Catamount Lane Poets come to Old First Church

Saturday April 6, 2013


Arts Editor

BENNINGTON -- The Old First Church will play host to the second annual Catamount Lane Poets poetry reading Sunday, April 14, from 3:30 to 5 p.m. featuring poets such as group founder Marta Rijn Finch and National Endowment for the Arts fellow Stephen Sandy.

Last year’s event at the South Street Café in downtown Bennington became the impetus for the group’s formation.

Finch, a poet herself, put the first reading together when she noticed a lack of poetry readings in the area.

"I knew (the poets) were out there," Finch, who moved to Bennington 20 years ago, said. "(But) there were hardly any (readings) in the southern part of the state."

The meetings, which occur once or twice a month, are an opportunity for poets to gather, work on their original poetry and discuss poetry as a whole.

Poetry of all styles is welcomed at Catamount Lane meetings. For instance, Finch, who began writing poetry at the age of five but honed her skills while translating the works of French Renaissance poet Pernette du Guillet (1520-1545) while maintaining the exact rhyme and meter of the originals, uses a Renaissance style right down to the fountain pen with which she prefers to write.

While Sandy’s poetry swings between modern and classical styles.

"I think everybody has to learn both ways," he said. "It isn’t the way it was when I was growing up, where there was this intense battle (between styles.)"

Sandy also takes inspiration from classical Chinese poets as well as Yates.

The event is free and open to the public. There will be an open reading for anyone interested following the show. If you are interested in joining the Catamount Lane Poets contact Finch at

Poet Information

Marta Rijn Finch was a finalist for the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award in 2012; the sonnet was published in Measure. Another of Marta’s sonnets will appear in the May issue of String Poet, a finalist for their annual prize. Other poems are forthcoming in "The Lyric" and in an anthology edited by Maine’s poet laureate, Wesley McNair.

Stephen Sandy studied poetry with Robert Lowell and Archibald MacLeish, earned a PhD from Harvard University, and traveled to Japan on a Fulbright Visiting Lectureship. He is the author of more than a half-dozen collections of poetry and has been honored with fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Council on the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation. He taught for many years at Bennington College.

Ted Gilley is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in a several magazines and anthologies including Poetry Northwest, The National Review, and New England Review. His stories and poems have won several prizes, including a 2008 national poetry prize from Alehouse Press (in San Francisco), and the Prairie Schooner Fiction Prize in 2009. His book of stories, "Bliss and Other Short Stories," was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2010.

Christopher Berks, a poet, writer, actor and director managed an outdoor musical theatre appearing as "a droll star-keeper" in "Carousel" and "a sympathetic father" in "Crazy For You." Chris founded his own company Bare Stages presenting a range of theatre pieces. Chris is currently interested in using poetry, stories, and blogging in the hunt to capture memories for a work tentatively titled, "Head Still Singing: On Being Passed One’s Sell-By-Date."

Lorna Cheriton grew up in western Canada, later traveling across Canada, and to Europe, India, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand. She worked at Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, with the Canadian foreign service, and as a reference librarian in the Canadian Consulate in New York. After volunteer work in Guatemala with the God’s Child Project, she moved to Bennington, where is involved with Second Congregational Church, the Green Mountain Club, Restorative Justice, an improvisional dance group, and the Catamount Lane Poets.

Marshall Witten has had a career in education and the law including Chairman, Vermont State Colleges Board of Trustees; Fellow and Member of Advisory Board, Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research; Representative, Vermont General Assembly; Chairman, House Appropriations Committee; State’s Attorney, Bennington County; Assistant District Attorney, Manhattan. After years of professional writing he began writing poetry, composing several hundred haiku. He is now experimenting with longer verse poetry forms.


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