Shelburne’s poet laureate, fifth graders get ‘Stuck in Vermont’ treatment

Photo by Eva Sollberger
Rick Bessette heads out on a winter stroll with Shelburne students and local filmmaker Eva Sollberger.

Shelburne’s Poet Laureate Rick Bessette made a multi-media splash last week when Vermont filmmaker Eva Sollberger caught up with him and a group of fifth graders in the woods at Shelburne Farms.

Bessette, the town’s first poet laureate, volunteers at Shelburne Community School, spending time with students working on writing.

On Jan. 19, Bessette and the youngsters clutching notebooks and pencils ventured out into the Church Woods section of Shelburne Farms to explore and search for inspiration with nature as their classroom.

Sollberger’s videos are a project of Seven Days newspaper. They air on WCAX Channel 3 every Friday evening and can be found online at and on the Stuck in Vermont YouTube channel.

The roughly 7-minute clip is Sollberger’s 519th episode of her long-running quirky series that features Vermont people and places with a mix of wry wit and telling details.

In the video, Sollberger joins the group that also includes school literacy coach and coordinator Jensa Fradette Bushey who calls Bessette a “treasure.” Library Director Kevin Unrath and Town Manager Joe Colangeo have brief appearances, as does a barred owl undergoing rehabilitation by local volunteer Craig Newman of Outreach for Earth Stewardship.

In just a few minutes, Sollberger captures Bessette’s rapport with the young students as they walk and write and share their pieces: “I want you to listen to what the trees have to say to you,” Bessette tells the children as they take in the wintry forest scene.

One Response to "Shelburne’s poet laureate, fifth graders get ‘Stuck in Vermont’ treatment"

  1. Jacques-Paul Marton   February 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Dear Rick,

    Your poetry captures the essence of Vermont and contributes to the legacy of New England’s great Poets (John Greenleaf Whittier comes to mind). Like you, they wanted to remind humankind of Nature; that it wants to speak to us about Living every day, but only if we open our eyes and listen closely. Your words speak simply to the “music of the spheres” and the harmony that we must reestablish with our planet, Earth. Thank you, Rick!
    Your friend and admirer,
    Jacques-Paul Marton


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