SALEM — Nathaniel Hawthorne is a muse for many. He was thoughtful, heartfelt, deep and driven; in other words, the quintessential writer and a kindred spirit among writers. On Saturday, April 14, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., his poem, “The Ocean,” will take center stage at The House of the Seven Gables, 115 Derby St., Salem, Mass. Members and Salem residents admitted free of charge.
To kick off April school vacation week and celebrate National Poetry Month, children will gather with members of Salem’s Witch City Writers, listen to the poem, talk it over and then compose their own piece inspired by the ocean. Staff from NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, will bring whale bones and stories about the sea, as well.
Salem’s native son wrote “The Ocean” in 1825 at the age of 21. His father, a sea captain, died at sea when Nathaniel was only 4 years old. In the poem’s first stanza young Hawthorne wrote: “Though there be fury on the waves,/Beneath them there is none.” The poem is sad and comforting at once. Young readers will find many meanings and moods in “The Ocean,” and they will spend an inspired hour working with Witch City Writers exploring their own ideas about the ocean that sits at the foot of The House of the Seven Gables.
Meredith Quinn, Jess Haberman and Carmen Barefield, all of Witch City Writers, organized the poetry workshop. Haberman and Barefield co-founded Witch City Writers, and Barefield, a poet, will take the lead on the workshop. “Kids have a special way of not having a guard up. It’s really fun when they explore writing – they’re usually excited to dive right in,” says Quinn. “I can’t wait to see what happens.”
Quinn says that Witch City Writers is a fairly new organization. They formed a year and a half ago and look for ways to get involved with the community. “We’re so happy to get this partnership going,” says Quinn. “We love to share the joy and craft of writing, and we do our part to help spark interest in writing and creativity.”
Support for this workshop comes from Mass Humanities.