Poetry reading in Guilford on Thursday

Preachers and Poets, the third collaborative poetry reading by Tom Ragle and Don McLean, will be presented on Thursday, April 21 at Guilford Community Church at 7 p.m. Admission is by a donation in any amount to benefit the work of the Church.

This program, the third in the series, takes its title from the fact that four of the poets were also ordained ministers in three different denominations: Anglicans George Herbert and Robert Herrick, and, on very opposite poles, both strict in their particular ways, American Puritan Edward Taylor and English Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Another connection between the poets is that a majority of them did not see their poetry published in their lifetimes, and several were unknown to the public, including Emily Dickinson, who joins the lineup. Completing the cast of three English and three American poets is Walt Whitman. Numerous and interesting connections, in terms of both subject matter and technique amongst these poets, will be revealed during the evening.

Tom Ragle served as president of Marlboro College from 1958 to 1981. He holds an A.B. in ancient Greek history and literature from Harvard University and a B.A. and M.A. in English language and literature from Oxford University. He served for many years on the board of Write Action, a nonprofit organization formed to nurture, encourage and promote the literary arts in the larger Brattleboro community, and has been featured on Brattleboro's community radio station, WVEW-LP, reading poetry during the Write Action Radio Hour on Sundays, having given over 20 hour-long readings of classical English poets from the 16th into the 20 century. His collection of poems, Take this Song, Poems in Pursuit of Meaning, was published in 2013 under his pen name, Lee Bramble.


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Don McLean holds an A.B. with Distinction in English Language and Literature from Boston University. He has taught courses in New England Literature at Community College of Vermont, and is known for his public readings of the works of Guilford Federalist-era poet, Royall Tyler. For four decades he has annually read works of Hardy, Dickens, Truman Capote, Dylan Thomas and other authors on Friends of Music's Christ Church Christmas program. Last year, he organized Guilford's celebration of the centenary of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas's birth, with readings and a performance of Under Milkwood. In 2013, he published the book Sparks, the collected writing of his mother, Jean Stewart McLean, on the 50th anniversary of her death.