2022 Poetry Without Paper Award Ceremony Celebrating 20 years of Creativity

The Sawyer Free Library hosted the 2022 Poetry Without Paper Contest winners Thursday evening, June 9th.

Children’s Librarian Christy Rosso, PWP Winners Olivia Hogan Lopez, Kathleen Rowe Joyce, Jack Frishsen, Emma Wilt, Esme Sarrouf, Riley Cavanaugh, Aleena Brown and PWP Judge John Ronan

The award-winning students read their poetry to a standing-room-only crowd filled with friends and family and then recognized for their achievements. John Ronan, former Poet Laureate of Gloucester, and Christy Rosso, the Sawyer Free’s Children’s Librarian, presented the awards. Ronan, who serves as one of the contest judges and co-conceived the contest 20 years ago, stated, “I believe that there are probably future Nobel Poet Laureates among tonight’s winners. The caliber of creativity and writing this year was outstanding. We should be proud of all the students that participated.”

The Sawyer Free Library’s Poetry without Paper Contest has celebrated thousands of local students’ outstanding writing for the past 20 years while engaging the community’s youth in the art form and encouraging them to use poetry as a creative expression.  

Winners were chosen from each age group: high school, middle school, and elementary school. First-place winners in all categories received $150 Cape Ann gift certificates, second-place winners a $100 gift certificates, and third-place winners a $50 gift certificate with Honorable Mention awarded a poetry book. All winning poets receive a certificate and an invitation to appear on 1623 Studio’s production, The Writer’s Block with John Ronan.

The 2022 Winning Poets:

High School:      

First Place: “Tears of the Chrysanthemum” by Olivia Hogan-Lopez, GHS, 12th Grade

Middle School:    

First Place:   “Ascending like Icarus” by Emma Wilt, O’Maley, 8th Grade

Second Place:  “The Wrong Picture” by Esme Sarrouf, Homeschool, 8th Grad

Third Place:  “Cracked, but Never Broken” by Aleena Brown, O’Maley, 7th Grad

Honorable Mentions:  “The Owl” by Riley Cavanaugh, O’Maley, 7th Grade

“Where I’m From”, Emily Rattray, O’Maley, 7th Grade

Elementary School     

First Place:  “Magical Books”, Kathleen Rowe-Joyce, West Parish, 3rd Grade

Second Place: “Fifth Grade”, Gabriella McKearney, Plum Cove, 5th Grade

Third Place:  “Friends” by Elizabeth Olson, Beeman, 5th Grade

Honorable Mentions: “Lost” by Bianca Numerosi, Plum Cove, 4th Grade

“Gravity” by Jack Frithsen, West Parish, 2nd Grade

Gloucester Marine Railways with Viking Gustafson

On Thursday, June 9 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., learn more about Gloucester Marine Railways at the Sawyer Free Library.

Marine Railways Director Viking Gustafson will give a presentation on the marine railways in Gloucester in the Library’s Friends Room this Thursday evening.  She will then offer a tour of the railways on site in Rockport on Saturday, June 11, at 10:00 a.m.  

Both the presentation and the tour are free and open to the public. The Sawyer Free Library is located at 2 Dale Avenue. For more information visit, SawyerFreeLibrary.com or 978-325-5500.

Saunders House WPA Mural Restoration Presentation with Lisa Mehlin Saturday, 2/26, 2pm at Library

As reported by the Gloucester Daily Times, the Saunders House’s grand WPA are currently being restored by the Sawyer Free Library.

Come learn more about the historic murals and the restoration process from the project’s professional conservator Lisa Mehlin this Saturday, February 26 from 2 to 4pm on the Main Floor of the Sawyer Free Library.

Registration not required. For details, go to: sawyerfreelibrary.org or 978-325-5500.

GLOUCESTER MEETINGHOUSE MLK DAY ANNUAL CELEBRATION JANUARY 17TH!

The Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation will host it 6th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, live on Zoom, on Monday, January 17th at 2:00pm. Please preregister at http://www.gloucestermeetinghouse.org

The Racial Climate in Gloucester, What Lies Ahead will be the focus of the 2-hour program, including including findings of a new community survey. The keynote speaker will be Brian Saltsman, Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion at Alfred University in upstate New York. He is a leading advocate of addressing community issues between dominant and marginalized racial, ethnic or economic sectors as allies, a process known as “allyship.”

The invited presenting organizations are:

  • The Gloucester Racial Justice Team, reporting on a survey that assessed how much people of color “feel like they have a sense of community and belong in the city, including how race and ethnicity play a role in their daily lives,” according to GRJT spokesperson Gail Seavey.
  • The North Shore Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which most recently has focused on racism issues within Danvers High School athletic teams. A branch leader will discuss the North Shore branch’s activities across a region stretching from Lynn to New Hampshire.
  • The Diversity and Equity Committee of the Gloucester 400th Anniversary Celebration, which is researching narrative stories that accurately depict racial and ethnic relationships since European settlement began displacing the native, indigenous Pennacook-Abenaki peoples. This will include years of slave ownership and maritime commerce in the global slave trade.

A video of this program with be available on the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation’s YouTube channel afterwards. The Foundation is a nonsectarian, federally-recognized nonprofit, organized to promote the preservation and community programming of the historic 1806 Meetinghouse on Middle Street, home of the first Universalist Church in America. Tax-deductible donations are welcome and may be made on the website, or by check to “GMF” at 10 Church Street, Gloucester, MA 01930.

The Jim Dowd Fund at the Gloucester Education Foundation

So many were touched by the beautiful piece Bo Abrams wrote last week in memory of Gloucester’s beloved Jim Dowd and his brother, Johnny. In it, she shares what a difference mentors and caring adults made in Jim’s life, and how painful it was for him that they were missing from Johnny’s:

Jim talked a lot about all the people who mentored him along the way from the time he was about 12. It wasn’t any one person. But it was one person at time, one interest at a time, one program at a time, that helped him survive to get to the next thing. Someone to give a nudge to stick with it when something was hard. Someone to suggest a book or a program. Someone to talk about colleges or vocations or hopes and dreams.

Johnny never had that. Jim hated that.

Bo goes on the explain that here in Gloucester, the Gloucester Education Foundation is a key resource that helps hook kids into their passions and interests, and connect them to the supports they need:

Which leads me to Gloucester Education Foundation. They are the reason there is a band program and a hundred other programs that make sure practically every kid has something they can connect to in school. And they’re adding more. GEF is starting a mentor program at the high school in conjunction with Wellspring. And they just helped GHS get a grant to bring in an administrator in the vocational program. They are also beginning a student advisory group so students can have a say in GEF leadership which offers a stipend, because you can’t do internships for free if you have to make money.

In the five days since Bo shared this post and created a fundraiser for the new Jim Dowd Fund at GEF, Jim’s family and friends have raised over $15,000 to support mentoring and student leadership opportunities for Gloucester students. This is a testament to how loved Jim and Johnny were, how beautifully (and honestly) Bo wrote about them, and the insightful way she connected their divergent paths to the work GEF has done – and can do more of – to support students. 

We’re looking to grow this fund even more, so that we can help the Gloucester schools provide new opportunities to excite and engage our kids, to connect them with a caring adult or help them discover their voice. Consider a contribution to GEF in memory of Jim and Johnny, and in support of Gloucester students like both of them.

REFUGEES AND IMMIGRATION: A NEW ERA

A SYMPOSIUM IN THE GLOUCESTER MEETINGHOUSE, SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 20TH, 2-5:00 PM, WITH VIDEO SIMULCAST ON YOUTUBE

This event, part of an annual series hosted by the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation on topics of civic concern, will concentrate on what is happening in our communities and around the country now. More information and video link at: http://www.gloucestermeetinghouse.org

Before our last Summer Series concert we heard an impassioned talk by Congressman Seth Moulton about our responsibility for the safety and resettlement of people from Afghanistan in New England. The Symposium will take a broader view, hearing from members of several organizations who have assisted new arrivals from many countries for a long time. Of equal importance, some presenters are individuals who have been through the immigration or refugee experience themselves. They will gather for a round table discussion in the last segment, addressing questions submitted from the audience, helping us to understand how best to offer our support. 

The historic (1806) Meetinghouse, home of the Gloucester Unitarian-Universalist Church, is located on the green at the intersection of Middle and Church Streets. A lift to the Sanctuary level is available just inside the 10 Church Street door. It is a free event – all are welcome. Your safety is important to us. Masks are required inside the building and seating is staggered to encourage social distancing. We request that the audience be vaccinated or have had a recent negative Covid test. Refreshments will be available at break times outside near the front entrance.

SYMPOSIUM PRESENTERS:

Elsabel Rincon, Founder and Executive Director of The Welcome Immigrant Network in Salem, and recipient of the Peter J. Gomes Service Award

Alexandra Weber, Chief Institutional Advancement Officer for the International Institute of New England in Boston

Andy Allen, Director of Adult Education at Wellspring House

Francis Mpfuranziza, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo during the ethnic violence

Blanca Martinez, an immigrant representative from the Essex County Community Organization (ECCO) in Lynn

Rev. Rona Tyndall, Pastor, West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church, UCC, and organizer for Allies of Our Afghan Allies

Rev. Alice Erickson, Gloucester resident who has been active for many years in the process of resettling refugees

Melissa Buchanan, ESOL Coordinator for the Wellspring Adult Learning Center

Sawyer Free Library to host presentation “Gloucester Urban Renewal” by historian Beth Welin

The Sawyer Free Library will be hosting the first two-part series: “Urban Renewal in Gloucester,” presented by Beth Welin, local historian and director of Manchester Historical Museum, on Saturday, October 23 at 2 pm.

See images of old Gloucester and learn about the city’s history and redevelopment. Attendees are encouraged to share personal memories throughout the presentation.

Part two of the series will be Saturday, November 6 at 2pm. Registration is not required but mask are for all that attend.

For more details, go sawyerfreelibrary.org

Dan Connell, Author Talk and Book Signing at the Sawyer Free Library on 9/23 at 6pm

The Sawyer Free Library is pleased to welcome local author, Dan Connell for an author talk and book signing on Thursday, September 23 from 6-7pm at the Library, located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester.

The author will be discussing his book, Against All Odds, which has just been re-released with a new update and a reappraisal. First published in 1993, Against All Odds: A Chronicle of the Eritrean Revolution  is a firsthand account of Eritrea’s 30-year fight for independence from Ethiopia.  Copies of the new edition of his book will be available.

The East Gloucester resident, Dan Connell, a former journalist and aid professional, has reported on Eritrea for five decades for numerous print and broadcast media. He is a two-time MacArthur Foundation grantee, the author of five books on Eritrea, including Against All Odds: A Chronicle of the Eritrean Revolution (1997); Rethinking Revolution (2002); and a two-volume Collected Articles on the Eritrean Revolution (2003, 2004). His reports and commentary have been carried by the BBC, Voice of America, AP, Reuters, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Le Monde, Foreign Affairs, The Nation and others, and he has consulted for numerous aid agencies and human rights organizations. He is currently a lecturer in journalism and African politics at Simmons College, Boston.

This program is co-hosted by the Global Book Forum and the Gloucester Lyceum.

Click here to Register

Author Dan Connell

Against All Odds is a firsthand account of Eritrea’s 30\-year struggle for independence from Ethiopia, which it won in 1991 with little outside support after defeating successive U.S.\- and Soviet\-backed regimes and overcoming drought and famine while working to unify and reform the society from which it derived its strength. A 1997 Afterword captures the optimism generated by these achievements. But a New Reappraisal recounts its slide into despotism after renewed conflict with Ethiopia and the dark years of isolation and repression that followed, the hopes raised by a 2018 peace pact and then dashed by another round of war. It concludes with reflections on how to break this cycle and begin the democratic transition for which so many fought and died.

GAAC is Back Live in Lanesville!

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club is once again meeting in-person at the Lanesville Community Center, on the second Friday of every month at 8:00 pm. We have a terrific program for our Friday August 13 meeting, with astronomer Dr. Seth Gossage from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, with a great presentation on starlight and what it can tell us.

In addition to discussing what light can tell us about a star’s properties such as mass and chemistry, Dr. Gossage will review next generation stellar models built to explore the effects of stellar rotation. Stars spin, and this is also a fundamental stellar property (alongside mass and chemical composition), which helps determine the evolutionary course of a star, and its light output for the entirety of its lifetime.

GAAC members meet at the Lanesville Community Center in the Lanesville neighborhood of Gloucester MA, at 8:00 pm on the second Friday of every month, for presentations, discussions and activities related to all facets of astronomy. There is no cost. These are fun meetings, with lots of friendly people, refreshments, and great, accessible talks by knowledgeable and entertaining folks. Come see us! No special knowledge or equipment is needed to have a great time. Meetings are also streamed live on our Facebook page. For more information on the club, see our website.

Gloucester Lyceum kicks off a new monthly series: Exercises for the Quiet Eye with Annie Storr this Saturday, Jan 23

This Saturday, January 23 the Sawyer Free Library’s GLOUCESTER LYCEUM will kick off a new monthly virtual series “Exercises for the Quiet Eye” presented by art historian and museum educator, Annie Storr. This interactive, creative program is designed to open the moment when someone can fully see the art in front of them. It aims to suspend attention, to quiet the drive to “figure out” and “move on.”

Storr developed “Exercises for the Quiet Eye” to encourage patient reflection, appreciation, and an attempt to avoid the rush to understand, or determine a set interpretation for what we see. It guides participants to use art to embrace ambiguity, intellectual exploration, and personal reflection.

This special virtual program will take place from 2-4pm on Saturdays: January 23, February 27, March 27, April 24 and May 22

Please be sure to register to join and receive the Zoom link.