Franklin Countys First News

‘Evening of Poetry’ to feature Weld’s Ron Singer

Hugh Ogden on Poet’s Island in Rangeley Lake, August 2006. Lovers of poetry will gather Sunday, August 7th, 6:00pm, at Ecopelagicon, 7 Pond Street, Rangeley for the Fifth Annual Hugh Ogden Memorial Evening of Poetry. (Peggy Yocom Photo)

Hugh Ogden on Poet’s Island in Rangeley Lake, August 2006. Lovers of poetry will gather Sunday, August 7th, 6:00pm, at Ecopelagicon, 7 Pond Street, Rangeley for the Fifth Annual Hugh Ogden Memorial Evening of Poetry. (Peggy Yocom Photo)

RANGELEY - On Sunday, Aug. 4, lovers of poetry will gather at 6 pm on the lawn of the Ecopelagicon nature store, 7 Pond Street, to honor poet Hugh Ogden (1937-2006). Poet Ron Singer of Weld and New York City will read from his work. Sponsored by Ecopelagicon, the event is free to all. Light refreshments will be served.

Members of the Ogden family will begin the evening by reading poems written by their father. Community members are invited to read a poem of Hugh’s or one of their own that attends to what meant so much to Hugh: the beauty and mystery of the world, especially Rangeley, and peace among all living things. A sign-up sheet will be available at the start of the evening, since time will be limited.

During the second part of the evening, poet Ron Singer will read. Ron and his family have summered in Maine since 1969. For the last 14 years, an old farmhouse he rents in Weld with his wife, artist Elizabeth Yamin, has provided him with the quiet that enables him to write his most satisfying work. A Peace Corps volunteer in Nigeria, Ron holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago. Although he taught in Chicago and Hawaii, he spent most of his working life as an English teacher at Friends Seminary, New York City. For the last decade or so, he has also been a volunteer at Street Squash, an after-school sports and tutoring program in Harlem. Along with over 100 poems, a memoir, three novellas, he has published two novels, one of which is a serial thriller, currently running on-line. He has two books forthcoming in 2013: Uhuru Revisted presents the lives of African pro-democracy activists who Ron interviewed during three extended trips to six African nations during 2010 to 2011; and, in Look to Mountains, Look to Sea (River Otter Press), he offers poems from the coast and the western mountains of Maine. To read selections of his writing, visit http://ronsinger.net

The Ogden family has established a fund to continue this Evening of Poetry. To contribute, please contact Linda Dexter or Peggy Yocom at the addresses below.

Rangeley, its natural beauty and its people, fill Hugh Ogden’s seven books of poetry, especially Two Roads and this Spring, Bringing a Fir Straight Down, and his latest: Turtle Island Tree Psalms. Hugh first came to Rangeley in 1975, and he built a camp on what his children now call “Poet’s Island” on Rangeley Lake. In his book Turtle Island, the speakers of most of the poems are particular Rangeley trees, either rooted by the side of Route 17, in local cemeteries, or on Poet’s Island. He also wrote poems for local causes, such as the Rangeley Lake Heritage Trust’s stewardship of South Bog. In Rangeley, Hugh told friends, he “could hear the voices that call [him] to poems.”

Hugh Ogden taught poetry at Trinity College from 1967 until his death. He also inspired budding poets in nursing homes, prisons, and shelters. “He did this because he believed poetry could save lives,” Pamela Nomura, coordinator for the Poetry Center at Trinity College, explained. “He believed everyone’s voice was important [and that] poetry belonged to everyone.”

“Year after year I reach straight/ up, my trunk and voice grounded/ in incremental rhythms evergreen,” Hugh wrote in “Fir on the Oquossoc Shore, Singing.” In this spirit, friends of poetry and storytelling, of Hugh Odgen and Sidney Wade will gather on Aug. 4. Please come. For more information and to join our e-mail list, contact Peggy Yocom at 864-3421 (myocom@gmu.edu) or Linda Dexter at the Ecopelagicon 864-2771, and visit http://ecopelagicon.com and http://hughogden.com and http://margaretyocom.com

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