A Celebration of Maine’s Natural World through Poetry and Music

Two poets and two musicians will come together to celebrate Maine’s natural world through poetry and music on Sunday, November 17, 2:30-3:30 pm at the Dexter Universalist Church and Tuesday, November 19, 5:30-6:30 pm at the Thompson Free Library. This special Poetry & Strings program will feature poets Kristen Lindquist and Paul Corrigan reading their work, with musicians Susan Ramsey on violin and guitar and Ruth Fogg on cello.

There is something wonderful about the recitation of poetry and the performance of music that allows each art to stand on its own. But the cross-fertilization that arises when the two are combined is something even more special and uplifting, as these four performers have discovered with their unique program. Inspired musicians can make poetic images soar, transporting the audience by evoking thoughts and feelings beyond the words themselves and adding layers of thought and meaning.

Kristen Lindquist is a poet and naturalist from Camden. Her poetry and other writings have appeared in Down East and the Bangor Daily News, as well as many literary journals and anthologies. She writes a monthly Maine natural history column for PenBayPilot.com and has published three poetry collections; her book TRANSPORTATION was a finalist for the 2012 Maine Literary Award.

Paul Corrigan, from Millinocket, is a poet and essayist who has worked as a Baxter Park Ranger, a high school English teacher, and a whitewater rafting guide. His poems, essays, and stories are inspired by his lifelong love of the Maine woods. His poems have appeared in such publications as the Maine Times, Yankee, and the anthology MAINE SPEAKS, which is used statewide in the public schools.

Susan Ramsey shares her love of music around New England with folksinger/songwriter David Mallett and as the violinist for the touring chamber ensemble Highlands Classical. She also composes and arranges sacred and secular music for the North Country Strings. With a degree in music from Smith College, Susan directs the Foxcroft Academy String Program, operates a private music studio, and serves as Music Director for the Methodist Church in Dover-Foxcroft. The beauty of Maine inspires her to teach, perform, and compose music.

Ruth Fogg is also a member of the Highlands Classical ensemble and performs regularly with Susan as the North Country Strings Duo and the Arts Exchange Cello Ensemble. She currently teaches cello in addition to tuning pianos. She started playing the cello at the age of nine and has played in many groups since then.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with an Open-Mic Poetry Night on April 23 (Shakespeare’s birthday) at 5:30 pm!

What you are asked to bring:

  1. Poem(s) you’ve written to read, or
  2. Poem(s) someone else has written to read, or
  3. Friend(s) to read the poem(s) you don’t dare to read, or
  4. Ears to simply listen … and/or
  5. Your appreciation for poetry served up with crackers, cheeses, and juices!

This event is free and open to the public. All are welcome!

For more about National Poetry Month, visit https://www.poets.org/national-poetry-month/home

 

Thursday, December 13 at 5:30 p.m. Local poet and musician JT Curran will read from his volume of poems, “Beyond the Road,” accompanied by his son Jason Curran on the keyboard.

From Matrika Press: JT Curran moved to central Maine in the early 1970s, drawn in part by the homesteading movement which resonated with many who sought a rural lifestyle and greater connection to the land. He built a log cabin on his twenty-two acres of wooded paradise and helped raise three children with his partner of forty-seven years. He has worked as a woodsman and a carpenter, has cultivated his own fruits and vegetables, and has volunteered with many civic and arts organizations. He holds an M.A in Counseling and has provided counseling service to many individuals and groups. He has taught courses in psychology at the University of Maine and Eastern Maine Community College, and has had a twenty-five year career in education as a guidance counselor.

In addition to literary pursuits, J.T. is an active musician who has performed since his days in high school, where he sang doo-wop with fellow crooners in the Philadelphia based quartet, the Violators. He maintains an active performance schedule, singing and playing his guitar in venues throughout central Maine. 

JT’s poetry blends colorful observations with thought-provoking reflections.  With wit, compassion, irony, and humor, this book invites the reader to consider the signposts, off-ramps, co-travelers and vistas which populate our journeys. JT’s words reminds us that however we may navigate our experiences, our destination remains beyond the road.

Selected from collected works which span over fifty years, “Beyond the Road” is JT Curran’s first published volume of poetry.

Wesley McNair, Maine’s former poet laureate, will return to the Thompson Free Library on Thursday, November 29 at 5:30 pm to read from his latest volume of poems, “The Unfastening.” His presentation will also offer insights into the creative process used in the writing of the book.

“In a dark time, unfastened by loss and despair, how does one find one’s way back to the world again?” asks McNair. “This book seeks to answer this question through poems of sorrow, and hope, and joy. My presentation will explain the complex, unexpected process through which the book reached its final form, weaving selected poems into the discussion.”

McNair, who lives in Mercer, is one of New England’s most celebrated contemporary poets. The author of nine volumes of poems, he has been selected for a United States Artists Fellowship as one of America’s “finest living artists.”

During his long writing career, McNair has won grants from the Fulbright and Guggenheim foundations, two Rockefeller Fellowships, two grants in creative writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Emmy Award. He has twice been invited to read his poetry by the Library of Congress, and has served five times on the jury for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. In 2015, McNair was named as the recipient of the PEN New England Award for Literary Excellence in Poetry.

Join us at Thompson Free Library on Thursday, October 18 at 6:00 pm as Maine poet Paul Corrigan leads a free poetry reading with community members as part of POETRY EXPRESS, a statewide program of the Maine Humanities Council in partnership with Maine State Library.

If you are interested in participating in a poetry performance workshop with Paul on Wednesday, October 17 at 5:00 pm, please contact the library!