• Braiding the Verse Novel: Carol Fisher Saller

    “Braiding the Verse Novel”  is a series of interviews I did with writers of novels –  and one biography  – in verse.  We had our conversations over the summer of 2012. I’ve written articles about verse novels for School Library Journal and NH Writer which draw on these conversations in different ways.  Here, I’m posting the full responses from each of the writers who allowed me to ask them questions.  Nearly everyone who has read my novel, The Good Braider, asked me why I wrote in the spare lines of verse.  My readers’ questions have caused me to explore my own craft and then to explore the question with these articulate, generous writers. Each week I will feature a new novelist.

    Edide’s War by Carol Fisher Saller is a novel in poems.  Each of Carol’s poems could  stand alone as a character portrait or vignette.  “A poignant look at boyhood before and during the long years of World War II,” writes Kirkus in a starred review.


  • The Story of a Pumpkin, a tale from Bhutan

    The Story of a Pumpkin, a folktale in Nepali and English, has just been published by the New Hampshire Humanities Council.  The photo is from our  Folktale Festival celebrating the tale told by Hari Tiwari who now lives in Laconia, NH.   This book is the fruit of the work of many: new neighbors from Bhutan, folklorist Jo Radner, artist Susan Gaylord, and me, in my job as literacy director at the NH Humanities Council.   The story was told to us by Hari Tiwari whose father told her the tale when she was a small girl in Bhutan. You can read about the steps we took, from collecting folktales in ESOL classes to proofreading in Nepali and English. The book is distributed by the University Press of New England.  Soon we will have a teacher’s guide.

  • Be a Dad. Be There, Reading with Dads in Prison

    By Terry Farish

    Like I want to rush my sentence.  I feel like I’m missing out with my baby.  But it seems like six months has gone so fast for her.  You want to take in every last breath you can take, and make them last.”

    Inmates connect with their kids reading poetry and Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon. READ MORE

  • If You Were Thomas’s White Girlfriend

    photo by Kate Philbrick

    “When Studs Terkel was asked on Transom what he wanted to hear on the radio, he answered, “Something real.”   Jay Allison in his intro to this story on Transom.org, “If You Were Thomas’s White Girlfriend.”

    By Terry Farish

    Thomas got a job shelving books at a branch of the Portland Public Library, a pretty good job considering that he hadn’t been in the country all that long.


  • Aruna Kenyi – a writer of grace and hard work

    I hear about Aruna Kenyi before I meet him.
    I’m at the Telling Room in Portland, Maine,  a large upstairs room on Commercial Street facing the busy waterfront, where teenagers come to write with the support of professional writers. Patty Hagge is one teacher, a striking woman with pure white hair. She tells me about two writers who came to Portland and changed Kenyi’s life:  Valentino Achak Deng and Dave Eggers. They spoke to young writers there and read from What is the What, Eggers’ book based on Valentino’s memories of Sudan. Here is the audio of their talk. “From the time Kenyi met them,” Patty tells me, “he said he wanted to write his story and we said, we will help you.”