GROTON – In a stunning move shocking the literary world, Vt. Senate President pro-tem Tim Ashe and House Leader Mitzi Johnson called an emergency session of the Vermont legislature and succeeded in permanently ousting the state poet laureate. In its stead, Ashe, Johnson and the legislature have named John Gordon, currently of Groton, VT as the “Vermont State Calliopist In Perpetuum.”
Bolstered by a recent piece in Seven Days focusing on Gordon’s homemade “Granite Calliope,” Ashe and Johnson felt they had no choice. “Mr. Gordon is the personification of everything people love about Vermont – creative, inventive, industrious, with just the right amount of ‘whacky’,” Ashe told The Winooski. “He is a tribute to Vermont’s long-standing granite industry.”
Vermont’s most recent poet laureate, Chard diNiord, could not be reached for comment, but his office did reply by email: “We would lie to you if we could, but we can’t – we are heartbroken over this decision. With all due respect to Mr. Gordon, he isn’t even a real Vermonter!”
Gordon also did not reply to attempts to reach him. He doesn’t have an office. He doesn’t have a cell phone. He doesn’t use email. Rumor has it that he is on Facebook, but we could find no trace of him there.
When confronted about Gordon’s lack of a Vermont pedigree, Ms. Johnson replied: “Our most recent state poet laureate was not a Vermonter either. In fact, he was born in Connecticut, which is almost as bad as being from New Jersey! We believe Mr. Gordon should have been born in Vermont, and probably was. Vicious rumors suggesting he was born in Massachusetts are just that – vicious, even if they are true.”
According to Seven Days, the next public opportunity to hear Gordon’s Granite Calliope will be at the Vermont Blueberry Festival in Craftsbury on July 27. Gordon introduces all his performances with original poetry.