SPOT on

Thursday, May 21, 2020 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM

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Rolling Ridge Retreat Center is nestled quietly in the Valley of the Poets, as Merrimack Valley has been and continues to be home for many great American poets.  Join us on Thursday morning with Mark Bohrer. 

This offering is free of charge, but we would ask that you consider offering a gift to Rolling Ridge in this challenging time for us.

Sessions are via Zoom (www.zoom.com).  ZOOM meeting ID will be emailed to you upon registration. 

For more about the "Valley of the Poets", check out Karen Kline's blog post.

 

About the leader(s)

Mark Bohrer

Who is this guy who is North Andover’s Poet Laureate? I’m guessing I’m not the typical person for such an office. I’m not an English major. I’m an engineer by schooling and trade. I was born in Pennsylvania. I studied computers and electrical engineering in college. After college, I took a short detour as a disc jockey in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. After deciding that really wasn’t the best way to make a living, I moved to New England and returned to my college skills to work as a software engineer, and later, engineering project manager. Engineering has been my career, now going on four decades.

I wrote some poetry in my 20’s and early 30’s, and paid some attention to it for a few years, but then it stopped coming. I was active in the UU church in Billerica, and through this church I met my wife. As a lay leader in the church community, I helped organize lay led services, and wrote and gave some sermons. So I guess in addition to appreciating poetry, I also appreciated the connections of the spirit and the importance of the spoken word.

In 1997, my wife Debbie and I moved to North Andover. We have two kids, a daughter and a son who are both in college. We’re active at South Church UCC in Andover. I’m an environmental activist, and I work for action on climate change with other members on the Green Team at South Church. My wife and I put a super-insulated “green” addition on our house in 2007, with solar panels for electricity and solar hot water. I had some health problems in my early 50’s, and then as I recovered, as my health came back, somehow I was suddenly writing poetry. It just started to come. That was in the spring of 2014. Since I had written poetry before, I was tuned in enough to write it down as it came to me. A strange experience, but one that I grabbed onto. Or again, one that grabbed onto me. Since then, I’ve been writing continuously. Where it comes from, I have no idea. I’ve published a couple of short chapbooks - High Tide On The Other

Side Of The Earth and A Crowd Of Joy At The Door, A Good Inland Town (poems about North Andover and
New England), and another with new and collected poems (Almost Whole) that I published in 2019. The four chapbooks are available on Amazon.com. Holy cow! Since 2014, I’ve been active in the North Andover and Merrimack Valley poetry scene. I’ve been on the North Andover Poet Laureate committee for a few years, and I enjoy the company and comradery of this friendly group, these lovers of the spoken word. I’m grateful to live in a town that celebrates its history as the birthplace of America’s first poet, Anne Bradstreet. I’m also grateful that the town created a position to encourage the sharing of poetry and the performance of the spoken word in the life of our town. Who are the poets that inspire me? Besides Anne Bradstreet, here are a few: Bob Dylan, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, A.E. Stallings, Billy Collins, Ross Gay, Matt W. Miller, Maya Angelou, Brandi Carlile, Jane Hirshfield, Johnny Cash, Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, Leonard Cohen, Marianne Moore, many more!

I finish with a haiku:
a poem
a suitcase of words
packed with brain, heart, and soul
ready for travel