living poets laureate: Marie Harris, Alice Fogel, CynthiaHuntington, and Alex Peary. We will be screen sharing and discussing their poems, some from the recent special issue of The Poets Touchstone. Anyone who wishes to contribute to this celebration, please contact Jimmy Pappas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
APRIL 20, TUESDAY AT 7:00: Rattle Chapbook Winners part 2 with Al Ortolani and moderator Jimmy Pappas discuss writing for the Rattle Chapbook prize. They will share poems for discussion.
APRIL 23, FRIDAY AT 7:00: “NH Poets Laureate Round Robin, Part 3”: A celebration of the life and poetry of deceased poets laureate Paul Scott Mower, Eleanor Winthrop Vinton, Richard Eberhart, Donald Hall, Maxine Kumin, Jane Kenyon, and Walter Butts. We will be screen sharing their poems, including some from the recent special issue of The Poets Touchstone. Anyone who wishes to read a poem by any of these authors or tell a story about them, please contact Jimmy Pappas at email@example.com.
APRIL 27, TUESDAY AT 7:00:Dianalee Velie will take you on a poetic journey through Italy with poems and photographs of her experiences teaching poetry in Cortona, Cannero Riviera on Lago Maggiore, and in Sicily visiting cousins. Hopefully, you’ll fall in love with the sights and sounds of these poems and photos and develop a yearning to visit this amazing country and write poems about your own travel experiences whether near or far.
MAY 11, TUESDAY AT 7:00: Janée J. Baugher, author of the guidebook The Ekphrastic Writer, will be hosting an event where a few poets from her book will read their ekphrastic work and discuss their creative approaches to visual-art-influenced writing.
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, PSNH is actively engaged in planning for next year. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months.