Friday, November 6, 2009

Poem Broadside to Benefit New Hope For Women

Doug and I are delighted to have produced this limited edition poetry broadside to help raise money for New Hope for Women and awareness of domestic violence.

Below is a copy of the Cert that comes with the broadside. The broadside is 5” x 7” with 8” x 10” archival matting and back board. Each print is hand numbered and signed by both Doug and me.

To get one, send $25 to me at

Jeff Roberts
618 Chickering Road
North Andover, MA 01845


New Hope for Women
Attn: Glen Rainsley
P. O. Box A
Rockland, ME 04841-0733

Ask for the Jeff Roberts Black Hole Print
Make Checks payable to New Hope for Women

Please share with your friends and contacts as appropriate.

Thanks in advance,


Black Hole Broadside: Poem by Jeff Roberts; Drawing by Doug Heinlein

From an edition produced exclusively for the benefit of New Hope for Women offering support to people in Lincoln, Knox and Waldo counties (Maine) affected by domestic and dating violence: The poem and drawing first appeared in the book Chatter in the Canopy, ISBN-13: 978-1439214817, published by BookSurge, Charleston SC.

“An exquisite blend of art and verse.” -Midwest Book Review

“…fiercely observant, honest and keenly sensitive, without self-pity…” -Ned Clay

“Roberts’s poems bring us …the kind of experience that both aches and heals at once…” -Paul Haenel

About the Poet
Jeff Roberts lives in North Andover, Massachusetts with his wife, Barbara Hyle. Jeff is a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominated poet whose work has been published in The Aurorean, Meanie Magazine, Recursive Angel, 15 Credibility Street, Gotta Write, The Unpublished Author, The Hudson Street Review, The Pictish League, and Ectoplasmic Necropolis from Blood Pudding Press. Three poems have won awards in the annual Lawrence (Massachusetts) Eagle-Tribune Poetry Contest.

About the Artist
Doug Heinlein is the Academic Director for the Graphic Design and Interactive Media Design Departments at the Art Institute of Seattle, and is also an award-winning artist and designer with many years experience in interactive media, multimedia and traditional design practices. You can visit Doug’s blog at For this drawing, Doug borrows from, and adds to, the ancient ink and wash language of sumi-e, relying on the integrity of single brush strokes of various length and depth to build an abstract vision with intense emotional impact.

About the Edition
This edition is limited to 55 prints, including 5 Artists’ Proofs. The poem and drawing are printed on Hahnemühler Albrect Dürer 210 gsm digital fine art watercolor paper, using Epson Durabrite Ultra® pigment-based inks, and mounted using archival mats, back board and rice paper tape.

For more information, Contact: Jeff Roberts, 618 Chickering Rd, North Andover, MA 01845
Web:; Email:; Phone: 978-257-0898

Pushcart Prize Nomination!

Nice way to start a day. eh? -Jeff

Nov 5, 2009

Dear Jeff,

We are very pleased to inform you that your poem, “Beach Glass” is one of our six nominations for the Pushcart Prize for calendar year 2009. Indeed, it is our honor that you have shared your poetry with the Aurorean.

In gratitude,

-- Cynthia Brackett-Vincent
Publisher, editor, the Aurorean
P.O. Box 187
Farmington, ME 04938


Published since 1995
Published April & October
Deadlines 2/15 & 8/15
$11 single copy; $21 year (two issues), U.S.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chatter in the canopy - CD Audio Book

Poems by Jeff Roberts - Read by the Author

Self-produced CD Audio Book with cover illustration by Dick Roberts. Signed on the CD.

All the poems from the book plus 6 bonus tracks of new material not in the book!

Available from!

About the Book:

Chatter in the Canopy

Poems by Jeff Roberts

Drawings by Dick Roberts and Doug Heinlein

ISBN-10: 1439214816;

ISBN-13: 978-1439214817;

Also available from

“An exquisite blend of art and verse.” -Midwest Book Review

“…fiercely observant, honest and keenly sensitive, without self-pity…” -Ned Clay

“Roberts’s poems bring us to a place where we remember and might reclaim the kind of experience that both aches and heals at once…” -Paul Haenel

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Aurorean Chooses "Beach Glass" as Best Poem

The Aurorean chose my poem Beach Glass as "best poem" from its Spring/Summer 2009 edition.

An esteemed New England poetry journal published continuously since 1995, The Aurorean has been feature-profiled in Poet's Market, and three times named a "PIC" by the prestigious Small Press Review.

The award includes a generous check (for poetry journals), an announcement in The Aurorean's Fall/Winter issue, and publication on the journal's web site for the next year

The Aurorean's anonymous judge's comments about Beach Glass are these:

"Beach Glass" is a well-thought-out poem—imaginative in its turns of phrase ("as if we were something's great hobby") and in its imagery ("a bit of bobeche from a grand chandelier").

It moves, like the waves [it] speaks of; it narrates—brings the reader in immediately with "we"; and makes sweeping statements ("...the tumbling will give us a texture/that transcends the standards/by which we are judged..."), but carries it all off successfully because of its precision. I am inspired by this poem—I feel better for having read it—without feeling as if I have been preached to.

And a re-post of Beach Glass:

Beach Glass
(for Anne Cowles Pinkney)

We could be the neck of a milk bottle
or a bit of bobeche from a grand chandelier.

It doesn’t matter what we were a part of
before we were broken, only that we were

broken and a part of something
and that our young edges were sharply fragile
and our translucence too common.

We know of waves, and still, now and then
feel them vacuum the sand from beneath our feet
and pull us out and over and back, across the sand
as if we were something’s great hobby
tumbling in finer and finer and finer grit.

And it is the tumbling that matters
so much more than the approval
of combers or children, for if we have time
the tumbling will give us a texture
that transcends the standards
by which we are judged.

We remember so little
of how the tumbling smoothed us
only that, in the end, we are smooth.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Poetry Reading

I'll be reading in a group event on November 1, 2009 at the Fall Arts & Sounds Festival, Rolling Ridge Conference Center, 660 Great Pond Road, North Andover, Massachusetts 01845 at 11:00 AM.

Directions here:

I'll only have about 5 minutes, so if you're not local, don't feel obligated.



Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Chatter in the Stacks Near the Lake

I'm happy to announce that Chatter in the Canopy is now available at the Inn on the Library Lawn Bookstore in Westport, NY. (

I'm happy to recommend the bookstore as well as Anthony and Alexandra Wheeler's lovely Inn to travelers to the Adirondacks and its environs. Barb and I have stayed here many times and enjoy the large, comfortable, exquisitely decorated guestrooms, the breakfasts, and the lively conversation with the hosts.

While in town, be sure to play a round at the Westport Country Club's 110-year-old mountain course ( Say, "Hi" to John and Lynn Hall, who rent the carts, cut the greens, give lessons, cook the burgers, pour the Tanqueray, take care of everyone anytime. Please let me know how you fared on the signature 12th hole. (

And don't miss at least one dinner on the deck on the lake at the Bistro - quite unexpected fine French cuisine with a gorgeous view. (

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In Here Says Bob

In here, says Bob, tapping his temple,
I play the clarinet — Peanuts Hucko style.

In there, between solos on Robbin’s Nest
With Hawk and Sir Charles and Tyree,
And Ruby and Fathead and Trummy, Bob rests
Tapping his right foot on the studio floor.

Out here, Bob grabs a smoke — leaning against
A bass drum road case stenciled Do Not Drop
In white spray paint with bleeding edges, holding
A pawnshop licorice stick with busted spoon keys.

Out there, Bob transcribes a Sun Ra riff
On a wet reed with mouthpiece and ligature.
No barrel, no bore, no bell. Squawk goes Saturn
In a Blue Universe. Squawk goes the Solar Myth.

In here, says Bob, tapping his temple,
I blow the Huckle-Buck to the Omniverse.

Monday, August 3, 2009


(for Barb on our 14th)

What is a year if not a sheaf
That binds a heart and limits its gifts?

How would you box a waterfall,
A storm, a love that still grows?

Close your eyes, and share with me
Everything that can’t be wrapped.

Monday, July 6, 2009


Byzantine boys lobbed gourds
Filled with imagined Greek fire. The French,
Of course, dreamed of pomegranates.

In my time we played army
With June peaches, hard as stones
That split lips, swelled cheeks, burned
Sick purple bruises into thin skin.

My brother and I watched late-show war movies
In the dark, in my father’s lap.

In that flickering, tough kids from Brooklyn
Named Kowalski and Schwartz and Rizzo
Took their brothers to war, taught them

When to move, when to drop, how
To listen to the sky for choosers of the slain
As they swoop down on little brothers
Taking their own sweet time to ripen.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caedmon’s Call

By his verse the minds of many were often excited
to despise the world, and to aspire to heaven.
-St. Bede

Beth, I hear you calling, but I can’t come home right now.

My friend says he can’t write anymore
Unless his heart’s been kicked. He means
By a woman, and he’s old enough to know
The costumes they wear and the ways
They call to us in dreams. Their dissonance

Drives the night trains, their sirens,
Their whistles, their two-footed poetry,
Signaling what is and what should be.
Then they leave us alone, expecting us
To choose, to sleep, to live.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

MBR Review - Chatter in the Canopy

Carl Logan of the Midwest Book Review (MBR) has written a short but good review of Chatter in the Canopy.

If you go here:

And select Logan's Bookshelf, it's the second review down this month - June - (pasted below).

N.B. In the text on the MBR page there is a typo that I've asked the Editor to fix. The illustrator Doug Heinlein's name is spelled "Dog". I've fixed it in the paste below.


Chatter in the Canopy
Jeff Roberts
Book Surge
7290-B Investment Drive,
Charleston, SC 29418
9781439224373, $12.99,

Widely published and experienced poet Jeff Roberts brings poetry lovers a delight with "Chatter in the Canopy". His solid work with the English language is enhanced by great black and white art work from Dick Roberts and Doug Heinlein. An exquisite blend of art and verse, "Chatter in the Canopy" should be a consideration for many a poetry fan. "Seduction": It's the sand in your voice that holds me./That and the moonlight buttering your long ribs./You can shout into the wind through cupped hands./I can smell the salt and wet canvas./What if I surrender to your rolling, black valleys -/To the tops of mountains kissed away?/When we collapse, flat-faced and ordinary,/On tar-colored foam and a dead skate-what then?

Carl Logan

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Poetry Readings - Book Signings

April - National Poetry Month - has come to a close for 2009. This means that my reading schedule is a little more open and flexible.

If anyone is interested in having me read and sign books - for culture, charity, poetry or art festivals/events, et. al., I'll be happy to accommodate if I can.

I only ask that you 1) limit the location to New England, 2) provide plenty of advance notice, and 3) allow me to offer copies of my book for sale at the reading.



Jeff Roberts lives in North Andover, Massachusetts with his wife, Barbara Hyle, and a hamster named Bernadette.

Jeff's poetry has been published in The Aurorean, Meanie Magazine, Recursive Angel, 15 Credibility Street, The Unpublished Author, The Hudson Street Review, The Pictish League, and Ectoplasmic Necropolis from Blood Pudding Press. Her Unusual Journey won first place in the annual Lawrence (Massachusetts) Eagle-Tribune Poetry Contest (1999).

His first book of poems, Chatter in the Canopy, was published in Jan 2009 and is available from Etsy and Amazon.

Chatter in the Canopy
Poems by Jeff Roberts; Drawings by Dick Roberts and Doug Heinlein
ISBN-13: 978-1439214817; LCCN: 2008909362

“…fiercely observant, honest and keenly sensitive, without self-pity…”
-Ned Clay, Love & Love Reclaimed, The Simple Press

“…Roberts’s poems bring us to a place where we remember and might reclaim the kind of experience that both aches and heals at once—the thing we come to poems for, in the end . . . a lost wisdom that poetry more than anything else tries to give back to us.”
-Paul Haenel, Farewell, Goodbye, Wave Goodbye, Washington Writers’ Publishing House


Monday, April 27, 2009

Long Live the King

Boston, 27 Apr 2009.

A spokesperson for the House of Hyle this morning announced the passing of HRH King Bernard de Jambon III.

King Barney, or "The King" or just "Bunge" died peacefully in his sleep last night at approximately 10:45 PM Eastern Time. Barney was snuggled up under Jeff's arm watching the Red Sox - Yankees game.

During his active life, Barney got to see a Red Sox player steal home (one of the last "wonders" he witnessed) and traveled extensively both with his handlers and on his own. The King has been to Dayton twice, where he, in his ball, enjoyed the challenging floor plan of the Miamisburg Doubletree Guest Suites. He also made two trips to Myrtle Beach SC where he enjoyed the salty air and view from the 15th floor of an oceanfront condo. He was an accomplished road-tripper and adapted well to spontaneous side trips and overnights in budget motels.

Last year, Barney went on his own trip when Barb and Jeff took a short car ride to the filling station, leaving the kitchen door and garage door open. Barney bounced his ball down the back stairs, through Jeff's office, through the garage and into the parking lot, where, fortunately, Jeff and Barb's car headlights caught the young adventurer headed for the entrance speed bump before it was too late.

King Bernard was approximately 2 years old when he died (76 in hamster years) and made the most of his short time with his family. He kept a clean house but was never reticent about trashing the place for a good party or run in the wheel. Even though a "Royal" he enjoyed simple food like cheese, fresh fruit, corn on the cob, and live meal worms. He was especially fond of canned whipped cream.

A private ceremony was held early this morning at the family's cemetery between the rhododendron bush and the newly blooming red tulips in front of 618 Chickering. Barney is survived by an indeterminable number of siblings and cousins, but no heir. The House of Hyle will begin discussions regarding the identification and accession of Bernard IV after a suitable period of mourning.

The family requests that well wishers make a small donation to the Massachusetts SPCA in lieu of flowers.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Praise for Chatter in the Canopy

I loved this work.

Jeff Roberts has a unique mind - gorgeously precise and filled with whimsy. I smiled my way through many poems, but Roberts doesn't back away from darkness for a second. He is fiercely observant, honest and keenly sensitive, without self-pity. With an arsenal of craft at his call, he never abuses it. There is wonderful absurdity and wit in his work.

Roberts' poem The Boatman is an instant classic.

For me this was a delightful book, very heartfelt, with illustrations filled with the same odd, unforgettable charm as the poems.

-Ned Clay
Love & Love Reclaimed
The Simple Press

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Praise for Chatter in the Canopy

Jeff Roberts' poetry is a delightful surprise. This collection of poems is a pleasure to read and re-read from cover to cover. In his work, the poet captures the essence of a moment, an instance, in an interaction with others and with nature. "Cold Shower," for example, gracefully moves through nuances of connection and through a shift of mood, feeling and intention. As I read, it is as if I am absorbing the contents of the poems; it is a sensate feeling; a connection; leaving me touched and moved and right there with the poet. His images of the natural world are lovely; recognizable; pleasurable to feel and touch. His work is warm and has life to it. The illustrations are also lovely and compliment and strengthen the poems. "Chatter..." has become a favorite of mine; easy to pick up for a few minutes a day; and also, a favorite gift for my friends. My hat is off to a kind, gentle, insightful, engaging poet, Jeff Roberts.

-Laura Hackell

Monday, March 23, 2009

Baby Eel and Frank O'Hara

A baby eel dropped by the Modern
today, at noon. The eel
and Frank left together to grab
a bite and feel the sun on one side
of each of their pale faces. Frank wrote
another delicious lunch poem about
the time the eel and Kynaston McShine
danced the rhumba at The Old Place
while Joe laughed about the eel having
one left foot and how quickly he would
be able to steal the eel from KS
and dance him up to 9th street
on puddles on the sidewalk at dawn.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

the way to hump a cow

No one likes everything. For example, none of us have the time to develop the knowledge and the sophisticated ear needed to appreciate all music. We listen; we discover. We winnow.

When young we are silly in our devotion to and imitation of certain songs and artists. When Midnight Train to Georgia comes on the radio, I still turn into a Pip. Jimmy Buffet’s A Pirate Looks at Forty still touches me.

I am similarly affected when I read poetry by e e cummings or Stanley Kunitz or Charles Simic or Dylan Thomas or Tony Hoagland or Jeff McDaniel or William Carpenter. When I hear Desmond Egan’s Northern Ireland Question, I have the urge to windmill my arm like Pete Townshend.

Every now and then at a poetry reading, someone will tell me that they don’t like poetry. What if someone told you, "I don’t like music?" You’d think, How sad.

What if we let poetry sneak up on us when we're young - like music - and act just as silly while learning to ...bellow like a bool?

What if?

Friday, February 27, 2009

Chatter in the Canopy - Backstory

In 2000, I asked my father, Dick Roberts, to illustrate some of my poems with the goal of self-publishing a small book. I’ve always admired his artistic talents and, not having been close over the years, I was interested in us doing something together that might outlive us and show someone someday that two creative people had been here and had contributed something of value to the culture.

I liked the results, and, thinking I may have only one opportunity to complete a project like this, I asked another old friend whose work I liked, Doug Heinlein, to illustrate additional poems.

In 2008, I stumbled across a book called Speaking Fire at Stones: Poems by William Carpenter and Drawings by Robert Shetterly (ISBN 0-88448-105-0 Tilbury House, Gardiner, ME 1992). It knocked me out. People familiar with that book will, I hope, forgive me for my obvious “homage” with Chatter in the Canopy.

Chatter in the Canopy was a glorious pain to finish, and I hope it will be considered one small contribution to what makes life worth living.

To buy a copy, visit Etsy or Amazon. (Etsy copies get signed.)

If you get one, read it, and have something positve to say about it, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.


– JR

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Rookery

In late October, a chill settles in the basement.
In the third floor bedroom, an antiqued-blue chest
At the foot of the bed becomes a nesting ground.

Several species of shorts winter here: cut-off denims,
Silk boxers, one-hundred-percent-cotton chinos.
Plaid baggies puff their pleats to scare interlopers.

Mating pairs entice each other with floppy pockets.
The shorts breed; they rear; they remain for months,
Fighting off wash-day trespassers, day-old underwear,

Wallets, wedgies, and wanderlust. In mid May,
When the Bakhtiari herd their goats back
Into the highlands; when the Pennacooks hike north

To Concord; when martins, swallows, terns, and warblers
Wing their way up coasts, the shorts tentatively explore
The second floor, testing the breezes, warming to travel.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chatter in the Library

I'm happy to announce that Chatter in the Canopy has been accepted for inclusion in the general circulation departments of both the Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover, Mass. and the Haverhill (MA) Public Library.

Now locals can read it it for free, so ... please do!

And, if after you read it you have something positve to say about it, please help with marketing by leaving a brief review on the page:

Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chatter in the Canopy is Published

…Roberts’s poems bring us to a place where we remember and might reclaim the kind of experience that both aches and heals at once—the thing we come to poems for, in the end . . . a lost wisdom that poetry more than anything else tries to give back to us.

—Paul Haenel
Farewell, Goodbye, Wave Goodbye
Washington Writers’ Publishing House

The book is now available at Amazon, BookSurge, and Etsy.

On Amazon search by ISBN: 1439214816 or by title: Chatter in the Canopy

On Etsy search for Jeff Roberts. Etsy copies get signed. Amazon's do not, as they print on demand and ship from their own warehouses.

On Etsy you can also get a limited edition, 16-page portfolio of the 13 original poems with drawings from the book. Each poem and its associated drawing is presented side-by-side on landscape oriented 8.5 x 11 " heavyweight presentation matte pages. Each portfolio is numbered in pencil and signed by me and both the illustrators. The edition is spiral bound with back and front covers and is limited to 50. Their $49.99 each + $5 S&H. A sweet little collectible.

The extraordinary illustrations in this book stand on their own as individual works of art, and they achieve synchronicity with the poems they illustrate. They are fine art by virtue of their conversion of common themes into uncommon and surprising visual experiences. The styles could not be more different. Dick Roberts communicates with the poems by layering clean, literal lines that showcase his love of subject and craft and technical expertise with pen and ink. Doug Heinlein borrows from, and adds to, the ancient ink and wash language of sumi-e, relying on the integrity of single brush strokes of various length and depth to build abstract visions with intense emotional impact. I am proud to be connected with each drawing, and touched that my poems are the recipients of such quality work.

—Jeff Roberts
Chatter in the Canopy

The BookSurge experience was interesting and often frustrating. Email me if you want details. Short version is that the finished product is fine, but their design and production teams are a bit casual in their attention to detail and QA work.

About the Illustrators:
Richard J. Roberts (Dick) is Jeff’s father. Dick is an artist, natural scientist, and historian and a life-long resident of Stamford, Connecticut where he has taken on the task of conducting a census of every gravesite in Stamford’s cemeteries. Dick studied art with Delos Palmer in the 40’s and in the 50s and 60’s was the Curator of Exhibits at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center. Dick can be contacted through Jeff.

Douglas D. Heinlein (Doug) was Jeff’s roommate in the army in the early 70’s. Doug is the Academic Director for the Graphic Design and Interactive Media Design Departments at the Art Institute of Seattle. Doug is also an award-winning artist and designer with many years experience in the conceptualization, development and deployment of interactive media, multimedia and traditional design practices. His previous professional experiences include closerlook, inc., JamTV/Rolling Stone Network, and Imagination Pilots. He is the parent of two teenage boys and proud (as they claim) to be a worse influence than the Internet and TV combined. Add two cats (one deaf) and a big ole mutt. Shake, then pour. You can visit Doug’s blog at