Highlighted by Amherst Live
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Meet our February Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Beth Filson

Highlighted by Amherst Live

Beth Filson is a writer and self-taught artist. She turned to art after losing her “voice.” Beth’s art has been exhibited in a number of galleries throughout Georgia (where she is from) and has appeared in various magazines. On moving to Western Mass about four years ago, Beth discovered an inspiring community of writers. Most recently, her poetry has appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review and is forthcoming in The Perch. She was a finalist in the inaugural Amherst Live poetry contest.
Poetic Profession "I really have no idea what to say about poetry and writing it that hasn’t been said. I can use different analogies, maybe: You write poetry to build a house, and if it is a good house you can live there. However, some poems are much smaller, really animal-like. You write a poem like this in the hope that it can stand on its own, walk around, get to know humans. So I guess I would say that poetry is a structure that you hope the sacred will see fit to inhabit. I used to make toad houses the same way: You take a flowerpot and knock a hole in it and then place the pot in your garden. If it is a worthy house, a toad will arrive. If you can get it just right, a poem becomes a body in the world, but I am never quite sure about this."
-Beth Filson

Creation Story


God rolled the world around in Her mouth like butterscotch candy.
It was so good, so sweet, She hated to spit it out, but when She did –

This is the world that was made:
Two people walking on the bluff,
a dog to give them grace.

Then God slung the blue heron out
over the marsh at high tide to give the world its heart.
The marsh grass knitted its long fingers together
and the shrimp were made, and many small birds went out
into the sky.

Tall grass hid
the kindling spirit, raccoons, opossums, deer.
Low tide revealed our earthen homes: blue crabs, flounder,
oysters with their wet tongues.

Amherst Live is a triannual live stage show that highlights poetry, local issues, science and nature, personal stories, and more. We run poetry readings and the largest no-fee poetry prize in Massachusetts. The contest is open to all Western Massachusetts residents and students and culminates in a competitive recitation at our winter show. The winner is chosen by our audience. Our goal for poetry is to demonstrate its unique power and abiding utility in contemporary culture. Learn more about Amherst Live and upcoming shows here. Read about our annual contest here.

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each month we shine the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, one of our poetry partners.
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