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An Evening of Poetry with Tony Whedon, Barbara Murphy, and David Cavanagh

Event date: 
Thursday, July 13, 2017 - 7:00pm

Join Tony Whedon, Barbara Murphy, and David Cavanagh for an evening of poetry.


Tony Whedon’s new book The Hatcheck Girl vividly describes border crossings where language, culture and states of consciousness collide. In these richly layered poems about jazz, most of the musicians we meet are sidemen: few are famous, most are notorious. They’re united, as he says in his opening poem “The Tradition of the New,” by their devotion to the music and by their appetite for a note, a phrase to “make it new . . . over and over.” Whedon is a poet of historical juxtaposition: in “The Peacocks” we meet both trumpet player Chet Baker and Italian Baroque painter Michelangelo Caravaggio on a lonely beach outside Naples. In “Head Wound” Whedon’s narrator, an expat jazz musician who’s suffered a head wound in WW II France, contemplates the beauty of late-14th Century illuminated manuscripts. Some poems in The Hatcheck Girl feature women – Whedon’s opera singer sister dying of cirrhosis in Manhattan, an aging torch singer in Jacksonville, a young, green female pianist in Paris – struggling to survive in a male-dominated art form. Others depict the lives of musicians who scuffle for gigs in out-of-way clubs because they both love the music and don’t know what else to do. Robert Pinsky has praised Tony Whedon’s “masterful verbal music,” and in The Hatcheck Girl Whedon, a jazz trombonist, is in command of the medium. His new collection is full of brilliant improvisational surprises.

Tony Whedon is the author of the poetry books Things to Pray to in Vermont and The Falklands Quartet, and the poetry chapbook The Tres Riches Heures. His poems and essays appear in Harpers, American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Sewanee Review, Ploughshares and over a hundred other literary magazines. His essay collection A Language Dark Enough: Essays on Exile won the Mid-List Press award for Creative Nonfiction. Tony is a working trombone player and the leader of the poetry/jazz ensemble PoJazz. Along with Neil Shepard, he founded Green Mountains Review. He lives with his wife Suzanne in Montgomery, Vermont.


Barbara Murphy's Almost Too Much both tactfully and relentlessly interrogates our human experience in these dehumanizing times. There's not a sliver of false hope in these pages, but reading them, we catch glimpses of the paradox of our lives, that 'The sound of geese /overhead, their thin cries clear /as night through the ceilings and roof / of the house, is either the saddest /sound [we] will ever know / or one of great lifting joy.' Barbara Murphy's quietly brilliant poems move us readers toward usable truth," says David Huddle.

Barbara Murphy's work has appeared in several literary journals including New England Review, Green Mountains Review, The Threepenny Review, and Michigan Quarterly Review. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and is the recipient of a Vermont Council on the Arts fellowship. Murphy has worked as president of Johnson State College in Vermont since 2001 and has been recognized for her leadership roles in higher education. She lives and works in northern Vermont with her husband Tom Garrett.



The poems in David Cavanagh’s Straddle explore the perils and possibilities in living on borders, both physical and psychic. They probe the inner/outer balance we all struggle to maintain. They straddle the challenges of daily life, try to reconcile contradictions, and find a measure of grace. Whether dealing with love, the environment, loss of loved ones, gun violence, relations between nations, or email from the Beyond, the poems brim with fresh language and clear vision.

David Cavanagh’s four books of poems include Straddle, The Middleman, and Falling Body, all from Salmon Poetry of Ireland, and Cycling in Plato’s Cave, from Fomite Press. David’s poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies in the U.S., Ireland, the U.K., and his native Canada. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been supported by grants from the Vermont Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. He works for Johnson State College and lives in Burlington.  


DATE:  Thursday, July 13th at 7pm

LOCATION:  Phoenix Books Burlington

ADMISSIONProceeds from ticket sales will go to the Vermont Foodbank.  Your $3 ticket comes with a coupon for $5 off a copy of the featured book.  Coupons expire at closing the evening of the event.

BENEFICIARY: Founded in 1986, the Vermont Foodbank has grown to be the state’s largest hunger-relief organization, serving Vermont through a network of food shelves, meal sites, schools, hospitals, and housing sites. The Foodbank’s mission is to gather and share quality food and nurture partnerships so that no one in Vermont goes hungry. In FY2016, the Vermont Foodbank distributed more than 12 million pounds of food to 153,100 Vermonters. The Vermont Foodbank, a member of Feeding America, is nationally recognized as one of the most effective and efficient nonprofits and food banks in the nation.

Event address: 
191 Bank Street
Burlington, VT 05401
The Hatcheck Girl: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780997452839
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Green Writers Press - October 14th, 2016