Tag Archives: poetry

Parlee in Rose’s space!😌 … This Saturday – February 4 – at the Worcester Public Library! Bob Marley Birthday Bash!🎵💖


Parlee for Rosalie
Parlee!! GO, PARLEE, GO!!!!


At the Worcester Public Library
Salem Sq.

February 4 – this Saturday!

1 p.m.

The Bob Marley Birthday Bash!
You and your family are invited to celebrate the life and music of Robert Nesta Marley.

Watch a video documentary on his life!🎬

Live Music!🎵🎵

Sunta Africa and the Small Axe Band!🎹

Worcester’s Best Performers!🎹🎸🎁

Sample Authentic Jamaican Food!🍴

Spoken Word Poets!🎤

Love, Peace & Happiness💜💙❤💚💗💛 …

After Party at WCUW, 910 Main Street at 9 pm. $5. BYOB. 18+

– 💕Parlee Jones

Vernon Hill: Stanley’s house OPEN HOUSE!!

Sunday, September 20

Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home Open House

4 Woodford Street

Born and raised in Worcester, United States Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006), returned to his boyhood home in 1985 and began new relationships with the “house of sorrows” and its owners, Greg and Carol Stockmal. Their friendship transformed it into a house of joy and became the subject of his poem, “My Mother’s Pears.”

Free, docent-led tours:

10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30.

Open mic at 3:30.


Cosponsored by The Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home and the Worcester County Poetry Association.

An annual tradition of opening this private home to the public.

The Open House includes hour-long docent tours and an open mic. The open mic is held either in the garden under the pear tree that Stanley and his mother planted in 1919 or in the front room.

Available for purchase are copies of The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden, pear note cards designed and donated by Christina P. O’Neill, and copies of Stanley’s House: A Film by Tobe Carey. All proceeds are given to The Gregory Stockmal Reading Fund.

Carol and her late husband Greg Stockmal maintained a more than twenty year correspondence and friendship with the late Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz. Many artifacts and memorabilia from this relationship are part of the history and décor of this home, which is listed as a Literary LandmarkTM. If you don’t know Stanley and the Stockmals’ story, it is a fascinating one of happenstance and connection!

Annual Bob Marley bash!

Come celebrate this amazing artist and cultural icon with our Parlee Jones!

Worcester Public Library

3 Salem Square

Tomorrow! Friday, February 6 ~ Bob Marley Bash Movie!

3 pm  ~ screening of the film MARLEY

~ Bob Marley’s universal appeal, impact on music history, and role as a social and political prophet is both unique and unparalleled. MARLEY is the definitive life story of the musician, revolutionary, legend, and the man, from his early days to his rise to international super stardom.

Made with the support of the Marley family, the film features rare footage, never before seen performances, previously unreleased music, and revelatory interviews with the people that knew him best.

Also Friday ~ Bob Marley Bash concert!

Come and enjoy Conscious, Cultural Vibes as we Celebrate Bob Marley’s 70th Birthday with Worcester’s Original Sound Systems ~ SATALITE MUSIC AND URBAN FIRE!

Live Performances by Worcesters Finest Reggae Performers!

Old School ~ New School ~ Classic ~ Roots and Culture ~ Conscious Vibe ~ Revolution Music!

$7 before 11 pm $10 after. Food and Merchandise will be on Sale also! Electric Haze, 26 Millbury St. ~ 9 pm to 2 am.


February 7 (Saturday) ~ Bob Marley Bash 1 pm to 5 pm at the Worcester Public Library 

OurStory Edutainment Presents … Bob Marley Birthday Bash 2015

You and your family are invited to celebrate the life and music of Robert Nesta Marley.

Bob Marley Related Video

Live Music featuring Worcester’s Best Performers


Sample Authentic Jamaican Food

Spoken Word Poets

Give Aways

Big Family Fun!

Love * Peace * Happiness *


February 8 (Sunday) at the Worcester Public Library ~ Bob Marley Birthday Celebration film

Documentary ~ Rocksteady Roots of Reggae Music 

While everybody has heard the music of Bob Marley, the superstar of reggae, few people know that it was Rocksteady that developed the buoyant rhythms, prominent bass pulse, soulful vocals and socially conscious lyrics that gave reggae its power.

This film features a mix of studio recording sessions at Tuff Gong Studios, rarely seen archival footage from the period and interviews with the performers at home or at places on the island that had had profound effects on their music and lives.

Drumming too with Francesca Abbey Worcester Public Library

Be there! 2 pm – 5 pm

“Don’t let them change ya!/ Or even rearrange ya!”

Vernon Hill: 2015 events at Stanley Kunitz house

By Carol Stockmal, Owner & Curator, Stanley Kunitz boyhood home

Happy New Year! 2015 promises to be another rewarding and creative year at 4 Woodford St.

Did you know?

Poet Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006) was born in Worcester and went on to receive the Pulitzer Prize and the National Medal of Arts, and to become Poet Laureate of the United States (1974,

Stanley Kunitz lived at 4 Woodford Street from 1919 until 1925. Powerful memories from this time found their way into his poems, several of which directly reference the house, garden and the surrounding neighborhood. When he walked into our home after a 60 year absence, he wrote, “There was no mistaking, the moment I stepped inside, that this was indeed the house of my childhood, the one I still dream about.”

In 2009, Clark University Archives and Special Collections accepted The Stanley Kunitz-Stockmal Collection of correspondence, memorabilia and ephemera, which documents our twenty-year friendship.

4 Woodford Street was designated as a Literary LandmarkTM in 2010 by the American Library Association.

Between June 1st and September 30th, my home is open for free, one hour docent-led tours, which can be arranged by appointment.

Groups can learn about Stanley Kunitz’s life and poems, as well as see early 20th century architecture and furnishings. Tours can be tailored to the interests of your group.

During 2015, I will host several events at 4 Woodford Street that honor the legacies of Stanley Kunitz and my husband, Greg Stockmal. All events are co-sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association.

Season Three of the Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home Summer Writing Series

The series has been scheduled for June 13th, July 11th, August 15th, and September 12th. Look for complete details in April.

The Annual Open House on Sunday, September 20th will offer five house tours, an open mic and refreshments.
I look forward to personally welcoming you into my home to honor the poetry of Stanley Kunitz.

For more information go to http://kunitzhome.org

My favorite winter poem



When I see birches bend to left and right
Across the lines of straighter darker trees,
I like to think some boy’s been swinging them.
But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay
As ice-storms do. Often you must have seen them
Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning
After a rain. They click upon themselves
As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored
As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel.
Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells
Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust—
Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away
You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen.
They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load,
And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed
So low for long, they never right themselves:
You may see their trunks arching in the woods
Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground
Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair
Before them over their heads to dry in the sun.
But I was going to say when Truth broke in
With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm
I should prefer to have some boy bend them
As he went out and in to fetch the cows—
Some boy too far from town to learn baseball,
Whose only play was what he found himself,
Summer or winter, and could play alone.
One by one he subdued his father’s trees
By riding them down over and over again
Until he took the stiffness out of them,
And not one but hung limp, not one was left
For him to conquer. He learned all there was
To learn about not launching out too soon
And so not carrying the tree away
Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise
To the top branches, climbing carefully
With the same pains you use to fill a cup
Up to the brim, and even above the brim.
Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish,
Kicking his way down through the air to the ground.
So was I once myself a swinger of birches.
And so I dream of going back to be.
It’s when I’m weary of considerations,
And life is too much like a pathless wood
Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs
Broken across it, and one eye is weeping
From a twig’s having lashed across it open.
I’d like to get away from earth awhile
And then come back to it and begin over.
May no fate willfully misunderstand me
And half grant what I wish and snatch me away
Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.
I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree,
And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk
Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,
But dipped its top and set me down again.
That would be good both going and coming back.
One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

(The lines didn’t scan right – but the words are there.  – R.T.)

Worcester in poetry

By Michael True

Isn’t it time for someone to write a knowledgeable literary history of Worcester?   Certainly the city deserve one, having been the birthplace or long residence of over 300 poets, novelists, playwrights, children’s writers, and literary critics since the 17th century, identified by the Worcester Public Library’s Committee on Literary History.

     In the past fifty years alone, the city has been the subject or setting for a numerous verses, by younger writers, as well as by nationally known poets. Stanley Kunitz, Charles Olson, and Elizabeth Bishop are perhaps the most frequently sited, their work the subject of  literary criticism as well as literary conferences and special issues of the Worcester Review.   Other local poets have also received national awards for their work, including Mary Fell, John Hodgen, and the late Chris Gilbert.  In April, a number of they gathered to mark the thirty-eighth anniversary of a memorable workshop with the  a major American poet, Denise Levertov, at Assumption College in 1974,

      Main South  is the setting for the skillful lyrics of Mary Felll, in The Persistence of Memory, 1984.  Among the particularly memorable poems in that collection are  “Out of Luck, Massachusetts,” a sardonic elegy to the town, and “Driving Out of Southern Worcester County,” beginning

                          say goodbye to small towns

                          their boundaries cutting across the names

cutting across the names

of dead Indians, trees

still remembering that speech.

      As in  Stanley Kunitz’s early poems set in Worcester’s East Side, Fell reflects the experience of many natives who came of age in the city during hard times, as in “The Prophecy”:

As if it were funny, my father tells how neighborhood

kids went out to search the tracks for coal, each lump

a treasure.  His old friend Milly laughs and says how

she held up her skirt when a train went past, tempt-

ing the railroad men to throw her coal.

Among the remarkable qualities of the writing is Fell’s ability to recapture the exact tone and context of the lives of Worcesterites at a particular moment of history. Even those poems that reflect the hardship of working class life inevitably betray an affection for the place and its special character:

At Kelly Square, the streets come together to form a

star.  Immigrants followed it here, Poles, Irish and

jews settling along its five arms.  Green Street was my

Father’s point on the star.

      Stanley Kunitz’s early poems suggest similar hard times for city residents between 1900 and 1930.  For Kunitz, the harshest event was the death of his father by suicide, leaving his mother heavy debts and sorrowful memories. “The Portrait,” begins

My mother never forgave my father

for killing himself 

that spring, when I was waiting

to be born.

A later poem, “Passing Through,” written on his seventy-ninth birthday,  returns, as he often does, to his birthplace.  It is an account of how his birthday “went up in smoke/ in a fire at City Hall that gutted the Department of Vital statistics::

If it weren’t for a census report

of a five-year old White Male

sharing my mother’s address

at the Green Street Tenement in Worcester

I’d have no documentary proof

that I exist.

      Kunitz often said that, in spite of hardships, there were nonetheless happy times, even magical times. “The Testing Tree,” arguably his greatest poem, is about the young boy traipsing in the woods near Providence Hill  just beyond Worcester Academy:

                                     In the haze of afternoon,

          while the air flowed saffron,

 I played my game for keeps

                                     for love, for poetry, for love

  and for eternal life.

  after the trials of summer.

      Similarly, “The Magic Curtain” conveys his delight in skipping school in the morning, accompanied by Frieda, his yellow haired blue-eyed baby sitter.  They walked down to the Front St. Bijo (spelt Bijou),

“where we were, as always, the first in line,/ with a hot nickel clutched in hand.”  In the movie theater, enthralled by action films, he wrote that: 

Cabiria taught me the Punic Wars

                  at bloody Antietam I fought at Griffith’s side

                  And Keystone Kops came rambling on the scene.

 In outsized uniforms, moustached,

  their thick-browed faces dipped in flour

                        to crank  tin lizzies that immediately collapsed.

      In an autobiographical  essay, Kunitz commented on how unlike his contemporaries, Elizabeth Bishop and Charles Olson, he was “unable to forget Worcester.  I doubt that I ever shall.  Perhaps it scarred me more.”    He spoke of of his native city was reminiscent of what W. H. Auden said about W.B. Yeats, that  “Ireland hurt him into poetry.”  In the same essay, nonetheless, Kunitz speaks  with great affection about his teachers at Classical High School and “the sepulchral public library on Elm Street,/  where the floors buckled and the rooms smelled of old books, old wood, and immemorial dust.”

          By 1970,  Kunitz appeared somewhat reconciled to his native city, as in one of the later poems. “The Lamplighter, 1914,” which was set in Quinapoxet, a region of Holden. “My Mother’s Pears,” written not long before he died, describes  a pear tree in his back yard as a child.  It’s still growing  nearby the Stockmahl’s. house, now a national literary site, on  Woodford  Street.

        Charles Olson, who grew up on the West Side, near Blessed Sacrament Church, returned to that neighborhood and Newton Square, in one of his best known poems, “   


are my inland waters

(Tatnuck Square and the walk

from   the end of the line

to Paxton, for May-flowers

or to the old road to Holden,

after English walnuts

After studying at Clark, Olson graduated from Harvard, and spent much of the rest of his life living in and writing about the region around Cape Ann, in his magna opus, Maximus.   Even in Gloucester, Olson returned, in memory, to his native roots.”The Grandfather-Father Poem,” is a vivid account of his immigrant relatives employed “In the South Works’/ of U.S. Steel/ as an Irish shoveler

to make their fires hot

to make ingots above

                                        by puddlers of

melted metals

and my grandfather

down below

at the bottom of the


A prose memoir of his father, “The Post Office,” also describes the hardships endured by many Worcesterites during the Great Depression.

      Notable recent collections by local poets include Traveling Mercies, by David Williams; and This Garden by Dan Lewis, who received the 2012 annual prize awarded by the Worcester County Poetry Association, Inc.  The recipient of national awards, John Hodgen is the author of four collections, including his latest, Heaven and Earth Holding Company, with a remembrance of his family. “Finding my Father at the Worcester Art Museum,” begins, 

                             Forty years now, but Jesus, here he is, seen, unseen

                              In George Bellow’s “Monhegan Island, 1913

        Choosing Worcester  as the setting for of their poems, younger writers continue the tradition.   Jonathan Blake, in “Returning to Castle St. After a Summer in the Green Mountains,” for example, pays tribute to apartments on the street that have sheltered a number of local artists.

             Now in its forty-first year,  Worcester County Poetry Association continues to sponsor a variety of readings, workshops, and literary celebrations throughout the year.   And the Worcester Review, founded in 1972 and edited by Rodger Martin, publishes individual issues devoted to the writers mentioned above, among others. A special issue, entitled “Flollowing Kunitz…Worcester Poets on the National Stage,” is Volume XXVII, Numbers 1 ad 2 in the series.  

          The city’s literary history continues to thrive, in other words, informed by writers working in several genres, in a significant, diverse, and vital literary culture.  This article is only a cursory report, citing just a few of them who contributed to a significant, diverse, and vital literary culture.

The house on Vernon Hill: poet Stanley Kunitz’s childhood home and Greg Stockmal’s beloved sanctuary

By Carle Johnson

Stanley Kunitz dedicated his poem “My Mother’s Pears” to Greg and Carol Stockmal of Worcester.

One stanza of the poem is this grateful thank you to them:

“Those strangers are my friends
whose kindness blesses the house
my mother built at the edge of town…”

From the hallway to the kitchen of his Worcester home, Greg Stockmal noticed people peering in from the windows on the front porch. Nosey neighbors? Prowlers? Call the police?

Are the paintings on the wall worth a daylight break-in attempt?

When Greg stepped out on to the porch, the man began talking before Greg could ask a question. “We’re sorry. We didn’t think anyone was at home. We are on our way to Vermont and had heard about your home. We just wanted to take a peek inside on our way.” Continue reading The house on Vernon Hill: poet Stanley Kunitz’s childhood home and Greg Stockmal’s beloved sanctuary

“Put a poem in your pocket,” Worcester!

By John Monfredo, Worcester School Committee member

We live in a society of doubters, a society in which so many thrive on the negative. Listen to the news or read the newspaper: the majority of stories are about despair. So when two fourth grade students wrote to me last spring from Mrs. Quitadamo’s class at Nelson Place about supporting their initiative to have “Poem in Your Pocket Day” in Worcester I was thrilled to hear about the class’ idea. More important, it was wonderful to have students articulate their ideas in writing.

Callista Pacheco, one of the students, stated in her letter: “My fourth grade class celebrated “Put a Poem in Your Pocket Day” in a very festive way. We made our own paper pockets and shared them with three other classes. We also gave them their own poems for their pockets.” She went on to say the idea originated in New York City and the “Mayor does it too.” Continue reading “Put a poem in your pocket,” Worcester!