Route One Reads is a virtual reading trip along Route One. For this year's summer road trip the Center for the Book in each state along Route One was asked to select a book of poetry. This was a challenge for the NH Center as the Granite State is home to lots of wonderful poets.
Since we couldn't bring ourselves to choose just one poet, we selected an anthology: Covid Spring: Granite State Pandemic Poems. This volume was edited by New Hampshire's current Poet Laureate, Alexandria Peary, and was published by our own Hobblebush Books.
In her introduction Alex explains how this volume came to be:
This anthology is April 202 in the Granite State, but I also believe it is the future. The book pulses with the creative energy of poets from across teh state coming together over a a compressed amount of time to write a manuscript together, responding to the call Kirsty Walker, President of Hobblebush Books, and I sent out in late March for an anthology on the pandemic. Over the course of eight meetings every Wednesday and Saturday during April, fifty-eighte writers from New Hampshire met with me in an online writers' group to help each other start poems about the crisis.
...At the conclusion of National Poetry Month, writers were invited to submit their poems for blind review, thought participation in the virtual writing group was not required for publication, nor a guarantee. The time frame for creation was compressed and intense: writers would give form and shape to these experiences in real time within a month; a book-length manuscript would result within thirty days. Many New Hampshire writers answered the call to create out of this crisis; we received far more poems than we could fit into the anthology and had to turn away work we admired.
Fifty-four of the state's poets are represented in this anthology, writing of job loss, loneliness and love, masks, social distancing, surreal visitors, uncertainty, graduations deferred, grief, neighborly and less-than-neighborly acts, observing the beginning of the pandemic and making projections about the future, recalibrating or confirming what it means to be human, to be a resident of this region.
If this volume whets your appetite for Granite State poets I invite you to revisit our 2021 National Poetry Month celebration which featured the work of many of these same poets.