Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Beneath the Lilac Canopy - "Telephone" is Published!

Thanks to generous donations in the name of a former summer cottager, the Mackinac Island Community Foundation is pleased to announce publication of “Beneath the Lilac Canopy: Mackinac Island in Poetry.”

A fund created by friends and neighbors to honor Lorabeth Fitzgerald after her 2009 death makes publication of the poetry anthology possible. “Lorabeth loved poetry and she loved Mackinac Island,” says anthology editor Glen Young. “Her love of both lives on in this wonderful new collection,” he adds.

Mackinac Island Community Foundation executive director Robin Dorman appreciates Fitzgerald’s influence on not only the anthology, but also the wider community. “In the short amount of time I was blessed to share talking about books, poetry and other forms of art with Lorabeth, I was indeed given a great gift,” Dorman says.

Including the work of more than 50 writers from the Mackinac region and beyond, “Beneath the Lilac Canopy” comprises more than 150 pages of poems inspired by Mackinac Island and the entire Straits of Mackinac area.

Those who knew Fitzgerald found motivation in both person and place. Jim Lenfesty, poet and Fitzgerald’s summer neighbor, says, “She saw poetry as a lifeline and guide, and said so. After her death, we established a fund in her name at the Mackinac Island Community Foundation, and the result is this wonderful collection of Mackinac inspired poems. It is an honor to be in her company again.”

Peter Olson, who divides his time between Mackinac Island and Petoskey, likewise found motivation in his longtime friendship with Fitzgerald. “Every time I had a conversation with Lorabeth, I felt like the traveler from Thoreau's ‘Walden.’” Olson, vice president for academic affairs and student success at North Central Michigan College, adds, “I was continually and delightfully surprised at the depth and breadth of what she knew and of the new paths she was willing to tread in search of the beauty and power of language.”

Jim Bogan, a lifelong Mackinac Island summer resident, filmmaker, and author of several volumes of poetry, also appreciates Fitzgerald’s generosity and inspiration. “What a delightful opportunity to join poets old and new in celebrating Mackinac in memory of dear Lorabeth Fitzgerald,” he says of the anthology’s impetus.

Bogan believes, “An anthology is a ‘gathering of blossoms’ and this metrical bouquet will add to the tradition of all those who are launched into flights of observation and of insight by the Island.”

In addition to the poetry, “Beneath the Lilac Canopy” features the work of several visual and performing artists as well, thanks to the inclusion of the “Telephone” section of the book. “Telephone” is a collaboration interpreting Mackinac Island in music, painting, pottery, and more. The process started with a musical composition, sent to Bogan, who was asked to write a poem in response. His poem went to painters, and so on, in the manner of the childhood game of telephone.

Tess Miller, adjunct flute instructor at Olivet College, helped coordinate the “Telephone” program, appreciates having the works included in the anthology. Miller says, “It was fascinating to see how various threads of ideas were maintained as well as which were either lost or picked up again later.” She believes, “While artists can become very adept at using their own materials to express such ideas, there are also many examples of cross-influence between the arts.”

Editor Young believes there is something for every reader here. “There are poems about forts, fudge, and ferry boats. Just about every conceivable Mackinac icon or memory is here,” he says.

WooHoo - I'm published!!!!

I was very excited when the decision was made to include "Telephone" in the anthology; while it doesn't truly capture the effect of seeing all the pieces sequentially in person, it at least does document the project.

For more information or to order copies of “Beneath the Lilac Canopy,” visit the Mackinac Island Community Foundation website. Books are $10, plus $5.75 shipping, which covers up to two books.

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