jeffrey johannes, michael farmer, cory a. masiak, jude genereaux, bobbie krinsky | WISCONSIN POETS’ CALENDAR, 2011

19 07 2010

Poetry Dispatch No. 327 | July 19, 2010


Jeffrey Johannes, Michael Farmer, Cory A. Masiak, Jude Genereaux, Bobbie Krinsky

Editor’s Note: This excellent collection, the Twenty-fifth Anniversary Celebration of Wisconsin’s Best Poetry (, first published by Tom and Mary Montag in 1982 and under the superb direction of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets since 1987, is an annual reminder that poetry is alive and well in a Midwestern state noted for cows, cheese, beer, Fighting Bob LaFollette’s Progressive Party, and the Green Bay Packers.

The 2011 edition, extremely well-edited by Sandra Lindow and Peg Lauber, represents over two hundred Wisconsin poets, from the state’s past and present poet laureates to fledgling writers finding print for the first time. That’s a particular measure of mine I champion whenever possible: Does this little magazine publication, small press, etc. keep its door wide open for any and every writer who submits a piece of work for publication, or is it a ‘private club’ of like-minded friends and academics who publish only themselves? What I particularly admire about three Wisconsin publications—the former Free Verse, Hummingbird, and the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar—is the open door policy, knowing how difficult it has always been for beginning writers to get their foot in the literary door, even more so these days via print.

The 2011 calendar is further enhanced by the cover and interior art work of poet/painter of Candace Hennekens.

Bear in mind that my selections for this posting represent a very small fraction of all the fine work to be found in this volume. Also, many of the poets are either friends of mine and/or former students of my annual writing workshop at The Clearing, here in Ellison Bay, Wisconsin where I live, many of them with a substantial amount of books and credits to their name, and consequently will try my best (with the possibility of one or two exceptions) to concentrate primarily on the poets I do not know and/or those who could use a little more exposure.

This collection is such a rich resource of good work, I will very likely return to it throughout the year and post additional poems either on this site or either of my two Wisconsin sites: NBCoop News or Door County Today. —Norbert Blei

Some Winter Day
Think of winter as the creative
recluse who emerges
from his half of your duplex
to borrow a cup of sugar.
He sits at your table sipping coffee,
frost clinging to his beard.
Your coffee still too hot to drink,
conversation drifts.
You try to remind him about color:
daffodils, playground chalk, koi;
but he only wants to talk
about his latest composition,
an opera in which the protagonist
paints the world white.
It takes him all morning to sing
the opening aria.
Outside your window,
snow lifts and curls.
You light a cigarette,
pour some Irish whiskey
into your coffee,
and settle in for the second act.

Jeffrey Johannes


ice fishing called off
boat refuses proper launch
water much too hard

–Michael Farmer


I have to dig deep
to learn to be farmer again
I have to uproot
the strata of office jobs
the habit of meetings
and memos
and get my hands dirty
break into working sweat
dig past
the academic degrees
and study abroad
to find the grain
that kernel of need
and obligation
and love
in the sweet soil of me

–Cory A. Masiak

Bait Shop
You know that smell
the minute you walk in
Know you’ve reached back & found it again
that old bait shop, milk & bread store
at the Four corners by the lake.

Could be in Petoskey where Old Hem
hung out on his way to the Big Two Hearted
or the one in Baileys on the harbor
any hundred others near the U.P. or the Brule

And you’re 10 again, a can of worms in your fist
waiting for Dad to take you out in that old row boat
with the leaky bottom, water sloshing between the slats
tied to the dock & bobbing in morning mist
up at Uncle Hank’s.

Walk through that old wooden screen door—BAM!
Bags of chips, iced cokes & souvenirs—jack knives,
birch bark canoes &; sweetgrass baskets For Sale
next to postcards of black bear & trout, all
steeped in the scent of old wood, damp & musty
Closed-for-Winter air lingering in summer’s musk

Walking back through that door
to summers past.

—Jude Genereaux

Winter’s First Orange

On nights like these
when temperatures plunge
and turn our world
into black ice and powder white

and my dog—even my dog—
won’t step outside,

it’s time to reach
for my first winter’s orange,
peel it in a single spiral,
lean over the kitchen sink
and, juice running
down my fingers,
take one bite, then another
and another
till lips and tongue tingling,

I purr, “Hey Jack Frost,
blow me a kiss.”

–Bobbie Krinsky

For those wishing to get a copy of the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, drop by the Clearing in Ellison Bay or Novel Ideas in Baileys Harbor if you are local, or to go the the website and hit the Calendar link for information…then wander through some of the other areas to find out more about the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.



9 responses

19 07 2010
Charlie Rossiter

The Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar is always a treat. Thanks for announcing the latest installment.

19 07 2010
Jeffrey Winke

Love Jude’s Bait Shop poem. Described accurately except that every bait shop I’ve been in is run by a mean, gnarly cuss who hides in the shadows…I guess waiting for someone to plunge their hand into the minnow tank and grab a couple before beating ass out the door. Of course, that could just be my faulty impression of bait shop owners who are probably kindly Mr. Rogers types.

19 07 2010
Judith Wiker

Excellent work.

19 07 2010


Enjoyable selections. How does on get a copy of the calendar?

19 07 2010
Michael Farmer

Thank you, Norb! Much appreciated. For those wishing to get a copy of the Wisconsin Poets’ Calendar, drop by the Clearing in Ellison Bay or Novel Ideas in Baileys Harbor if you are local. Or you can phone, e-mail or write me and for $13.95 plus $3.00 shipping, I can mail you one. Greater quantities have higher shipping. Better to go the the website and hit the Calendar link for information…then wander through some of the other areas to find out more about the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets. We are working with the Wisconsin Regional Writers and have been getting some interest with an International Native American Flute group for performances. Lots of talent out there…so let’s have some of YOURS! Please? Michael Farmer, PO 555, Baileys Harbor, WI 54202-0555 920-839-2191 ps. Jeff…I think the Mr. Rogers types have a snapping turtle in the bottom of the minnow tank…a hungry one…! mf

19 07 2010
Michael Farmer

Special offer! Mention Norb and his site and the calendar will be $10.00 each if you pick it up from me or add the $3.00 postage for mail orders (more for multiple copies). Thank you again, Norb. Michael.

20 07 2010
Robert M. Zoschke

Capitano Nazzzz….thanks for the hip happenin’ tout on the Poets Calendar…felt like I was at the rail near the finish line at Old Hawthorne and you was blowin’ in the wind about the hot horse in the next race.
LOVE the Bait Shop pome tome…reminds me of the old bait shop up in Eagle River, Wisconsin, run by two twin sisters who never married, who were in their eighties when I was a boy and they were still running that bait shop…beautiful.

5 07 2014

Bonjour Cory,c’est Michel(Fontana). Qu’es-tu devenue? Tu peux me téléphoner à Paris au : 06 27 24 46 17. J’ai fais une très belle carrière . Prends soin de toi. Michel

31 08 2014

Bonjour Cory,comment vas-tu? Je rentre d’Argentine. Donne-moi de tes nouvelles,s’il te play

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