To Look Out From| my poetry book

•September 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

My first poetry collection is coming out April 11, 2017!

tolookoutfrom_frontcoversep25sml“In To Look Out From, Dede Cummings takes good advantage of the imaginative fluidity that poetry offers. Even her poems of memory and family are driven by curiosity and enlivened by quick maneuvers and spritely turns. And she is careful never to leave the reader behind.” — Billy Collins

Dede Cummings was the winner of the 4th annual Homebound Publications Poetry Prize for her collection To Look Out From, which will be published by Homebound Publications on April 11, 2017. The collection is drawn from poems that span 30 years in a narrative of place explored through craft and form: from growing up with four sisters, to alibis for secrets, family, memory, leaving home, and a mother’s grief; through poems that take the reader deep into forests and unexpected treasures found in nature.

According to acclaimed poet Clarence Major, Dede Cummings’ poems in To Look Out From are breathtakingly vivid. Deeply felt, they often chronicle the relationship between self and the natural world, between self and others. These are New England poems that transcend New England. They are well-crafted testaments, often pastoral, to the cycles of life. At times they are elegiac and bittersweet, yet attentive in their hopefulness and trust in the Great Wonderments and mysteries. At times gracefully discursive and always brilliantly paced, they are poems given to recovery and renewal. This is a book I will read over and over.”

dede-cummings_bandw_byhowardromeroDede Cummings is a writer, literary agent/publisher and commentator for Vermont Public Radio. At Middlebury College, she was the recipient of the Mary Dunning Thwing Award, attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference as an undergraduate waiter, and studied with Hayden Carruth at the Bennington Writers’ Workshop. In 2013, she was a poetry contributor at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Her poetry has been published in Mademoiselle, The Lake, InQuire, Vending Machine Press, Kentucky Review, Connotation Press, and Bloodroot Literary Magazine. She was a Discover/The Nation poetry semi-finalist and was awarded a writer’s grant and a partial fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center in 2016. Dede lives in Vermont where she designs books and runs the startup Green Writers Press. (Author photo by Howard Romero.)

~~~~ INFO on the BOOK LAUNCH TOUR during APRIL 2017 ~~~~
I will be touring throughout the year, beginning April 7th at Next Stage Arts in Putney, Vermont, with short story writer, Tim Weed. There will be a launch party for his book, A Field Guide to Murder and Fly Fishing and mine at the same time (see more below!).

This Book Launch Party is an annual affair that GWP hosts with Next Stage in a partnership to bring out the best of Vermont literature, and new books from outside the state, published by an emerging, independent publishing house located in southern Vermont! Please join us to hear emerging poets and fiction writer, Tim Weed read, as well as the voices of two Vermont poet laureates: Sydney Lea and current laureate, Putney’s own, Chard deNiord! Brattleboro’s own Dede Cummings will host a reading from her first poetry collection, To Look Out From, winner of the 2016 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. Dede will read a few poems and host the other readers: Putney’s Tim Weed, Guilford’s Megan Buchanan, and Brattleboro/Guilford scribe Peter Gould. Cummings will introduce our newest Vermont transplant, James Crews, as well as Chard deNiord & Sydney Lea. Special guests include Jim Krosschell, author of One Man’s Maine, and Burlington’s Cardy Raper, author of An American Harvest.

Books will be available for purchase and signing. EVENT WEBSITE:
http://nextstagearts.org/event/green-writers-press-book-launch/?instance_id=19849

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Dede Cummings is a poet and publisher, founder of Green Writers Press in Brattleboro. She has been writing poetry since she was 13, and had her first taste of fame and immortality with the publication of a poem that began with the lines, “Darkness came,” but that is all she can remember. Her first poetry collection took 30 years in the making!

For more dates for Dede’s book tour, see below—I’d love to see you in VT, RI, or NYC!

OTHER EVENTS IN APRIL/NAT’L POETRY MONTH:
April 1, 2017 9-4:15 PM—New Hampshire Writers Day featured reader/panelist
April 1, 2017 7:00 PM — Northshire Bookstore, Manchester, Vermont
April 7, 2017: 7:30 PM — Reading/Launch at Next Stage Arts Project in Putney, Vermont
April 11, 2017 6:00 PM — Bear Pond Books, Montpelier, Vermont—Featured reader at PoemCity
April 15, 2017 4:00-6:00 PM — Poet’s House, 10 River Terrace, New York City
April 20, 2017 6:30 PM — Phoenix Books, Rutland, Vermont
April 21, 2017 6:00 PM — Savoy Bookshop, 10 Canal Street, Westerly, Rhode Island
April, 2017 TBD — Nature Poetry, featured workshop leader at PoemCity, Montpelier, Vermont
April, 2017 TBD — The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vermont

To Look Out From, poems
by Dede Cummings
PUB DATE: April 11, 2017
Hardcover with Flyleaf | 92 Pages | $24.95  |  ISBN 978-1-938846-82-3
Trade Paperback | 92 Pages | $16.95  |  ISBN 978-1-938846-83-0
eBook Coming Summer 2017
This book is a pre-order. It will be released on April 11, 2017. Pre-orders will ship April 1st. www.homeboundpublications.com  Review copies available upon request.

Homebound Publications ~ Ensuring the mainstream isn’t the only stream.

Reflections

•March 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

So in love with the writing of one of our debut novelists at Green Writers Press! Brett does a great job of drawing the reader into her real, or imagined world.

Stony Soil Vermont

Long after sunset last night, my daughters and I went walking, in that thick rural dark broken only by the lights of the single house across the road, the lights of our kitchen behind us, and overhead all those stars. The little girl, fearful of the dark, walked between her sister and me. Those glimmering, oh-so-bright stars twinkled in the treetops, still bare and leafless at this time of year.

Earlier that day, the younger girl had dug quartz pebbles from the roadside mud, washed them clean in a puddle, and gave them to me to put in my pockets for safekeeping. My diamonds, she called them.

Shiny bits of stars, bright bits of stone.

As we walked back to our house, guided by the compass of our kitchen light, the older daughter told us she parted her curtains every night and slept every night with a windowful of…

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Iceland in August 2016 with Green Writers Press!

•December 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

100_2182Announcing the first Green Writers Press travel program for writers and readers, with a focus on incorporating a sense of place into your writing.

Located between 61 and 66 degrees north latitude on the southern edge of the Arctic Ocean, Iceland is a country of dramatic extremes, where geysers and steaming lava flows coexist with powerful waterfalls and vast calving glaciers. Due to its location at the edge of the Artic Circle much of the country remains under ice; Iceland contains the third-largest ice cap in the world after Antarctica and Greenland.

But the glaciers are melting quickly. As in other arctic and sub-arctic regions around the world, global climate change is an accelerating and highly visible phenomenon. 6A

At the same time, as an island straddling the rift valley where the American and European tectonic plates diverge, Iceland is one of the most volcanically active countries on the planet. Seventy percent of its energy is renewable, mostly from geothermal sources, considered one of the most promising non-carbon-based sources of future world energy.

The program begins in vibrant Reykjavik, Europe’s northernmost capital. Learn about Iceland’s rich literary tradition and its fascinating Viking history; visit Reykjavik’s famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pool; and get essential background on climate change, Iceland’s volcanoes and glaciers, and the country’s exciting alternative energy programs, Participate in a field-based journaling exercise designed to begin incorporating the dramatic north Atlantic landscape into your writing.

4AFrom Reykjavik we travel south and east to Höfn, remote gateway to mighty Vatnajökull Glacier, the world’s third-largest ice cap. In Höfn, we meet up with GWP author M Jackson, who is spending the year in Iceland on a U.S. Fulbright-National Science Foundation Arctic Research Fellowship

We’ll spend our days writing, reading, and venturing out to expl100_2211ore Iceland’s rugged and beautiful wilderness. Hike to stunning waterfalls that tumble over basalt cliffs to roaring glacial rivers and uninhabited fjords.

With M as our local expeditionary guide, we’ll take part in extraordinary adventures such as glacier trekking, cruising on glacial lagoons, and soaking away the chill at the end of the day in one of the country’s natural hot springs.

M will take us off the beaten path and share incredible local places few travelers to Iceland ever see.

IMG_1929The program will feature evening talks by GWP writers Tim Weed on the power of descriptive writing in narrative prose and M Jackson on evocative “science” writing and creating place in memoir, along with publisher Dede Cummings on using poetry as a tool for activism. Daily field-based writing and reading exercises will allow participants to enhance their skills as writers and their appreciation as reaAuthor MJackson_rgbders for the power and impact of descriptive writing in literary prose and poetry in the context of the changing global climate.

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Note: This program includes moderately strenuous activity and participants must be in good physical condition. Accommodations are in simple, well-located Icelandic hostels. The tentative dates of the program are August  6– 12, 2016. The approximate cost of the program will be $3000-$3500 including RT airfare from Boston to Reykjavik.

Below are some of M Jackson’s amazing photos of where we will be going!

Contact Dede Cummings for more information and to reserve a spot . . . dede.cummings1@gmail.com or 802-380-1121

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More photos—the latest!—from M Jackson:

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¡Viva Cuba! … and other Trips

•November 24, 2015 • Leave a Comment

What an amazing first trip to Cuba! I’m co-leading trips occasionally and helping to find clients for my friend, Tim Weed. His Creative Travel Arts and my Green Writers Press are even going to collaborate next year on a few adventure travel trips: Iceland, Cuba, Tierra del Fuego. 

If you are interested in finding out more about my trips with Tim Weed, writing retreats with Suzanne Kingsbury (Ireland!), etc., email me at: dede.cummings1@gmail.com

~~~ Here is a snippet of my time in Cuba, along with a few photos. Thanks for reading my work!

~

Running along the Malecom

I pass small antiquated fishing boats, and run toward the Castle of el Moro, built out of the rock as a Spanish fortress, which guards the bay of Havana. Running past fisherman standing before a crumbling bench — graffiti of Che and Castro adorn the sides of buildings — the spray of a wave soaks me. I grow more confident feeling my legs stretch behind me. Leaving old Havana I pass other runners. I stretch, noticing a dark cloud that brings rain that pours down. The squall soaks me through. I turn back and run into the headwind slowly. I cut across the Malacon and walk down a side street where there is a restored pink Dodge, an old fishing boat named Havana and a horse and buggy. A rainbow appears and the Havana light sets a yellow house ablaze. I see an old man and ask him in halting Spanish how to say “rainbow” in Spanish. Puffing out his chest, he says “yellow house.”

  
   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

  

Bees are My New Passion

•October 15, 2015 • 2 Comments

51FWZ57xI+LMy beekeeping book is coming out in February! I am really excited about this because not only did I learn a lot about bees, I also found that I am passionate about the little critters and want to set up a hive, maybe come springtime.

Here is a bit about my book

The Good Living Guide to Beekeeping

Secrets of the Hive, Stories from the Field, and a Practical Guide That Explains It All

Beekeeping is nothing new—the ancient Egyptians were well versed in the benefits of living with bees—but in recent years, there has been a surge of folks struck with the desire to build and nurture a hive of their own. Beekeeping has become the passion of farmers in rural Vermont, urbanites with rooftops in LA, and thousands of people in between. This book is for beginners and experts alike, with all the basic information you need to get started, as well as stories and tips that will inspire and instruct the most seasoned beekeeper.

In this guide, you will learn how to:

  • Choose a spot for your hive
  • Build a hive with simple tools and materials
  • Buy bees or attract them to your hive
  • Harvest the fruits of the bees’ labor
  • Make beeswax candles and lip balm
  • Utilize honey, wax, and propolis for medicinal purposes

And much more!

I offer readers something truly unique—a book that comes alongside you like a wise friend, offering sage advice as well as humorous anecdotes and fascinating interviews with beekeepers across the country. Equally good for reading while curled up inside during the long winter as for carrying with you to the hives mid-summer, this will be a welcome addition to any bee enthusiast’s library.

A Book is On the Way
I had tons of help from beekeepers I interviewed and the help of my fabulous high school intern, Lindsey Vachon, along with my friends and colleagues, Danielle Gyger, Sierra Dickey and Rose Alexandra-Leach, of course my editor, Abigail Gehring, was amazing to work with.  It is so exciting to have a book coming out that is good, and helpful, and was mostly fun to write!

logoIf you want to preorder a copy, you can go to Indiebound and order from your local, independent bookstore! Thanks for supporting my writing and, of course, the bees!

Here is the link and information about the book.

Good Books, Hardcover, 9781680990591, 192pp.

Publication Date: February 2016

San Juans by Dede Cummings

•April 1, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Pretty happy to have a poem published today! I’ve been working on this for twenty years, off and on. I dedicate it to my dear friend, Annie Philbrick​, whose generosity and spirit (not to mention my first host to the San Juan islands!) has been so dear to me. And also a big shoutout to my friend, colleague, mentor, editor, collaborator, and Gateless Writers​ founder, Suzanne D. Kingsbury​ for teaching me a new way to write and “unteach” the old! Vending MachinePress​ is the publisher, and my editor is Mike Lafontaine​. Thanks to my blog readers, too!

Vending Machine Press



From here she can see no islands, only a mountain beyond water
mostly purple-black and defying the orange-spreading sky.
Beginning a new day with a fragment of a dream, she moves
around the garden — a space for the plant, or imprint for the seed.
She throws stones over the fence, the sun-warmed crescents rest
upon the crusty soil, except for a circled one which she tucks away.
Transparent green leaves appear poised below a climbing trellis
on which last year’s scorched vines cling.

This morning she begins to watch for the orcas.
Her eyes know the spot as if by heart from a dream:
the black and white bodies lean and glistening,
the splash she thought she heard in the dream—
she awakens to her body erect and taut like a fishing line.

A funnel kite dances around the flagpole like in a childhood game.
Twisting her plaid uniform…

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Going to CUBA! Update!

•January 18, 2015 • 2 Comments

CubaStreet
UPDATE, March 7, 2015

Our trip is filling up very quickly, and there is talk of Tim and Dede doing another one in March, 2016, so don’t worry!

Tim Weed, our guide, just returned from a National Geographic trip to the island, and he is really excited about our trip because he will be able to customize it more, and make it more personal and focus on art and culture.
Here is a slide show from Tim’s trip…. very exciting to think we will be there in November!

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Tim and I are meeting next week to do more planning, but I wanted to link you all up to my gmail address for updates.
We have good news: The price has been dropped due to some costs associated with travel restrictions being lifted.
At this point, we have 14 people expressing very strong interest and half are already committed! Here is a note form Tim about our pricing and accommodations.
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What is the room situation? Rooms in the casas have 2 beds – but we can convert them to singles and I think the fee should cover it. 
 
How large a group will be going? 16-18 
 
How many of the eight days will we be in Havana vs. outside trips? About half and half.  
 
And what sort of cancellation policy is there should I find I can’t make it? The deposit will have to be non-refundable. The rest should be refundable, although the closer we get to the date the less it will be, as we’ll be having to pay for plane tickets, ground costs, etc. But we should be able to fund a percentage of it right up to the date.
SIGN UP AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST, USING THE FORM, OR EMAIL Dede at dede.cummings1@gmail.com to sign up.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
If you’ve ever thought about traveling to Cuba . . . here is a chance to make that dream a reality with a new, specially organized private small-group trip. This is not one of the mass-produced cultural bus tours you’re seeing advertised: this is a creative, one-of-a-kind, insider’s journey for intellectually curious travelers who wish to experience a side of Cuba that is seldom seen by American tourists. Our particular focus will be the country’s thriving arts scene: we’ll have unforgettable daily opportunities to interact with Cuban writers, visual artists, musicians, dancers, santería practitioners, scholars, and entrepreneurs. We’ll visit World Heritage historical sites, community arts projects, organic farms, sugar and coffee plantations, and cigar factories. We’ll have the opportunity to sample Cuba’s famous paladares (officially sanctioned restaurants located in private homes), and, of course, to experience Cuba’s world-renowned music scene. And we’ll strike out from Havana and into the countryside to experience some of the island’s beautiful landscapes, beaches, and hidden corners.

IMG_1780The trip will be led by Tim Weed, an author and widely traveled National Geographic featured expert who has made countless extended trips to Cuba since the late ’90s. Tim is a published novelist and a fluent Spanish-speaker with a deep and extensive network of contacts within Cuba’s arts, literary, and educational communities. The trip will be co-hosted by Dede Cummings, a writer/publisher, who also has agent experience, and a domain-changing editor who has traveled the globe.

D E T A I L S
Dates ~ November 14 – 22, 2015
Spots are beginning to fill up, so sign up provisionally using the form at the end of this post to receive updates for this trip if you are interested! Email Dede at dede.cummings1@gmail.com if you want to reserve right away, and we will hold a spot for you! In order to “officially” secure your place, you must send a deposit of $1000 by June 1, 2015. The trip cost of $3990, due by September 15, 2015, includes round-trip airfare from Miami or Montreal to Havana, visa, lodgings, meals, ground transportation, a Cuban guide (required), museum entrance fees, entry visas, exit taxes, guide and driver tips, and a tax-deductible contribution to the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, the trip’s official sponsor.

Cuban poet,  Dulce María Loynaz, wrote:

“Cuando vayamos al mar yo te diré mi secreto.
When we go to the sea, I will tell you my secret.”

CubaBeachOn this trip, we will have a chance to absorb a culture on an island that is rich in history and has had its culture preserved, due in part to the isolation as a Communist state in this hemisphere. This is a unique opportunity to join a small group of easygoing and open-minded travelers exploring a rapidly changing country that has been inaccessible to most U.S. citizens for over half a century in ways not available to mainstream tourists.

Itinerary

Our itinerary includes Havana and several locations in the island’s interior. Each day there will be one or more meetings with Cubans: writers, artists, academics, musicians, dancers, foundation officials, craftsmen, and entrepreneurs. Using Tim’s connections, we will have the opportunity go in-depth on such topics as Cuban literature, Cuban art history, the history of the Cuban Revolution, Santería, Hemingway in Cuba, US-Cuba relations, and new directions in Cuba’s vibrant contemporary arts and cultural scenes. We will visit an urban organic farm, the Caribbean’s largest colonial fortress, several World Heritage Sites, legendary Finca Vigía, where Ernest Hemingway lived and wrote for more than two decades, and the other important Hemingway sites in and near Havana, including the Hotel Ambos Mundos, where he wrote much of For Whom the Bell Tolls, the bars where he went for his various favorite cocktails, and the restaurant that became the setting for The Old Man and the Sea.photo 2

Time . . . 

There will be plenty of down time as well—time for writing, sketching, and reflection. Because the group is limited in size, there will be a great deal of flexibility built in to take advantage of the interests of the people in the group, and enough spontaneity to seize upon anything interesting that happens to come up. For those interested in special areas like medicine (we have two doctors already signed up), Tim can arrange special hospital visits and other special requests.

“Cuba is trapped between two eternally competing visions. One is that it’s a socialist paradise; the other is that it’s a Communist hell. In reality, Cuba is neither a paradise nor a hell, but, rather, more of a purgatory, where some of us have the possibility of salvation.”
—Havana-based novelist Leonardo Padura

“When I first traveled in Cuba in 1999, it struck me, as it continues to strike me today, as an utterly unique place: a time capsule, an anomaly, a treasure trove of historical architecture, a country of great natural beauty with an inspiringly creative and resourceful population. What’s different today is that Cuba is changing, rapidly and dramatically. This is one of the reasons I’m excited about this new trip: in addition to being part of a small group exploring a country that has been inaccessible to most U.S. citizens for over half a century in ways not available to mainstream tourists, we’re going to be front-seat witnesses to history.”—Tim Weed

 

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