Ellen LaFleche & Jennifer Militello

Thursday, February 2, 2012, at 7:00 pm, poets Ellen LaFleche and Jennifer Militello will continue the fifth season of the Collected Poets Series. Mocha Maya’s Coffee House, 47 Bridge St, Shelburne Falls, MA. ($2-5 suggested donation)

Ellen LaFleche

Ellen LaFleche’s manuscript, Workers’ Rites, won the Philbrick Poetry Prize and was recently published by the Providence Athenaeum. Her chapbook, Ovarian, was published in 2010. She has poems in Many Mountains Moving, Harpur Palate, New Millennium Writings, and Naugatuck River Review, among many others.

Jennifer Militello

Jennifer Militello’s first collection, Flinch of Song, won the Tupelo Press First Book Award, and her second collection, Body Thesaurus, was named a finalist for the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award by Marilyn Hacker and is forthcoming from Tupelo Press. She is also author of the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail.

Militello has been published widely in such journals as The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The North American Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Virginia Quarterly Review, and anthologized in Best New Poets 2008. Her work has been awarded the Ruskin Art Club Poetry Award from Red Hen Press and the 49th Parallel Award from Bellingham Review in addition to grants and fellowships from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Writers at Work, and the Millay Colony for the Arts.

She has taught at Brown University, The Rhode Island School of Design, and The University of Massachusetts Lowell, and is director of the creative writing program at River Valley Community College. She lives in Goffstown, New Hampshire.

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DYEING THE CHILD / Ellen LaFleche

Last week
the river behind the mill ran silver,
a stream of liquid sterling.

Today the water flows dull
yellow.  The currents scud against the rocks,
a foamy scrim like turnips being boiled.

The sign says DANGER: NO SWIMMING
but Laura stands on the bank in a thrift-shop bikini.

Her lover doesn’t want the child
she is carrying.  Be reasonable, Laura. 
You know what you have to do.

Her belly is sleek:
only eight weeks gone.   Laura slips
into the tepid dye bath.

She opens her eyes underwater.
There is no life here
but her own.  Her hair undulates, slow
and witchy as pond weeds.

Laura swims through the jaundiced
bones of a willow tree.

When she climbs out,
fingers scrabbling against the bank,
her limbs glows gold in the sun.

Laura leaves footprints on the sidewalk,
a yellow-brick road toward home.

(Originally published in Naugatuck River Review. Used by permission of the poet.)

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SELF-PORTRAIT AS SOMEONE ELSE / Jennifer Militello

She is the parlor that collects smoke’s lacing,
its breakfront filled with the cut-glass sound

of a key turning. She has the impatient strength
of fishermen, with things kept out

and other things kept in. She is allergic
to natural light. She keeps her choir disguised

as a set of criminals; she gathers angry bouquets
to bring when she calls. She carries sections

of smoldering rope for the African herdsmen
of her intimate dreams. She collects viceroy

when she should imagine rain. Her name is the train
that leaves tonight for an imagined destination.

(from Flinch of Song, ©2009 Jennifer Militello. Used by permission of Tupelo Press.)

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