The Gertrude Stein Cure, by Mary Kane

Poet Mary Kane, an avid reader-aloud of Gertrude Stein's works, read this new poem at Poetry & Pie to an entranced audience. She graciously allowed us to publish it here. For best effect, please read it aloud.

The Gertrude Stein Cure

There was a woman who had anxious feeling in her. She had inside in her anxious feeling it was large in her. The anxious feeling inside her was large inside her it wasn’t very large it wasn’t skyscraper large it wasn’t Texas large it was large in her she was a small woman and the feeling in her inside of anxiousness was large it took up a lot of space. She was a small woman who had inside a large anxious feeling, not very large, not as large as a football stadium but she was small she was only about the size of a dog. She wasn’t the size of a small dog she wasn’t Chihuahua small or toy poodle small she was the size of your average black lab only she walked on two legs she was a woman. So, as I was saying, there was a woman who was a small woman about the size of a black lab and she had anxious feeling inside in her it took up a lot of space it was a large anxious feeling it wasn’t very large. It was larger than a kangaroo in her it was large about the size of a giraffe. It was a giraffe sized anxious feeling in her and out of place too, awkward the way a giraffe might be expected to be in a middle class American neighborhood, maybe lower middle class. A giraffe in any American neighborhood in the 21st century would be large it would be awkward and out of place, that is the kind of anxious feeling that was inside in this small woman who was the size of a dog or just about.

This small woman with a feeling of anxiousness inside in her also sometimes had a despairing feeling inside in her. She had a despairing feeling alongside the anxious feeling, the despairing feeling was large it was very large in her it was continental in her, it was at least large, country large, in her it was China sized only it had no shape or bottom. This woman who was small and had a large anxious feeling in her inside that was shaped like a giraffe had a despairing feeling in her that was very large it was larger than China it was as large as all of Asia in her. She was small only the size of a black lab maybe she was the size of a border collie she was a small woman she had two big feelings in her she had a big anxious feeling she had a bigger feeling of despairing inside in her.

As was the custom in her country in her century in her culture she went to seek help in reckoning with the giraffe and the Asia inside her, the giraffe and the Asia sized despair without a bottom it was a feeling really of a great abyss and she went on a trek she had a walking stick she was small and she sought assistance. And along the way she read books it was another custom for some in her time in her country in her culture not for many but for some reading books was customary. She read a lot of books she liked them large sometimes she liked very large books that had to be divided into volumes she read about a book that was so large one reader cut it into six sections with a kitchen knife. She was a small woman she found this large book. It was large this book. It was so large it was a 925 pound book. It was a body this book. She was a small woman she had a giraffe and a continent inside in her she had this hunger she wanted this book it was 925 pages long it was 925 pounds she wasn’t going to cut it up with a kitchen knife. 

This woman who was small and had these large feelings of anxiousness and despair sometimes in her found this book it was a very large book it was a repeating kind of book it was a book she opened and read from. She read aloud from the book with her friend it was a big book. It was a body book when they touched it it had skin it had veins and blood. She read the book with her friend they read it aloud they read how it repeated. She was a small woman and she took this book this large book she took it into her page by page. She took this 925 pound book page by page into her into her insides it was a body book this book whenever she read it whenever she heard it read whenever she lifted it whenever she read about its author whenever she read its repeating whenever she spoke of it she had a feeling inside in her that was new inside in her it was a feeling of gaiety and a joyful feeling too and these feelings inside this woman who was a small woman were bottom feelings they made a bottom in her. This bottom that was a new feeling it was three new feelings in her it was a gaiety feeling and a joyful feeling and a feeling of gaiety and joyfulness combined into a bottom that was a very long beach with very smooth sand where she could walk inside her that was the third feeling it was inside her and she walked there.

The Gertrude Stein Cure, by Mary Kane. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

The Dipper - August 2017

"The Dipper" is our monthly newsletter, where we highlight readings, events, calls for submission, and other literary-related news for the coming month. If you have news or events to share, let us know


August News


In this moment the chairs were empty.

Not long after, the barn began to fill with people, some we knew and many we didn't. The poets -- James Crews, Dede Cummings, and Mary Kane -- took turns in front of the audience, filling the barn with words that swooped as gracefully, and sometimes as startlingly, as the swallows that glided from window to window.

The poems made us laugh, smile, sigh, and shiver. The poets told us the stories behind the poems, answered our questions, and gave the writers in the room encouragement. When they had finished, several audience members took their turn up front and generously shared their original compositions with us.

Afterwards, in one cozy corner, some of us gathered near Taylor Mardis Katz as she composed poems on her typewriter. In the opposite corner, others cut slices of pie, or sipped ice tea and fruit juice sparklers. We traded email addresses and stories, talked poems and recipes, offered hugs and inspiration.

The afternoon went on, perfect moment after perfect moment, with sunlight filtering through the barn windows and the flowers blooming in the afternoon air.

At the end, we stacked the chairs away, said our goodbyes, and went back out into the day. Nothing felt empty.

Thank you to everyone who came. To everyone who read poems. To everyone who swept the floor. To everyone who baked a pie. To everyone who drove long distances. To everyone who signed books. To everyone who bought books. To everyone who made the afternoon even better than we'd imagined it would be. Thank you. And to everyone we missed, we hope you'll come next year. We'll save a chair for you.


Support Literary North!

Literary North is a labor of love for us, but we can't live on love (and pie) alone. We're powered by donations from people who attend our events and appreciate what we do. Please consider supporting us at any level that feels good to you. And if you're interested in co-sponsoring an event, volunteering your time, or donating space at your venue, we'd be thrilled to hear from youWe appreciate your support from the bottom of our hearts!

August Highlights


The Marlboro College summer reading series continues August 1, 2, and 3 with readings by Mira Ptacin, Mira Jacob, and Ron Currie. The readings begin at 5:00 pm at Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, Vermont.

The annual Strafford Town House Forum returns this month, with pairings of readings and conversations each Thursday in August at 7:00 pm, in Strafford, Vermont. This year's presenters include Pat Alger, Jim Rooney, Michael Caduto, Ted Levin, Robin MacArthur, Melanie Finn, Pamela Harrison, and Ina Anderson.


The Back Roads Reading series in Brownington, Vermont, concludes with a reading by poet Charles Simic on Sunday, August 6, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm.

The Fletcher Free Library in Burlington, Vermont, will be hosting two readings of original work from members of the From Our Minds and Hearts (FOMAH) Art Group. Each event features readings from six FOMAH Art Group writers. The readings will take place on Wednesday, August 9, from 6:30 to 8:00 pm, and on Saturday, August 26, from 3:00 to 4:30 pm.

Since the end of June, local/regional women poets and writers have been reading the work of or about other women writers as part of Women Reading Women on the main stage at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The final two readings--featuring Pricilla Cookson, Kayla Cash, Tamara Collins, Julie Dickson, Marybeth McNamara, and Wendy Cannella--take place on Thursday, August 10, and Thursday, August 17, from 5:45 to 6:15 pm.

Nature writers Robert Finch and John Elder will be discussing Finch's latest book, The Outer Beach, at The Vermont Book Shop, Tuesday, August 17, at 7:00 pm, in Middlebury, Vermont.

Jamaica Kincaid and James Atlas will be in conversation on Saturday, August 26, at 7:00 pm, at Northshire Bookstore, in Manchester Center, Vermont.


The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference kicks off its August public events with Lauren Groff and Edward Hirsch at 8:15 pm on Wednesday, August 16. The series continues with readings and lectures presented by more than 20 authors, through Friday, August 25. All events take place in the Little Theatre on the Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Vermont.


Worth a Drive

Poet Frank Bidart will be reading from his latest poetry collection, Half-Light: Collected Poems, on Tuesday, August 15, at 7:00 pm, at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The reading is free.

Please visit our calendar for detailed information about each event and to see more event listings for August and beyond.


We're looking forward to these August releases

Calls for Submission and Upcoming Deadlines

The AVA Gallery is looking for storytellers for its quarterly story-telling series, The Mudroom (September 14). The theme is  “Scary Stories.” Storytellers of all ages and from all towns in the Upper Valley and beyond are welcome. Storytellers should submit a brief summary of the story (two or three sentences) and a short bio (no more than 150 words) by August 22 to or to

The Marble House Project is now accepting applications for the Collaborative Winter Residency. This residency facilitates a group of artists working together to develop new or in-progress work. Residents apply as a group. The cost is $500 per person, and includes food, housing, and studio space. Applications close midnight, August 31. For more information, please visit the Residency Application page.

Register now through August 31 for the Northern Woodlands Conference (October 20 to 22) and take 10% off the registration fee. Use the special code "EarlyBird" at checkout to receive the discount. For more information and to register, please visit the Conference page.

The Bennington MFA Writing Seminar is currently accepting applications for its January residency. The non-refundable application fee is $70 (or $100 for a dual-genre application). The application deadline is September 1. For a list of information that must accompany the application, and a link to the application form, please visit the Application Info and Deadlines page.

There's still time to register for the Writers in the Round Songwriters and Poets Retreat (September 7 to 10), on Star Island, New Hampshire. This is a time for stretching boundaries, cross genre inspiration, and fresh salt air. We welcome all levels of artistry for daily classes, structured and unstructured time for composition and collaboration, small group workshops, and nightly song and poetry swaps. The program fee is $110. Room and board rates ($424 to $734) include lodging, meal, and ferry transportation from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. For more information and to register, please visit the Retreat page.

The application deadline for the MacDowell Colony Winter/Spring 2018 residency is September 15. The application fee is $30. For more information, please visit the Application Guidelines page.

Registration is open for the 2017 New Hampshire Poetry Festival (September 23). Registration fees ranges from $55 (students) to $95 (PSNH members) to $120 (non-members) and include panel discussions, workshops, headliner reading with Gregory Pardlo, morning and afternoon receptions, and time with poets from around the country. For more information and to resister, please visit the Registration page.

Vital Communities is hosting a Watershed Quest Challenge, designed to encourage you to explore your favorite Upper Valley pond, stream, river, or swimming hole and write a Valley Quest. Watershed Quest submissions will have the chance to be featured in the 2018 Super Quest, and the author or the winning Quest will receive a grand prize. The deadline is December 15. For full details and to submit your Quest, please visit the Watershed Quest Challenge page. Note: Vital Communities is offering a free Quest Writing Workshop on Friday, August 11. For more information, see "August Workshops and Classes," below.

August Workshops and Classes

Burlington Writers Workshop offers a series of writing retreats designed to provide members with opportunities to gather in quiet, inspiring spaces for focused discussion, instruction, and writing time. The August retreat is "Writing Prose - Fiction and Nonfiction," lead by Robin McLean, on Saturday, August 26. The retreat will be held in Grand Isle, Vermont. To participate, register by August 5. For more information or to register, please visit the Retreat page.

New Hampshire Writers' Project is hosting two online webinars in August: "Awakening the Monster: How to Edit Your Book Manuscript," with Jeff Deck, on Wednesday, August 9, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm; and "Clever as a Cat and Working Like a Dog: How to Create a Stir Before Your Book's Launch," with Ann Garvin, on Monday, August 21, from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. The cost for each is $10 for members and $25 for nonmembers. For more information and to register, please visit the Workshops page.

Vital Communities is offering a free Quest Writing Workshop on Friday, August 11, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, in Lebanon, New Hampshire. Steve Glazer will lead a fun-filled day spent diving into natural history and designing an educational Valley Quest treasure hunt. Snacks will be provided, but participants should bring their own lunch. To participate, register by August 7. For more information or to register, please visit the workshop's Event page.

Join poet Peter Money for an ekphrastic poetry workshop on Saturday, August 12, from 2:30 to 5:30 pm, at the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont. Participants will compose and share a poem inspired by one of the artworks on view. Participants should bring their own notebooks. Pencils will be provided. Smartphones recommended if possible. Admission is free, but space is limited and registration is required. For more information and to register, please visit the Event page.

As of this writing, Live Free and Write, a New Hampshire Getaway for Writers has one space left for the August 13 to 18 retreat in Sunapee, New Hampshire. For full details and to register, visit the Summer Writing Retreat page.

Burlington Writers Workshop in Burlington and Montpelier, Vermont, offers an ongoing series of free writing workshops. Upcoming workshops include creative writing (any genre), poetry, and creative nonfiction. For a complete list of upcoming workshops and to register, visit the workshop Meetup page.

For fiction and creative non-fiction writers who want a deadline and thoughtful feedback on their work, instructor Joni B. Cole will be leading a Writer's Salon (and Sustenance) on Sunday, August 27, from 4:00 to 6::30 pm. During the meeting, writers will be asked to read aloud a work in progress. The cost is $40, which includes quality feedback, savory snacks, and camaraderie. For more information and to register, please visit the Writers Center Workshops page.

Summer Reading Lists - Elizabeth Powell

This is the eighth, and final, post in our series of 2017 Vermont Book Award finalists' summer reading lists.

Elizabeth Powell

Elizabeth Powell


Elizabeth Powell is the author of two volumes of poetry: The Republic of Self (New Issues Press, 2001) and Willy Loman's Reckless Daughter: Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances (Anhinga Press, 2016), which was a New Yorker "Books We Love 2016" pick. In his review of Willy Loman, poet Matthew Lippman said, "I can't think of a recent collection of poems that has given me so much to think about while swallowed up in its pure sensual joy. These poems are BIG because they are constantly in motion, constantly slipping and transforming."

We are so delighted that you shared your reading list with us, Elizabeth!

Elizabeth Powell's Summer Reading List


On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the 20th Century by Timothy Snyder, an historian who teaches at Yale. An important, thoughtful book for our times.


Hemming the Water poems by Yona Harvey. I heard her read at The Frost Place. A deep musicality coupled with a command of craft and narrative.


I just finished The Selfishness of Others: An Essay on the Fear of Narcissim by Kristen Dombek. These visionary, erudite, fresh, at times lyric essays, are sure to intrigue. Also the beautiful poems by Vievee Francis in Forest Primeval.


I'm looking forward to the forthcoming book of poems by David Tomas Martinez on Sarabande Books, Post Traumatic Hood Disorder.


If you have kids, I always loved reading Carl Sandburg's Rootabaga Stories with mine. Little kids? Check out Corgiville Fair by Tasha Tudor, about a secret land run by corgis that is between Vermont and New Hampshire. 


And, I was just given a lovely gift, Upper Valley poet Deming Holleran's book, Gypsy Song, and I can't wait to read it!

Not That Kind of Woman by Taylor Mardis Katz

In order to get you excited for our Poetry & Pie event this Saturday, we are featuring this pie poem by Taylor Katz, our poet-for-hire for the afternoon. Taylor will write you a fabulous poem on her vintage typewriter for a sliding scale fee of $10-25. A bargain in our opinion!

Not That Sort Of Woman

"Mouths don't empty themselves unless the ears are sympathetic and knowing." -Zora Neale Hurston, Mules and Men

I thought I could love you, sink in among couch pillows
as you whisked something cold to drink, tickle your child,
delight in the clothes slathered gorgeous to your body,
the body of a mother, the dusklight angling in
yet blinding no one, not even the cat licking his paws
on the arm of the dog-scratched chair. I thought I'd eat
your pies, offer you my old clothes, that we'd stain our fingers
together weeding beets or gathering currants. I'd give you
bouquets of thyme and sage with a little ribbon,
you'd drop off a portion of your final batch of butter
as the summer dripped its last beads of sweat into air
made chilly by the changing maple leaves. You'd drive us
places at night where there was wine and women
we didn't know, where there was music for us to dance to,
our braids loosening from the way we threw our bodies
side to side, laughing even when we spilled our drinks,
laughing at our dirty feet and filthy toenails.
I was prepared to know your mother and your mother's
way of convincing you to rest; I'd have given up acres
of my Sundays to help you card your wool or cut squares
of fabric on the bedroom floor. But there was none of that,
no yelling flower names across a field, no spitting cherry pits
into a hissing fire, no jokes whose inception has been lost,  
no loaning you my favorite sweater, no the two of us
asleep in your bed on a husbandless night, you woken
at dawn by the rooster, I sleeping through his howl.

Thanks Taylor! We can't wait to see all of you at Poetry & Pie.