2023 Green Box Artist in Residence Paula Bohince.
In addition to her residency at Green Box, Paula has been an Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholar, a Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place, a Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts, an Amy Clampitt House Resident, the inaugural Summer Poet in Residence at the University of Mississippi, a MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a Hawthornden Fellow.
Paula received the “Discovery”/The Nation Award, the Grolier Poetry Prize, the George Bogin Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and Second Prize in the UK National Poetry Competition for her poem “Among Barmaids.”
Green Mountain Falls proved to be the perfect environment for Paula Bohince’s fourth poetry collection, Illume, to be composed. The collection explores the role of artificial light on climate change and wildlife, geopolitical implications of the fossil fuel industry, and the subtle ways plants, humans, and animals are impacted.
Threaded throughout the nearly twenty poems Paula wrote during her stay are the blues and reds representing the sky and earth. She didn’t realize how the altitude affected the deep, blue intensity of the color of the sky.
“It felt like its own forceful presence,” said Paula. “It was as real and as tangible as the mountains.”
The ambiance of art in nature also allowed for images and ideas in her writing to collide and merge in ways that were exhilarating and surprising. For example, when she entered Green Mountain Falls Skyspace she said she felt as “held as a beetle on an aspen leaf, with sunrise flooding through me,” a feeling that resulted in its own poem.
Not to “outshine” the beetle, but the sky was the main event during the vernal equinox. And the sky, sun, and clouds were no disappointment. “They were so vivid they seemed to be in deep conversation with the earth, and with me, and with my poems.”
One day Paula came face-to-face with a mule deer on her porch, who eventually entered a poem about “pathways” and “screens.” She wrote another one about a mountain lioness and her triplet cubs, caught by a trail camera’s watchful eye.
Another aspect Paula truly appreciated was “The Shed,” a furnished apartment provided for resident artists. “The beautifully curated, contemporary art inside while looking out onto breathtaking, snowy, pine-draped mountains created sensations of being both grounded in the real, yet somehow in Oz.”
Of her residency work Paula says the experience profoundly shaped the work of Illume, which now feels more attuned, dynamic, and curious. “The poems in their final forms could only have been composed here, in such a special place.”
Paula said she is grateful to the people behind Green Box who make everything possible, and particularly Mr. Keesee and Mr. Keigwin for their vision of the residency program.
“I’m also thankful for my new friend and fellow artist in residence Arvin, and everyone in Green Mountain Falls who made me feel so welcome. Thank you!”