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Mother and daughter poetry reading

By Laura Juliet Wood and Juliet DeMarko

I did not grow up thinking of my mother as a poet. Juliet DeMarko expresses her creativity in the kitchen and has been a well-known chef and caterer for most of my life. But remembering now, there were clues to her literary bent…the Faulkner class she took at the local university, her tales of working as a high school American lit teacher before I was born, some scribbled verses from her college days yellowing in a box in the attic, the stacks of paperbacks towering by her bed.

Mother and Daughter Poetry Reading
Sat, Oct 5, 4-6pm
Garrison & Garrison Books
Hidalgo 26
50 pesos

Though I can claim poetic influence on both sides of my family going back several generations, my mother, specifically, taught me a passion for beauty in all things, a meticulous attention to detail and a curiosity towards the human spirit. Her first book of poems, Blue Ridge Childhood, is a family treasure. Inspired by her early years in the mountains of western North Carolina in the 40s and 50s, she wrote poems about her mother and herself as a daughter, both then and now.

Today Juliet DeMarko is the Poet Laureate of Northwest Florida, teaches a Thursday creative writing class at the Pensacola Cultural Center, reads monthly at an open mic and, as a board member of the West Florida Literary Federation, has been instrumental in bringing noted poets to speak and conduct workshops, as well as speaking herself, to a number of local organizations and schools on the importance of poetry in today’s difficult world. I am proud of my mother who encourages young students to express themselves through poetry and aspire to publication.

Laura Juliet Wood, by no means, falls at the end of the long string of poets that meander through our family. She was receptive to the muse long before I gave in to it only a few years ago. She was two when, staring out our hotel window in Spain, she called to her father and me to look out on the dark plaza with her. “Do you see,” she asked reverently, “the horse, the fountain, the moon?” Her father, a Lorca scholar, was exuberant. “I knew it! Already she is a poet!” I, of course was skeptical, but somewhat inclined to agree when, waking from a nightmare when she was three, she told me half asleep, “The cat scratched me and left a line, white, like one I scratched on the sidewalk with a stick.” I know, I know, but there was no doubt when she became a teenager and every time I fluffed her pillow, lifted her mattress to change the sheets, or swept under the bed, I would find mangled pieces of notebook paper with phrases, lines, stanzas of attempted verse.

By the time Laura arrived at Hollins for college, her obsession was apparent to everyone. So it was no surprise when she was accepted to Columbia University’s MFA program. Although her professors sometimes secretly sent off her work to be successfully published and even to win awards, she refused to believe that she was ready for publication. So, it is with great pride and relief that Laura herself has finally sent her work out into the world.This past year, Finishing Line Press asked to publish her chapbook of poems, All Hands Lost. She has had her poems appear in Sol Magazine, Haibun Today, Crab Creek Review, The Atlanta Review and Minerva Rising as well as poems coming out in both the Hollins Critic and the Los Angeles Review. She has inspired me to believe that I, too, might be a poet, as it obviously runs in the family!

Don’t miss Laura and Juliet reading together for the first time at Garrison & Garrison Books on Saturday, October 5th, from 4-6pm. They will be available to sign their books after the reading. Garrison & Garrison Books is located on Hidalgo 26 in the Plaza Artesanal Bicentenario across from Los Burritos and has served the English-speaking community with new and used books since 2008. 50 pesos requested donation, wine served, and limited seating in the main patio.


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