Edith 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.
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.
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?