Poetry & Literature – Mine!

PoetryMonthEdith here, still basking in yesterday’s wonderful afternoon celebration.

Here in Amesbury in the northeast corner of Massachusetts, we have a Poet Laureate. She is the multi-talented Lainie Senechal, a native of the town, who not only writes poetry and paints, but has worked tirelessly to spread poetry through the populace. April is National Poetry Month, and Lainie, with the help of Amesbury’s Cultural Council and the Whittier Home Museum, set up seven events. Poetry and Film. Poetry and Yoga. Poetry and History. You get the picture, and there were others, too. The list also included two poetry contests for young people in the area.

Yesterday was was reserved for Poetry and Literature, and the literature was my second Quaker Midwife Mystery, Called to Justice! I was delighted and honored when Lainie suggested the event, and I thought I’d share the highlights here.

Me and Lainie Senechal. Photo courtesy Christine Green.

We held the gathering at a lovely crepe (and other delicacies) restaurant, The Noshery, so folks ordered food and drink to enjoy during the readings and discussion. Jon Mooers is the very generous and talented owner and chef, a keen supporter of Amesbury’s history.


(Some years past he painted two fabulous murals on brick walls on Main Street that evoke the era when I set my books.)


Jon suggested we set up an antique-look corner for my books, so I borrowed a table from the Friends Meetinghouse.


As always, I reference a couple of John Greenleaf Whittier’s poems in the book, since he’s a supporting character in the series, so we interspersed portions of those works.  I shared the background of Called to Justice and read several short passages to introduce the poems. Our readers included Lainie, Chris Bryant (President of the Whittier Home Museum), and me. Whittier’s friend Lucy Larcom makes an appearance in the book, so Lainie read one poem about Larcom and another by the well-known New England author, a former mill girl herself.

Chris Bryant reading Whittier’s  “One of the Signers,” quoted in the book

Poet Carla Panciera wrote a midwifery poem especially for me – “Midwife in the Barn” – and she came to read it herself!


The questions were many and varied, and I sold and signed books afterward. It was a sweet way to launch my book in the town where it’s set (and where I live) and to celebrate poetry of all kinds at the same time. Thanks to fan Gerry Morenski who volunteered to take pictures while I was up front!

Readers: How do you feel about poetry? What’s your favorite one?


16 Thoughts

  1. Oh, Edith, what a fabulous celebration! Congrats on being the guest of honor. I’m not a huge fan of poetry. I mostly like the classic stuff we were taught in high school, but I admire anyone who can write good poetry.

  2. I can say I’ve read the collected works of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, at various times. As it happens, yesterday I was giving a talk in Lawrence, in a Heritage State Park building there, and a sign on the wall said that Robert Frost lived in Lawrence for part of his early years (which I had not known). As I was waiting for the elevator, a woman said something to me about “the road not taken.” Poetry lives!

  3. Here is a link to an Intergenerational poetry group of which I am a part. I belong to the one for Senior citizens and high school students.

  4. That sound fabulous!

    I must admit that I’m not a big poetry fan. I was at the LA TImes Festival of Books this weekend, and the couple of poems I overheard while I was just sitting for a little while did nothing to change my mind.

    I think I actually shocked someone at one point. He was trying to draw a crowd for the poetry stage, and I was attempting to get to the mystery booths. He asked me as I was walking by at top speed “Do you like poetry?” I called back over my shoulder “No.” His face was so shocked it was actually pretty funny.

    Some poetry is okay, but I find much of the modern stuff to be too out there for me. Just a matter of taste.

    (And yes, this is coming from the guy who writes a haiku of sorts in the roughest definition of the word for each of his reviews.)

    1. Good thing the world is a big place, right, Mark? I’ve asked “Do you like mysteries” of librarians walking by our SINC booth at the New England Library Association meetings – and am always a little taken aback when someone says plainly, “No.”

  5. Edith, what a lovely event and a great way to launch your newest–congratulations! I adore poetry and once was fortunate to take a class at Radcliffe where we had dinner each night with a different poet. They ranged from Denise Levertov to Sharon Olds and even Charles Osgood! It was a wonderful course I would take again if offered. Some of my modern favorites are Frost and Millay.

      1. It really was magical. Ruth Whitman taught the day workshop and ran the small group, limited to 12. After each dinner the poet would read from his/her work and describe its inspiration, then answer questions. I’ve never regretted the tuition! But I know your audience was just as inspired after your wonderful event, too, Edith~

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