Bessette: Spreading the gospel of poetry writing
By Scooter MacMillan | Shelburne News – Jan 23, 2020
Shelburne’s Poet Laureate is stepping down … but he might be stepping up.
The second of Rick Bessette’s two-year terms comes to an end on April 1. But he has told members of the town’s selectboard that he doesn’t want to see the program die. And he won’t let it die.
Bessette, known unofficially as “The People’s Poet” before he was named Shelburne’s Poet Laureate in 2015, would like for someone else to put on the muse’s mantle. However, he says if no one steps up to strut their poetic feet for the town’s inspiration, amusement and signification, he will agree to assume another term.
Rick Bessette is Shelburne’s First Poet Laureate
The Latest from Seven Days Magazine in Vermont:
A Walk in the Woods with Shelburne’s Poet Laureate – January 24, 2018
From ShelburneVT.org – April, 2016
Rick is a native of Shelburne, and was raised on Shelburne Farms. He has been writing poetry for over 15 years, but with more passion the last 10 years. Rick’s poetry is a reflection of his Uncle Joe Thomas, who also wrote in rhyming quatrain style.
Everything he writes is real, something that was felt, heard, seen or touched. There is no make believe. His poetry is simple and easy for everyone to relate to.
Rick feels if he can make someone’s day a little better with a poem, then he has done his job as a writer.
Rick is well known throughout the Shelburne community as “The People’s Poet,” having written the poem engraved in Shelburne’s Veterans Memorial and has shared his poetry with The Shelburne Community School, The Waldorf School, The Charlotte-Shelburne Rotary Club, and several retirement and assisted living communities in the area. His book of poetry, A Vermonter’s Heritage, Listening to the Trees, was published by local Wind Ridge Publishing.
The town manager, library director and the selectboard adopted a Poet Laureate Program in the fall of 2015 to support and celebrate poetry and arts in the community.
The Poet Laureate Committee is pleased to have Rick Bessette as Shelburne’s first Poet Laureate, confident that his work over his 2-year term will unite the Shelburne community and foster a true sense of community pride.
“Shelburne Farms has been my home for most of my life. I have walked, biked and driven all over this magical, magnificent, peaceful landscape. My family is still connected to the farm for the third generation.”
“I started work there in 1968 as a grounds keeper with Darcy Patterson. I had the great opportunity to work with Mrs. Van Webb and her short-tailed pointer, Turtle. We always met in the flower garden, around 9 AM.”
“As I drive through the farm gates the outside world leaves me. My fond memories come quietly back to me as if it were yesterday. I have seen its landscape in many moods, and have enjoyed the abundant wildlife that also calls this home. From sunrise to sunset every day is different.”
“One summer day a few years ago I stopped for a little while to reminisce my lifetime here in my ‘Field of Dreams.’ ”
Shelburne’s Inaugural Poet Laureate: Rick Bessette
From Shelburne News – March 17, 2016
By Lara Keenan, Pierson Library Director
As a joint venture of the Shelburne town manager and Pierson Library director, the Shelburne Selectboard adopted a poet laureate program in Fall 2015 to support and celebrate poetry and the arts in the community.
Town Manager Joe Colangelo, Pierson Library Director Lara Keenan, and Flying Pig Bookstore co-owner Elizabeth Bluemle reviewed several nominations for Shelburne’s inaugural poet laureate. After careful deliberation, they unanimously agreed to submit to the Selectboard for affirmation longtime resident and local poet Rick Bessette.
Bessette is well known throughout the Shelburne community as “The People’s Poet,” having written the poem engraved in Shelburne’s Veterans Memorial, and shared his poetry with the Shelburne Community School, The Waldorf School, The Charlotte-Shelburne Rotary Club, and several retirement and assisted living communities in the area. His published book of poetry, A Vermonter’s Heritage, Listening to the Trees, was published by local Wind Ridge Publishing.
The Poet Laureate Committee is pleased to recommend Rick Bessette as Shelburne’s first poet laureate, confident that his work over his two-year term will unite the Shelburne community and foster a true sense of community pride.
‘Our’ poet is now Shelburne’s poet laureate
From Shelburne Farms InFARMation
March 18, 2016
For years at Shelburne Farms we have had the good fortune of reading the inspiring poems of Rick Bessette, poems that he has often shared with us at Shelburne Farms InFARMation.
Rick’s lifelong connection with Shelburne Farms, where he grew up and where he worked for many years, is often the subject of, and inspiration for his poems, and when his book of poems A Vermonter’s Heritage, Listening to the Trees was published a few years ago, that connection was celebrated.
On Wednesday evening Rick was interviewed by Fran Stoddard, in the first of this year’s Community Conversations. He spoke movingly of the ways that his experiences of nature, of the seasons, of wildlife and farm life, had honed his poetic voice, a voice that he says echoes the poems his Uncle Joe had written and shared with the young Rick.
Rick was recently named Shelburne’s first Poet Laureate, a title that thrills him almost as much as an earlier title, “The Peoples’ Poet” bestowed on him by Gail Feitleberg when he wrote the words for the inscription at The Shelburne Veterans’ Memorial.
A large crowd of friends, fans, family, and neighbors filled the auditorium at The Pizzagalli Center for the Arts and Education at Shelburne Museum to hear Rick and painter Eric Aho of Saxton’s River explore the subject of Light as it influences their art.