Visiting the Archives

As the new PSOV Archivist, it was with great pleasure (and fun) to meet with Carol Milkuhn, former PSOV Vice President and long time PSOV Archivist and Maggie Eaton our new PSOV Vice President, this past Wednesday at the Vermont History Center in Barre, Vermont. The PSOV Archives are housed in a collection at the Vermont History Center which contain the complete records (or as best we can say, Carol mentioned a fire in a board members car where boxes of records were lost) of the Poetry Society of Vermont from its origin in 1947 to today. The collection was first given to the Vermont Historical Society in December 2005. Carol has tirelessly kept this collection up to date where the history of our poetry society can be visited and seen through old photographs, newpaper articles, lists of members, index of poetry contest winners, notes from board members, minutes of meetings, announcements of galas, and much more.

While Carol has stepped down from her VP and Archivist duties, we are pleased to know that she will continue to keep PSOV history alive with featured articles about the Poetry Society of Vermont that will be posted to our website and poetry news post. Carol is also an active member of the PSOV Editorial Board.

here is an index of the Poetry Society of Vermont Archival Records at the Vermont History Center in Barre.

Elizabeth McCarthy

PSOV Web Manager/Archivist

William Halvosa's twin bed granite headstone in Barre's Hope Cemetery

History of our Journal

William Halvosa

 A founder of the poetry journal we know as The Mountain Troubadour 

If you visit Hope Cemetery in Barre, Vermont, you will discover an unusual monument—a monument composed of twin beds attached to an elaborately carved headboard. Sculpted out of Vermont granite, this memorial was designed in 1953 by William Halvosa, an early PSOV member, to express his undying devotion to his wife.

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photo of Vermont History Center brick building and granite statue in front

Letter from Carol Milkuhn PSOV Archivist

Dear PSOV Member:

Let me begin by extending three invitations. The first is an invitation to visit our newly designed website. When the home page appears, click on “About” and then on “Archives”—and so enter the world of our Archival Collection. Here you will find a history of the PSOV, detailing the struggles of those pioneer poets who braved a storm to attend our first meeting, a photo of Robert Frost on the cover of the 1960 Troubadour, and even a video of Ann Day, Marian Gleason, and Nancy Brunelle reading poetry.

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Lilac Bush with Snow

Found in the Archives

Voices of Winter

so much sparrow song
in the shape of bush —
     falling snow

creak of bare limb
against bare limb —
     another raven

pelting sleet —
the only sound
     a “shush-sh-sh”

~ Elizabeth Hazen

Winter Voices is a collection of haiku by former PSOV member Elizabeth Hazen, published in the 2007 Poetry Society of Vermont’s 60th Anniversary Anthology, Brighten the Barn.

~Quoted from Elizabeth Hazen snail mail correspondence with Alan Summers, (October 2013).

BookCover BackRoads with a White Cane

Elizabeth Hazen, Back Roads With a White Cane, Saki Press (2001); Brooks Books Joint Winner, Virgil Hutton Haiku Memorial Award Chapbook Contest 2001-2002

PSOV CELEBRATES 75 YEARS

A RETROSPECTIVE

BEGINNINGS

A cursory review of poetry societies across the country reveals that 32 have their beginnings in—or at least now are attached to—the National Federation of State Poetry Societies organized in 1959. At least 30 are affiliated with the Academy of American Poetry’s Poetry Coalition and can be found at poets.org.

The Poetry Society of Vermont falls into neither of these camps. The PSOV archives remind us that “On May 15th 1947 at the Hotel Vermont in Burlington Mary (aka Mollie, PSOV’s fourth president) Newton Baldwin…witnessed the birth of a long-cherished idea…the creation of The Poetry Society of Vermont.”Continue Reading PSOV CELEBRATES 75 YEARS

PROFILE Ann B Day

Ann B. Day with daughter Deb and grandson Haven

Backlit by a late-winter glow and surrounded by books and poetry magazines, Ann Bemis Day, at 92, the oldest member of the Poetry Society of Vermont, recently talked to The Mountain Troubadour about her writing, life, and PSOV, of which she’s been a member since 1959. She joined us via Zoom from her cozy home at RiverMead LifeCare Community in Peterborough, New Hampshire.  

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First of a Kind

History of The PSOV, 1947-2023

The Mountain Troubadour cover 1961

On May 15th, 1947, at the Hotel Vermont in Burlington, Mary Newton Baldwin witnessed the birth of a long-cherished idea: the creation of The Poetry Society of Vermont. Long a believer “that there ought to be a statewide organization for poetry,” Baldwin had begun preaching her gospel in 1946 at a writer’s conference in Durham, New Hampshire. Such was the strength of her conviction that she had converted many writers and members of the Vermont intelligentsia into poetry activists; now finally, on that afternoon in May, surrounded by her adherents, she watched her vision become a reality.Continue Reading First of a Kind