So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label Mary Ricketson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary Ricketson. Show all posts

Monday, September 7, 2020

Eugene Z. Hirsch 12-18-31 -- 9-3-20

This post is written by Mary Ricketson

Dr. Gene Hirsch, poet
Gene Hirsch, MD, a poet of our mountains, died September 3, 2020, after a long struggle with cancer.  He was a well-known writer in western North Carolina.  He taught poetry at John C. Campbell Folk School for many years, and helped Nancy Simpson start North Carolina Writers Network West 25 years ago or more.  He regularly attended critique groups, read at organized events, and taught small groups of poets at his home in Murphy.  Gene was teacher and mentor to be remembered.  He lived in Pittsburgh PA and in Murphy NC, and visited Murphy often, until May 2019.

Gene was known as a loving man who listened deeply to every poem from any kind of writer, rustic beginner to polished expert.  He cared about the craft of writing and also cared about the person writing the poem.  As a physician, he had a long career practicing medicine.  In later years he taught doctors and medical students to provide the best of medical and human help to dying patients.  The following is a quote, introduction to his long essay, Intimacy and Dying, written earlier this year, unpublished.
I am a retired geriatrician who, for thirty five years, taught humanistic values in Clinical Medicine to medical students and doctors. From 2000 to 2010, at Forbes Hospice in Pittsburgh, I guided students through the ancient clinical art of responding to struggles and needs of dying people. Among other curricular activities, with permission, we (2 -4 students and I) visited patients in their homes, not to learn procedures for obtaining medical histories, but for the specific purpose of listening to their thoughts, feelings, ordeals and supports. They understood that they were being placed in the role of teachers rather than patients. This proved to be important to all.

Gene kept his illness private, made no apology for that request.  He asked me to talk with him late in his dying process, asked me to be “ears to listen, for some day my dying to be worth my life.”  I will have more to say about that after I have settled enough to review the scratchy notes I kept of this time.  He also asked me to organize a memorial after his death. He said he wants to be remembered in our mountains.  Once the world is safe to gather in person, when the pandemic is over, we will have a memorial for memory, poems, and a celebration of his life.

His body has been cremated.  At some time, in respect for his request, his family will spread his ashes privately at his former home in Murphy.  He gave that home to his wife’s son and family, a family who loves the mountains and the privilege to vacation there. 

During the final months of Gene’s illness, he engaged the help of a friend and poet in Pittsburgh, Judy Robinson, to organize and seek publication of his poems.  The result of that effort is indeed a book, published 7-15-20, available from Amazon, details below.

Cards and words of sympathy may be sent to Gene's wife, Virginia Spangler, 139 Overlook Drive, Verona PA 15147.

In fond memory of Gene Hirsch,  
Mary Ricketson

Dr. Eugene Hirsch, Gene, to all who know him, has extended to me the privilege of editing his poetry, an assignment I accepted with pleasure. This collection, “Speak, Speak,” is the culmination of Gene’s long career of writing, and reflects the complexity of his mind and experience. As a physician/writer he joins a distinguished list, and in my opinion as a reader/editor, he earns his place among the others, notably Maugham, Chekhov, William Carlos Williams.
Judith R Robinson, editor

Friday, November 22, 2019

Literary Hour Finale for 2019 starred three outstanding writers.

Thursday evening was our last Literary Hour at the Folk School for 2019. Three NCWN members were featured. 

Meagan Lucas from Hendersonville, NC who is also our NCWN-West Rep from Henderson County led off the program with excerpts from her debut novel Songbirds and Stray Dogs. Some in the audience said they came especially to hear from a fiction writer. We hope to hear more from Meagan in the coming months. Her book has been very well received by readers and she has been acclaimed as a bright new southern writer.

Linda Jones is a teacher at Young Harris College, but,she is also an outstanding and provocative poet. She said she went through a bad divorce a few years ago and still finds inspiration for poetry in that experience. As with most good poetry, the author finds not only the somber, but the humorous in life's challenges. 

Janice Moore, Clay County Representative for NCWN-West, taught for many years at Young Harris College. We were happy to see others who were on faculty there present for this reading. Janice should be a model for how to give a good poetry reading. Between poems she knows just what to say to pique the interest of the listener, and she might poke fun at herself or her poem before she reads.
Those of us who have known Janice and attended the critique she leads each month have been greatly influenced by her comments on our work and by her own writing.

Mary Ricketson

Mary Ricketson, former County Rep for Cherokee County, said this was her last evening to host the Literary Hour at the Folk School. She is extremely busy these days promoting her newest poetry book,  " Mississippi, The Story of Luke and Marian", a book of memory, conflicts and resolve. 

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the event on Thursday evening at the John C. Campbell Folk School. We are happy to promote the folk school in any way we can, and we appreciate their support of  writers in our state. 

Thanks Janice, Meagan, Linda and Mary for sending us out with thoughts to ponder as we made our way home through the mountains under the stars. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mary Ricketson, poet, appears in Murphy, NC and Andrews Art Museum

I am always happy to spread the word about what is happening with our poets and writers who are members of NCWN-West. Mary Ricketson is one of the NCWN-West representatives for Cherokee County, NC and has published a couple of poetry books. She is also a columnist for the local newspaper in Murphy, NC. She has some appearances coming up.

April 14 Mary Ricketson will be one of two featured authors at the Andrews Art Museum's 50/50 art sale. It's a free evening, 5-7 PM, of art, food, and music at Valleytown Cultural Art Center on Main Street in Andrews NC. Original art by local and regional artists will be available for $50, music by Heidi Holton, samples of pizza and beer by Hoppy Trout. Mary will talk about poetry and display her books.

May 5
Mary Ricketson will be the featured author at Curiosity Bookstore, Valley River Ave, Murphy NC, during the First Friday Art Walk, 5-8 PM.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gread Reading at John C. Campbell last night

For the first time in a while, I went out to a reading last night. Nadine Justice, author of I'm a Coal Miner's Daughter, But I Cain't Sang, was delightful and the audience loved her. She has a sense of humor that comes through in her writing. 

Mary Ricketson, one of my very favorite poets, always brings me to tears when she reads poems about her only child, her son who is super smart and won a scholarship to MIT or one of those big colleges. I feel I've watched him grow up from a boy by reading and listening to Mary read her poems about him. 

I told her last night that, although I've not had a child, she touches my maternal instinct or maybe it is my growing up with a mother like Mary. I saw my mother go through all the angst of teenagers making mistakes she couldn't prevent, seeing hurts she couldn't heal, and just giving them all the love a mother can give. I know Mother prayed for her children. I was one of her main worries. Always wearing my emotions on my shoulders, I came to Mother to ease my pain when I was hurt. 

Mary's son is grown and on his own now, but her poems about him continue to show a strong bond between mother and son.
The Journal of Kentucky Studies has published one of Mary's poems, her first in a literary journal. That was the first literary journal that published one of my poems. In fact the editor, Gary Walton, has published a number of my poems over the years. And I am grateful.

Nadine's book, which I watched develop from the beginning, has memorable stories about her own childhood with a mother she couldn't relate to, and a father she adored. In her memoir about her life growing up in the coal camps, then her travels overseas, and her failed marriages, I see another strong woman like Mary. Nadine has two daughters and I'm sure she has prayed many times for her children. I find her book extremely interesting and by the mail she has received, others find it a good read, too. 

Anyway,  I am so glad I went out to hear these fine writers share their work last night. I appreciate all those who came and really appreciate the Folk School for hosting Netwest each month.

And thanks to Linda Smith who schedules the readings.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Mary Ricketson and Nadine Justice will read at JCCFS Thursday night


Mary Ricketson, Poet and writer
              On Thursday, February 21, 2013,  John Campbell Folk School  and  NC Writers Network West sponsor the monthly reading in the Keith House by members of NCWN. The reading is free of charge and open to the public.  Poets Mary Ricketson and writer, Nadine Justice will be the featured readers.  

Mary Ricketson’s poetry has been published in her chapbook, I Hear the River Call My Name, Lights in the Mountains, Freeing Jonah IV, Freeing Johah V, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Future Cycle Press,Your Daily Poem, Journal of Kentucky Studies, various magazines and in Disorgananza, a private collection distributed among family and friends.  She won the gold medal for poetry in the 2011 Cherokee County Senior Games/Silver Arts.  She won first place in the 2011 Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest national poetry contest.
Mary writes a monthly column, Woman to Woman, for The Cherokee Scout.  She is a member of the North Carolina Writers Network, a mental health counselor, and a farmer.

Mary says she writes to satisfy a hunger, to taste life all the way down to the last drop.  She gains perspective from family and friends, her Appalachian home, and her life’s work as a counselor.

Writing poetry places her in kinship with her own life.
Mary Ricketson is a Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Murphy, North Carolina.  She brings more than thirty years experience to her work, with twenty-five years in private practice.  She is a founding board member of  REACH.  She has a special interest in women’s issues, victims of abuse, and family and couple relationships.  She offers innovative ways to effect change in difficult life patterns, including Journey to Intuition and Neurofeedback.  She is listed in Who’s Who in American Women.

Nadine Justice

Nadine Justice divides her time between a mountain-top cottage in north Georgia and her home in Atlanta. For the past few years she has worked on a memoir which was published last year. Excerpts have been published in an anthology by the Georgia Mountain Writers Club. She also enjoys a successful career as an interior designer. Her design work has been featured twice in Better Homes and Gardens and in Atlanta Custom Home magazines.

Nadine grew up in West Virginia and is the daughter of a coal miner. She is married to a retired federal agent, and enjoys spending time with her four “perfect” grandchildren.

Nadine is a new member of the North Carolina Writers' Network. She will share portions of her book, I'm a coal Miner's Daughter, But I Cain't Sang, at the reading on Thursday night.