This spring, Wednesday evening visitors to UVM's Fleming Museum can entertain their ears as well as their eyes. Hosted by English professor and acclaimed poet Major Jackson, the Painted Word Poetry Series brings two "established and emergent New England poets" to the Fleming on the last Wednesday of three successive months, starting February 27. Live jazz from local trio The Castaways will precede each 6:30 p.m. reading. This Wednesday's featured poets are Paige Ackerson-Kiely of Lincoln and Stephen Cramer, a New York City resident who teaches writing at Johnson State College. Both received national attention for their first published collections. Expect darkly humorous, oblique verse rooted in a recognizable landscape from Ackerson-Kiely, who works at a local wine store when she's not teaching at Bread Loaf or serving as writer in residence at Monkton's Willowell Foundation.
Sure, Vermont is known for the mountains. But Ali Wise of Essex Junction and Tyler Weeks of South Burlington hope to make it America's Nature Valley. The two young professionals are among 10 finalists in the Where's Yours? online video contest, a promotion for Nature Valley Granola Bars. The General Mills-owned company is offering adventure vacations worth up to $61,000 to people who create compelling mini-movies of their own "nature valleys." Wise and Weeks enlisted the help of St. Mike's film student Tyler Kasupski and filmed themselves night skiing at Bolton, sledding on Mount Mansfield, and roughing it on a winter campsite. The only shot they couldn't get, says Wise, was a sunset over Lake Champlain - weather never permitted.
To view the three-and-a-half minute clip, called "A Green Mountain Experience" - or to vote for the local couple to win a trip to the Arctic Svalbard and the Falklands - go to www.wheresyours.com/VideoContest.aspx. Voting ends on March 13.