A hand presents a simple white envelope in front of a sky blue wall in the background.
Erica Steeves / Unsplash

If you live in Vermont and happen to receive a mysterious letter or postcard with no return address, don't just throw it away. It could be a bit of verse sent to you randomly from Vermont's own poet laureate, Mary Ruefle.

VPR will feature audio of Vermonters reading their own poetry on the air throughout April.

In collaboration with the Vermont Arts Council and Vermont Humanities, VPR invites community members to submit recordings of themselves reading short, original poems in celebration of National Poetry Month.

When Amanda Gorman was asked to write a poem for President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Wednesday, she didn't know where to begin. The nation has just been through a bitter election. Americans are as divided as ever. And the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage.

"It was really daunting to begin the poem because you don't even really know the entry point in which to step into the murk," she said in an interview Monday with NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Woman standing in front of a wall
Elizabeth Powell, courtesy

In a time of confusion, pain, anger and sickness, Elizabeth Powell has a new book of poetry to confront our unique modern turbulence. Powell is a professor of writing and literature at Northern Vermont University Johnson and also edits The Green Mountains Review. Her new book of poems is: Atomizer.

A man in gold-rimmed glasses and a Malcolm X shirt stands outside a library.
Elodie Reed / VPR File

Protests erupted across the country over the killing of George Floyd in police custody on Memorial Day. Calls for justice and the overthrowing of systemic racism in the U.S. echoed from Burlington to Seattle. In this recorded conversation, we speak with Vermont poet and educator Rajnii Eddins about how he views this historic moment.

Lara Dickson / For VPR

A message from the governor for out-of-staters to stay out of Vermont leads to some racist incidents. Plus: the COVID-19 hole in Vermont’s budget, the coronavirus at the state women’s prison, and a visit with a poet.

A black and white image of a woman in glasses.
Emma Rose Horowitz-McCadden, Courtesy

Back in late February, when such a thing was still possible, VPR's Mitch Wertlieb visited poet Kerrin McCadden at her South Burlington home to talk about her new collection of poetry Keep This To Yourself.

Vermont poets join Mitch Wertlieb on Friday, April 24 for an online event featuring readings and interviews. You can join wherever you are!
Gab Emilio Cortese/Courtesy/Emma Rose Horowits-McCadden/ Marion Ettlinger

In these days of social distancing and great uncertainty, poetry can be grounding and give us a moment to reflect on life’s troubles and joys. For National Poetry Month, Mitch Wertlieb hosts for a virtual event featuring readings and interviews with several beloved Vermont poets on Friday, April 24 at 6:00 p.m.


This month on Rumble Strip, Erica Heilman takes us deep into conversation with poet Garret Keizer. Hear the full episode.

Original music for this episode of Rumble Strip was composed by Brian Clark.

Mourners lay flowers on a wall at the Botanical Gardens in Christchurch, New Zealand, Monday, March 18, 2019.
Vincent Thian / AP

Last month, the Addison Independent published a poem by Narges Anzali, a 13-year-old eighth grader who attends Middlebury Union Middle School. The poem is titled simply: "To All The People Who Hate Muslims."

For one week in October 2005, Thetford was home to Grace Paley and Cynthia Huntington. At the time they were the poets laureate for Vermont and New Hampshire, respectively.
Toby Talbot/AP / Ric Cengeri/VPR

If you lived in Thetford, Vermont in October 2005, you must have felt the special energy. Not everyone in town started speaking in iambic hexameter or in A-A-B-B rhyme schemes, but you had to feel the poetic force that was present. Because for about a week back, something happened in Thetford that has probably never happened in any other city or town anywhere, before or since: Thetford was home to two current state poets laureate.

2018 Year In Review: Haiku Edition

Dec 30, 2018
Send us your thoughts on the past year in the form of a haiku!
Jay Parker / Flickr

We're starting off 2019 in poetic form. Send us a haiku about your 2018: events, moments, thoughts. Or write one about your hopes for the new year.

Poet and University of Vermont professor Major Jackson was announced as the winner of this year's Vermont Book Award on Saturday night at a gala at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Patrick Rosal

Major Jackson's new collection of poetry, "Roll Deep," takes you on a voyage from Philadelphia, to the Greek Islands, to civil war in Africa. His poems are introspective and have a lyrical sensibility.

Courtesy VCFA

The first-ever Vermont Book Award winner has been announced. Chosen from six finalists, poet Kerrin McCadden of Plainfield won for her collection Landscape With Plywood Silhouettes.

Courtesy MacArthur Foundation

Vermont poet Ellen Bryant Voight has been named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. The 72-year-old will receive what's informally called the "genius grant" including $625,000 to pursue her work with no strings attached.


April is National Poetry Month, and poetry enthusiasts around Vermont have embraced the occasion with readings and new publications. This April, nominations are open for Vermont's next poet laureate, which gives an appointed poet a chance to spread the word about poetry. 

Vermont's current laureate, Sydney Lea of Newbury, has spent his time promoting the literary form at libraries around the state. He'll retire from the position in a few months, when the next poet laureate takes the helm.

Alden Pellett / AP

Poet Galway Kinnell died on Tuesday of leukemia at his home in Sheffield. He had been described as a writer with the ability to flesh out music, raise the spirits and break the heart. He said he discovered the music in language in the rhythm of his mother’s Irish accent. In his career, Kinnell won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award.

We listen back to an interview with Galway Kinnell that was recorded in 2009.

Courtesy Diana Whitney

Brattleboro resident Diana Whitney's debut collection of poetry, Wanting It, is gathering praise from some of the state’s top poets. Vermont Poet Laureate Sydnea Lea calls it a “brilliant book.” Major Jackson refers to the poems in this collection as “ancient secrets.”

Whitney says the title of the book does not refer to one specific thing.

“It’s the wanting it that’s beautiful, more so than the having,” she says. “If you get what you want, then you don’t get that tremulous longing.”

Plainfield resident and teacher Kerrin McCadden is the winner of the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize for her book, Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes. The collection features poems that tackle the feelings of emptiness that follow divorce, the trials of parenting, and the connection to a place that can be called "home."

Broadcast on Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7:49 a.m.

Learn more about Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes.