By Claudia Glenn Dowling
Longtime San Miguel resident, poet Peggy Purcell, will read from her third book of poems, Wakenings (2015), at her home, Órganos 7A, on Monday, March 30, at 5pm. The public is invited. Dubbed the Grandma Moses of poetry, Purcell has come a long way from her roots: from a small farm in Indiana, to college administration at Bennington College and Boston University, to putting down new roots as an expat in San Miguel. After retiring to San Miguel in 1993, she wrote memoir episodes in prose until she attended a 2009 Judyth Hill poetry workshop sponsored by the San Miguel Writers’ Conference. She fell in love with the immenence and rhythm of poetry and was inspired to develop a poetic style for her poignant stories. The poems both stand alone and tell a larger saga when read in sequence.
By Peggy Purcell
Mon, Mar 30, 5pm
Her first chapbook, Roots and Seeds: Tales from a Farmer’s Daughter (2010) was accepted the same day it was received by Pudding House Publications, a premier small literary press in Columbus, Ohio. In 2011 a follow-up manuscript was also accepted by Pudding House, but the second chapbook was delayed due to sale of the press. In the meantime, Purcell combined the two with new material and self-published a more complete autobiographical book, The Reach of Roots and Seeds, (2012). Reactions at her readings have been so positive that Purcell keeps writing. “I hope my experiences can help others as they thread the inevitable obstacles thrown in their way,” she says, “and come out stronger. Everyone needs to dig around the roots to lighten the soil — and the soul — so that new seeds can be planted. You’re never too old.”
The new book continues Purcell’s style developed for the memoir stories, but most are shorter and focus on change in later life. It is up to the reader to decide where the impetus arises from outside or inside. Both books will be on sale at the reading.