Simplicity = Happiness (guest post)

April 6, 2009

When asked to write several blogs as the current Inkberry intern, I decided I would write once a month.  Well, it is now over a month since I last posted, so here I am again.

Things are going well, here at Inkberry.  There’s quite a lot going on around here this month as well!  On top of our usual, poetry group, critique group, and WordPlay, we are also sponsoring a reading at the North dams Public Library, and have joined up to sponsor with MCLA at a reading taking place at Gallery 51.  Also, at the end of the month, Inkberry is collaborating with the First Congregational Church in Williamstown, the Willimas College Chaplin’s Office, and the Queer Life Coordinator, to have a Psalm writing workshop.

Though my duties as Intern, rarely change, I almost always have plenty to keep myself busy.  My computer skills are also rather favored here.  I think, thus far, my favorite intern “duty” would be creating the advertising flyers.  I think it’s my favorite, because not only do I get to use my writing and editing skills, but I also get to use my own creative liberties (even though the flyers follow a particular format).

With only about a month left of school, I’m enjoying the feeling of having a real job, as the current economy has made it clear that it might be awhile before I have this experience again.

Ultimately, I think I would love to be a novel editor, just so long as I always have nature and animals in my life.  If I had to chose between happiness and a million dollars, I’d chose happiness, as all a million dollars can do is buy more stuff.


Jobs, and Words, and Cows– Oh My! (guest post)

February 23, 2009

Normally, I am usually more of a blog “stalker” than a blog writer, but that’s not to say I’ve never contemplated it. So, I present to you, my first official attempt at blogging, as Nicole Pervere, the newest Inkberry intern.

First of all, I am absolutely enthralled to be experiencing what it’s like to have a “real” job. I love the independence that Inkberry gives me to work at my own pace, and to not have my hand held every step of the way. I like that I am able to learn from any mistakes I might make, instead of being in fear of doing something even slightly wrong. For this reason I really enjoy working for the Inkberry staff.

I’ve just realized that this is an awfully formal sounding blog, and I am not a terribly formal person. (At least I’ve already warned you that I’m not an experienced blogger!) Anyway, the horrible work experience I alluded to above, is from a job that I have been working at for far too long. I usually work at said job (I won’t name any names) when I go home if I’m feeling desperate for money, otherwise, I’ll take painstaking measures to avoid it.

When I’m not dreading working while home, I like reading and writing (which I don’t do nearly enough of anymore!), spending time with friends, and animals (yes, animals; I love them all), and believe it or not, I’m a pretty avid videogame player, and from time to time, I’m not too bad at it either!

I love nature and the outdoors, and could never give up the country life. In my future I see myself having a couple dogs, and couple (orange!) cats, some chickens for fresh eggs, ducks because they’re just so cute, and a vegetable garden for fresh veggies all summer! As for a future job, well, that’s pretty much still undetermined, but I do really enjoy editing other people’s writing.

I also love baking, and eating what I bake, and eating what I’m baking in the process of making it. Luckily, I don’t bake too often! Once I learn to cook decently well, I think I’ll make a pretty good wife someday! 😉 But for now, you can find me here, diligently typing at the keyboard, or, practicing the current love of my life, yoga!

Or, you might find me hanging out with this cow!

Or, you might find me hanging out with this cow!

A taste of poetry with Robert Ronnow (guest post from Leanne Jewett)

February 19, 2009

The first meeting of Inkberry’s guided poetry discussion group was held at Inkberry the first Monday in February. Though a number of poems were prepared for possible discussion, the first two poems of similar theme proved stimulating enough to carry the group through the full meeting. For an expanded overview of the evening and links to the poetry that will be discussed at our next meeting, which will happen at Inkberry on March 2, 7:00 pm, visit Poet Robert Ronnow’s website:

— Leanne Jewett

Inkberry co-founder at Best American Poetry

June 11, 2008

In early June I had the pleasure of serving as a guest-blogger at the Best American Poetry blog. (If you’re not already reading the BAP blog, allow me to recommend it; it’s as smart, wry, and multifaceted as one might imagine.)

I posted three poems over the course of my week there. Two of them are sestinas, both because I’m on a sestina kick lately and because I happen to know that the fine fellow who founded the BAP phenomenon is a fan of the form. Here are links to all three poems:


Voice (Naso)

Sestina Featuring Six Words Commonly Used On This Blog

It was a delight to lend my words to the Best American Poetry folks for a while. Thanks for the invitation, gang!

–Rachel Barenblat

Gloria Gets Motion Sickness (guest post from Seth Brown)

May 2, 2007

Doing something literary when you’re inspired is great. But doing something literary consistently, even on days you’re not inspired? That’s hard work.

When I first heard about Inkberry, I was very excited. Granted, this was because I thought it was something I could eat. But even after someone explained to me that it was a literary cabal generally consisting of people who didn’t want to be eaten, it still seemed like a pretty neat idea — even moreso than digital watches. I’m glad there’s a literary force in the Shire (as I like to refer to the Berkshires), and doubly glad that it happens to be headquartered in my city.

It’s not easy to keep literary things going for any significant period of time. I had a political poetry column in the Providence Journal for a few years, but it ended in the middle of my college career. I co-founded a humor magazine at Williams, but then I foolishly graduated. I have a blog on that I mean to update regularly but end up updating in fits and starts. Mostly fits. I used to do improvised verse at the 413 poetry slams until they ended. Sic transit gloria. (Or for those who don’t speak Latin, “Gloria gets motion sickness”)

The point is, doing something literary when you’re inspired is great. But doing something literary consistently, even on days you’re not inspired? That’s hard work. Sometimes, it’s even too great a task for one writer to face alone.

So, what do you do when faced with an overwhelming task? Well, you have two options. The first is the option I take: Cheat. I’m not inspired for a post on my blog right now, so I’m going to steal this Inkberry blog entry of mine to paste on my website as well. But that’s not a long-term solution. The other option is to seek help. How fortuitous that you have a local literary cabal that puts on events and even offers a wide range of courses.

Me? I pretty much just offer humor. As a course when there’s demand, on my website even when there isn’t, and in my column in the Transcript until the editor wakes up one day and announces he’s leaving for Bennington. (Seriously, if it happens a third time, I’m going to suspect a conspiracy.)

In conclusion, buy low and sell high. And feel free to replace “low” with “my books”.

Get ekphrastic! (Guest post from Paula Orlando)

April 2, 2007

The next WordPlay event on 4/14 at Papyri Books is concentrating on Ekphrastic Poetry, in response to the “The Moon is Broken” exhibit at WCMA. Poet Paula Orlando writes about her ekphrastic experience.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was eight years old, but didn’t get serious about it until I moved to San Francisco and became involved with the Poetics Program at New College of California, where I studied with Tom Clark and was one of the founding editors of the college’s literary journal Prosodia. I received my MFA in English/Creative Writing at Mills College in Oakland and then moved to upstate New York to join the graduate program in English at SUNY Albany. Currently, I am a grant project manager at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and live at the Eclipse Mill Artist Lofts, where I am enjoying my involvement with the local arts community. The Inkberry Thursday night writer’s group has inspired me to begin working on a series of short stories.

At Inkberry’s Thursday night writer’s group, Jill suggested that we visit the Williams College Museum of Art and compose an “ekphrastic” poem in response to one of the photos in The Moon is Broken exhibit. I felt a bit apprehensive about this exercise because much of the imagery is abstract, and a lot of my past writing has tended toward the abstract and has been received as inaccessible. But when I saw the surreal Robert D’Alessandro photo of an elephant walking among the clouds I was quite taken with it because elephants are such ponderous, earthbound creatures. I immediately thought of the elephant in the photo as a kind of sky god, oddly light and airy. And then I thought of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesha, widely popular in India as a benevolent god of good fortune. So, instead of writing a poem, I wrote a one-page “fable” about Ganesha, in which I drew upon some of the traditional stories and tweaked or reversed them, so that Ganesha, rather than staying with the people on earth and helping them out with their daily woes, rather selfishly returns to his mother in paradise. It is we, not this elephant, who are bound to the earth. This piece is consistent with much of my recent writing, which has focused on deconstructing religious motifs and symbols in an effort to problematize them or get closer to the spiritual “truths” that they sometimes obscure or distort. I also like experimenting with different “voices,” and, for this piece, I adopted the tone and stylistic mannerisms of the traditional fable. The ekphrastic poetry exercise turned out to be a lot of fun, and I am pleased with the piece that it inspired. Here’s an excerpt from my poem:

“In what dream,” he asked “would you hope to walk securely with two faces, one in front and one in back, like those who wear papier-mâché masks to confuse my cousin tiger? The tiger is the mind, and he is always following you.

“I cannot return,” he said, “to a place I never really was.”

Meet Lois! (guest post from Lois Daunis)

March 2, 2007

Inkberry invites you to meet Lois Daunis, the owner of Papyri Books. The new location of Papyri Books on Eagle Street is a spacious, welcoming and relaxing space. Stop by and meet Lois in person!

As an English major at Clark University in Worcester, MA I worked very part-time for an antiquarian bookseller back in the late 70’s. Upon graduation, I managed two different bookstores in Central Massachusetts. I took a 25 year hiatus to pursue teaching and education administration. At the same time I enjoyed raising a son and later becoming stepmother to three very talented daughters – all of whom love to read.

A hope of mine was to someday slow the pace of life and become proprietor of my own bookstore. Over thirty years of workng for others has given me a taste for relative quiet and solitude on a daily basis. Purchasing Papyri Books from Karen Kane has been a means to that end. However, the first 18 months of ownership has been anything but quiet. My oldest stepdaughter, Emily, and her fiancee, Dan, ran the business during year one while my husband and I juggled several jobs, a move to North Adams, two graduations, and the purchase of a new business space on Eagle Street. It became clear, very early into ownership of the business that remaining on Main Street, and paying exorbitant rent did not lend itself to longevity. So … Papyri Books and our family now reside at 45 Eagle Street. We moved thousands of books during January and February of 2007 and are just now reopening! Now it’s time to read and relax!